Scalp Micropigmentation can be the answer for clients who want the appearance of hair on their scalp, or who want to fill in their hairline or even a too-wide part. It is a service offering that is a slam dunk for barbers and stylists who already have the artistry and attention to detail needed to design a head of hair, says Miguel Rosas (@newstyle84).
Rosas has a thriving barber business, is a salon, barber college and barbershop owner, an educator for Wahl, and he continues to seek out services to bring to his clients while creating additional revenue streams for his business.
For almost two years, Rosas has been performing scalp micropigmentation, and is now teaching it. He answers our questions about this service that is booming in the barbering industry.
“In our industry, we’re always going to classes to learn how to make money,” Rosas says. “We invest in ourselves. And learning how to do scalp micropigmentation is very lucrative.”
How-to Get Into the Business of Scalp Micropigmentation
Q: What is scalp micropigmentation and how is it used?
Miguel Rosas: It’s where you’re tattooing microdots onto the scalp where hair is thinning or where a client is fully bald. You’re creating the illusion of hair stubble.
If a client’s hair does grow, they will usually keep it buzzed down very low, so scalp micropigmentation can blend in that ‘five-o-clock shadow.’ You can do a defined hair line or broken up natural hair line.
If the client is just thinning, you can also do the scalp micropigmentation to camouflage the scalp and create that shadowy look on the scalp.
Q: How did you get introduced to scalp micropigmentation?
MR: Being a barber, I was always using enhancements in services, like hair dyes, sprays or fibers, that would fill in thinning areas, create a hairline, and make hair look good for a day or two. After seeing barbers doing scalp micropigmentation on Instagram, I thought it would be awesome to offer a permanent solution to those clients that were currently receiving temporary enhancements.
I went and took a three-day class in Maryland, and before I went to my class, I had a list of 15 people at home who were already interested in the service. Within two weeks I made approximately $10,000.
Q:How are you trained?
MR: When you start out in a class, you do dot spacing exercises on paper using a marker, then you practice on a melon (a honeydew melon will trap the ink) using the wireless machine. On Day 3, you usually work on a live model to make sure you are not going too deep in the scalp.
After about six months of doing this—and working on about 25 people—I got the hang of it. And because I have an education background, I decided I should write my own curriculum. (Rosas is currently teaching Scalp Micropigmentation.)
Q: How can someone make sure the person teaching classes is legitimate?
MR: The research I did was looking at the person’s work, looking at pictures and videos from their classes, and them I called and talked to him.
I suggest that people do the same thing. Talk to the instructor, look for testimonials, or ask if you can call a student to get a reference. If you’re doing to make that investment-which is between $4500-5000 for a three-day class—you want to feel good about the choice you made.
Q: What licensing is required?
MR: It can depend on your state, but you’ll want to contact your local Health Department because they regulate tattooing. You need a Bloodborn Pathogen Certification and you have to get licensed as a tattoo artist. State Boards usually have an application online. You’ll also get your location inspected.
You don’t have to be a licensed barber or a cosmetologist to perform the service.
Also, in some states you do have to put in hours as an apprentice for permanent makeup and tattooing. Basically, make sure you check with your state and know your requirements.
Q: How do you find heads to practice on?
MR: That’s the advantage of being a barber or stylist, because you probably already know people who would be great for this service.
I had a guy come into the barber college who was bald, and I said, ‘I’ll give you a nice hairline.’ So I put hair fibers on his head, lined it up with trimmers and he was really intrigued—and then I told him I could actually make this permanent. I showed him pictures on my phone and he called me later that night to book with me.
Q: What does a service plan look like and how do you charge per service?
MR: If they have a full bald head, it’s going to be three sessions. If it’s just a hairline area, it’s just two sessions.
First day, I map it out, I might need to cut the hair a bit, and that takes me about an hour. The actual procedure of applying the pigment is about 45 minutes. And the second session, the hairline is already there so I go in between all the little dots, and it takes about an hour.
It’s three sessions, and I charge $2800. On the first session, they have to bring in $1500. Sometimes they decide it looks good after the first two sessions and don’t show up for the third session so that’s why I don’t split up three payments, evenly.
For someone who has a full bald head you could charge $3,000-$4,000, it depends on how busy you are. I know someone who charges $4,000, no matter what, even if they just get their hairline done. An average price is $2500-$3500.
Q: How long does a scalp micropigmentation appointment take?
MR: A density fill, where I’m just doing the top part of their scalp, that’s about 90 minutes. For a fully bald head, it’s about 3 hours and you have to wait ten days in between appointments for the scalp to fully heal.
Q: How do you work this into your schedule?
MR: You don’t have to do this full time; this is something you can do on the side, you don’t have to stop cutting hair. It’s something to add to what you already do.
Think about it: you have the clientele, you know these people. If you see they are going light on top, don’t pass it onto someone else. As a barber, you already know how to do lineups and square the hair.
I had a guy fly to Illinois from Nashville for a service, because it can be life changing, which makes it so worth it.
Q: How do you market your services?
MR: I needed content--pictures, videos, testimonials--so I started by offering some lower prices to new clients, just to get them in and to be able to create that content. I used social media, I have a website, and I have outsourced marketing; I have a virtual assistant who reaches out to people.
Q: What could go wrong?
MR: It’s the same things that can go wrong if you don’t take care of an area that has a new tattoo. Their head can get dry and itchy. They could have a reaction to the ink. I got a tattoo, once, and sprayed bug spray near the area and it got really itchy.
But the aftercare is what we talk about to the clients—no chemicals, use A & D ointment, etc.
And if the artist doesn’t do a good job, they can create a problem—they can create blowouts. That is when they are going too deep with the needle, and it will look smudgy instead of like a nice, clean tiny dot.
Learn more about scalp micropigmentation by following @newstyle84.
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