Caitlin James from Scalp Micropigmentation Australia interviews Marc Smith from Creative Scalps located in London UK and discusses the ever-popular topic of ‘What is the right hair length for Scalp MicroPigmentation?’
Interview conducted by Scalp MicroPigmentation Australia with Scalp MicroPigmentation Artist Marc Allen’s Interview with Caitlin James covering the importance of clipping your hair correctly and which hair lengths are best for SMP.
ABOUT MARC ALLEN FROM CREATIVE SCALPS | LONDON UK Marc’s history of being a barber to the celebrities has been the foundations of his Scalp MicroPigmentation business, he knows all things to do with clipping hair, shaving and how to get the best out of combining the right hair length for Scalp MicroPigmentation effects.
He is a Bishop SMP Sponsored Artist | www.bishopsmp.com
He has been well recognised by his industry peers as an amazing SMP artist and achieved a finalist for Rising Star category in the Team Micro Awards in 2018, Finalist for Best UK artist 2019 and at the World Scalp MicroPigmentation Awards for Best UK Artist.
HERE IS WHAT’S IN THE ABOVE VIDEO FOR YOU TO READ
Caitlin J.: Hi everyone, I’m Caitlin James from Scalp Micropigmentation Australia and welcome to another five minutes fast facts on Scalp Micropigmentation, pro artist 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 the UK, he was a finalist in the rising star category in 2018 by a company called team micro. Which means he was recognized in his industry by his peers as an exceptionally talented SMP artist, that has been in our industry less than two years. He went on to be a further finalist in the MPUK artist awards in 2018, and he’s already improving on his beautiful results and went on to win more in 2019.
He has been hand-selected to be a part of a small group of talented SMP artists, to join the Bishop SMP sponsored artist pro-team, which is a tattoo machine making company, located in the US. Bishop has specifically made SMP machinery for us, so he is on the Pro-Artist team for that. Today we would like to give a big warm welcome to Marc Allen. Hi Marc.
Marc A.: Hey, Caitlin, how are you doing?
Caitlin J.: Good. How are you?
Marc A.: I’m good, yes, excited.
Caitlin J.: Excited, good. So tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to enter our industry. And tell us a bit about your past experience in your previous role, and how that’s helped you to become an amazing SMP artist.
Marc A.: Alright. So 23 years as a barber, working, my thing was always to do lines and patterns and designs in people’s hair. I was always doing the fades, and the shape ups, and all these kind of things. I was always on the creative side of barbering. That led me to be doing celebrity work; I was touring the UK with some pop stars, rappers, and things like that.
So I was kind of at the top of my game in that respect. But I had my own businesses, and I didn’t really kind of like enjoy the business side of things. So this is another story in between it all, where I went a bit crazy for a few years, and a few people might know about that, but I won’t go into it now. But on the other side of that, I got rid of all my businesses, and then I was still doing sort of celebrity work, still cutting hair, still doing my designs, and doing some good stuff barbering wise.
But there was always this thing, I wanted to get into having my own business again. But I didn’t want to open another barbershop; I wanted to do something different. And hair loss has always interested me, just from a barber, I guess, and I was getting to that age where all my clients were losing their hair, I was losing some myself. And so I was looking at all these different ways, and I started looking into becoming a hair surgeon as a transplant surgeon.
And I thought you can do anything in life, so I was looking into it and then in England you need to be qualified to a doctor level, and I’m smart, but I’m not kind of like that smart. So it was a kind of eight-year process to become a doctor. I was getting near to my forties, and I thought I might not have time to do that or the knowledge. So I started looking around, you know I’ve seen SMP before, clients that come into the barbershop, and I hadn’t been impressed.
Because when you’re in the hairdressing industry, you want something to look like it is actually hair. So a friend of mine, he had it done, and it didn’t look too bad, and I thought you know what, this could be something I should look into. So that’s where my SMP journey started, that was in 2016, and then I just started doing all my research, going on the internet and seeing all these pictures of people before and after. Then I found myself when I was looking at people in the street who had their hair might just be shaved, but I was trying to get close to them to see if it was SMP.
Caitlin J.: I think we all do that.
Marc A.: Yes. I would randomly go up to people; I went up to a guy in PC world, which is they sell electronic goods. And I thought his head looks really good, he must have had it done. And I walked up to him, just out of the blue and said, ‘Have you got SMP?” And he just looked at me like, and he’s like ‘What’s SMP?’ And then as I got that close to him, I noticed he actually had hair. It was just shaved, pretty sure. I made an excuse and walked away.
So that was me, and then I found a guy who did SMP and yeah, I took it from there. After that, I came back with the machine, the needles, and the pigment and started working on clients of mine. So I was quite lucky at the start because I had a lot of clients that had trust in me because I’ve been seeing them for over seven years. And I just basically started practising on their heads.
And right from the start, I knew that it didn’t look how I wanted it to look, so that was when I didn’t have help like now we’re more in contact each other, that’s only four years ago, but back then I didn’t know anyone. Anyone I did message didn’t get back to me. So I just had to make up my own techniques basically, so it took a little while, but then I started getting it to the point where I thought that actually looks really good. So yes, so in a way, I’ve kind of developed my own techniques.
Caitlin J.: And do you feel, because of your experience in being a barber, that you naturally were very good with design and hairline, sort of hairline design and feathering your beautiful hairlines. Do you feel like that came very naturally to you?
Marc A.: For me, I feel like the people thought it’ll come naturally to me, and I think it’s a misconception that because you’re a barber, you’re going to just be good at hairlines. So what happened was, I thought I would be good at all these hairlines. So I started just by, I’ll just draw his hairline on, and here we go. But I found that I needed to develop a technique to create detail lines as well. I’ve made a few YouTube videos of how I sort of create headlines now.
So I think being a barber and having that experience obviously must help, but just being a barber is not given. Because when I was working as a barber, I would work in one chair, and I would be doing the best job ever, and then in the chair next to me was a guy who has been cutting hair for forty years. And he would cut hair in five minutes, and have them out the door.
And if he came into SMP, but then he would do people in five minutes and have them out the door with the worst job you’ve ever seen in your life. But he’s got all the experience of a barber, but it doesn’t make him good. So I think it’s a given that just being a barber, you can do it.
Caitlin J.: Well, brilliant. All right, well, let’s go into our first question. So if a guy has some moderate hair loss and he’s looking to shave his hair down for the first time, have you got some tips and tricks that you could suggest to that client who has never picked up a set of clippers, who has never shaved their head… What could you say to him, or what tips and tricks could you give him to help him either use the right angles or just get a really nice even looking result?
Marc A.: Yes. So if he’s going to cut the hair himself?
Caitlin J.: Yes.
Marc A.: Okay. So basically, I don’t know if you can see, so this is what we call, this is like an outliner, you can get them made by lots of different companies. This is made by xx this will get it to my length here, and that’s what we really call like a zero.
So you’re still going to have stubble. So with this where you need to be, if you’ve got long hair and you’re going to be shaving it off, you need to be using the Clipper at this angle. On every clipper, you’ve got two blades, the one at the front is the one that cuts; the one behind is like the guard.
So if you cut this way, then that can handle cutting a lot of hair. Once you cut it that way to get it shorter, you need the actual cutting blade closer to your scalp, so then you can turn it around this way and then we can do like a straight in motion, and then you can come up and down and that kind of scrapes the hair that little bit shorter.
Caitlin J.: Brilliant.
Marc A.: Did it make sense?
Caitlin J.: Yes, perfect, awesome. So how do you feel that the correct hair length has an impact on a scalp micro pigmentation result? I know I see many guys here in Australia who want to try and keep their hair as long as suitable. How do you feel that the hair length, when too long has an effect on SMP?
Marc A.: Yes. So what I say to guys is there’s basically like you’ve got two types of guys, if you’ve lost some hair through the middle, or you’ve got no hairline. If you’ve got no hairline, then you need to take it to zero, at least with these. If you’ve got it longer than that, then it’s not going to look right, you’re going to see the hair growing behind it. Then with trimming like this at my length, we’re going to be right.
Then you’ve got the other guys who’s hair comes around in a horseshoe at the back, and if you’ve got that strong horseshoe going at the back and it’s quite dark, that’s where they need to go to skin and then you’re going to have to use something more like the foil shaver. So they need to take that to skin, so it’s all going to blend in with the SMP. There are two options for the people that can keep it a little bit longer, like people that still have remnants of their hairline.
So I just say to the guys if you’ve got some hair on your hairline, and you haven’t got strong growth at the back here, it’s just naturally thinning hair, like mine, I never had my hairline done this is natural hair. So, I can actually have mine slightly longer, maybe a 0.5. But yes, other than that, it’s only people that have had hair transplants things like that. They’ve got longer hair, then you work through that and add density. But really, ideally, if you’ve got no hairline you’ve got to keep it at least as short this, and maybe down to the skin.
Caitlin J.: Yes, beautiful. And how often do you feel like your clients need to clip? Or how often do you clip every week?
Marc A.: Yes, so again, it’s different for people. For me, with mine, it’s twice a week every three or four days. I clip mine down with this, with other people where it’s dropped and you’ve got the horseshoe at the back, they need to be doing it maybe every day or every two days taking it to skin.
Caitlin J.: Yes. And your maintenance, once you’ve been clipping your hair for a little while. How long does that take you?
Marc A.: Cutting hair myself, cutting my own hair?
Caitlin J.: Yes.
Marc A.: Because I’ve got a setup, you can’t see it here; it’s behind the other side there. I’ve got like a barbershop set up as well in my clinic, so literally, I’ve got a mirror, I can look behind and cut my hair. It takes me probably ten minutes.
Caitlin J.: Yes. About twice to three times a week. The maintenance side of things is not huge?
Marc A.: It’s not huge, no. And so long as you’ve got, you just need somewhere. For a guy a lot of times because you just need somewhere to do it, you need a mirror so you can hold at the back and a mirror at the front, and obviously, it gets messy, all the hair is going to go anywhere. So I get my barber gown on and hold the mirror, and I just cut it down like that and off we go.
Caitlin J.: Yes, brilliant. So the different hair lengths does have an effect on what the scalp micropigmentation can look like? So for a guy who razers with a blade, this creates a very soft effect with scalp micro-pigmentation -vs. a guy like yourself who uses trimmers and has the hair a little bit longer, the whole result then is a bit darker.
What would you say is your favorite style of hair length is for creating SMP?
Marc A.: That’s a tricky question.
Caitlin J.: Do you like the rotary shaver, beard trimmer stubble, or do you like the clean-shaven look?
Marc A.: The stubble look is probably easier as an artist to work with. So if somebody’s got stubble and it’s coming sort of up into this area, and it’s just spinning out through here. It’s a lot easier to blend in so you can work sort of in-between where the hairs are, and just match it all into the stubble that’s there.
So I really like working on that, obviously when it’s totally skin, and they’ve hardly got anything then you’ve got a lot more work to do. You’ve got the layering and blending so that it fades out softly on the side too. So look wise; as an artist, I think I prefer working into a little bit of stubble.
Caitlin J.: Yes, cool. And then last question, if someone has got some scarring at the back there, and the scarring is a FUT transplant or some other scalp scar. What do you like to recommend? What do you feel is the best hair length for someone with some scarring at the back?
Marc A.: Yes. Well, again, it depends because a lot of the guys they might have had a hair transplant, so they’ve gotten scarring, but then they keeping it longer on top. So if they’re keeping it longer on top, and then it’s easier to blend it in the SMP with the hair, you’re looking at maybe a 0.5 not really any longer than that to blend them scars in.
Obviously, I usually tell people the longer your hair is going to be, the more it’s going to keep tracks away from what we’ve done. So I like to blend my SMP work in as shorter lengths as possible.
Caitlin J.: Thank you so much, Marc, for your expert tips and tricks on the ideal hair length for beautiful looking scalp micro-pigmentation results. A big thank you for being a part of our five-minute fast facts on scalp micro pigmentation for our series. I’m sure what you’ve had to say today has helped someone out there considering this kind of solution, so thank you so much.
Marc A.: You’re welcome.
Caitlin J.: Excellent. Take care. And if you’ve got 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 when we release our latest content. And thanks for watching, we hope to see you soon.