Hair tattooing procedure known as scalp micro pigmentation being offered for first time in Whanganui

A business in Whanganui is the first here to offer a service where tattooing is used to replicate the appearance of real hair.

Ardon England Makeup & Cosmetic Artistry launched on Saturday and offers the procedure known as scalp micro pigmentation (SMP), faux freckle tattooing, makeup services and makeup tutoring.

England said although SMP was well established overseas, it was still relatively new to New Zealand, and the closest clinic offering the service was in Waikanae.

“Which is why I decided to bring it to Whanganui.”

SMP is a cosmetic treatment where very tiny layered dots are applied directly to the scalp through tattooing to replicate the natural appearance of real hair.

England said the procedure was done over three to four sessions, so the pigment density would gradually build up.

“Most people don’t even know SMP exists.”

England had SMP himself over the past year and that made him want to offer it to others.

“My hairline was receding and I have a massive forehead, so I was able to have a new hairline created to give the illusion of a smaller forehead and fuller hairline.

“It’s something I’m no longer self-conscious about.”

He said he was currently working with a client who recently had a gastric bypass.

“When you have the weight loss surgery your hair thins, and so I’m able to build back density in her scalp so it appears to be thicker.”

England was born and raised in Whanganui and said he was the first person in his family to own a business.

“I left school when I was 15, and when you leave school so early you’re made to believe you’re not going to be successful.

“So I never thought I’d own a business, let alone do the academic side of it.”

England is going through the Ministry of Social Development’s Be Your Own Boss programme, which has funded him to start up his business.

As part of the programme, he is provided with up to $10,000 in startup money and has living costs covered for six months so he can focus on starting up his business.

England is three months into his weekly payments.

“The programme was definitely a huge part of the pull to come home.”

Although Thrive Whanganui is what facilitated the BYOB programme, England said it was business coaches Nikki Vernon and Shane Hobson who had been the major supports.

“If it wasn’t for Nikki and Shane I wouldn’t have the business up and running.”

England moved back to Whanganui last October after living in Auckland for six years.

“When I grew up here, I felt like I was the only queer in the village, so moving to Auckland helped me learn how to express myself and figure out who I am.

“Now I’ve come back I can bring all that experience back to where it matters the most for me, which is home in Whanganui.”

He said both of his brothers here had children over lockdown, which made it more important for him to be around.