Shark Bites Lip Piercings Are The Update To An Early 2000s Emo Trend

Here’s what to know.

Originally Published: 
Shark bites piercings are trending in the body art world.
Getty Images/Klaus Vedfelt

There’s a cool piercing trend on everyone’s lips — and I mean that literally. It’s called the shark bites piercing, and with over 70 million views, it’s already all over TikTok. While lip piercings have been in the spotlight since 2019, shark bites are officially leaving a mark all their own.

If you’re into the look of a center lip labret or snake bites, you can think of the shark bite piercing as the next step up. “Shark bite piercings are a pretty cool trend in the body art world,” says Victoria Hudgins, a tattoo and body art expert with Tattoo Glee. “Think of them as the edgier cousin to the standard lip piercing.”

If you were emo (or knew someone emo) in the early 2000s, you may remember seeing snake bite lip piercings everywhere. They were *the* body art lewk of the era, and featured one stud or hoop on each side of the lower lip. Now, shark bites are taking the trend to the next level with two labrets rather than one — making the piercing look like rows of shark teeth (hence the name).

Just be warned that it does hurt a bit, especially since shark bites entail four piercings for the full look. “I won't sugarcoat it — all piercings come with some degree of discomfort,” Hudgins tells Bustle, noting that this one feels like a sharp pinch. And because you’re getting multiple piercings at once, the procedure usually costs about $150 — jewelry not included.

If you decide to go through with it, expect a healing time of about four to eight weeks. “Oral piercings can be very finicky, especially when there's more than one,” Starr Ellis, owner and piercer at Nine Moons Piercing, previously told Bustle. It’s easy for infections to form next to your mouth where bacteria hang out, so be sure to follow the piercing aftercare rules given to you by your piercer.

According to Cassi Lopez-March of So Gold Studios in Brooklyn, New York, it’s often recommended that you irrigate new piercings twice a day before drying the area with sterile gauze or a clean paper towel. This post-piercing care applies to all types of piercings regardless of location, she previously told Bustle, so you may be used to it with your other body art spots. Give the area a rinse with a saline solution and leave it be — no ointments are required.

Also key? Try not to play with the piercing. And if you happen to wear a face mask, be extra careful until your shark bites are fully healed. "Mask straps harbor bacteria — if that bacteria enter the site of the new piercing during the healing process, it could create an infection of the piercing site,” Lopez-March said.

Shark bites look great with small, silver studs. This is the classic shark bite look and a great starting place when you first get your piercing.

You could also opt to mix your metals. The mixed metals trend is big on TikTok, and this is the perfect piercing to try it out with.


Victoria Hudgins, a tattoo, body art expert with Tattoo Glee

Starr Ellis, owner, piercer at Nine Moons Piercing

Cassi Lopez-March, piercer with So Gold Studios

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