An alarming rise in the number of clients approaching His Hair having been treated by inferior practitioners is indicative of both the growing popularity of the treatment and the wave of new businesses popping up to service the demand. These clients are not simply choosing a barber where a bad haircut can be remedied with some additional work at little additional cost or inconvenience. A bad SMP is invariably a costly and time consuming mistake. Not to mention the often debilitating effect on the victim’s self-esteem, both in their own power of judgement and the occasionally extreme measures they need to go to for their mistake to be kept private – for most of us going back to work would be a challenging and emotional bridge to cross. Of course prevention is better than cure and there are a number of ways to spot the trusted provider among the crowd. Remember, as consumers we are at our most vulnerable when we sell something to ourselves based on the advertising, we hear what we want to hear and ignore important facts – which only later we recognise were there all along if only we had taken some more time. So what are the considerations? What questions should you be asking and how can you be confident the answers are truthful. To help you put your own list of questions together, because SMP should be a highly bespoke treatment, here is a guide on what to look out for in the sometimes recklessly brave and scarily new world of Scalp Micro-Pigmentation. Doing It Yourself To be fair, no-one has yet approached us to remedy an SMP “selfie”. Or an SMP that was attempted below decks on a naval vessel, or one performed on a prison wing. Although every once in a while we need to check because of the state of their treatment. Nevertheless, Sky TV in Europe are reporting that there is a hidden epidemic of DIY tattooing going on. A google search will return any number of cheap ($50) kits to create your own tattoos at home. Environmental Health in the UK have declared a spike in people reporting to hospital with infections caused by tattoos that have been done by people who did not know what they were doing. Since we saw this story break over the last few days it seemed a good starting point for the spectrum of SMP wrongdoing… and just in case it might prevent someone becoming the first. Don’t do it! Start at the Beginning There is a great deal of information available to you at your fingertips, the internet is a fantastic tool for digging into a business and seeing something of its history. Using the internet you should be able to find out some key facts on any potential provider, first on the list should be how long have they been in practice and what are their qualifications to perform the treatment? Increasingly we are hearing about technicians whose backgrounds are either in semi-permanent make-up or traditional tattooing… which to the uninitiated might sound like a perfectly reasonable progression of practice. Nothing could be further from the truth, to start with the inks used are completely different as are the needles used to deliver them. The non-metallic pigments used in SMP are only inserted using multiple shallow needles… which among many benefits allow for easy removal if desired at any point, whereas Beyond the technology however the principal value of a fully trained SMP technician is their experience and artistry. It takes a great deal of time and a great many heads to get the process right every time. From the initial evaluation and selection of the pigment to be used to the crucial second session, where blending, tone, hairline et al all comes together to deliver the perfect SMP. The best way to establish if your provider uses this precise methodology, and find out many other things about them, would be to sign in to their forum – they are an excellent source of independent comment and case studies. Coming up in tomorrow’s instalment: Show me the Money, Get Your Priorities Right, If it Looks Like a Duck… and more.