Gone are the days when you are expected to pick out a single pair of earrings. Today, the more-is-more mantra is the way of life when it comes to your lobes. Thinking of hopping on the trend bus and trying one out for yourself? Here's everything you need to know before going in for the needle.
What is a constellation piercing?
Multiple piercings have been the rage for a while now, and constellation piercings are a specific, stylized version of the look. "A constellation piercing is a group of multiple piercings—usually three or four, but possibly more–that create a unique pattern on your ear," says Trisha Okubo, the founder and creative director of jewelry brand Maison Miru. "Like the constellations in the night sky, they're designed to have a specific pattern or shape that complements your personal ear anatomy."
This can mean multiple piercings on your lobe, helix, tragus, and cartilage—using either studs, hoops, or chains—that come together to create a constellation of sorts. "Not every piercing works on every ear and it's a unique opportunity to express who you are," says Lisa Bubbers, the co-founder and CMO of STUDS, a piercing and jewelry shop in New York City.
What to know before getting a constellation piercing
1. Always consult with your piercer
Since piercers spend a lot of time, well, piercing, they'll have a good sense of what sort of shapes will work with your individual ear. "Consult with your piercer about your overall vision before getting pierced," Okubo. "Think about what you want to achieve and your aesthetic vision, your medical and healing history, and what future piercings you may want as well." Since the whole point of a constellation piercing is the overall look it creates, she adds that you'll want to strategically place each piercing for maximum effect—which your pro will be able to help you with.
2. You may have to space out your piercings
The time it takes for your piercings to heal depends on a lot of different variables, including their location, the number of holes made in a given session, and your individual body. According to Okubo, ear lobe piercings take around two months to heal, while upper ear piercings can take between three and 12 months.
Because of this, may want to start slowly and only get a few piercings at once. "It's best to get no more than three piercings in one session to allow your ear to appropriately heal," says Okubo. "You can try a set of lobe piercings to start, which tend to hurt the least, and a duo or trio of lobe piercings is a low-risk foundation to start from." And another pro tip? Only pierce one ear at a time so that you'll have one free side that's comfortable to sleep on. "Constellation piercings are a project—like anything worth doing, it might not be done in a day," says Okubo.
3. Curating your jewelry can be a lot of fun
Arguably the most fun part of constellation piercings is the fact that you can get creative in the ways you decorate them. "Think about which kinds of jewelry you'll be wearing in each piercing before you get pierced," says Okubo. "Constellation piercings are about creating a specific overall look, which can change dramatically if you change out your jewelry." If you can't decide whether or not to take the plunge on something, try a no-pierce cuff or sticker stud to see if you like the way it looks. When you first get pierced, you'll have to use either solid 14-carat gold, implant grade titanium, or surgical stainless steel piercing earrings to minimize the chance of sensitivity or infection, but once they're healed, you can swap them out to change up your look as frequently as you want.
Are there any risks associated with constellation piercings?
While constellation piercings are generally safe, you'll want to take care not to overdo it. "The only risk with a constellation piercing is getting too many ear piercings at once," says Bubbers. "This can cause swelling, infection, or the ear to 'eat' the jewelry." Because of this, you'll want to work with your piercer to ensure you're careful, which may mean getting your piercings in phases. "We recommend always getting a needle-piercing over a gun-piercing for health, safety and the best placement of the piercing, and recommend a maximum of two piercings on an ear per session for safest healing." This is particularly important on sensitive skin, which may take longer to heal.
How much does a constellation piercing cost?
Depending on where you go to get pierced and what type of jewelry you choose, the cost for the service varies significantly. Generally, you'll be charged per piercing and earring. As far as jewelry goes, 14-carat gold costs more than titanium or stainless steel, which is something to keep in mind if you're looking to save. At Studs, for example, services cost $35 for one piercing or $50 for two, and piercing jewelry costs $30 to $180.
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