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The Science of Colour Theory & How it applies to Scalp Micropigmentation

Colour theory is a fundamental aspect of art and design, but it also has practical applications in various fields, including scalp micropigmentation. Scalp micropigmentation is a cosmetic tattooing technique that involves depositing small dots of pigment onto the scalp to create the appearance of hair follicles. It is an effective solution for hair loss, alopecia, and other scalp conditions.

In this blog, we will explore the science of colour theory and how it applies to scalp micropigmentation.

Scalp micropigmentation fade

The Basics of Colour Theory in Scalp Micropigmentation

Colour theory is the study of how colours interact and how they can be used to create harmonious colour combinations pleasing to the eye and senses. It is a complex field that involves principles of physics, psychology, and aesthetics.

Colour theory is based on three primary colours: red, blue, and yellow. These colours cannot be created by mixing other colours together. All other colours can be derived from these three primary colours.

Secondary colours are created by mixing two primary colours together. For example, blue and yellow make green, red and yellow make orange, and red and blue make purple. Tertiary colours are created by mixing a primary colour with a secondary colour—for example, red-orange, yellow-orange, blue-green, and so on.

The colour theory also includes an understanding of the properties of colour, such as hue, saturation, and brightness. Hue refers to the paint itself, such as red, blue, or green. Saturation refers to the intensity of the colour, or how pure it is. Brightness refers to how light or dark the colour is.

Applying Colour Theory to Scalp Micropigmentation

In scalp micropigmentation, colour theory is essential to achieve a natural-looking result. An SMP artiste needs to have a good understanding of colour and how it can affect the results of the client. The goal of SMP is to simulate the appearance of hair follicles on the scalp – as such, choosing the right colour and shade of pigment is critical. The wrong colour or shade can result in an unnatural appearance that looks more like a tattoo than hair.

When selecting a pigment colour, the practitioner will consider the client's natural hair colour, skin tone and undertone, and any underlying scalp conditions. They will also consider the client's age and lifestyle. Taking into account all these factors, the artist will create customized colours by applying knowledge of how the pigments will act in the scalp and skin. For example, older clients may require a slightly lighter pigment colour to avoid a harsh contrast with their skin, while athletes or individuals who spend a lot of time outdoors may need a darker pigment colour for sun exposure.

The pigments for scalp micropigmentation are made from natural ingredients. They are designed specifically for SMP treatment. Most SMP artists use carbon-based ink that is purely black. Distilled water is added to the ink to get the desired colour and tone that matches the client’s hair. For example, if the client has light-coloured hair, the SMP artist will add more water when diluting the pigment to arrive at a lighter tone. For clients with darker-coloured hair, less water will be added to the pigment retains its black colour and blend in perfectly with black hair. This dilution process plays a huge role in how scalp micropigmentation can work with almost all hair colours.

In addition to colour selection, the practitioner will also consider the size and spacing of the pigment dots. The dots must be uniform in size and spaced evenly to mimic the appearance of hair follicles. The practitioner will also consider the direction and angle of the pigment dots to create a natural-looking hairline and blend the pigment with the client's natural hair.

Maintaining the colour and appearance of scalp micropigmentation requires an understanding of colour theory as well. It is essential to choose a pigment colour that will age well. The client's lifestyle and skin type should be considered when recommending aftercare procedures.

Proper selection of pigment is crucial to avoid colour change. The carbon-based pigment does not change colour, although the pigment does fade. This means the clients may have to get a touch-up done around three years after the original treatment in order to keep it looking natural and fresh. Colour theory training is necessary to understand the various aspects of colour change.


Colour theory is an indispensable aspect of scalp micropigmentation. Practitioners must grasp the principles of colour theory to select the right pigment colour and produce a natural-looking result. The right colours can make all the difference in the world!

In addition to colour selection, the practitioner must also consider the size, spacing, direction, and angle of the pigment dots to create a realistic outcome. Clients, on their part, must follow the recommended maintenance procedures to prevent fading or colour changes and preserve the appearance of their scalp micropigmentation.

In conclusion, an in-depth knowledge of colour theory will help practitioners to bring about a natural-looking result and maintain the appearance of the treatment over a period of time. By understanding the principles of colour theory and applying them to scalp micropigmentation, practitioners can provide clients with a safe, effective, and aesthetically pleasing solution to hair loss, alopecia, and other scalp conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when scalp micropigmentation fades?

When scalp micropigmentation (SMP) fades, the pigmented dots on the scalp may become less visible or lighter in colour. The fading can occur gradually over time due to various factors such as sun exposure, natural exfoliation of the skin, and the body's immune response to the pigments. To maintain the desired appearance, individuals may opt for touch-up sessions to refresh and enhance the SMP by adding more pigment or adjusting the colour intensity. Regular touch-ups can help ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the SMP treatment.

How long does scalp micropigmentation take to fade?

The fading of scalp micropigmentation (SMP) can vary from person to person. Generally, SMP can start to fade after a few years. Factors like sun exposure, skin type, and individual lifestyle can affect the rate of fading. However, it's important to note that SMP is a long-lasting solution, and the fading process is typically gradual rather than sudden. Regular touch-up sessions can help maintain the desired appearance and extend the longevity of SMP.

Does SMP lighten as it heals?

Scalp micropigmentation (SMP) typically undergoes a slight lightening as it heals. Immediately after the procedure, the pigmented dots may appear darker and more pronounced. However, as the scalp heals and the skin exfoliates, the colour may lighten by a shade or two. This is a normal part of the healing process. The final and desired shade of SMP is usually achieved within a few weeks after the initial treatment. It is essential to follow the aftercare instructions provided by the SMP practitioner to ensure proper healing and optimal results.


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