Hair loss is something a huge portion of the population suffers from, men and women alike. It can happen due to certain conditions, hormone shifts, stress, or just genetics. Although it’s essentially a harmless symptom, it can cause self-esteem issues and affect the general quality of life.
That’s why the battle against hair loss is a huge branch of the beauty industry that even ventures into medicine in some cases. But the number of treatments available don’t really change much. The exceptions are hair tattoo treatments.
Here’s a mini-guide through head tattooing that covers the most popular techniques.
What Is a Hair Tattoo?
In a nutshell, it’s a tattoo on your scalp that looks like hair. But there’s more to it.
Modern-day facial and head tattooing is actually a subcategory of tattoos – it’s cosmetic tattooing. The principle is the same as with the traditional kind – colors are implanted into the skin – but there are some key differences.
How Is Contemporary Hair Tattoo Different from Traditional Tattooing?
First off, hair tattoos are not done with a traditional tattooing machine anymore. They’re done with a special scalp pigmentation machine that features a needle so thin it imitates the diameter of a hair strand, or with an extremely fine blade in the case of the manual technique.
The colors used are not inks used for body art. They’re actually special pigment solutions that are formulated in such a way that they’re broken down and absorbed by the body. As a result, a cosmetic hair tattoo gradually fades into invisibility over several years – it does not last forever.
What also contributes to hair tattoo fading is the depth at which the pigments are implemented. Cosmetic tattooing goes more shallow into the skin than traditional tattooing. That’s why it doesn’t stay visible forever, and also why the treatment hurts less than body art.
Image source: Instagram @scalpmicrosd
What Types of Hair Tattoo Are There?
There are 3 very popular cosmetic head tattooing treatments that give immediate effects and are guaranteed to work:
- Scalp Micropigmentation
- Hairline Microblading
Let’s go through each treatment and see what they’re all about.
NOTE: Each of the treatments can be performed on both men and women with different effects.
The most popular, go-to hair tattoo type is scalp micropigmentation, a form of head tattooing that recreates the buzz-cut hairstyle in the form of tiny cosmetic tattoos that look like emerging hair follicles.
Scalp micropigmentation, or SMP, is done with an SMP machine. The needles pierce the skin of the scalp and inject pigments in small dots. Depending on how much volume you want to add to the area, the dots are created closer or farther apart.
What Hair Issues Can SMP Solve?
The scalp micropigmentation technique can be used to camouflage a number of hair loss cases:
- It can recreate the buzz-cut on the entire scalp.
- It can blend into pattern baldness.
- It can camouflage bald spots.
- It can bring up the receding hairline.
- It can camouflage scars on the scalp.
- It can add density to longer but sparse hair.
How Long Do the Effects Last?
The biggest advantage of scalp micropigmentation over other hair tattoo treatments is its longevity. The results of SMP last between 4 and 8 years with only an occasional touch up for most clients. There are cases where it can last out as long as a decade.
For more information on scalp micropigmentation, check out our comprehensive guide.
Image source: Instagram @evolutionhairclinic
A treatment similar to scalp micropigmentation, but a less permanent option.
Tricopigmentation also gives the look of a freshly shaved head or a shadow that densifies longer hair. But what differentiates tricopigmentation from scalp micropigmentation is the formula of the pigments used.
SMP uses pigment inks that have larger molecules and the body breaks them down very slowly. Tricopigmentation uses pigments that have smaller particles, so its longevity is similar to permanent makeup.
What Hair Issues Can Tricopigmentation Solve?
The same list of issues as SMP. Tricopigmentation can treat:
- The entire scalp
- Pattern baldness
- Bald spots
- Receding hairline
- Scars on the scalp
- Sparse hair
How Long Does Tricopigmentation Last?
The average longevity of the effects of tricopigmentation is 12-18 months, at which point a touch up is necessary or the results become invisible. That’s why it’s often referred to as temporary scalp micropigmentation. It’s a great treatment for anyone not willing to commit to the long-lasting SMP, and it’s a great way to test-drive the look before switching to the more permanent solution.
To find out more about the difference between tricopigmentation and SMP, read this article.
Image source: Instagram @rejuvcapilar
Finally, there’s the option of using the microblading technique for a hair tattoo. A form of permanent makeup, microblading is also technically cosmetic tattooing, but it’s done with a hand-held tool.
Microblading creates strokes on the skin that look like hairs. It’s a technique used for eyebrows, but it can also be done on the edges of the hairline. Unlike the 2 techniques already mentioned, microblading can create the look of a longer strand of hair. This method of head tattooing is a bit controversial, as many artists advise against it.
Why? Because the oiliness of the scalp leads to quicker fading and blurring of the delicate strokes. Nevertheless, it has many fans.
What Issues Can Hairline Microblading Solve?
Unlike the previous options, hairline microblading can’t be used to recreate hair on the entire scalp. The strokes cannot cover such a large area because they will merge into a messy shade.
Hairline microblading is used to add density to the edges of the hairline.
How Long Does Hairline Microblading Last?
Hairline microblading can last up to a year, perhaps a bit longer. The strokes on the hairline fade faster than eyebrow strokes because the head is washed with shampoo often.
To find out more about hairline microblading, read this article.
Image source: Instagram @projectbeauty
So How Do I Choose Which Hair Tattoo to Get?
The choice between the 3 head tattooing techniques should be based on the issue you want treated. Larger areas can be treated with SMP or tricopigmentation, while hairline microblading can add natural-looking density to the edges of the hairline.
Cover image source: Pexels