Industrial ear piercings add a bit of edge to your organized earlobe
If you’re looking to add a bit of pizzazz to your everyday style, an industrial ear piercing might be the ultimate choice for enhancing aesthetics. Combining the novelty of a more non-traditional placement with the versatility of a classic ear piercing, it’s no surprise that the industrial – a style that has seen waves of popularity over the decades – is once again the piercing of the day among tastemakers and celebrities. Kylie Jenner, Miley Cyrus, Willow Smith and Demi Lovato have all shown off their respective industrial piercings over the years, with jewelry styles so different and reflecting each star’s distinct personality. That’s the beauty of an industrial piercing: with so many types of jewelry to choose from, you can effectively customize your piece of body art to suit all sorts of moods and vibes when they may arise.
As undeniably cool as industrial piercings are, it’s still body modification – and that means it requires a bit of upfront research into application, pricing, pain levels and aftercare to make sure that your piercing ends up looking its best and healing as healthily (and as quickly) as possible. To help you navigate the world of industrial piercings, Bustle turns to Cassi Lopez-Marsowner and head piercer at So Gold Studios in Brooklyn, New York, for professional insight into the entire process. Ahead, find out everything you need to know about industrial style.
What is an industrial piercing?
You may sometimes hear industrial piercings called barbell piercings, and they’re two interchangeable terms that refer to the same thing: two separate ear cartilage holes connected by a single barbell. The thickness of the bar is left to everyone’s discretion, but the piercing in general is not suitable for everyone’s ears. “These piercings require very specific anatomy and if you don’t have a piercer who knows how to do them well, you can end up with some really intense scarring,” warns Lopez-March, describing Industrialists as one of the piercings that ‘she often sees badly done. In general, an industrial piercing is suitable for you if you have defined external cartilaginous folds (also called the helix), although a proper in-person evaluation from a professional is essential before going ahead with your new jewelry. .
While the most popular industrial style of piercing connects your helix and front helix (that inner part closest to your face to the curved ridge of the ear), an experienced piercer can give you a vertical view of the look or adjust the pitches to be higher or lower. Your jewelry options are also more varied than you might think. Miley Cyrus, for example, has worn multicolored, beaded, and beaded versions over the years, swapping them out to suit different outfits and hairstyles. “A lot of people got industrial piercings in the late 2000s,” Lopez-March told Bustle. These days, she’s starting to see those with established industrialists looking for new ways to wear it — usually via something like a chain hanging from the ear, she says. “But I have people who are still looking for the classic barbell, sometimes titanium and sometimes gold too.”
What should you expect?
Due to the real possibility that your ears are not suitable for an industrial piercing, you’ll want to make sure you arrive at your appointment with plenty of time for the piercer to assess the situation. From there, you will decide on your preferred location together and your piercer will mark the exact locations to be pierced with sterile, single-use needles. Lopez-March confirms that it requires two separate piercings done in immediate succession, but that doesn’t mean double the pain. It’ll feel like a pinch, and you’ll probably be so distracted by the first one that you won’t even notice the second one. “Pain is relative,” says Lopez-March, “but with an experienced piercer, it should be pretty minimal.”
The last element to consider is the cost of industrial drilling. Despite the two punctures necessary for the look, you will only be charged for one piercing. As a general rule, expect to pay between $30 and $70 for the piercing itself, not including the jewelry — at So Gold Studios, for example, all piercings are $40 before the jewelry. “Quality studios typically charge a separate piercing fee, and implant-grade jewelry can start anywhere from $40 to $50,” Lopez-March says. This, of course, can extend far beyond that depending on the metal, gauge, and any additional gemstones or intricate designs.
What does tracking look like?
Once your new jewelry is in place, you’ll want to be especially mindful as your body begins the healing process. Watch out for hair tangling around the piercing (especially while showering or combing your hair) and watch out for things like hoods and bonnets that might snag on protruding studs. In general, though, Lopez-March says industrial piercing tracking is pretty straightforward. A good stream of water in the shower is really all you need, she confirms, although washing the wounds with sterile saline solution is also a good follow-up choice. It’s very important to keep the area well rinsed, she says, and let your body do what it does best.