April 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm #26609
First off, this is a MAMMOTH post. Probably the biggest on the forum. It’s got titles. Mod’s; I take no offence to you removing this as I understand this isn’t the norm here… But rather than the occasional client stopping by to say “yep, that went well” I figured I’d throw some detail your way to those on the fence 🙂 Not only that, I’ve taken the decision to post some before and after pics. I hope it can help people struggling far worse than I was to come to a decision and go visit Skalp.
I noticed my hair receding around 10 years ago. It doesn’t seem to have got any worse in the last 5, but it had left me with an attractive ‘McDonald’s-esque’ Golden Arch. Such a look proves difficult to rock out when at length, and stands out like a sore thumb when short. Regardless, I was happy it wasn’t getting any worse and had learnt to live with it. “Just a sign of getting older” I would tell myself subconsciously, every time I looked in the mirror. I’ve always been quite a perfectionist, so looking back now it amazes me how well I came to terms with this, but I guess it was driven out of necessity for my own sanity, rather than something I was growing to like. It’s fair to say my confidence took a blow too, as I’m sure a lot of you can relate to. Again, this is something that gradually happened over time. It was something I put down to getting older, and to simply not having the same ‘mojo’ I once had in my 20’s.
That complacency soon slapped me right across the Chevy Chase, once I found out about Skalp.
The greatest-football-team-on-the-planet had just signed an in-form winger, whom had under gone a somewhat fascinating change over the summer transfer window. This was pointed out in said football team’s forum, and immediately kicked me in the Jacobs. I’d seen this guy on TV plenty of times, and had often thought how we must share a begrudging acceptance for our aging looks. Yet now he’s putting on the greatest-football-team-on-the-planets kit and strutting around like some kind of male model.
Obviously I had heard of hair transplants and ‘Regaine[nothing]’, but this was different. This looked perfect. I’m yet to see an effective hair transplant and would far rather come to terms with my aging looks than go through that invasive, ineffective and painful treatment. No offence to anyone who has (different strokes for different folks), but that really wasn’t for me – let alone the costs! But whatever this talented winger had done, it had worked, and fuck me it looked good.
A fellow supporter of the greatest-football-team-on-the-planet had posted a link to what he believed the winger had done. Enter from stage left; Skalp.
The Snowball Effect:
Browsing the professional looking Skalp website opened my eyes to something I had never heard of or knew was possible; SMP. For some, I can imagine an almighty penny dropping at this moment and frantic phone calls being made to get this arranged on the double. For me though, Mr Cautious, I was immediately looking for the flaws, the costs (financially and practically) and everything in-between. At the time I was going through a brief stage of having my hair grown out. I wanted to give it a go whilst I still had some, just to see if it was something I wanted to make a more permanent feature. 6 months of gelling, combing and spraying REGULARILY throughout the day to try and maintain the position of my hair (so not to give the game away that I was receding) got tiresome to say the least. As cautious as I am, equally, I am a perfectionist. I told myself that this ‘look’ was the final blow. I knew a cropped look had always suited me best and I was now sure it would see me through my remaining years.
But all is far from lost, remember that post on the greatest-football-team-on the-planets forum? Didn’t that website say something about a free mock up?? It couldn’t hurt, could it? Out came the clippers. Off with that stupid sodding hairstyle, out comes the selfie stick and we’re off. Picture goes to Skalp and by the next day I had a mock up. I shit you not it took at least 8 years off me. I’m 32, in the picture I looked 36 and in the mock up I looked 28. Totally serious.
From here on out it was about justifying the costs in my own mind. Not everyone has a spare couple of grand knocking about, and even if they do, there’s always something else, something ‘sensible’ that it needs to be spent on – car running costs, home improvements, health etc…. Whilst a compelling alternative to hair transplants, and by far the most effective procedure (both in terms of looks and cost) to anything else, that kind of money is still a deal breaker for some, I’m sure. It certainly almost was for me and I’m not going to lie about that.
But sometimes you have to live for the now. Sometimes you have to think about yourself and be a little bit selfish. Sometimes, you know what? You just have to say fuck it. Life is too short and if I can turn that disappointed feeling of looking in the mirror every day in to a positive, then the cost is worth it. Truly it is.
As a result, this snowball effect had me book a consultation, and, to be honest, I was pretty much sold anyway. But I believe a consultation is worth it for several reasons, even if you’re already sold. Here’s why;
Flexible? Yes. Skalp offered me a few dates/times and accommodated my wish for an early afternoon appointment at the London Clinic. Phone and Skype appointments are available, but if you can make it to a clinic, I really think it’s worth it. I didn’t know, but Harley Street is a 2 minute walk from Oxford Street. Meaning to get there was simply a train to Victoria and a 2 stop underground trip on the Victoria line, Northbound, to Oxford Circus. Happy days -I love a simple commute, especially if in a few weeks I’m going to be walking around with a fresh head tattoo.
In the building, up to the 4th floor and there they are. Two megastars of the SMP world there to greet me. You see, like many of you I’m sure, I became somewhat attached to the Skalp YouTube channel. I watched those testimonials over and over again. Cheeky-chappy-scoucers crack me up and Michael’s video was particularly good – you can see the elation on his face and I wanted that feeling. Also, Melvins video had just been posted a day or two before my consultation. The transformation he went through looked amazing – such incredible detail on the work he had.
So when Derek and Antonio greeted me from the lift on the 4th floor I felt ridiculously star struck – mad the power of YouTube. The best thing, is that it started like everyone says it does. Friendly, welcoming and homely. That’s beginning to sound like a cliché on this forum but I promise you that’s how it was. Straight in with the coffee’s and a sit down. I can’t help but try and avert my eyes from their heads. It’s a weird thing, but I’m trying to be polite by not staring, and yet it’s the very thing I came to do!! In no time, Derek is straight in there showing me the detail on his own masterpiece. Just as well, because I thought I was going to bottle it by just asking to take a look! I’m so stupid… Derek had all the answers for me though and talked me through his own experiences.
I can’t tell you the relaxed atmosphere about describing something so personal, and yet openly doing so with someone you’ve just met! It’s quite liberating. Again, you have to remember, I had come to terms with how I now looked. This revelation of SMP made me realise how much I had pushed the anxieties down, just to try and get through these degrading, age related changes. So it was nice to have a solution in front of me that I knew would work.
The Skin Test:
Not compulsory, but something I had requested. Mr Cautious needs to be sure. I had a few piercings in years gone by, all of which had become infected at one point or another. This led me to believe that my head would blister up and implode if I had SMP. Derek, at no cost (some places charge for a skin test!! Do me a favour!), fired up the equipment and applied a test patch to my scalp around the size of finger nail. This was perfect, as it gave me an indication as to what it would feel like. Also, perhaps more importantly, it would give me 48hrs to monitor whether or not my head imploded. It didn’t.
Before and after the consultation both Nina and Isabelle were great. Very speedy in replying to emails and answered any questions I had in terms of payments and appointments. As such, 48hrs following the skin test, I called to book my 1st appointment and paid the deposit.
Kindly donated by my better half, a brown make up pencil (which I’m sure isn’t the technical term), started life as a full sized healthy looking make up pencil. Everything you would expect a make-up pencil to be, this was it. Plastic cap to protect the nib, some miniaturised-super-bristled-brush thing on the end and a firm solid grip for accuracy. This was the Rolls Royce of make up pencils. And frankly? It needed to be. This make up pencil was about to go on the ride of its life.
Every evening, for what felt like weeks, I would obsessively look in the mirror and try to craft the hairline that would form the perfect frame to my face. By the time I found one that suited me, I would religiously try to replicate it so that when the day came, I could show Derek how I wanted it to be. Oh dear pencil, such an affiliation between female products and a man may never be seen again, but you served me well. Sadly, your demise to nothing but a nubbin was somewhat in vein….
The 1st Session (Hairline Deign):
The other half would be joining me on this visit, as I let slip that it was right by Oxford Street. Of course, she merely wanted to make sure I was well taken care of and in good hands, but all the while parades of designer shops are just two minutes away, it would be silly to waste the trip, right? Well, I wanted her there anyway to see the final hairline, to ensure my obsession would be replicated perfectly. Sat opposite me drinking her coffee, kindly made by Derek, I could see her face gradually light up. You see, Derek (who will from this point forward, be known as ‘the magician’), had taken the reigns. At the point of drawing your hairline, there’s a decision to be made – who will go first?? Shall I map out my precise blueprint that I had been working on for months? Or, shall we see what this guy is made of? The magician led the way. My better half’s eyes lighting up as they did could have meant only two things – it was far different than what I had planned, or far worse. What it actually meant? Was neither. The magician had drawn in 2minutes, what had taken me weeks and weeks of agonising precision to get right. The hairline was not only what I wanted, it was BETTER than what I wanted. We couldn’t believe it. Apart from a couple of improvements, the magician had almost identically replicated what I wanted; without having seen any pictures of my attempts or asked me any questions as to what I wanted. Of course, had I been unhappy, the magician would have welcomed adjustments or redesigns –it’s your head at the end of the day! But the magician had crafted THE perfect hairline right out of the gates. Incredible his talent.
The 1st Session (the procedure):
The magician collected his pot of ink and we made a start. He’s super easy to talk to and it felt like I was catching up with a mate I’d known for years. The magician has had SMP for a few years now, so as well as professional advice, he has personal experience to offer too. It was great to hear about the various products, trick’n’tips that he recommended along the way. Skalp aren’t affiliated with any of these products, so you know the advice is genuine and in your best interest.
The magician offered far more than just the perfectly drawn hairline though. He is, by his own admission, a perfectionist too. This comes across. The guy loves his work and you can tell. It means something to him. This doesn’t make him a practitioner in my book, it makes him an artist. Every dot is as important as the next. He stops to make sure the angles are right and then continues. Never does one patch of scalp have too much attention. The magician moves around the scalp giving time for each patch to take a breather. The welcomed reservoir of the wet wipe is something I’ll never forget. Seriously, this isn’t a painful procedure. You have to set your mind right and just enjoy the experience – but I won’t lie. The wet wipe gliding across the scalp every few minutes is welcomed and refreshing.
Half way through, Antonio pops his round the door. I get the thumbs up and I’m assured things are going well!
By the end, I get to take my first look in the mirror and I can’t believe the transformation after just one session. It’s truly amazing. I’m advised to wear a hat as the barrier ointment that’s applied after the session is quite shiny.
I’m so happy with the results however, that I strut out on to Oxford Street like a boss. So what if it looks like I’ve taken a bath in Vaseline and stood in the sun for too long, I HAVE A HAIRLINE!!!!!
By the time I arrive home a couple of hours later, the redness as already started to go down. I can’t stop looking in the mirror or taking selfies. It’s the following afternoon now and it’s still a tiny bit red but nothing too noticeable – I’ve already been out and about and no one has stared at me in an unusual way. If anyone were to question it, at this time of year, sun burn would be the best explanation, because the newly created hair follicles certainly don’t stand out as anything that shouldn’t be there. It’s incredibly natural looking.
This write up has been MASSIVELY longer than I ever thought it would be. Never do I expect someone to read all of this, but if you have, congrats.
I’ll continue the blog post following the remaining appointments. For now, I want to say a massive thank you to the magician (Derek), Antonio, Nina and Isabelle, and of course, the greatest-football-team-on-the-planet (just because).
Attachments:April 13, 2017 at 8:26 pm #26612
Wow, that was a mammoth post indeed! I share your experiences to a great degree. Antonio did mine on Monday and I couldn’t be happier although I want to drop my hairline down by 1cm and also go a shade darker which I’ll request next Tuesday.
Are you a Crytsal Palace fan? 😉April 13, 2017 at 8:32 pm #26613
Your treatment looks really good mate.
Also, this is the most informative post on the forum yet. Thank you for sharing your experience. At some point I will do a similar thread myself.
RalphApril 13, 2017 at 9:31 pm #26615
Just read your lengthy post and I’m over the moon for you matey; I’ve got 14 weeks till my 1st session and I’m up and down to say the least, in fact I got a bit of a panic feeling a couple of days ago and was asking myself ‘bloody hell am I doing the right thing here or just being stupid and irresponsible!!!..”.
Great to see you’ve moved on with your first session and can’t wait to see the results of session 2 + 3
SApril 13, 2017 at 9:39 pm #26616
I really enjoyed your post , it takes me back to almost two years ago when I had my first session. Both Marcin and Derek looked after me and I can thoroughly say I’ve never looked back. I am trying to sell the concept to all my bald friends, I’m so delighted.
Your own procedure looks amazing mate.
You will really benefit from it. It’s an amazing procedure with amazing technicians. Enjoy.April 14, 2017 at 3:22 pm #26619
Ralphy – Sounds like it went well on Monday! You have to get some pics up mate, I know how much it helped me to see real examples on here… How’ve you been handlig the sun this week? I’m out with the other half today – sprinting between spots of shade to avoid direct sunlight! Haha..
Swan – 14 weeks must feel like an age!! I can only imagine what thats doing to your anxiety! If it helps, i had the exact same doubts… Skalp are legit though, as I’m sure you’ve realised (hence your booking)… Once ur in their capable hands ur doubts will swiftly be eased 🙂
Coconuthead – glad you’re still happy with ur SMP.. and its great to see you still check back on the forum… i think that gives us newbies a good dose of confidence 🙂
Thanks all for the compliments.. I’ll update in a couple of weeks 🙂April 14, 2017 at 7:19 pm #26620
Oh, and by the way, thanks for baby-sitting AT for us this season until he returns home to Toon to join in the RAFALUTION in the summer ⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️April 18, 2017 at 5:22 pm #26624
First hair cut yesterday, first day at work today; all on track 😀 Cant wait to add more density but no one noticed today regardless 🙂
Attachments:April 18, 2017 at 11:32 pm #26626
Can’t believe nobody cottoned on at your work; my biggest fear will be returning to th office after my first two treatments; yours looks great by the way, is it your 2nd treatment this week…?April 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm #26629
2nd treatment on Saturday 🙂 this will surly raise some questions this time around… straight back to work monday – no bank holiday to hide behind… time will tell !April 22, 2017 at 6:53 am #26655
Up bright and breezey today.. 2nd session all lined up! Really curious to see the results after this session.. I’ve heard a lot of people say how happy they are after the second – so here’s hoping 😀 Inevitably, pics and write up to follow (don’t panic – it’ll be brief this time 😀 !)..April 22, 2017 at 9:18 pm #26656
How did you get on today Narb?April 24, 2017 at 1:18 pm #26659
Ralphy, you said the second session is a game changer – and it is! Completely amazing! I’ll post pics later but I’m amazed at the difference… Completely over the moon with this!! Not a bad word to say! How’s yours settling down?April 24, 2017 at 7:00 pm #26660
As promised! ☺
Attachments:April 26, 2017 at 5:19 pm #26669
4 days after the 2nd session.. My hair is looking too long now to rock the smp look but amazingly, no one has said a word! I’ll post some pics later so you can see what i mean.. I’ll avoid cutting it until Sunday – that’ll be 8 days then and should be looking the nuts!:)
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