Maybe you haven’t heard about “scalp micropigmentation” before. We’ve got you covered.

The Complete Guide To Scalp Micropigmentation

The Complete Guide to Scalp Micropigmentation


How micro hair tattoos have restored the confidence of tens of thousands around the globe


If you want permanent results that look natural and actually relieve the frustrating effects of hair loss, Scalp Micropigmentation is the choice for you.

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Scalp Micropigmentation Treatment Overview

What is Scalp Micropigmentation? Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) is a highly advanced method of cosmetic pigmentation (tattoo). While similar to traditional tattooing, it is also unique in a variety of ways.

SMP involves the use of specialized equipment (needles, machines, and pigments) along with special techniques to inject pigment into the scalp, in order to create the look of a hair follicle.

Scalp Micropigmentation is an extremely intricate procedure, and because it is a form of tattooing, you leave our office with immediate, permanent results.

Each client’s needs are unique. At Hairline Ink, during each treatment our pigment is tailored to your exact hair color and type.

The treatment at Hairline Ink is administered softly, in a gentle approach, and results look unbelievably natural.

The quality of your treatment depends on two things:

  1. Using the correct machines, micro-needles and pigments.
  2. Getting your treatment from a skilled and experienced practitioner.

The All-Star Team at Hairline Ink has a combined experience in SMP of more than 25 years.

Our incredibly passionate staff, their years of experience, and high company-wide standards give us an advantage over many SMP providers who may have taken short or online-only classes, in many cases not even working on live models before opening up a clinic of their own.

Because we were founded with a mission to be leaders in the Scalp Micropigmentation industry, all of our practitioners undergo hands-on training, led by teachers whose expertise is undeniable and have a record of proven results, and continue to learn through cross-training with each other, colleagues, and by attending SMP conferences around the globe.

Frequently Asked Questions
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Real Stories from Real Clients

Discover the life-changing effects of scalp micropigmentation on our clients.

Scalp Micropigmentation Clinics Near You

With more than 50 locations across the United States, Hairline Ink helps people defy hair loss from coast to coast.

View All of Our SMP Clinic Locations

Who SMP (Hair Tattoo) is For and What it Solves

One common misconception is that this only helps people seeking that “freshly-shaved” look. That is simply not true.

With the process of micropigmentation at Hairline Ink, you can expect us to help with:

Click on the links above or continue reading for more information about each of these services.

Click here for information about pricing, or go to the bottom of this page.

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What to Expect at Your Micropigmentation Sessions

Treatment is typically completed across 2-3 sessions. Below, we’ll take you through the process step-by-step:

  1. The first step is to get a quote from our team. Your unique amount of hair loss can be easily assessed by sending us photos via text or email, or over video chat via Zoom, FaceTime, Hangouts, etc. This allows both you and our team to gain an understanding of what results you want to achieve from your treatment. Our experts will guide you through the process and help you decide which style is best for you. We then create a plan of action, mapping out what is required to reach your goal and get the results you desire.
  2. Next, treatment begins. Years of experience have taught us that it’s best to be conservative on your first treatment in order to achieve the optimal end result. This initial session is to lay the foundation of your new look. After the first treatment, your scalp will be a little red, but within a single day this typically returns to normal.
  3. The second treatment allows us to fill in more detail and go a shade darker than your initial session. This session is where your treatment really comes to life, and your new look is perfected. Any concerns, questions or requests will be handled during this meeting.
  4. Occasionally, but not always, a third procedure may take place. Third treatments are typically completed 4-12 weeks after the initial sessions, and are generally at the request of the client to go darker or to “touch up” any areas that may have naturally lightened during the healing process. In some cases, our practitioners may let you know that you will need 3 sessions in order to finalize your look. These circumstances may include scenarios where the client is having a scar covered up, suffering from alopecia, enhancing a hair transplant, or in cases where the skin is damaged or naturally oily. Finally, failure to follow the aftercare instructions can result in an increased chance of needing a third session.

During the quoting phase, we will talk to you about exactly what results you want to get, and ensure a custom procedure, designed to give you the desired effects that you’re looking for.

When we implant our ink into the affected area, we carefully blend our pigment with your natural hair color with skillful precision.

Many clients report minimal discomfort during the procedure, and an immediate lift in self-confidence after only a single session.

Questions About Treatments & Options

What is the difference between Scalp Micropigmentation and a regular head tattoo?

Although some people may label Scalp Micropigmentation as a hair tattoo, it’s actually quite different. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, is the skill of the practitioner. Our practitioners have treated thousands of clients and are able to skillfully replicate a 3D look of natural hair. Needles are firmly embedded into the dermis which is one of the more controlled layers of the skin. This is what prevents the dispersion of any ink. Also, the needles used for this technique are single-use needles that are three quarters smaller than any available tattooing needle.

Can Scalp Micropigmentation disguise scars?

Absolutely. Scar camouflage is a service offered by Hairline Ink.

How long will the treatment take?

Treatments will take roughly 3-4 hours for the first session, then around 2-3 hours for the second session. Some clients may request or require a third session to complete their treatment, and session time is around 1 – 2.5 hours, depending on the amount of work needing to be done.

What are the sizes of the needles which are used, and what is the pain level felt?

The needle that is used is a quarter of the size of a 3-round needle used by companies that implant pigments using permanent makeup guns. This gives us the advantage of creating actual follicles that look the same as hair. Other companies have no choice but to create a shade or fill that gives the illusion of hair. Our needle can make the dot of a small pin. If you look closely at the impressions, it is impossible to tell the difference between the hair and the impressions. When we talk to our clients, they say they would rate the pain level at 2-5 out of 10. Both women and men who have scarring from hair transplants will often have a little more discomfort due to sensitivity of the area.

Can you explain what occurs when the pigmentation needle machine goes into the scalp?

The follicle shaped needle implants go directly into the epidermis, not reaching the dermis. The skin is made of a mixture of cross fibers that have lumen within the cells. The lumens allows the ink to deposit into the dermis and stay consistent in size and shape.

What is the average time between sessions?

We always suggest to our clients to wait at least six days after their initial treatment to have a second session. Every procedure package comes with at least two treatments. This secondary procedure ensures optimal results while allowing for minor adjustments to the hairline and color after the product has had the necessary time to cure.

Questions About the Appearance

Will this work on light-skinned people with blonde or light brown hair?

Absolutely. Every member of our All-Star team of practitioners is a true artist, and can custom blend colors precisely to match your individual hair color, whether blonde, brown, red or black.

How will I look immediately after the procedure?

Following the treatment, there is a redness for anywhere between 2-10 hours, depending on your skin type. The pigment’s initial color will appear darker than the “cured” result, but don’t worry, getting to your ideal color will only take up to 1-2 weeks.

Will the pigment used change colors or fade at all?

We use a specially formulated ink that is custom created for Scalp Micropigmentation — it is not tattoo ink. It is normal for SMP to fade over time, but following proper aftercare instructions can extend the life of your SMP.

Does the end result look like a tattoo?

Although this is a form of tattooing, the process and end result are far different than that of a regular tattoo. Both our technique and our equipment are specifically engineered to create an end result that appears natural.

Questions About SMP Aftercare

How long will my head take to fully heal after the procedure?

We provide specific post-care protocols that should be followed for the first week and thereafter. Your body’s own healing ability will determine when your scalp is fully healed. You will be a little red the day of the procedure, but you will almost certainly be able to live normally and even go to work the day after. For clients who are getting SMP after using a hair system, hair fibers, or topicals, expect 24-72 hours of redness due to sensitive skin.

I want my hair to look clean when it is shaved with a razor. Will I need my entire head done with Scalp Micropigmentation in order to get this look?

The look that we create for you is one that will be blended into the hair that you already have. During your consultation or after reviewing your photos, we will be able to advise you about the exact length to keep your hair in order to achieve the best look.

Do I need to shave my head before the procedure?

Every case is different. After viewing images of your scalp, a member of our All-Star team of practitioners and their care team will make sure you are prepared and fully informed before your procedure. Generally we encourage our clients to not shave for 72 hours before their treatment, so that we can find where your existing and remaining hair grows. This is important for us to blend into your existing hair properly.

How long do I have to wait after receiving my treatment before I can shave with a razor?

At the very least, one week. Your scalp is still in the healing process for at least one week after this treatment. We also recommend an electric foil shaver for the first few shaves after your treatment.

What if my scalp is feeling dry?

If we notice your scalp is dry, we will recommend a moisturizing regimen to start one week after your procedure.

When am I able to expose my head to sunlight?

You should wait at least 30 days after your procedure date before exposing your scalp to the sunlight without a hat or sunscreen. We recommend that you use a sunscreen with SPF 50, or a cap / hat for any time that you are out in the first month.

I noticed a slight shine, what anti-shine product would you recommend?

Max Anti-Shine Gel, Milk of Magnesia, and Headblade Head-lube Matte Lotion are all highly recommended and really effective choices to combat any issues with shine.

What should I be cautious of in the days following my treatment?

In the first four days following your treatment, you must avoid getting your scalp wet. This includes both washing the treatment areas and sweating in the treatment areas. When showering, ensure that neither water nor shampoo does not reach your scalp. Avoid activities that may cause you to sweat, such as running, weightlifting, and over-exposure to the sun. Going about normal daily work and home activities in the first four days is fine, so long as they do not cause you to sweat on the treatment area.

My job requires physical work, will sweating interfere with my healing?

Although you can’t completely control sweating, we recommend waiting at least four days before doing things that cause little to now sweating, if possible. After 10 days, any level of sweating should not affect your healing at all.

SMP Styles and Hairline Options

There are a variety of options/styles available. We have outlined some of the most popular below:

The Permanent Edge Up

The “Edge Up”, which is also known as the “Jamie Foxx”, is an extremely popular choice. With this particular procedure, it is very important to begin conservatively with the hairline. There is a lot of preparation required before starting to create the hairline and a side temple area first. We carefully match the color and density precisely during these procedures to create the illusion of a head full of hair with a sharp hairline, in addition to a robust and youthful edge-up. Hairline Ink creates the very best edge-up styles which are often sought after by celebrities.

Soft Hairline and Widowed Peak


Many people want their current hairline lowered, replenishing where it has receded over time, and giving the appearance of fuller hair and a clean hairline. We follow the natural hairline by layering the impressions, thus giving the realistic appearance of hair with no hard line. We make sure to match the ink color perfectly to that of the client’s hair color, resulting in an incredibly effective and strikingly natural result.

Adding Density to Thinning Hair

Men and women of all ages have found Scalp Micropigmentation as their solution to cover or fill in thinning hair. Thinning can result in a wide, undesirable scalp area showing through the hair. Typically, the person will have an even coverage across the scalp, but the density drops as the hair loss progresses. Scalp Micropigmentation replaces the lost density, resulting in the appearance of an even, fuller head of hair.

With this focused and specialized approach, we treat the front hairline and blend into your existing density with a natural look. The initial treatment is gentle and soft, increasing density throughout the rest of the thinning hair. Over multiple sessions, we also create a three-dimensional effect by using slightly different shades of pigment, giving the appearance of a natural shadow. This technique is a great choice for you if you have had a hair transplant but didn’t end up with the desired density.

Covering Up Hair Restoration Surgery Scars

If you have had a hair transplant, you may have been left with scars as a result of this procedure. Some of our clients have come to us after having as many as FIFTEEN hair transplants!

In general, it is our opinion that most hair transplants are not as effective as Scalp Micropigmentation due to the limitations on a person’s available donor hair. Many do not even qualify for any hair restoration surgery for lack of enough donor hair.

After undergoing FUE or strip scar surgery, people are commonly left with severe scarring, plug holes on their heads, and a resulting sense of insecurity.

People are often left with only two choices: They can continue having multiple hair restoration treatments that leave patients with more scars and cost even more money, or proceed with Scalp Micropigmentation, which gives you an immediate, permanent result, putting an end to frequent hair transplant surgeries, all while covering up the scars from previous surgeries.

Seems like a pretty easy choice, right?

The technique we use at Hairline Ink doesn’t just cover the scars, but also gives the appearance of a fuller head of hair by adding density to places on the scalp where the hair restoration was not effective, giving you the renewed sense of confidence you were looking for at your initial hair restoration surgery.

Because of the ability to camouflage surgical scars and to add density to failed hair transplants, scalp micropigmentation is the perfect solution for the effective concealment of scars of all kinds: FUT strip scars, FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) scars, scalp reduction scars, and Historic Plug or Cobblestone scars from old-fashioned hair restoration procedures.

For scar cover up there are two options:

  1. Keep your hair long, in this case we will go under the hair to camouflage the scar.
  2. The second option, is to shave your hair down in order to blend it into the follicles and completely camouflage the scars. This option is the recommended choice and takes between 2-3 sessions for the optimal results to be achieved.

(Clients experience redness immediately following treatment, from anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on their skin type.)

Adding Density to Hair Transplant Procedures

Many hair replacement physicians will refer their clients to Hairline Ink to augment a hair transplant. Scalp Micropigmentation can work with hair transplant as a pre-planned combination procedure.

By combining traditional hair restoration and Hairline Ink’s highly advanced technique, the client has double the benefits: real texturized hair, with the appearance of thickness and fullness that only Scalp Micropigmentation can provide — a truly innovative way to achieve real results.

During your quoting phase, our team will discuss with you which stage of your hair transplant Scalp Micropigmentation should be performed. In the majority of cases, the hair transplant procedure should be done in the first instance. However, there may be cases in which the Scalp Micropigmentation should begin before the medical procedures. A phone call with Hairline Ink is always recommended, as we love speaking with potential clients to answer any and all questions you may have.

Scalp Micropigmentation Treatments for Women

Many women suffer from hair loss and thinning hair. Even though most people associate hair loss with male pattern baldness, a surprising 40% of balding Americans are women.

Hairline Ink specializes in creating an underlying effect, which creates the appearance of a natural, full head of hair. If you can see scalp, we cover this up to allow for it to look healthy and full.

Scalp Micropigmentation is perfect if you are a woman who is thinning on the top or across the crown section of your head. We have worked with and treated many female alopecia and surgery scar clients.

Contact Us
Let us craft your
custom hair needs
  • We need your permission to contact you via email, phone, and SMS regarding your quote. We do not sell your data and promise not to spam you.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Why People Choose Scalp Micropigmentation

A Wide Range of Reasons

Scalp Micropigmentation will give you a look of a full head of hair, just after a fresh – close cut hairstyle. No one will notice that it is an ink treatment, you can return to work the day after your procedure and people will think you look great, but they will have no idea that you underwent treatment. The look of our Scalp Micropigmentation is so real that no person or camera will ever pick up on your secret.

There are a wide range of reasons you may be looking into Scalp Micropigmentation as your hair loss solution. We have treated thousands of clients, each with differing reasons and causes of hair loss. Whatever the reason, Scalp Micropigmentation is your best option.

Unlimited Density

With regular hair transplant procedures, particularly FUE, most hair-density will be lost within the first few months, so it can often take up to a year to get the best results out of those procedures.

With the Scalp Micropigmentation technique, density will be added, and the desired results start to appear immediately after treatment commences.

Ongoing Maintenance
The length at which your hair can be kept after the completion of both procedures is entirely dependent on your individual hairstyle. With the combined approach, you can have more density and fullness without the need to shave. After several months or years, you may want to have your treatment touched up.
Hair-Related Diseases and Treatment

There are many different types of hair related diseases. Sometimes as a side effect of medication, you may start to lose your hair and experience a thinning of the hair.

  • Lupus is becoming increasingly common in diagnosis globally and one of the biggest side effects that sufferers of this disease have to contend with is hair loss.
  • Thyroid problems, specifically in a woman can lead to a scattered loss of hair, caused by both under and overactive thyroids.
  • Alopecia is a hair loss disease that affects many men and women of all ages. It can begin to appear unexpectedly with no initial symptoms, and currently, there is no definitive cure that has been discovered.
  • Cancer and HIV are also two major diseases which can lead to thinning or a complete loss of hair as well.

Typical treatment options that are commonly available for those affected by hair loss can be expensive, ineffective, or simply do not work. These options sometimes include painful corticosteroid injections, topical corticosteroid creams and lotions, minoxidil, dithranol creams, and surgeries.

Hairline Ink offers a simple, cost-effective, permanent solution, using the Scalp Micropigmentation treatment to defy hair loss and completely end the frustration of Alopecia Areata, Totalis, Universalis, Lupus and many other hair loss related illnesses.

Traditional Alternatives to SMP

While there are many available options for treating hair loss, most are unreasonably expensive, unreliable, and add to your frustration instead of relieving it.

  • Hair transplants often leave nasty scars and typically cost far more than the value you receive.
  • Hair Clubs are also very expensive and can require literally a lifetime of returning and maintaining.
  • Wigs are another option, but most men simply don’t feel comfortable with the potential embarrassment which can be caused by a displacement.
  • Wigs also need continual maintenance, and the reality of it is this: wigs rarely do a convincing job of covering up hair loss.

The Price of Scalp Micropigmentation

Our average client with male pattern baldness falls within a pricing range of $1,800 to $3,600. (A simple scar cover-up may be less, and severe forms of hair loss may be more.) Of course, pricing for this kind of treatment isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. Instead, there are a number of factors that will help us determine exactly how much your treatment is going to cost you:

  • Treatment Area: Whether you’re facing male pattern baldness, alopecia, or complete baldness, the total amount of area we have to cover will be a large factor in your pricing. If the human head has an average of 100,000 hair follicles, how many follicles do we have to replicate?
  • Skin Type: If you have particularly dry or sensitive skin, additional considerations will have to be made by our team in how to treat you without hurting your skin. If you have lots of scar tissue or thick skin, we might need more treatments than someone without those things.
  • Scarring: Scar tissue takes a special kind of attention. If you have light scarring, then everything may proceed as normal, but if there is a lot of scarring or they are dark or thick, then there are a number of options to choose from on how to realistically hide that tissue.
  • Hair Density and Style: This will determine many things, from the colors we have to use to the number of follicles we have to replicate to the actual style of micropigmentation treatment you want to go with.

For our full-length page about how we determine pricing, click here.

Scalp Micropigmentation Pricing

FINANCING AVAILABLE: For more information on financing, be sure to visit our SMP Financing page.

The most reliable way for us to give you a pricing amount is to send photos to our team via text or email and we will get back to you within one business day with your quote. Alternatively, we can provide a video consultation via Zoom, FaceTime, or Hangouts.

Interested in a quote? Click here!

A Message from the Team:

We understand that we’re not the cheapest option, but we pride ourselves on having a highly-trained team of technicians, a fast and friendly customer support team, and state-of-the-art offices in iconic, easy-to-access locations. Before you start to shop around for a cheaper option from a provider who may cut corners or lack experience in SMP, we encourage you to talk with our team and ask about any current promotions and financing options.

Once you’ve talked with our team to discuss your treatment plan and received a quote, you’ll be able to apply for financing with one of our third-party lenders. You’ll apply with them directly, and upon approval, they release the funds to us before your treatment so there are no issues when you arrive at our office. It’s fast and easy to apply.

Click here to learn about our financing options and to apply.

About Hairline Ink

Scalp Micropigmentation HLI

Whatever your circumstances may be, the entire team at Hairline Ink is passionate about helping individuals suffering from all forms of hair loss. Each member of our All-Star Team has had a first-hand experience with hair loss / hair loss related confidence issues. Our goal is to help people suffering from any and all forms of hair loss to look and feel their absolute best.

We at Hairline Ink truly view SMP practitioners’ work as a form of art, and these talented technicians pour their passion into each and every client they work with. Our team knows just how emotional this issue is for individuals, and we want you to know that we understand exactly what you’re going through.

Currently, Hairline Ink offers people from across the United States the ability to receive SMP in 50+ cities. Click here for a full list of our locations.

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At Hairline Ink, we do our best to make sure that every client has an experience worth sharing. Just read what some of our clients are saying about their own results. A leap of faith is all it takes, and it starts with a simple phone call with one of our amazing  Client Care Managers.

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