Everything you need to know about SMP Scalp Micropigmentation Hair Tattoo


What is Scalp Micropigmentation?

Scalp micropigmentation, or SMP, is a non-invasive cosmetic hair tattoo procedure that mimics the look of real hair stubble with a close shaven look. It can be done on a completely bald head (alopecia totalis), a balding head with a horseshoe pattern (androgenetic alopecia), diffused hair loss (female pattern baldness), or to camouflage scars, in particular FUE and FUT scars from hair transplants.  The process uses a pointillism process where tiny ink pigments are inserted into the scalp using an ultra-fine SMP needle and a tattoo machine.

Who Can Do Scalp Micropigmentation?

Scalp micropigmentation can be done for both men and women, young and old, for all ethnicities and skin colours. For men suffering from alopecia totalis where 100% of the scalp hairs have fallen out, a hair tattoo can replicate the hairline, sideburns, and back of the scalp down to the neck area.  For people who have lost hair on the eyebrows as well, we offer another procedure called microblading.

For men who are in the process of losing their hair or have completely lost their hair due to androgenetic alopecia, we can replicate the hairline and cover the top and back of the scalp. If the sideburns are still intact, we do not need to perform the hair tattoo there. Where the men do have hair (on the sides and back of the scalp), we blend the hair tattoo dots into the existing hair to give it a blended look, so even if they shave their existing hair completely, it will look totally natural.

Scalp micropigmentation for women has been growing in popularity as women discover the many benefits of adding density to their thinning hair.  For female pattern hair loss, women lose their hair in a diffused pattern throughout the scalp which is different than the horseshoe pattern for men.  Scalp tattoo for thinning hair is ideal for female diffused hair loss as it can create the illusion of instant density to a women’s overall scalp.

Is Scalp Micropigmentation a Hair Tattoo?

Yes and No. The term hair tattoo or tattoo hair is often used to describe scalp micropigmentation. However, a hair tattoo is not at all like a traditional tattoo.  That is why you should not go to a tattoo shop to get a hair tattoo but a reputable hair loss / hair replacement clinic that specializes in scalp micropigmentation and not just dabble in it.

Scalp micropigmentation is done with specializes needles and ink pigments. We do not use regular tattoo ink or needles. We do not go as deep into the skin like a regular tattoo. The skills of an experienced tattoo artist is very different than the skills of an experienced SMP artist.

Does a Hair Tattoo Look Real?

As mentioned earlier, if done by a professional SMP clinic, a hair tattoo can look very realistic even at close range. With a professionally done scalp micropigmentation procedure, the micro dots mimic the look of existing hair follicles by colour, density per inch (dots per inch), and size of the dots. The client satisfaction rate is extremely high for scalp micropigmentation if the SMP was done correctly by a professional SMP practitioner.

But beware, because there is no regulation on scalp micropigmentation Toronto or elsewhere in Ontario, professional SMP clinics and seasoned SMP practitioners are working in the same field as novices, amateurs, tattoo artists, beauty parlors, barber shops, and anyone who wants to get into this cosmetic industry.  So, it is important to do your homework to find a reputable clinic that specializes in scalp micropigmentation, has great reviews, so you know exactly what to expect.

Does Scalp Micropigmentation Work?

Yes, a hair tattoo can be a life changing procedure, giving men and women renewed confidence that they had lost because of their hair loss. If a person loses their hair, they currently only have a few options – live with the baldness and do nothing, get a hair transplant, get a hair system (hair toupee or wig), or get a SMP procedure done. There are pros and cons of each of these hair loss treatments so we will briefly go over them:

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hair transplant

Pros To Hair Transplant

  1. Can be a permanent solution to hair loss.
  2. If done correctly looks perfectly natural.
  3. No maintenance once it’s done.

Cons to Hair Transplant

  1. Expensive, usually in the range of $15,000-$20,000 in Ontario.
  2. Long recovery time.
  3. Invasive surgery, higher risk of complications.
  4. Multiple sessions may be required.
  5. Can look unnatural if done incorrectly.
  6. Not suitable for everyone (if you do not have enough donor hair).
  7. Not suitable for women because of diffused hair loss in donor area.
  8. Creates FUT and FUE scarring in the back of the scalp. (This can be covered by longer hair, but scars are visible if you plan to keep a short buzz cut look).
  9. Your hair transplanted hairs can still fall out in the future.


hair system

Pros to Hair System

  1. Made of human hair or synthetic hair, mesh fabric or polymers. Hairs look natural and can be matched to your exact hair colour.
  2. The overall look can look natural if done by a professional clinic.
  3. Instant results.
  4. Reasonable price.

Cons to Hair System

  1. Can look fake if not done correctly.
  2. Regular maintenance required / need to go back to the clinic regularly.
  3. Can be uncomfortable and itchy especially in the summer heat.
  4. Hair systems don’t last forever, need replacing every 3-10 months.



hair tattoo

Pros to Hair Tattoo

  1. Can look very realistic even at close range.
  2. Non-invasive, non-surgical, no down-time.
  3. Reasonable price.
  4. Instant results.
  5. Very low maintenance, can go swimming etc.
  6. Great to camouflage scars such as FUT and FUE hair transplant scars.
  7. Can give the illusion of thicker denser hair for women.
  8. If you experience scalp micropigmentation regrets, it can be totally removed with our Picosure laser.

Cons to Hair Tattoo

  1. Industry not regulated. Can look bad / fake if done by a sub-par unprofessional SMP practitioner.
  2. Need to maintain a short buzz cut hair style (for men).
  3. May require touchups every few years.

Before the Treatment

Once you have decided on doing scalp micropigmentation, it is time to choose the right clinic. The first thing to do is to go for a hair tattoo consultation.  This can be done online or in-clinic.  Here you will discuss the procedure with the SMP practitioner, answer all the questions you may have, determine the pricing and number of sessions required.  On the day of your procedure, your scalp should be washed, and your hair should be cut as short as possible (if you are not doing it to add density). 

During the first session, we will draw your hair line to your exact specifications. We normally will tell you to be a bit more conservative and start your hairline just a little above where you want the finished look. The hair line can always come down with each session, but once it’s done, you cannot say you would like it higher.

We will also discuss the type of hairline you would like. It could be a very soft hair line, to mimic a naturally receding look, or you can choose one that is very sharp with a strong edge. This will be discussed in depth, and we can make some recommendations what would look best for you.

How Many Sessions for Scalp Micropigmentation?

At our SMP clinic we do 3 to 4 sessions spaced 1 to 2 weeks apart. The reason for multiple sessions is because your scalp needs time to get used to the new pigment in your scalp. You will usually experience more fading in the first session due to your immune system wanting to get rid of the foreign ink. But once 3 or 4 sessions are completed, the look is completed.

How Long Does Scalp Micropigmentation Take?

The length of time for each treatment depends on how fast the SMP practitioner places the dots. If a practitioner can place 50 dots per minute compared to one that can put 100 dots per minute, then the time would be cut in half.  On average it takes about 2 hours for each SMP treatment.

During the Treatment

During your treatment, you will be seated in a very comfortable salon chair specifically designed for this type of treatment. When we start placing the dots on your scalp, you may experience some discomfort. The level of discomfort varies from person to person. But everyone at our clinic goes through it without any issues. You may want to take some pain medication about half an hour prior to your treatment if you believe you are more sensitive to this treatment.


After the Treatment

After your hair tattoo treatment, we ask you to avoid washing the scalp for at least 3-4 days. We also ask that you avoid heavy exercise or anything that can cause excessive sweating, which we want to avoid. You are ok to wear a hat or cap after the treatment. If you are planning to go out in the sun during this time, you should cover it with a hat. After the fourth day, if you are out in the sun, you should limit the time to 30-45 minutes and wear a sunscreen.  The less sun exposure the better as it can affect the long-term retention of your hair tattoo. 

After your final hair tattoo procedure, you will be able to swim, go out in the sun, and do extreme exercises. You should avoid heavy exercise until 5 days post treatment.  Avoid long term sun exposure for at least 3 weeks post treatment and always where a sunscreen.

When Can I Wash My Hair After Scalp Micropigmentation?

You can wash your scalp after 3-4 days post treatment. Try to avoid using hot water during this time as well until all sessions are completed.

How Long Does Scalp Micropigmentation Last and Is Scalp Micropigmentation Permanent?

Scalp micropigmentation is considered a semi- permanent solution to hair loss and can last up to 8 years.  You will enjoy your SMP for many years to come without any issues.  The ink will start to fade over time since all skin naturally exfoliates itself, but it is very gradual, and you may require a touch up after 2 to 5 years.  If you have very dry skin, fading can occur faster as the skin tends to flake more with dry skin. This causes the skin to exfoliate the pigment at a quicker rate.  You can apply a moisturizer with a sun block if you are experience dry skin.

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Is Scalp Micropigmentation Safe?

Scalp micropigmentation is a very safe non-invasive procedure. There are no complications that we have experienced post-treatment.

Does Scalp Micropigmentation Damage Hair Follicles?

If you are worried of scalp micropigmentation damage hair follicles, the answer is no.  So if you are trying to save your existing hair, then there is no reason to worry about losing or damaging any existing hair follicles.

Who shouldn’t get a Hair Tattoo?

If you are prone to keloids, then we would not recommend doing scalp micropigmentation.  If you have any blood disorders, such as HIV, we also do not recommend this, just for the safety of our practitioners as well.  Even though SMP is safe for everyone, if you are pregnant, we do not recommend doing this procedure until after childbirth.

Scalp Micropigmentation Regret, Can Scalp Micropigmentation be Removed?

There are instances when scalp micropigmentation removal is required, such as removing a bad procedure. Fortunately, like a regular tattoo, a hair tattoo can be removed using our Picosure laser. Because scalp micropigmentation doesn’t go as deep as a regular tattoo, less sessions are required to remove it. On average 2 to 3 sessions are needed to remove pigment from a blotched scalp micropigmentation procedure.


Is Scalp Micropigmentation Worth It?

If you compare the cost of scalp micropigmentation vs hair transplant, then it is worth it.  If you compare the daily or regular hair loss treatments like PRP and Rogaine use for the rest of your life, which can end up in the tens of thousands, then it is worth it. If you consider SMP as a one-time investment to have a great looking scalp again, then it’s worth it.  If you believe SMP can give you the added confidence that you lost because of your hair loss, then it’s worth it.

How Much Does Scalp Micropigmentation Cost?

Scalp micropigmentation cost varies from country to country, city to city, clinic to clinic, but a procedure done at a professional and reputable SMP clinic for scalp micropigmentation Toronto should charge between $3000 to $5000 for the 3 to 4 SMP sessions.

The price will also vary depending on the amount of SMP coverage is required. At our clinic we do not discuss the scalp micropigmentation cost until you’ve come in for a free in-clinic consultation at one of our SMP locations – Toronto, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, and Ajax.  Many people come for SMP just to have scalp camouflage on their hair transplant scars, so the price for that will be different for a smaller area.


So, after reading this article, and if you’re serious in getting a scalp micropigmentation treatment done, why not give us a call or book your consultation online.  Did you know we invented the Scalp Micropigmentation procedure?  That’s right. Our teacher and guru, Mr. Ian Watson of His Hair Clinic UK invented this procedure in 2002. Since then, scalp micropigmentation has exploded and expanded globally to almost every country.  Ian was the first person in the world to sport the new SMP look and at we have been using his perfected techniques to help many clients get the best scalp micropigmentation possible. offers men and women a free online Trichology hair loss assessment. If you are experiencing hair loss, please fill out our assessment form and our in-clinic Toronto trichologist will review and reply to you with our recommended hair loss treatment plan.


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