In case you weren't aware: hairline transplantation is a multi-billion dollar industry. Whether due to hair loss with age or post-pregnancy, or for those who just dislike their devil's peak, there's a huge demand for this procedure at the moment. But there’s another hairline procedure slowly gaining momentum: hairline tattooing. Yes, tattooing hair onto your scalp is actually a thing, and the results are surprisingly realistic. Intrigued? We spoke to a hairline tattoo artist to give you the low-down on what hairline tattooing actually entails - and why you might be interested in having it yourself...

IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @TOPMODELS90S

HOW DOES HAIRLINE TATTOOING WORK?

Extremely fine, individual strokes mimicking the hair’s natural texture are inked into the scalp or forehead. The cosmetic tattoo artist follows the direction of the natural hairline, so the strokes seamlessly blend in. Curious who this is marketed to? It’s recommended for people who want to lower their hairline, cover scars or add the illusion of fuller hair to sparse areas.

The tattooed hairline strokes look natural, even when hair is brushed away. IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @AAAUGUSTTT_

HOW DEEP DOES THE PIGMENT GO?

Yi Jin, a member of the Australian Association of Cosmetic Tattoo and chief director of the cosmetic tattoo clinic BBPMC, explains that the ink is deposited into the basal layer (i.e. the deepest region) of the epidermis (FYI, the skin is composed of three layers, with the epidermis being the middle layer). The skin cells in the basal layer regenerate at a high frequency, which means ink deposited into the basal layer will eventually rise to the surface of the skin and fade away. Everyone’s skin is different, but the hairline tattoo should last between one to three years, depending on factors such as skin type, environmental exposure and aftercare.

BEFORE & AFTER. IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @OLLA_LINE

WHAT TECHNIQUES ARE USED?

There are two key techniques used for hairline tattooing; the method the tattoo artist chooses will depend on your desired aesthetic effect. Yi Jin explains, “We can use a manual blade, or a machine with a needle attached. The blade is more effective for short and sharp strokes, while the machine is better for defined longer strokes.”

IT’S A THREE-STEP PROCESS:

The first session is to create the general structure of the hairline, and also acts as a test to see how well the scalp retains the pigment; the second time, the cosmetic tattoo artist will determine whether a darker pigment should be implanted; and third time round is a ‘retouching’ session that defines any areas that have faded.

So no, it’s not a quick process, but the upside is you’ll have a more realistic, natural effect.

DURING YOUR FIRST SESSION, THE STROKES WILL BE VERY FAINT. IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @PPSSHH868
YOUR TATTOO ARTIST WILL BUILD THE DARKNESS AND THICKNESS UP, OVER THREE SESSIONS. IMAGE: INSTAGRAM @THEBOMM_KYUM

IS THERE A RECOVERY PERIOD?

Post procedure, the colour will be ultra-dark, but the intensity will fade within two weeks and the colour will settle into a lighter hue. But don’t worry, an ultra-dark hairline won’t draw too much attention. In fact, a client of Yi Jin’s went to a wedding one hour after she had her hairline tattooing procedure.

Clients are recommended to avoid two key things: washing your hair two days post tattoo, and going to a sauna or swimming pool one week post tattoo, to allow the tattoo to effectively retain the strongest and most accurate pigment. Yi Jin also advises that clients have to wait four weeks post procedure to dye their hair – so check your diary before the procedure to avoid any conflicting appointments.

As with any tattoo, the skin may start shedding on the third day. Scabbing and redness may also occur and as a result, the scalp may feel itchy. These symptoms are generally mild and can be counteracted by applying a healing ointment – we recommend Bepanthen or Vaseline.

HOW IS IT SO TRANSFORMATIVE?

Still need convincing? Well, the results of hairline tattooing are pretty incredible. Changing one facial feature can affect the entire proportion of your face, and alter the way other features look. Yi Jin explains that the shape of your forehead has a direct impact on the size of your eyes and jawline. In particular, she explains that a rounder, fuller hairline creates the illusion of larger, brighter eyes, and gives the impression of a slimmer, softer jawline.

Beauty blogger Vanny Telly, who underwent the hairline tattooing procedure, noted that the simple enhancement took years off her face:  “It makes me look so much younger and fresher,” she wrote on her blog.

BEFORE & AFTER. IMAGE: INSTAGRAM: VANNYTELLY

Story by Kristina Zhou 

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