Considerations and implications of smp

It is important to consider the long-term maintenance of Scalp MicroPigmentation so you can make a informed decision if this is the right hair loss solution for you. We talk with Ollie Hughes from Appear Natural in London UK about long term maintenance considerations.


Scalp MicroPigmentation Artist Ollie Hughes’s Interview with Caitlin James covering the average time needed before needing a touch-up or re-darkening appointment.


Ollie’s history in Scalp MicroPigmentation is extensive. He worked in the medical precinct of London at a well known Hair Transplant surgery performing Scalp MicroPigmentation for many years before deciding to open his own successful business called Appear Natural. Ollie is known for his precision and perfection in Scalp MicroPigmentation results and is the artist many SMP Practitioners will trust for their own Scalp Tattooing Results. He is a Bishop SMP Sponsored Artist | We discuss the long-term maintenance of Scalp MicroPigmentation, what signs to look out for that you may be needing a re-darkening or touch-up and much more.



Caitlin J.:            Hi everyone, I’m Caitlin James from scalp micro-pigmentation Australia. Welcome to another five minute fast facts on scalp micro-pigmentation, the pro artists series where we’re interviewing some amazing scalp micro-pigmentation artists from around the world,  getting their tips and tricks on how you can get the best out of your scalp micro-pigmentation transformation.

So today’s guest is located in South London, he has been in the scalp micro-pigmentation industry longer than most people would think. Coming up seven years, and he has an extensive history of results working in the well-known medical precinct of central London with a UK top hair transplant surgeon.

He did all of this before deciding to start all out on his own, creating the ‘Appear Natural’ brand. He’s well known within the industry as an absolute perfectionist, and many men within the SMP industry trust only this guy to look after their own SMP results. Today, we’re talking with Ollie Hughes. Welcome, Ollie.

Ollie H.:              Stop it. Nice to speak to you Caitlin, how are you doing?

Caitlin J.:            Thanks very much for joining us and taking the time out today to have a chat.

Ollie H.:              Always, not a problem.

Caitlin J.:            Lovely.

Ollie H.:              Pleasure.

Caitlin J.:            All right. So let’s start at the beginning, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to enter the SMP industry, and what were you up to before you began your SMP journey.

Ollie H.:              So in a nutshell, I actually studied theater, I wanted to be an actor. To be honest, it was probably a hair loss issue, though. I found that because I was already shaving my head without the hairline in my early twenties, I was kind of typecast. So I realized quite quickly, I was being put up for a drug dealer type roles, and I realized I was never going to play Romeo or the leading male.

So I kind of got a bit disillusioned with it. I was considering becoming a teacher, and that’s when I had had my SMP done. At the time, it was only a couple of companies in the country. And I just got along with my practitioner. I wasn’t looking for a job, but he could see I was very meticulous about how mine should look. I was very much a perfectionist in that sense.

Like I’m just sort of telling him that I’d always been very artistic, and I think the cogs started to turn in his head. And he took me on, and so yes, that was one of the sorts of bigger companies, multi-clinic companies in the industry. And after working for them for a couple of years, I moved on to my own thing, and yes, never look back.

Caitlin J.:            Yes, brilliant. And what is it that you love most about performing the scalp micro-pigmentation treatments on your clients?

Ollie H.:              I mean the risk of sounding cliché, I’m sure you’ll agree is the job satisfaction of being able to just to make someone happy every day. Just watching people walk out of the clinic with their shoulders held back a little bit higher, and yes, to hear the stories that I’m sure you find it as well Caitlin when people go away just ask for having the SMP done, you seem to find that they find other successes in their life as a knock-on effect that. It might be that they have health or fitness goals that they go on to carry on with after having because that SMP sort of sparks that confidence in them when they go on to sort of success in their career. So yes, it really is such a nice job to be able to do.

Caitlin J.:            Yes. And you have worked within a hair transplant clinic, you have a fair bit of experience there. So why do you feel like maybe people favor scalp micro-pigmentation as opposed to maybe going down the hair transplant path, or using medications or other remedies?

Ollie H.:              I think it’s because, I mean as we know there are variables in any industry, and there are obviously variables in SMP. But I think with the hair transplant more so. With SMP, it’s more direct; you can see the area that you need to fill and that you need to improve on the scalp, and you can make that improvement directly.

Obviously, as we know, and I know you work with a surgeon as well, Caitlin, it’s not that easy with the with the transplant. It’s whether the skin is going to stop receiving the follicle well, what the quality of the graph is, there are so many things that can sort of be a stumbling block with that. You do get great results, as you know, but a lot of the time, people are left wanting a bit.

Which then I suppose is where combination treatments come into play. Where you can use the transplants and SMP in conjunction with each other. But obviously, it’s the fact that it’s non-surgical as well, it’s less invasive. So in layman’s terms, it’s less scary for people as well, so yes, there are lots of benefits.

Caitlin J.:            Yes. And you really do look after your body as well, so do you feel like maybe people are also in that point where they don’t want to be taking medications unless they have to? So do you feel like there’s this sway of people steering away from using medications, and maybe just want to go on to having scalp micro-pigmentation, because once it’s done, it’s done, there’s no real ongoing maintenance with that?

Ollie H.:              Definitely. As we know, finasteride, which is commonly used in conjunction with transplants, there are a lot of side effects. Not always, but it can be safe for some people, but there is a slight risk with that, hormonal risk. So yes, absolutely, I think what people are more savvy to that. So yes, that’s definitely something that probably comes into play as well.

Caitlin J.:            Yes. And you’ve been in the industry doing scalp micro-pigmentation for a long time now. So how has it been over the last seven years or so? How have you seen the style of SMP results change in that time? Do you feel like the work that we’re creating seven years ago is quite different to what we create now? And what do you think the changes are?

Ollie H.:              Yes. I definitely feel, in terms of the sort of natural soft hairline. I think what we would have categorized six or seven years ago as a softer hairline or a broken hairline actually now looks reasonable; I can only speak for my personal work. Actually, when I look back, it’s still reasonably hard, reasonably bold line.

So, I think people are a lot braver in terms of how far outside the actually bulk of the hairline that you can go in terms of scattering, really creating that soft look. So yes I do think it’s more and more natural, obviously the products and the equipment that we are now using, you can get a much more, a much finer impression which is obviously going to help the results in that sense as well.

Caitlin J.:            Yes. And so talking about touch-ups, and on average, so someone that looks after this scalp reasonably well. On average, when can a client expect to come in for a touch-up or re-darkening as some people call it after their initial treatment course has been finished?

Ollie H.:              I mean, as we know it does vary, you do get the guys if they’re sun worshipers if they’re not taking care of their heads. Or if they’ve got particularly dry skin, then it can be sort of maybe two years. That would be the lower end of the spectrum.

But I’d say three or four years, in general, is around an average that people would expect to need a top-up. I was one of the lucky ones; I really looked after my treatment. And it was only actually recently after having it done for nearly seven years that I required a top-up. So in general as a pool park, I’d say three or four years.

Caitlin J.:            Yes, brilliant. And when we do touch up sessions, how long do those sessions usually go for? Is it just usually one re-darkening and maybe just a check? Or how do you like to do your re-darkening?

Ollie H.:              Yes. I think very rarely would it ever require more than one session for a top-up, because as we know, their treatment will never disappear. I think that’s what a lot of sorts of customers coming in to sort of looking at this treatment will get confused slightly. They assume that it’s going to completely disappear right over the four years.

Well, actually, it will die down to the point where you need a top-up. And in that sense, it’s only ever going to be that one session just to sort of give it that kick that it needs and give it that added sort of depth and texture. So yes, unless there was extreme fading, I would normally be able to do a top-up in one session.

Caitlin J.:            Yes, lovely. And do you feel like, in the beginning so seven years ago or so, do you feel like people are coming more often for touch-ups than they do now, or do you think it’s the reverse? Do you find that your clients aren’t coming back as often as they used to, which sort of way around is it? And do you feel like the finer impressions that we create now, do you think the longevity is the same as the older style SMP, what are your thoughts?

Ollie H.:              I think actually it’s around the same to be completely honest. Again, depending on the treatment. If someone wants a particularly natural treatment, then as you mentioned, naturally, you’re going to be using a finer impression and potentially a sort of slightly sort of shallower depth. So while they will get that natural look they want, it will make it slightly more susceptible to fading. But yes in general, I think it’s pretty much the same, to be honest.

Caitlin J.:            Yes. And what are the signs that someone might need to look out for that they’re due for a touch-up? What are they looking for?

Ollie H.:              I think they’d be looking for, depending on their hair length. For the past couple of years, they might had their hair and consistent length, and actually, they realized that their hairs follicle starts to darker than the pigment around it, so that’s going to be the telltale sign.

I think as well obviously people’s hair starts to recede, and sort of deepen in the horseshoe area. Over those started losing hair post-treatment. So obviously it’s good to get someone who knows you’ve had the treatment, obviously to check the back of your head as well. Because there can start to be a disparity in where the pigment is and where your hair is actually receded to in those areas, does that make sense?

Caitlin J.:            Yes, perfect.

Ollie H.:              Yes, get someone to check as well because obviously, we can’t always see around our hair and where it’s still looking good.

Caitlin J.:            Yes. Or come and meet with your practitioner as well, and let them have a look and give you some advice.

Ollie H.:              Exactly. I mean again zoom calls like this is great, because obviously as we know, sometimes we have clients that travel from abroad sometimes. So yes, that would be a good idea as well.

Caitlin J.:             All right, well, thank you so much, Ollie, and your expert views on what clients should expect and some long-term results on scalp micro-pigmentation. Your expert tips and tricks have been appreciated, so thank you.

Ollie H.:              You’re very welcome.

Caitlin J.:            Thanks for being a part of our five minutes fast facts on scalp micro-pigmentation the pro artist Series, focusing today on longevity results. So thanks so much, Ollie.

Ollie H.:              Always a pleasure; take care.

Caitlin J.:            Thank you. And if you have any questions or comments, we want to hear from you. So as always, don’t be shy. Give us a call or email or pop something in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss out on any updates as we release our latest content. So thanks for watching, and we hope to see you soon.




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Caitlin James is the lead artist and founder of Scalp Micropigmentation Australia – one of the best providers of Scalp MicroPigmentation transformation, changing the lives of those living with hair loss. We create the look of a full head of shaven hair by tattooing follicle impressions onto the scalp creating seamless and undetectable effect of a shaven look. We can add the look of fuller density to both men and women with longer hair and hair transplants as well as camouflaging scalp or beard scars.

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