What’s the deal with super-straight hairlines?

Having just returned from a much-needed family holiday, and consequently unplugged from the scalp micropigmentation world for a few days, I jumped onto Instagram to catch up and see what I’d been missing. After browsing my usual selection of favorites, I happened upon a really great treatment by Scalp Aesthetics New England, an SMP clinic in Massachusetts, USA.

Without a doubt, the quality of the artistry is sublime (see below). The blending is excellent and despite significant post-treatment redness, you can already see a great result in the making. The only issue is the super-defined hairline, and this got me thinking.

You see, the sharper ‘edge-up’ or ‘line-up’ look is actually very popular. American technicians in particular receive requests for this kind of style all the time, and for some clients, a straight ‘statement’ hairline is the only way to go. They simply won’t have it any other way. I would guesstimate that around a quarter of all American clients ask for this style.

This approach contrasts sharply with what we see on the other side of the pond. The best British clinics would never suggest a straight or defined hairline, and would only agree to create one if the client absolutely insisted. Most European clinics are so used to producing natural broken hairlines, they probably wouldn’t know how to do an edge-up, even if they were asked. A clinic I visited recently had to redecorate their entire office, because clients objected to murals on the walls showing clients with straight hairlines.

Yet in America, clients go crazy for the sharper look.

Why are straight hairlines so popular?

I might not be a fan of the edge-up, but many people are, and the flexibility of scalp micropigmentation, including the range of available hairlines, is one of its greatest strengths. However, I fail to understand why preferences Stateside (and to a lesser extent, in Australia) differ so much from those in Europe. It’s a discussion I’m keen to raise at the Scalp Micropigmentation Conference in October.

Straight hairlines are easier to produce than broken hairlines, and act as a starting point for many clinics with less experience. The more complex jagged or faded hairlines tend to appear in their portfolios later, when their technicians have gained sufficient skill to tackle the broken hairline. However, it would be wrong to suggest that straight hairlines are produced by lesser clinics, because very often they are simply responding to client requests. All American clinics are asked to produce the edge-up, from the very newest to the longest established.

This is the hairline I found on Instagram. Great work by Brian Santora

I can’t help but wonder if the trend is driven, at least in part, by the clinics offering the service. Although technicians at Scalp Aesthetics are happy to create more natural hairlines, the company is well known for it’s edge-up styles. When a high volume provider like Scalp Aesthetics demonstrates a particular talent and preference for a certain style, overall trends can sometimes be influenced.

A broken hairline, also by Scalp Aesthetics. Although the company offers both hairline styles, there has been a definite increase in the number of clients requesting edge-ups.

Scalp Aesthetics is by no means alone. Other clinics report the same requests from American clients. The edge-up is not only here to stay, but it’s actually growing in popularity, despite ever-improving broken hairlines being produced by leading clinics.

Why do you want scalp micropigmentation?

I believe this is the key question behind the straight hairline phenomenon.

For most people, the answer is the same as it has always been – they want to look like they have real hair. They’re sick of going bald and want a believable appearance of hair that isn’t going to draw any unwanted attention. These are the guys who quietly slip into their nearest SMP clinic, and after their procedure, exit just as discreetly and return to everyday life, their friends and family none the wiser.

Carlos Diaz is featured in the video above, and specifically requests an edge-up hairline.

However, there is a growing number of people who want to take scalp micropigmentation a step further, and make a statement with their new look. Far from hiding their procedure, many of these guys discuss it openly and have no fear or embarrassment when people realize their ‘hair’ is actually just a really effective illusion. They want to rock their look, and are happy to carve a style that makes a statement about their personality.

If you’re the type who wants to keep your treatment a secret, then the straight or defined hairline is definitely not for you. If, however, you’re happy for people to know and you really want a younger, fresher look, then an edge-up might just work.