If your parents didn’t have your ears pierced before you left the hospital where you were born, chances are they let you—after a solid year of begging—get small studs or hoops put in once you were a teen. Chances are also that that was a long time ago, and you’ve moved on to lusting after other, more expensive accessories.
But what if you haven’t? What if, at the age of 31, you realize that your 15-year-old wish for piercings hasn’t gone away? What do you do? And more importantly, where do you go? It’s not as if you can just walk into the Claire’s at the local mall (and walk out feeling sophisticated). These are the questions my friend Sarah recently faced when, inspired by a new ear cuff and some posts on Pinterest, she decided last week to get two new piercings in her left ear. Plenty of research and $80 later, she’s happy with her new look, and has these adult-friendly tips to share:
1. Click Around
Unsure where to go, Sarah searched for piercing and tattoo parlors on Yelp, then scoured the reviews. “I found that Ocean Front Tattoo, this little shop on the Venice boardwalk (a bit scary sounding) was #1,” she says. “Everyone said it was super clean and that Myke, the piercer, was quick and great, so I felt I was in good hands. I was out of there in ten minutes.”
2. Know What To Ask For
With so many piercing options available nowadays, knowing the difference between a cartilage or lobe piercing is as important as knowing the difference between “ashy” or “golden” blonde when lightening up at the salon. Spending time looking at photos of pierced ears on “Pinterest helped me think through the placement of the two additional holes I wanted,” says Sarah. “Myke drew dots on my ear first so I could approve the locations.”
3. Don’t Be Scared
Getting pierced doesn’t hurt! At least, not as much as you might recall. “I definitely remember a painful metal-hitting-metal noise from the gun that was used on me when I was much younger,” says Sarah. “This time it was noiseless with just a needle. He told me to breath in, then out, and he pierced on the out.”
4. Skip the Peroxide Pick Up
When Sarah told Myke she used alcohol to clean her ears when she last had them pierced, he looked at her like she was nuts. The new way to clean piercings is with a salt water spray that retails for $10 to $20, depending on the bottle size. The only alcohol you’ll need post piercing: a celebratory drink.