Full disclaimer before diving into this feature: Despite saving countless piercing photos on Instagram and spending many hours pining over bejewelled ear stacks, I only have my earlobes pierced. Yes, my piercing journey is short and sweet. I first had them pierced when I was 7 after begging my parents so I could be just like the other girls in my class. The summer holiday that followed went by in a haze of pus, pain and me verging on passing out every time my mum tried to clean them for me. Suffice to say, the earrings were removed before the six weeks were up, and I did not return to school in September with any ear bling to show for it. Lesson learnt? Never try to fit in with the cool kids.
My second foray into piercing came at 11, when I decided that I was now grown up enough to cope with the care and cleaning of said piercings for myself. This time, they did eventually heal (overlooking an iffy period when they got infected after I removed them too early so I could replace them with some stylish butterfly studs from Claire's).
At this point, I do feel inclined to mention that there was a third foray into piercing when I was 16 and decided that Reading Festival was the perfect place to get my helix pierced. The less said about that the better—the fact is that now, I have one simple lobe piercing in each ear and that’s it.
However, it turns out that there are a huge number of ways to get your ears pierced, and as I approach my 30th birthday, I think the ear-piercing bug might be making a return. If you’re also pondering a new piercing and aren’t sure where to start, then worry not—I’ve done the hard work for you. Keep scrolling to discover all the different types of ear piercings, the celebrities that are making them look fabulous and the best jewellery to show them off.
The David Attenborough of the piercing world (it’s inoffensive, everyone’s heard of it, and both you and your nan can get on board with it). Traditionally, most lobe piercings would be placed directly in the centre of your earlobe (the fleshiest part of your ear), but high-lobe piercings are also popular for adding more piercings onto your ear.
“We have found that the upper lobe is starting to gain a lot more attention—just before the cartilage starts,” explained Sam Haylor, a piercer at Astrid & Miyu. “It’s obviously quite popular to have two lobe piercings. People are skipping the third and getting a single piercing just before the cartilage starts.”
Again, another pretty standard piercing—and the go-to ear piercing of choice for anyone coming of age in the early noughties. Helix piercings go through the upper cartilage of your ear and can be worn with a stud or a hoop. In fact, Sam told us it’s one of “the most popular ear piercings to get done at the moment.”
I’ve got major ear envy over Liu’s bedecked lobed. This ear cuff is secured from her helix piercing and trails down the edge of her ear for a real statement piece.
A classic beauty look for Rihanna is complemented by her elegantly stacked helix piercings.
Piercer to the stars Maria Tash came up with the “Tash Rook”—a less intense piercing than the classic rook that sits through the upper cartilage of your ear, as demonstrated by style influencer Brittany Xavier.
Not for the faint-hearted, a conch piercing (so named because of the way your ear looks a bit like the shell made infamous in Lord of the Flies) goes right through the centre of your ear. There are two types of piercings (inner and outer), and you wear a stud in the inner-conch piercing and a hoop in the outer-conch piercing.
The bit of your ear that joins the front of your ear to your head wasn’t a place I would ever have considered piercing, but I’ll say it: I’m in love with the tragus piercing. It looks super chic and can be worn with a stud or a hoop. There’s also a piercing known as anti-tragus, which is on the piece of cartilage just above your lobe.
Proving that piercings can be dainty, Kelly Rowland’s tragus piercing is fitted with a beautiful petite stud, while her lobes are stacked up with stylish hoops.
Scarlett Johansson has it all going on with her collection of piercings—including lobes and her standard and front helix. However, it’s the dainty gold hoop that sits in her tragus piercing that I love most.
In well-being circles, the daith piercing is actually celebrated as a cure for migraines. Whether or not that’s true, this inner-ear piercing is undoubtedly stylish. This piercing looks best with a hoop that can hug the inner cartilage. “The daith is the hoop on the inner ear, and it’s such a lovely piercing to get as it has that slightly edgy but dainty vibe to it,” said Sam. “You can either wear it with a plain hoop or slightly more detailed hoops. It also heals extremely well due to the fact it is on the inside of the ear.”
As hard-hitting as it sounds, an industrial ear piercing is when two helix piercings are made—one in the cartilage close to your head, known as a forward-helix piercing, and one in the standard place—and are joined by one piece of bar jewellery. Definitely one for the cool kids.
Kylie Jenner keeps her ear jewellery simple here with a sleek gold industrial bar and a pair of sparkling studs. After all, it’s her outfit that’s making the biggest statement here.
Miley Cyrus opts for silver for her industrial ear piercing to match her safety pin studs.