Everything You Need to Know About Scalp Microblading

  • Scalp microblading is a style of permanent makeup and mimics the look of hair to create a fuller look.
  • Microblading is a technique that uses pen-like blade that deposits pigment to the upper layers of the skin.
  • Microblading uses a semi-permanent pigment that can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months.

Our hair is highly personal — it's something we tend to see as part of our identity. So when your hairline starts receding or you start seeing thinning patches, it can be jarring. Even if you aren't experiencing those issues, you may just not like the shape of your hairline, and that's ok. Either way, scalp microblading is a relatively niche procedure that you should be aware of.

You may already be familiar with microblading for eyebrows, which uses a semi-permanent pigment to tattoo along the hairline to create the look of fuller brows or change their shape. Microblading is now also being used on the scalp to mimic the look of hair for a lusher look.

You can think of microblading as a temporary tattoo — it's done with a special pen-like blade that deposits the pigment that's been precisely color matched in thin lines to look like strands of hair. Before you book your scalp microblading appointment, here's everything you need to know.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Scalp Microblading?

Both men and women with thinning hair can benefit from scalp microblading. A good candidate for scalp microblading already has some hair in the area to be treated. The idea is to camouflage sparse spots by filling them in with realistic-looking pigment applied with light strokes. If there's complete baldness and you fill everywhere, it just may take on a fake look. And if you just have a small spot, you don't have to microblade the entire hairline from ear-to-ear; it can be done at the temples or your part.

Is Scalp Microblading Painful?

If you ask around, people say that on a scale of 1 to 10, the pain level is somewhere between a 1 and 4. But of course everyone's pain tolerance is different. "Compared to getting a tattoo, the pain is less intense as the pigment is only going into the upper layers of the skin, which is much shallower than a traditional tattoo," says cosmetic dermatologist, Jason Emer, MD. Either way, there's typically numbing cream involved to help mitigate discomfort.

How to Prep for Scalp Microblading

Avoid anything that might thin the blood and cause bleeding like vitamin E, fish oil, ibuprofen, alcohol, and caffeine for about a week before your appointment, says Dr. Emer. You also want to stop using any exfoliators, strong acids, or retinol in the area at least a few days prior. On the day of your appointment, make sure your hair and scalp are clean and product free. Give yourself a good shampoo as it's best not to wash hair for about five days post-treatment.

What Is a Scalp Microblading Appointment Like?

Depending on the size of the spot you're getting done, you'll be there about two to four hours, says Dr. Emer. The practitioner will first mark the area with a pen to map out the design. They'll also blend pigments, so you get the most complementary coloring. The surface is then cleaned of oil and dirt and numbing cream is applied before the microblading begins. They may go over the area a couple of times to get the desired shade and symmetry. As for the cost, microblading can run anywhere from $500 to about $1,500 depending on the size of the area.

What Is the Aftercare For Scalp Microblading?

The pigment will last from 12 to 18 months, experts say. Just like with a tattoo, you'll want to avoid sun exposure for a few weeks to help better maintain the pigment. It's also a good idea not to shower for a couple of days, and you'll want to nix sweaty workouts for about week. Oh, and skip your hair color appointment for about a month, too. There could be some peeling after your appointment, and as with a tattoo there's also the possibility of infection so talk to your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary like prolonged swelling or redness.

Know that the pigment won't look natural at first but will soon fade to the intended shade. If you want to go darker, you can schedule a second session after about six weeks. Another thing to consider: If you're unhappy with the results, the only way to get rid of the pigment is with laser tattoo removal — otherwise, you'll have to wait until it naturally fades.

How Do I Find a Scalp Microblading Practitioner?

"I suggest online research, Instagram, and YouTube," says Dr. Emer. Visit the sites of local practitioners and look at before-and-after photos and video testimonials to get a feel of the experience before you go in, he suggests. You can also see if they'll do a consultation with you either on video or in person before booking the appointment.