Why Do Some SMP Treatments Look Fake or Botched Up?

Picture of Tommy T.
Tommy T.

Scalp Micropigmentation Practitioner
Buffalo, NY

7 mins read
Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) has rapidly gained popularity over the past decade as an effective solution for hair loss. When done correctly, SMP can provide a natural, undetectable appearance that closely mimics real hair follicles. However, there are cases where SMP treatments can appear fake or, worse, end up as botched jobs requiring corrective laser treatments. In this article, we will delve into the most common reasons behind these unfortunate outcomes and how you can avoid them.

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Going Too Dark with Pigment or Ink Shade

One of the most frequent mistakes in SMP is selecting a pigment shade that is too dark for the client's complexion. This can result in a stark contrast between the SMP treatment and the remaining hair or facial hair, making the SMP look overly artificial.

Why This Happens:

  • Fair Skin Tone: Individuals with lighter skin tones are particularly prone to this issue as the dark ink creates an exaggerated contrast.
  • Initial Misjudgment: Artists sometimes underestimate how the pigment will settle into the skin after healing.

Solution: At Elegant SMP, we advocate starting conservatively with a lighter shade and making adjustments in future sessions based on how the skin heals.

Table: Risks of Going Too Dark with Pigment

Aspect Risk Solution
Skin Tone High contrast Start with a conservative lighter shade.
Healing Process Misjudgment in color Adjust gradually in multiple sessions.
Overall Appearance Artificial look Match as closely to natural hair color first.

Impressions Are Too Big

Creating impressions that are too large can quickly ruin an SMP treatment. Larger impressions may expedite the process for the practitioner, but they pose a significant risk of resulting in an unnatural appearance, especially when juxtaposed against smaller native hair follicles.

Issues with Large Impressions:

  • Uneven Appearance: Oversized impressions can appear as larger dots amidst smaller, natural hair follicles.
  • Speed Over Quality: Speeding through the process to reduce procedure time.

Solution: Practitioners should aim to match the size of the impressions closely to natural hair follicles, maintaining a uniform look.

List: Dangers of Large Impressions

  1. Uneven and fake appearance
  2. Poor integration with natural hair follicles
  3. Reduced overall aesthetic quality

Inconsistent Ink Deposit

Consistency in pigment deposit is crucial for a natural-looking scalp micropigmentation. Some inexperienced artists might struggle with delivering a uniform ink distribution across various parts of the scalp.

Causes of Inconsistency:

  • Skill Level: Newer artists often lack the expertise to maintain consistent deposits.
  • Scalp Variability: Different parts of the scalp can be tougher or softer, affecting ink deposition.

Solution: Practitioners should be trained to adjust their technique according to the scalp's texture, ensuring a consistent finish throughout.

Inconsistent Density

Achieving the right density is an intricate part of an SMP treatment. It requires sharp attention to detail, particularly when filling thousands of tiny impressions consistently across the scalp.

Why Density Matters:

  • Visual Realism: The density of the impressions determines how natural the final result will look.
  • Errors in Spacing: Mistakes in spacing can lead to visible gaps or overly dense areas.

Solution: Extensive training and practice are required to master this skill. Experienced artists focus on filling even the smallest gaps consistently.

Table: Common Factors Affecting Density

Factor Impact Solution
Attention to Detail Ensures even and natural distribution Training and practice
Eye for Gaps Necessary for filling thousands of dots Focused and meticulous approach
Artistic Skill Brings realism to hairline and density Experience and adaptation to scalp texture

Going Too Deep or Too Superficial

Finding the sweet spot for ink deposition is critical. The pigment must sit below the epidermis, in the upper part of the dermis, for the best results.

Risks of Incorrect Depth:

  • Too Deep: Leads to blowouts where the ink spreads out under the skin, creating blurred and unnatural impressions.
  • Too Superficial: Leads to faded or blurred impressions that do not hold well over time.

Solution: Experienced practitioners understand the depth needed for optimal pigment placement and adjust their technique accordingly.

List: Problems with Incorrect Depth

  1. Blowouts: Ink spreads, causing blurring
  2. Fading: Impressions do not hold well
  3. Irregular Appearance: Makes the treatment look artificial

Inexperienced SMP Artists

The burgeoning SMP industry has seen a rise in practitioners after attending short training workshops. These can range from 1-day to 4-day crash courses that promise quick certification and the potential for high earnings.

Problems with Short Training:

  • Inadequate Skill Development: Short training periods are often not enough to master the complex techniques required.
  • Overconfidence: New artists might think they are fully prepared when they are not.

Solution: Research and choose experienced artists who have undergone comprehensive training and have ample hands-on experience.

Table: Long vs. Short Training Courses

Training Duration Potential Issues Solution
Short (1-4 days) Insufficient time to master techniques Opt for artists with extended training periods
Long (weeks/months) Ample time to develop skill and practice Ensure comprehensive course completion

The SMP Artist is Out of Practice

Even seasoned artists can cause problems if they haven’t been practicing regularly. Lack of consistent work can result in diminished hand-eye coordination and muscle memory, leading to subpar results.

Causes of Out-of-Practice Artists:

  • Slow seasons: Clinics may experience periods of low customer volume.
  • Poor Marketing: Lack of visibility or outreach can contribute to fewer clients.

Solution: Regular practice is essential to maintain high-quality results. It is important for artists to continue honing their skills consistently, even during slow periods. We recommend practicing every day on fake skin every day (at the very least) to stay ready.

List: Challenges for Out-of-Practice Artists

  1. Diminished hand-eye coordination
  2. Reduced muscle memory
  3. Lower quality of work

Outdated Techniques

The SMP industry is relatively new, with ongoing advancements in techniques, equipment, and materials. However, some practitioners have been slow to adopt these advancements.

Risks of Outdated Techniques:

  • Old Equipment: Outdated tools can compromise the quality of the SMP treatment.
  • Non-specific Ink: Using non-industry-specific ink can lead to poor results.
  • Stagnant Learning: Some artists may stick to old methods and refuse to update their skill set.

Solution: Choose practitioners who stay updated with industry developments and use the latest techniques and equipment.

Table: Risks of Outdated Techniques

Aspect Risk Solution
Equipment Compromised quality Ensure use of modern, up-to-date tools
Pigment Poor results with non-specific ink Use industry-specific, high-quality pigments
Techniques Reduced effectiveness Regularly update skill set and techniques


Getting an SMP treatment can be a game-changer for individuals facing hair loss, but only when done right. The key to a natural, undetectable result lies in selecting the right practitioner—one who is experienced, up-to-date with the latest techniques, and committed to ongoing practice.

List: Tips for Selecting the Right SMP Artist

  1. Research thoroughly before choosing an artist or clinic.
  2. Look for experience and comprehensive training.
  3. Ensure the artist uses modern equipment and techniques.
  4. Check for consistency in the practitioner’s recent work.

Informed decisions can help you avoid potential pitfalls and ensure your SMP treatment looks natural and flawless. If you’re considering SMP, it’s crucial to trust only the skilled hands of a qualified professional. Make sure you reach out to us for a non-committal consultation to discuss your needs and expectations. You can also download our brochure for pricing if you are interested in the cost.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can significantly lower the risk of ending up with a fake or botched SMP treatment and enjoy a revitalized, natural-looking hairline.

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About Us:

Elegant Scalp Micropigmentation was founded in Buffalo, NY with the goal of providing clients with a compassionate and understanding atmosphere for their hair loss troubles. We’ve been through it ourselves and at Elegant SMP, are devoted to providing our customers with the knowledge and confidence they need to make a well-informed decision about their SMP treatment plan. 

We are excited to offer our premium SMP services that will unveil a more authentic version of yourself. Our continued dedication to perfecting this craft aims to help our clients rediscover their confidence and be able to enjoy a renewed sense of self.

What our customers are saying

Hirschy Hoops
Hirschy Hoops
Tommy T you’ve changed my life. I put all my trust in you and you made me so comfortable with this process. The reason I selected you is you want to master this art and customized a process to meet my specific needs. When I look in the mirror and am confused that I have hair or a hair line now that says a lot. Honestly I see you as the go to SMP artist in the future. All of your studying on this will pay huge dividends and you are able to change people’s lives which is so powerful. Thank you for treating my head like your own. God bless you and if you ever need a reference or anything I’d be thrilled to do so. Thanks again Tommy
byron culf
byron culf
Sent me a mock pic of how my hair might look within a few hours. Great service! Shame I'm in the UK and didn't realise they are in the US
Eric Boone
Eric Boone
Today I had a consultation with Tommy at Elegant Smp. He was very professional and informative answering all my questions. He made me feel confident that I came to the right place. His knowledge and understanding of Smp put my mind at ease going forward. I would highly recommend reaching out to Tommy if you are considering this procedure.
Krishna KV
Krishna KV
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 Velarde
Kendall Velarde
Great guy and very professional!! Highly recommended!!
jason velasquez
jason velasquez
Talking with Tommy was great! He was very professional, and informative with all the questions I had.
Michael Marino
Michael Marino
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
Akeem H
Akeem H
Amazing professional that really takes the time to answer questions or concerns and does great work!
Matt T.
Matt T.
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Elegant SMP is the place to get your scalp micropigmentation if you are interested in quality technique. Not all SMP is the same and your practitioner's training really does matter. For me, understanding how my artist could achieve an authentic looking hairline was very important, and very few SMP artists have the training to achieve that. Tommy at Elegant SMP is a true professional who understands how to get a natural looking result that is difficult to replicate - which is a true testament to his training. My SMP results exceeded my expectations and I would recommend Elegant SMP to anyone who is interested in getting the highest quality work the first time, or repairing SMP work that missed the mark.
Jason V.
Jason V.
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I knew from the consultation with Tommy that he was a genuinely good guy. Their professionalism is top-notch and the work he does is amazing! I can't stop looking at my hairline and just how natural it looks. I'm 100 % satisfied with the results and highly recommend his services!
Eric B.
Eric B.
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I just finished my third session with Tommy over at elegant smp. He did a great job and was extremely professional. His attention to detail was amazing giving me the desired look I was going for. I would highly recommend his services for anyone looking to have this procedure done. Everything about the experience was pleasant and stress free.

What to do next?

Download our exclusive brochure for pricing details and an in-depth look at SMP. Discover how our specialized techniques can restore your confidence and achieve a natural-looking hair-like effect. Schedule a complimentary consultation with our skilled specialists to explore personalized solutions. Don’t wait – download our info kit, learn about our competitive pricing, and book your free consultation today.

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