With hundreds of thousands of tags on Instagram, ear piercings are the trend du jour, but we’re not just talking about getting one or two. Some people call it an ‘ear project’, others refer to it as a ‘curated ear’ – whatever the name, it’s clear that the demand for multiple, delicate piercings isn’t going anywhere soon. “The curated ear is the newest trend within the industry as it’s simply more visible with sites such as Instagram and Snapchat and even on the runway,” explains Sam Hayler, head piercer at the fashionista-loved jewelry brand Astrid & Miyu.
Since you no longer have to go to a tattoo parlor to get a piercing, the practice has become more accessible than ever. If you’ve given some thought to starting your own ear project, our expert has some tips. “There are a few very important rules you should follow, the first being research,” Hayler says. “A good piercer will be able to work with any anatomy put in front of them, and help assist you in designing your dream ear – it takes a lot of time, effort, and planning to achieve this.” In other words, make sure you go to a reputable outlet with good ratings and lots of positive customer feedback.
“Secondly, if you’re looking to get multiple piercings done its important to know you can only have three done in one healing period to put as little stress on your immune system as possible,” she says. “Lastly, we only recommend you getting piercings done on one side at a time so it won’t impact your beauty sleep.” To address your further questions about piercing placement and pain levels, Hayler breaks down the most sought-after types of ear piercings, below.
The standard lobe piercing is pretty self-explanatory. It’s the squishy bit of skin at the bottom of your ear, commonly referred to as first holes or first lobe piercings. “Upper lobe piercings include anything from second lobe holes up to just before the cartilage starts,” Hayler shares. “For both standard and upper lobe piercings, you can have hoops or labrets (studs with the flat back). Healing time is three to six months, and these are usually the least painful of them all.”
“Any piercing in the outer cartilage rim of the upper part of the ear is referred to as a helix or auricle piercing. For this one, you can have hoops or labrets. The forward helix (also referred to as the anti-helix) is the small strip of cartilage over the tragus. You can only have this one pierced with labrets, and it takes nine to 12 months healing time.”
Industrial Helix Piercings
“An ‘industrial’ is a piercing joining the upper part of the forward helix and helix together with one long barbell. That takes 12 months or more healing time. If you’re looking to get more ear piercings done, a good place to start is with a helix piercing and an ear cuff. They’re like a piercing without the commitment, so you can see if you like the look of it first.”
“The tragus is the flap of cartilage that sits over the ear canal directly above your lobe,” Hayler explains. “This takes at least 12 months healing time. The anti-tragus is the small bump of cartilage next to your lobe and opposite your tragus. You can only have this one pierced with labrets, and healing time is nine to 12 months.”
“The daith is the cartilage behind the tragus and below the rook. This one feels like just a little pressure. This one can be with either a hoop or curved barbell, and takes nine to 12 months healing time.”
“This is the little shelf of cartilage behind the forward helix – it’s usually seen as one of the more painful piercings. This can only be pierced with a curved barbell for optimum healing in nine to 12 months.”
“The conch is the ‘bowl’ of your ear, and this piercing is often referred to as an orbital when a hoop is worn. This one feels like just a little pressure. You can only have it pierced with labrets, and healing time is nine to 12 months. The outer conch is the flat part between the rook, forward helix, and helix. You can only have this one pierced with labrets, and healing time is also nine to 12 months.”