Tricopigmentation vs Scalp Micropigmentation: Which to Choose?

By Katarina V.| Last updated on October 13, 2022
⏱️ 4 min read

PMU artists have been busy over the past few years developing new permanent and semi-permanent makeup treatments!

The latest addition to the range of PMU treatments is tricopigmentation, a technique for hair-loss camouflage that presents a less permanent alternative to scalp micropigmentation.

What is tricopigmentation?

Tricopigmentation is a semi-permanent makeup treatment for the scalp used to create the look of a freshly shaved buzz-cut hairstyle, giving the illusion that strong, thick hair would grow out and disguising baldness.

It is done by injecting organic pigments in a customizable ash-grey color that imitates the look of emerging hair follicles into the upper dermis of the scalp in fine dots.

The machine used for tricopigmentation was created exclusively for scalp treatment, where the skin varies in thickness and sensitivity.

The results of tricopigmentation last an average of 18 months. For that reason, some artists call it temporary scalp micropigmentation.


Image by @tonibelfatto

How is it different from scalp micropigmentation?

The biggest difference between the two treatments is the longevity of the results due to the different types of pigment used.

Scalp micropigmentation ink (not to be confused with tattoo ink) is formulated so as not to be absorbed by the body quickly, so its molecules are larger in size, while the pigments for tricopigmentation are broken down by the body over 6-24 months.

The results of scalp micropigmentation last 5 to 8 years on average, but it is not uncommon for the pigments to be retained for more than that. There have been cases where the results of SMP to last decades, even.

Since the molecules of tricopigmentation pigments are much smaller, there is minimal chance of pigment migration – pigments moving and widening the dots – which allows for maximum precision and neat application.

These pigments are also chemically treated in order for all the molecules to have the exact same shape and size, which means they are absorbed in a constant, homogenous way, allowing for an even fade.

For more information check out our Ultimate guide to Scalp Micropigmenantion!

Scalp micropigmentation vs tricopigmenantion: which is better?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both treatments, but deciding which option is better depends on your expectations and how much you’re willing to commit.

With scalp micropigmentation disadvantages are few, but to some people they may be deal-breakers.

  • As we’ve mentioned, the results of SMP can last a very long time. This may sound like a great advantage, but it’s important to mention that regular touch ups are necessary in order to keep the results looking fresh and even, without patchy fading. Each touch up is charged extra, so the actual cost of the SMP treatment end up being much higher than the original price.
  • Another possible issue with SMP is due to the fact that, as we age, our features change and skin loses elasticity. So a hairline or density that looked good for a few years after the treatment might end up looking unnatural or out of style after a longer period of time.

Tricopigmentation fades after up to two years, so the look and density can be adjusted each time the treatment is done.

How much does tricopigmentation cost?

The cost of a tricopigmentation treatment depends of the area treated.

For the whole scalp, the price varies from $2250 – $3000 + touch up appointments. If the treatment is done to camouflage a scar or bring down the hairline, the price is much lower.

Also, check out our Scalp micropigmentation cost guide for comparison sake.

Why should you get tricopigmentation?

Unlike other ways of battling hair loss, like various drugs and hair transplants (which come with numerous side-effects), there is no way for tricopigmentation not to work.

With drugs and hair transplants, no one can guarantee effectiveness and longevity, while the expenses keep piling up. Tricopigmentation is a non-invasive, failproof way to regain confidence and achieve a younger and healthier look.

Tricopigmnenation can be used to achieve various results:

  • re-densify patches of thinning hair,
  • modify the shape of the hairline,
  • camouflage bald patches,
  • camouflage a receding hairline,
  • camouflage scars.

It’s possible to cover the entire scalp, for clients who’ve lost all their hair due to genetics, alopecia or cancer treatment, or just treat patches and shave the remaining hair regularly.


Tricopigmentation as a gateway treatment

With the emergence of tricopigmentation, clients now have the opportunity to try out the look of scalp PMU without having to commit to years of SMP.

As the results of tricopigmentation last from 6 months to 2 years, the client can wear the look for a while and decide if they’re satisfied with the hair and density and then have them recreated in SMP pigments.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for a way to camouflage hair loss, tricopigmentation and scalp miropigmentation are both good options.

Tricopigmentation gives you the chance to try out the procedure without committing to it for years and years. However, it may end up being the more expensive option in the long run due to frequent touch ups. Scalp micropigmentation is a more long-term solution.

Whichever you choose, it’s essential you go to a certified, skilled artist whose scalp micropigmentation and tricopigmentation before and after portfolio looks promising!

Cover image source: Freepik



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