Many clients ask us, “what is the difference between a head tattoo and Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP)?” To answer this FAQ Friday, let’s dig into the similarities and the differences of a head tattoo (or scalp tattoo) and Scalp MicroPigmentation.
But first, why is Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) often mischaracterized as a head tattoo? Two quick reasons — first, at a basic level, both use permanent pigmentation. Second, many novice SMP practitioners market their services as a head tattoo, not fully understanding the differences. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see tattoo artists or even permanent cosmetic technicians trying their hand at SMP, but the truth is, the skills don’t translate. Let’s dig into what makes Scalp MicroPigmentation different:
SMP, using medical-grade equipment, permanently embeds pigment in the dermis (the second layer of skin). Properly administered, SMP should be undetectable. The outcome should provide a subtle, natural-looking hair replacement solution for male-pattern baldness, a receding hairline, alopecia, scar tissue, or correction to a head tattoo or poorly administered SMP.
The quality and color of the pigment determines the outcome (how natural it appears and how long it lasts), but the application is equally important. SMP isn’t only about using precision to deliver thousands of tiny, follicle-size impressions, it’s also about mastery of placement, imperceptible blending, and hairline design.
Proper SMP ensures the impressions are made at the correct depth into the scalp (into the dermis, the second layer of skin, not higher and not deeper) while also using the right needle configuration to avoid an unnatural outcome. The right size and depth, combined with the right pigment and properly trained technician, set SMP apart from a hair tattoo.
Post-care products are also used for proper Scalp MicroPigmentation procedures. This cares for the skin in the best way possible, ensuring it is hydrated and protected after the final SMP session.
A note about head tattoos — as most tattoos are meant to draw attention to themselves (tattoos often make a non-verbal statement) it’s easy to understand why it’s important to differentiate between a head tattoo and SMP. SMP is meant to be subtle and natural-looking while a tattoo is meant to be seen as a tattoo, an adornment. The best SMP procedure is one that no one notices.
Choose the right provider for your Scalp Micro Pigmentation procedure.
With BRAVI, you can expect excellence:
- Scalp-specific pigment that’s been formulated for colorfastness — pigment won’t change color over time
- Technicians are highly trained (using our exclusive 6-month training program) and certified before they work on clients
- Full medical oversight into all work with laser technology, prescription pharmaceuticals, and best-in-class equipment and facilities
- Specialized scalp care products are always included post-procedure
- Complete transparency — speak to a real BRAVI client or meet one in person to see the results firsthand
Visit our testimonials page to see more.