Does Scalp Micropigmentation Look Fake?

Tommy T.
Tommy T.

Scalp Micropigmentation Practitioner
Buffalo, NY

One of the main concerns that I had when I first started doing research about getting Scalp Micropigmentation (SMP) was if the treatment actually looked natural or not. At the time I was about Norwood 4 (balding scale for men) and was already shaving my head on a weekly basis. I didn’t mind the bald look but after discovering that SMP was an option, I wanted the procedure done for myself because that means I would be able to turn the clock back and get a more youthful appearance by getting some kind of frame for my face. But between botched jobs I’ve seen on the internet and bad treatments I’ve seen in person… I wasn’t thoroughly convinced.

The short answer to this is… it depends. First, is the treatment being done by a qualified technician? Secondly, are you following the aftercare directions after receiving your treatment? Lastly, how consistent are you with maintenance and care?

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How I First Heard of SMP

When I first started shaving my head it was a very freeing feeling. Prior to shaving my head, I was using hair-loss medications on a daily basis… twice a day… it stunk and was a hassle. I was holding on to something that didn’t want to be there and it didn’t look right (pretty good philosophy about life in general). Anytime I caught a glimpse of my reflection in public places, it looked (I looked) ridiculous and I wasn’t fooling anyone either. Better to make a bold statement and shave off my hair than to grasp at straws that is my hair. I accepted it, bald 4 life, whatever, let’s hit the gym and do self-improvement work.

Then about 4 years ago, I stumbled upon some marketing advertisements about Scalp Micropigmentation. I scoured the internet, just like what you’re probably doing now, finding anything and everything about this cutting-edge “hair loss solution” (the industry is still relatively new). 

What the heck is that? Is that a tattoo? Damn, needles on the scalp? Does it hurt? Will that hairline work for my face? How long does it last? Will it fade? Will the ink bleed? Will the ink change color? Does SMP look real? Does Scalp Micropigmentation look natural? Before and After SMP. Ok… these are just some of the questions I had and I’m not even trying to optimize for keywords ranking (well except for the last 3), Google is smart anyways so you can go kick some rocks if you don’t like it! J.K. But you probably are having similar questions.

Different Question

Let’s pose a different but similar question “Can Scalp Micropigmentation look natural and real?” The answer to that is an emphatic… Yes! Scalp Micropigmentation is undetectable and looks real and natural if it is done by a qualified practitioner. Trust me, I’ve worked in many different corporate companies and no one had a clue. The comment I get the most is “hey Tommy why don’t you let your hair grow out?”. In which I would answer “It’s a distraction when I grow it out and I like the shaved look, now get back to work.” It’s a true statement and they’ll rarely bring it up again.

I’ve never had anyone awkwardly stare at the top of my dome while we’re talking or had anyone point out my SMP. My family had no clue until I told them. The person that I was dating for over a year was none the wiser until I told her (we’re still together, phew). SMP is completely undetectable in my experience and I just don’t care to share that knowledge with anyone but those that are close to me.

Get a Qualified SMP Artist

So maybe a cousin or a friend of a friend wants to break into the industry but just needs practice. “Sign me up!”’ you might say… well wait brother (or sister), hold that thought. What you gotta ask is…

  • Are they properly trained? 
  • How much practice have they had?
  • Do they abide by safety & sanitary standards?
  • Is the training school reputable?
  • Does the trainer(s) produce good work?
  • Was the training high quality, hands-on, and comprehensive?
  • What tools are they using?
  • What pigments & shade will they use?

And there are probably 99 more questions on top of that you should be asking them before you let anyone put a needle into your scalp. In order to get a good quality scalp micropigmentation treatment, you gotta make sure you have a practitioner that is both knowledgeable and knows what they’re doing. I highly recommend that you talk to a few practitioners before settling with one and don’t settle on price alone, please… Perfecting the blend and technique requires good training, practice over time, focus, and passion for the SMP industry. So choose wisely!

Importance of Immediate Aftercare of Each Session

When you’re about to walk away from a completed SMP session (most people need about 3) and while you’re admiring your new look and want to show it off, your practitioner should be educating and stressing the importance of aftercare. Yes, you must participate in your own rescue with your hairline. We can do the most perfect job on your dome, but if you do not take aftercare seriously then it won’t look as good as it could be… Especially the first 5 days immediately after your treatment, you should be very mindful not to do the following:

  • Touching & picking at your scalp
  • Shaving your head
  • Showering your head
  • Use any product unless your practitioner says it’s ok
  • Any activity that would cause excessive sweating
  • Direct sunlight
  • Swimming
  • Saunas and steam rooms

This is to make sure that we mitigate the chance of any infection and that the impressions that’s been implanted onto your scalp heals correctly and the ink has a much higher retention rate, if you fail to do this… The impressions will fade quickly and your technician will have to do extra work and might charge you more. Please talk to your technician and they’ll give you a full list of things you have to be attentive to following the treatment of your scalp.

Maintenance & Care

A flawless procedure is done. Looks amazing. Problems of the past associated with hair loss anxiety are behind you. Awesome! Onto other areas in life… Cool. Next, you still need to continue to take care of your scalp, the good news is that it doesn’t require a lot. After your final session, your SMP should last you between 2-5 years where a short touch-up session is required to revitalize the look to its original finish. At the time of this writing, my SMP treatment is about 40 months old and it still looks good (here’s a link to a video of me). Your mileage will vary and depends on a multitude of factors such as:

  • Exposure to sunlight (please protect yourself from UV rays, SFP 50+ recommended)
  • Technique of the practitioner
  • Products being used
  • Your immune system and how your body metabolizes the pigment
  • How often do you moisturize
  • Shampoo use (Use baby shampoos, those are generally safe)

Again, how often you come back for a touch-up depends on a lot of factors. The pigments will fade over time but a touch-up will enhance the SMP and bring it back to life. Please do your best to take care of the micro pigmentation on your scalp, the more you take care of it, the more it takes care of you… Looking fresh for years to come and last longer in duration between touch-ups.


Hey, let’s be real. It’s probably going to look amazing on you. But also let’s set expectations, we’re creating the illusion of a shaved-head, buzzed-cut look with clippers (zero guard recommended). Keep it tight and short all around and please apply a moisturizer on your dome to both reduce dryness to the skin & dull the shine.

I recommend something that has a matte finish such as Bee Bald Smooth Daily Moisturizer

If you want it to look real then you gotta keep it real and take care of it. Keep in mind that the pigments are 2D, and your hair is 3D. Even though it did a miracle in my own life, it might not for you… Many people will love it, some won’t. I still had things in my personal life that I needed to work on, but at least I didn’t have to worry or be preoccupied with how my head appeared in public. It’s not for everyone so just do your due diligence to see if scalp micropigmentation is the right solution for you.

Hit me up below if you wanna talk.

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What our customers are saying

vamshi krishnavamshi krishna
23:17 28 Jan 23
I recently had a consultation with Tommy, and I was impressed with his professionalism. He spoke clearly and answered all of my questions about the procedure and Pre and Post-care instructions. I had a positive experience and I am looking forward to getting my SMP done with Tommy and I would highly recommend him to others.
Kendall VelardeKendall Velarde
14:38 16 Jan 23
Great guy and very professional!! Highly recommended!!
jason velasquezjason velasquez
18:08 02 Jan 23
Talking with Tommy was great! He was very professional, and informative with all the questions I had.
Michael MarinoMichael Marino
03:18 23 Dec 22
Tommy provided me with a image of how I would look with SMP his service was awesome, simple and quick id recommend Tommy’a website to anyone wanting to see what they look like with SMP
Amazing professional that really takes the time to answer questions or concerns and does great work!
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