These days it seems SMP Clinics are popping up everywhere. You can even go to your local barbershop and find a technician who will gladly tattoo your scalp. But you must be careful as the influx of new artists doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to expertly perform this intricate procedure. When it comes to shopping around for the right SMP Clinic, there are a number of factors and steps a consumer must consider. So just how should you pick a qualified SMP artist to transform your look from bald to bold?
A Portfolio Says It All
We recommend you start by looking at the artist’s portfolio. Find someone whose work not only looks great, but is vast and diverse. Make sure their style of hairline design vibes with what look you wish to achieve and appears natural. Some technicians only do Edge-up or Line-up hairlines. These are characterized by straight, sharp and angular shapes and are meant to mimic the fresh buzz look a barber designs with his clippers. While this hair line can certainly look urban and stylized, it isn’t appropriate for every client. Designing more natural-looking hairlines is an artistry not all technicians can pull off and takes a different approach. Natural hair lines are often softer in the front and feature broken or jagged shapes.
Once you find an artist whose style appeals to your eye, make sure they have plenty of examples of their work. You want to know that they have lots of experience under their belts and a large sample of before and after pictures will demonstrate this. You can also request to see some of the work in person to verify a) It’s truly their portfolio and b) it looks just as good in person. At Ahead Ink we even offer potential clients the opportunity to view a final session in the works. This not only allows you to see a finished product in person, but to observe how it’s done and experience what your procedure will actually be like.
Have A Few Consultations….On Us
There’s no better way to get to know your artist than by having a sit down. Most clinics provide free consultations where you can interview the technician and ask as many questions as possible about the procedure. The consultation will also allow the artist to find out what you’re looking to accomplish. Ahead Ink’s lead technician, Erik Cavagnuolo, offers free consultations where he’ll not only go over your SMP needs, but also discuss other potential options for hair loss treatment. In addition he will draw on/mock up some hair line shapes so you can see what potential designs might work.
If an in-person consultation isn’t possible, almost all clinics now offer virtual ones. You can have a video call or just send pictures for assessment. The clinic should be able to give you an accurate price quote as well based on the consultation.
The Final Factors: $$$ and Travel
So you found a few artists whose work you love. You’ve spoken to a few referrals to make sure they have satisfied clients. (We recommend having a top three list of artists/clinics.) Once you have it narrowed down, you may consider the two other most important factors: location and cost.
Top SMP clinics know what the average going rate is for a procedure and will charge accordingly. Sometimes location will create variables in pricing as will the size of the operation (larger overhead equals higher pricing). But your top artists should be charging around the same rate (we’ll discuss in another blog exactly how and why procedure pricing works). If you have two artists whose work you like equally and there is a big difference in price then consider the less expensive option for sure.
The same goes for location. While travel distance/time shouldn’t dictate your choice it can help you to narrow things down. That being said, at Ahead Ink we service several clients from out of state and even out of country.