Ear Cuffs Are The No-Piercing-Required Way To Play With Your Style

Here’s some inspo for your stack.

How to experiment with ear cuffs, no piercing required.
Getty Images/Rune Hellestad - Corbis / Contributor

Much like cutting bangs or dyeing your hair, getting an ear piercing can seem like a big deal. It’s tough to figure out the placement you want, first of all — do you want a helix, or are you more of an inner conch or orbital type of person? — and it can be even tougher to actually go through with the piercing itself.

That’s where ear cuffs come in. These zero-commitment, no-pierce-required earrings (or faux earrings, technically) are a great choice when you’re still trying to figure out what you like. “They are easy to get creative with and a great complement to existing piercings,” says Beth Moeri, EVP and chief merchandising officer at Claire’s.

Ear cuffs are also fun to play around with, even if you don’t plan to get the actual piercing. “The beauty of ear cuffs is their versatility,” Moeri tells Bustle. “They can work for any look, day or night, and it’s easy to switch up their placement.” Go for a sparkly pair to dress up an outfit, stick with a minimalist huggie style for every day, or wear several on your ear at once for a maximalist stack.

Depending on the style you choose, you can also live out your late ’90s and early 2000s nostalgia, Moeri says, which is when ear cuffs were huge. She suggests pairing a cuff with a pair of simple hoops or studs to get the look. But if you really want to go full Y2K, pop one on to wear with a pair of colorful sunglasses and antenna bangs. The styling possibilities are truly endless. Here, minimalist jewels, dramatic snakes, and more ear cuffs to shop — no piercing necessary.

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The Expert

Beth Moeri, EVP, the chief merchandising officer at Claire’s.

1. Metal Wires

“When choosing an ear cuff, you want to keep in mind the statement you’re looking to make,” Moeri suggests. “Do you want a showstopper to cover your entire ear or are you looking for something to enhance your piercings and ‘earprint’?” If you want something that’ll blend seamlessly with your existing piercings, go for a simple wire cuff from Claire’s. This three-pack includes one rose gold, one silver, and one gold option.

  • Pros: Thin style, comes with three options in one pack

Material: Metal

2. Snake

As Moeri says, the beauty of no-piercing ear cuffs is that there are really bold options you can play around with. “They can be worn for a full coverage bolder look, perhaps one that’s cascading along the outside edge of the ear,” she tells Bustle. If you want to live out your ’90s fantasy, pop on this silver-toned snake cuff that wraps around your ear.

  • Pros: Trendy

Material: Metal

3. Double Huggie

Want to look extra fancy for a special occasion or spruce up a T-shirt and jeans? Then check out these dainty ear cuffs from Pavoi that are lined with 18 faux diamonds. They’re simple, cute, elegant, and designed to be worn at the helix. They come in a variety of colors and are ideal for sensitive ears.

  • Pros: Small business, hypoallergenic, nickel-free, lead-free, and cadmium-free.

Review: “These are great to get a fun look without having to go through the actual piercing process,” one Amazon reviewer said. “They’re the perfect size, just enough sparkle, and not painful to wear all day. You can’t beat the price!”

Size: 12mm round

Material: Plated in 14K gold

4. Pearls

“Smaller ear cuffs are some of the most popular today and one of the easiest ways to switch up your look,” Moeri says. “The most traditional placement is at the top points of the ear, but today we’ve seen a rise in popularity of multiple cuffs along the lower part of the ear.” Hang one of these pearl cuffs near the orbital piercing location to get the look.

  • Pros: Comes with multiple styles

Material: Metal

5. Ear Cuff Pack

If you want to try out a whole assortment at once, go for this variety back from Sloong. You’ll get 10 different ear cuffs, including heart-shaped, studded, sparkling, and a simple twist. Wear one by itself or stack them down the entire length of your ear. They’re lightweight, hypoallergenic, and an ideal way to figure out your piercing style.

  • Pros: Lead-free, nickel-free, multiple colors, can be worn on cartilage or helix
  • Cons: Can be a little hard to take off

Review: “These are really cute! They’re easy to put on, sturdy, not heavy, and they actually stay on,” writes one reviewer.

Size: Slightly adjustable for a firmer fit

Material: Brass

6. Minimalist Silver Cuff

Get the look of a cool cartilage piercing, all without having to schedule an appointment with a piercer. Ideal for sensitive skin, this cuff is hypoallergenic platinum plated in sterling silver and is also nickel-free and lead-free. The cuffs come with a cleaning cloth and gift box, so you can gift them to a friend.

  • Pros: Hypoallergenic, comes in multiple colors and styles

Review: “I’ve ordered several pairs of ear cuffs and these are definitely my faves,” a reviewer said. “They seem thicker and sturdier than the other silver ones I’ve gotten, which I’m worried about breaking. I’m using them as a ‘conch piercing’ and they’re plenty big to fit on, stay on, and remain comfortable.”

Size: 11.7mm

Material: Platinum plated sterling silver

7. Silver Celtic Knot

Another option is this pretty Celtic knot ear cuff featuring a braided design. Made with adjustable, hypoallergenic sterling silver, this two-pack will add a little something funky to your lobe. It comes with a cleaning cloth, too, so you can keep the silver shiny.

  • Pros: Adjustable, hypoallergenic
  • Cons: Could feel a bit tight for some

Review: “I absolutely love these — they’re so sturdy and well-made,” says one reviewer. “I like combining them in various ways, but mostly wear them on my conch.”

Size: 11.7 mm

Material: Platinum plated sterling silver

8. Mixed Metals

This earrings pack includes eight clip-on ear cuffs made of slightly adjustable, high-quality stainless steel. You’ll get a shiny double cuff with cubic zirconia gems, a simple wire twist, a studded twist, and a leaf design in both silver and gold tones. Just pinch one onto your cartilage, and you’ll be good to go.

  • Pros: Adjustable, hypoallergenic
  • Cons: Could feel a bit tight for some

Review: “Loved the style options and color/type of metal finish,” a reviewer noted. “Perfect selection to elevate any accessories you already have or mood you’re in!”

Size: 8-10 mm

Material: Mixed metals, stainless steel

9. Triple Gold

Pick up a pair of these 14K gold-filled cuffs for $12.99, or buy just one for $9.99, and pretend like it's 2004 again. Made with ear-friendly brass, these highly polished cuffs will look super cute all on their own or when paired with other jewelry.

  • Pros: Lightweight, hypoallergenic

Review: “I wear them every day with other gold huggie earrings and they look so awesome,” a reviewer said. “They are remarkably comfortable and I have sensitive ears! Tip: bend them on the outside rings to make them look more natural along the curve of your ear's conch, just like multiple hoop piercings would really appear!”

Size: 3.8mm - 3.9mm

Material: 14K gold filled, brass

10. Cubic Zirconia Huggie

These super sparkly faux diamond huggie earrings have that dainty, elegant look that you might want to wear to work or a wedding. They’re made of 925 sterling silver with a 14K gold plate that’s nickel-free, lead-free, and hypoallergenic. Layer on multiple cuffs or just wear one.

  • Pros: Good for sensitive ears, hypoallergenic

Review: “These are extremely comfortable. I have had these cuffs on non-stop since I got them about a week ago and they stay put and don’t move around — I love them!” writes one reviewer.

Size: 12 mm round

Material: 925 sterling silver, 14K gold plate

11. Chunky Gold Twist

Another option from Myears, these chunky gold twists are made with brass and 14K gold fill. They’re lightweight, so you won’t even remember you have them on. And they’re hypoallergenic, so you won’t find yourself playing with them throughout the day. Just throw one on to complete a cool, minimalist look.

  • Pros: Hypoallergenic, lightweight

Review: “Worked out in them and went into the jacuzzi and so far no damage,” a review said.

Size: 3.8mm - 3.9mm

Material: 14K gold filled, brass