While some people choose makeup or clothing as a means of expressing their personal style, others prefer to show off their aesthetic through accessories — and
ear piercings are one of the most visible ways to do so. From getting your rook pierced to adding an orbital, there are far more options than you may have imagined, and there's likely a perfect one for you.
To find out which ear piercings have been popular this year, Bustle spoke with experts like celebrity piercer
Brian Keith Thompson of Body Electric Tattoo, Stephanie Anders of Royal Heritage Tattoo, who calls celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz her clients, Brooklyn-based piercer Cassi Lopez-March of So Gold Studios, Bethrah Szumski of Atlanta's Virtue & Vice, and Alyssa Fernandez of New York City-based Stone and Strand.
Whether you've already got several piercings, are looking to get your first, or want to add to a small but growing collection, let these experts give you a look into what 2020's most popular ear piercings look like. From hanging jewelry to helix piercings,
cartilage piercings, and curated ears, there's something for everyone — so start compiling your inspiration stat. 1 Rook Piercings
rook, a cartilage piercing in the top part of the inner ear, will be popular this season, according to Brian Keith Thompson of Body Electric Tattoo and the piercer responsible for Cardi B's recent dermal piercings.
Thompson says the placement is one of his favorites, and he's seeing more people get the piercing done. "The rook is having its moment in the spotlight," he tells Bustle. "Most clients think the rook is too painful for them to pierce. That’s not true — pain is relative." If you're looking for jewelry to wear,
hoops and bars tend to be popular. 2 Orbital Piercings Cassi Lopez-March of So Gold Studios in Brooklyn predicts orbital piercings — a ring connecting two existing holes — to continue to grow in popularity. An orbital piercing differs from a conch piercing, which goes around the outer edge of the ear, and it can be incredibly versatile.
"They can make an ear look more delicate or do the total opposite depending on the jewelry and placement," she says. They are also highly customizable: "You can stack an orbital — multiple rings in one hole," she adds, "and you can even use rings with forward-facing stones to add color or texture ... I’m also a huge fan of hanging chains for the backs of orbitals. It gives it a bit more of a fancy look!"
Lopez-March, who also recommends simple marquise or bezel-set stones, adds that the piercing angles need to be perfectly aligned: "If you have two old piercings and the angles are off, connecting them with one ring may not work and can result in a ton of irritation in even the oldest piercing," she says.
3 Custom Jewelry
Celebrity piercer and owner of
Royal Heritage Tattoo Stephanie Anders says a new approach to jewelry is actually a 2020 trend. "The experience with my clientele has been less about individual piercings and more focused on working toward curating jewelry to create a cohesive ear aesthetic," she tells Bustle. For Anders, this means using pieces that are "similar in vibe and feel using multiple pieces of jewelry that have compatible aspects." She says choosing pieces with complementary shapes and colors is a good place to start.
"Now that quarantine has forced people to focus on themselves," she adds, "I feel like clients are moving away from what is trendy and focusing on embracing their individual taste and expression."
4 Hanging Piercings
Lopez-March also sees hanging piercings, like chainwork or dangling jewelry, gaining popularity through the end of the year. "Hanging pieces add some much-needed movement and a sense of texture to an ear," she says. "It can be a chain around a
conch piercing or a subtle stone dangle that hangs from a lobe. It can take an ear from 0 to 100 really fast."
If you're considering a hanging piercing, make sure your existing holes are well healed. "They can get caught easily and cause irritation," Lopez-March says. "You can hang pieces from just about any piercing — some of my favorite piercings for these are the rook, faux rook, and lobes."
5 Helix Piercings
Alyssa Fernandez of
Stone and Strand is seeing a surge in helix piercings. These are done on the upper outer ear but can vary between a double helix or a forward helix, which is at the front part of the ear where it connects to the side of the face. In particular, Fernandez sees helix piercings about halfway up the ear as a big trend. "A well-placed 'mid' helix piercing provides a lovely transition between lobe and higher cartilage piercings," she says, "and there's so many pieces that fit just right in that spot."
Fernandez recommends tiny single or double diamond studs, like Stone and Strand's
Tiny Diamond Ear Piercing or the Double Diamond Piercing, as well as unique shapes like the Gold Marquise piercing. 6 Flat Piercings Flat piercings will also become more popular, according to Fernandez. These piercings are down in the upper part of the inner ears — the flat part where it gets its name. "Flat piercings are awesome for statement pieces since it's a spot that allows for larger, bolder pieces, and are so eye-catching!" she tells Bustle. 7 Curated Ears
Bethrah Szumski of
Virtue & Vice in Atlanta says curated ears are the most popular trend she's seeing at her shop. For curated ears, multiple piercings with all different placements are done with a variety of jewelry to complement a person's ear. Szumski says it's more about personal ear shape than what's the trendiest piercing at the moment. "People want to feel the new piercing is unique, and that’s the way we achieve that," she tells Bustle. "That and a big jewelry selection."
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