I know you are super busy thanks for taking some time to make this interview.
Thanks it is my pleasure to do one with you.
Tell us about Scalp Micropigmentation? What is it?
Scalp Micropigmentation is a non-surgical, superficial cosmetic tattoo that gives the illusion of a closely shaven full head of hair with a hairline on a bald head or adds density to a thinning hair by decreasing the contrast between skin and hair.
How many years does SMP last?
SMP is considered a permanent hair loss solution but depending on how it’s taken care of in the following years usually start to lighten after 4 to 6 years, requiring a touchup session. the main culprit for fading is longer exposure to the sun. UV rays breakdown the ink gradually to smaller particles and later they will be absorbed by the body. if clients expose to the sun frequently they may need a regular touchup sessions. we recommend sunscreens when they go out to the sun for longer periods.
What do you recommend Hair transplant or SMP?
They are completely different procedures and has different outputs i do recommend hair transplant for Norwood 4 and below clients but the problem with hair transplant is it cannot solve the root cause of the problem DHT. male pattern baldness rarely stops at Norwood 4 even after the hair transplant hair would continue to recede unless they are on anti DHT medications. in my opinion SMP is the ultimate solution for hair loss and the only solution which would guarantee you a result.
What if someone is above Norwood 4? do you think Hair transplant would not work?
From my experience attempting HT on a Norwood 5 or thining crown and above clients would probably fail. most of my clients are from a failed HT attempts. it is not about where they have done the procedure wether it is in Turkey or England it is destined to fail or could result in unsatisfactory output.
What happens if someone doesn’t like it or wants to change it? is there any chance SMP can be reversed?
Yes, SMP is reversible if someone don’t like it the removal process would be similar to a tattoo removal. The difference is that Scalp Micropigmentation is on the upper dermal skin layer or papillary layer compared to a regular tattoo being twice as deep. So a Scalp Micropigmentation treatment is a lot easier to remove and can be fully removed with a laser within two or three sessions. however if they have gone to a reputable artist they wouldn’t regret their SMP. We’ve never had a customer to date want to remove the treatment.
So if it is a type of tattoo is it possible to donate blood after SMP?
There is a myth ‘if someone has got a tattoo they cannot donate blood.’ this is totally wrong. traditionally it is been advised to wait 3 months after having a tattoo before donating blood to reduce the risk of unknowingly transmitting bloodborne viruses from uncleaned tattoo needle because the needle repeatedly used for different clients. same rules also apply to ear and body peircings. but nowadays we use a disposable single use needles such case is rare.
Anyone with any form of tattoo like SMP,
Microblading etc… can donate blood, as long as they do not have certain diseases.
Tell us about yourself and your studio?
My name is Alemayehu Bete graduated in computer science i have been doing regular tattoos for years before a shift to SMP. now been doing SMP for straight 3 years opened a scalp micropigmentation center ‘Scalpalex Scalp Micropigmentation’ in Addis Ababa ,Ethiopia, the first SMP center in the region and i am a pro team member and sponsored by Ghost pigment and Dragonhawk companies.
The problem with a shift from the tattoo world is you get used to a deeper penetration to the skin and if you have been doing tattoos for years hand muscles develops memory but i know how my tattoos heal wether it is tradtional American, Neo old school tattoo or black and gray realistic stuffs. So when i get accustomed to SMP stopped doing regular tattoos infear of developing the wrong muscle memory. now i solely do Scalp Micropigmentation nothing else
You execute SMP differently from other artists. honestly they look realistic than what i saw around. tell us about your exclusive technique’s
Most dark skinned clients trimmed hair or Afro-textured hair supposed to be a pack of mini stroke like hair strands not a pack of dot like follicle points. i tried to replicate this on the first session to make the SMP results as realistic as it can get and the second technique is called spiral crown technique, the crown hair grows in a spiral shape starting at some point and evolving like a tornado not in a linear line or random shape. tried to replicate the spiral crown with SMP.
Are your clients predominantly male or do you have female clients too?
because women don’t trim the hair down to a shorter length to properly do a clean work and for other personal reasons i don’t do female SMP
You rarely do sharp hairlines why is that?
Yes, i try to avoid sharp/edge ups and so low hairlines as much as possible. i try to convince clients broken hairline is the way to go unless their skin is fitz 6 or above (very dark skin/south sudanese type skins)
Sharp hairlines are like a magnet, human eyes are more attracted to straight lines that invites unnecessary attention towards the client’s SMP which is not the aim. In my opinion SMP should look natural and undetectable. there are artists around the world who do sharp hairlines good for them but i am not a fan of it.
Very low hairline also leaves little room for adjustments in the future.
Not a fan of side profiles either i prefer high line fades than side profiles.
Saw you guys built an SMP lens what exactly it is?
It is a snapchat SMP mockup lens which would help clients have an idea how they might look after SMP, it is the first of its kind. artists around the world use it on their clients for a mockup. now we have released a hairline lens recently which would allow clients adjust the hairline they wish to have and also has different pigment shades slider.
You are active on forums, you have got good reviews and have clients outside your home country. do you do TV ads or something like that?
Yes, i love helping people especially newer artists. i share secrets and tips of what i think would help the industry grow i know the OG’s of the industry would not be comfortable with that but i don’t hide anything from artists or clients. even participated with suggestions on the newer SMP ink brands and cartridges that has been released recently. it is not about me it is making the industry grow.
never done TV ads i also rarely do social media ads nowadays most of my clients are leads from clients and from google search. foreign clients do appreciate our work and our techniques especially in Africa and artists around the world recommend us for dark skin.
Thank you for your time