Looking to draw attention to your eyes in a whole new way? This piercing is much different than the punk rock safety pin or hoop that we are familiar with. Horizontal eyebrow piercings are gaining popularity but are still more exotic and hard to find than a traditional “through the eyebrow” vertical eyebrow piercing. A horizontal eyebrow piercing is a surface piercing that is placed just above or below the eyebrow hairs or in some cases within the actual brow. Sometimes it may be slightly angled to suite specific anatomy. It is up to the piercer’s best judgment and your preference to decide the best placement for your new piercing; maybe close to the center or outer part of eyebrow if there is sufficient tissue.
A good professional piercer will manipulate and massage the area prior to piercing. This makes everything more comfortable by relaxing the tight skin and muscles in your face. Especially when massaging is done, most people find the horizontal eyebrow piercing to be nearly painless. Massaging the area also helps them to find the muscles they need to avoid. The two spots where the needle will go in and out are marked with a surgical pen. After you approve of the placement you will lay down on the piercing table, inhale deeply as the needle goes in, and then exhale slowly. Proper breathing is crucial; if you are calmer your body will be more receptive to the needle and there is less chance of jumping or flinching. Your piercer can use forceps or do this piercing free hand, depending on their personal preference and your anatomy. They will use a hollow 18, 16, or 14 gauge needle, depending on your brow structure and the aesthetic you are going for. Many people with this piercing say there is a warm and fuzzy feeling that is comparable to the small amount of pain involved with waxing or plucking your eyebrows.
Any eyebrow piercing, whether it is vertical, angled, or horizontal, is apt to experience bruising, swelling, and possible bleeding for up to a few days after the initial puncture. Even the most properly place piercing and perfectly fitting jewelry may seem like it is rejecting at first, but this feeling will subside once the tissue loosens around the jewelry and the swelling is alleviated. Surface piercings in general are harder to heal, so remember that patience is a virtue and do not take any shortcuts with aftercare. Make sure you follow your piercer’s aftercare guidelines closely.
The healing time for a horizontal eyebrow piercing is normally anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks, which is the same as a regular (vertical/angled) eyebrow piercing. Initial jewelry is a 18, 16, or sometimes 14 gauge (for fuller faces) surface bar or mini curved barbell with a minimum 3/8 inch length. As with all piercings, the initial jewelry you are pierced with will be longer to make room for swelling. It is recommended to have your piercer change the jewelry for you when the swelling subsides. Then you will be 100% sure that the piercing is healing correctly and that you have the correct size of jewelry. This will aid in healing and help prevent a lot of irritation and other problems that can arise.
Bigger is not better when it comes to horizontal brow piercings, and stretching is not recommended for any kind of eyebrow piercing. In general, wearing jewelry that is too heavy for a horizontal eyebrow piercing or wearing a straight barbell instead of the recommend curved can be problematic and may deter healing. When the jewelry and placement of the piercing are correct, the rejection rate for horizontal eyebrow piercings is very low. Your professional piercer will pinch your brow area during the consultation to make sure there is ample skin to pierce. Multiple eyebrow piercings are possible and beautifully compliment other facial piercings, adding that special twinkle to your eye.
Seen any sets of dangling chains lately? Whether it’s necklaces, dangly earrings, lavish belly rings, or any other fabulous jewelry, the thing of the moment is definitely to let it all hang. From runway shows, to the streets of every major city, everyone seems to be getting in on the over-sized action.
The best part about long dangling jewelry is that when it comes to styling, these pieces are extremely versatile. A single pair of extra-long earrings can be matched with a simple tee shirt and jeans, add some fun to a flashy cocktail dress, or impart some serious drama when paired with an updo and a plunging neckline. Long navel rings make the perfect mate for belly dancing costumes, long and flowing bohemian skirts, or teensy denim shorts that sit low on the hips. And amazingly lengthy necklaces go great at the beach, in the tiki bar, or layered for a style that screams, “ready to party.”
For a modern and simple look, pick a single statement piece and make it the center of attention, or to go a little more eclectic, coordinate long earrings with a navel-grazing necklace and some bohemian style bangles. It’s an update on 20s chic that works well on absolutely everybody. Going to great lengths for fashion has never been so easy.
Today is a little known holiday: Armed Forces Day, which was first celebrated in recognition of our military service men in 1950. To celebrate this potent patriotic event, we’re breaking out our favorite little nods to our men and women in service. These fun belt buckles show visual support for those that serve our country, along with some of our other everyday heroes. So go ahead and get hip to a big blast of Americana; red, white and blue never looked so good.
The words “plastic jewelry” sound so 1980s, right? Well it’s exactly that type of jewelry that’s been making a huge fashion comeback lately, but unlike those funky fresh, hot pink hoops from the days of In Living Color, this stuff ain’t your mamma’s throwbacks. Lucite and acrylic have come a long way, baby, and in the 2010s they’re about to bust out larger than life.
You may remember some pretty awesome lucite necklaces and earrings that have been bolstering this trend over the past couple years, like the beautiful Keith Haring creation from Beyonce’s “Move Your Body” video, or the “Classic Lucite Heart Collection” from Betsy Johnson. Lucite gives a fun and youthful look, and provides a plethora of styling options. From translucent tinted lucite, to mirrored, to brilliant chalky brights, the possibilities are nearly endless.
Watch as Lee gets a bridge piercing from James at American Skin Art in Buffalo NY. The needle pierces the flesh around 57 seconds into the video. The area is first cleaned. Then the proper jewelry is chosen based on anatomy, and the entry and exit points are marked and checked by both the piercer and the person being pierced. Lee reclines on the table. Then the area is clamped and a 14 gauge hollow needle is inserted, corked, and then chased by a 14 gauge straight titanium barbell. This is the second time Lee is getting the bridge piercing done. This makes it a little bit more painful than the average bridge piercing, due to old scar tissue. Still, it seems to be very little pain considering.
The horizontal surface piercing located on the bridge of the nose, between the eyes is called the Bridge, the Erl, or the Mid Brow piercing. The technical term for the tissue between the brows and above the nose is the glabella. You can get this piercing placed from the top of the brows to right above the bridge of the nose. A straight barbell or a small curved barbell can be used for this piercing. It is important that the placement is straight and the jewelry is a proper fit. This piercing is named after Erl Van Aken, an actor and early body modification pioneer, who had the first known bridge piercing from the famous shop The Gauntlet.
In order to receive a proper bridge piercing, the person being pierced must have sufficient skin in the right area, enough to pinch between the fingers. Your piercer must be very sure that you have sufficient padding between your jewelry and the underlying structures of your face as well; it could cause a lot of problems, including bone loss, to wear incorrect jewelry. Even with proper placement, procedure, and the correct anatomy, there is unfortunately a somewhat higher rate of rejection and chance of scarring.
It is a piercing urban legend that getting your bridge pierced will make you go cross eyed. If you do happen to notice the jewelry out of the corner of your eye that means the bar is most likely too long. Many people who wear corrective glasses or sunglasses do not think they can get this piercing due to aggravation from the glasses rubbing. Again, this is not true; if pierced high enough the piercing will not interfere with wearing glasses one bit.
The gauge of the needle and jewelry used is determined by the piercer based on how much tissue is available. For the initial bridge piercing it is recommended to use a 14 or 12 gauge barbell. The placement and gauge of the jewelry contributes to making the healing time a bit longer than an average piercing. It takes up to 4-6 months or more of proper care for this piercing to properly heal. You can use a straight barbell or a small curved barbell for the initial jewelry, and initial piercing jewelry is always longer to make space for swelling. The first time you change your piercing or downsize your jewelry, you should definitely consult your piercer.
Keeping the area free of harsh cleansers and moisturizers, anything scented, makeup, and hair is advisable during healing time. It is also very important to strictly follow your professional piercer’s aftercare guidelines. Cleaning the area regularly with salt water or a product such as H20cean is usually recommended. The bridge piercing is a very unique way to embellish an already beautiful face. With proper care, it can be very rewarding and gain lots of attention and compliments due to its rarity.
In this day and age, almost everybody has at least one piercing, tattoo, stretch mod, or some other form of what can be considered body modification. Things that were once considered strange, or even extreme, are becoming commonplace as all types of mods find a foothold in our culture. There are still certain modification experiences that only a chosen few take part in though, and two of these include the suspension and the energy pull.
A hook suspension, also called simply “suspension,” basically involves the placement of one or more large gauge piercings, often performed using special hooks. This type of temporary piercing, generally referred to as “play piercing,” should only be performed by a very experienced professional, as an acute knowledge of anatomy and physiological mathematics is required. After the appropriate number of hooks have been placed, they are then attached via ropes or cables to a winch or an apparatus that will be used to lift the individual off the ground, effectively suspending them in mid air.
There are several common types of suspension, each distinguishable by the placement of the hooks and the shape of the body once lifted. The “coma” for instance, is a suspension in which piercings are made along the front of the torso and thighs, so as to give the position once lifted of laying down. The reverse of this posture in which hooks are pierced through the back side of the torso and legs is called the “Superman.” And the “resurrection” involves two rows of hooks through the stomach, giving the impression of rising from the grave. Some other less practiced types of suspension include the angel, the ballerina, the cannonball, the chair, the fetus, the lotus, the scorpion, and even the winged monkey.
An energy pull involves similar sets of temporary piercings, but rather than suspending the body from a cage or other apparatus, the hooks are attached to a heavy or immovable object. In many cases, this object will be another living thing, whether it be a tree, or another human being, or several. The true meaning behind energy pull rituals in the sense of traditional practice is to pool the energy of those living entities involved towards a common goal, such as the formation of a specific shape, or the evolution of the life energy towards a more balanced flow.
As the current modified generation looks to the primitive roots of their body manipulations, even these more extreme types of body mod are beginning to spread, and the suspension community can only continue to grow.
Of all the creatures in nature, the butterfly is amongst the easiest for we humans to identify with. But what puts it up there with man’s best friend? Put simply, the butterfly is special because of what it once was: an ordinary caterpillar.
In their larval stage, as caterpillars, butterflies aren’t much to look at. Their chubby, grub-like appearance could even be considered dowdy. After a short stint inside the cocoon though, a creature of considerably more beauty emerges. Newly reborn, with long graceful limbs, a slender torso, and brilliantly patterned wings, the butterfly is truly a sight to behold. And it’s exactly that magical ability to transform that makes these dainty insects so inspiring.
Given the modern beauty aesthetic and the bevy of ever-changing celebrity looks, it’s no secret that today’s women are becoming masters of quick change proficiency. The art of the makeover has risen to new heights. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that nature’s maverick transformer has become inextricably associated with femininity.
Although the classic white moth and the monarch butterfly are arguably the most recognizable of this flighty species, butterflies, just like women, come in all beautiful shapes, colors, and sizes.
The tree of life has carved out a place in modern mythology over the years, becoming a highly recognizable symbol of the interconnectedness of all living things. Far more interesting though, is how this potent image also featured in almost all ancient civilizations in one way or another, and how it shaped the culture of body modification through tattooing.
The concepts adherent to the tree of life mythos are very universal. To many ancient civilizations, the deciduous trees in their native habitat were a very visible metaphor for the great cycle, representing youth (budding in the Spring), adulthood (the abundance of Summer), twilight (the weakening of Fall), death (Winter), and eventual rebirth. Furthermore, those trees that bore edible fruit could sometimes be seen as a gift from the gods, and may have been imbued with preternatural powers.
A mystical tree that anchors the life cycle, gives life, grants immortality, or connects the world of the living to the realm of the gods is present in the spoken or written legends of ancient Persia, Egypt, India, and China. Amazingly, this same type of great tree was also an integral part of the central folklore of the ancient Norse and Celtic societies, thousands of miles away. And even further abroad in the Americas, many Mesoamerican cultures, including the Aztecs and the Maya, also retained powerful legends of the “world tree,” or a life tree that connects the world of the living with the domain of the gods as well as the underworld. Even the pre-Columbian tribes of the American Northeast that later became the Iroquois nation passed down a creation myth that mentions a divine tree.
Although all of these civilizations and more acknowledged the tree of life in their central mythologies, it’s those tribes that advocated tattooing who would most shape the way such a tree was drawn or represented. Perhaps most notably, the pagan tribes of ancient England and Ireland, collectively referred to as the Celts. These groups were often tattooed, particularly their holy men and those of the warrior class, and the tree of life featured prominently. Though over the centuries there were many incarnations of the tree in different styles of tattoo art, two of the most common are a blooming tree with knots in the trunk or roots, and a leafless tree whose branches and roots interconnect to form a great circle.
Following a recent resurgence in traditional tribal styles of tattooing, both of these representations as well as many more have once again become common. Although the methods of tattooing are far different, the beauty of its symbolism remains the same, and the tree of life is likely to continue on in body art for millennia to come.
Today is Twilight Zone Day, and to celebrate the history of this awesome nod to retro noir television, we’re breaking out the black and white, so get ready to get down Sci Fi style. Retro fashion is usually simple and sweet, but the Twilight Zone represents the darker side of all things 1960s. These fun black and white plugs capture that gently creepy, Hitchcockian feel, but with the modernized twist of hyper-realism (’cause we all know the Twilight Zone is all about the twists)! Wear them with your favorite Jackie O shades and shrunken motorcycle jacket for a nod to yesteryear with a little right-now edge.
I remember being a teenager and having someone from a car yell “FREAK” at me as I walked by; it really made me think about the word and what it meant. Even though it was meant to be derogatory, I have always taken it as a compliment. If being a freak meant that I loved shock value and standing out from the crowd then I was ready to wave my freak flag proudly. I have always been interested in the culture of the modified. Many people view body modification as a rite of passage, and some as a pure act of self expression. Body modification includes common procedures such as piercings and tattoos, but it also means much more. Some people take it to the next level. These people are real life “freaks” (and I say that with love and awe, not to be offensive). Sideshow performers, oddities, and truly beautiful weirdos; they are not afraid to be themselves and celebrate the fact that being different is beautiful.
The art of circus performance is an age old tradition. It was popular in the Victorian era and revolutionized by PT Barnum and the performers of the Coney Island circuit in the early 20th century. The freak show has always been a main attraction in the old time circus and carnival scene. Individuals who had physical oddities were displayed for entertainment sake. Extremely small and large people, women with beards, people covered in tattoos, biological rarities, physical deformities such as missing or extra limbs, Siamese twins, or whatever else made someone stand apart and made them worthy of being classified as a freak would generate huge crowds full of curiosity. People were willing to pay a pretty penny to sit and stare at these medical wonders with absolute awe and utter amazement.
Modern side show freaks are having a resurgence in popular culture while reviving and innovating old traditions. The side show has transformed and is now more focused on performance. The freaks voluntarily use their bodies as malleable canvases and tools for entertainment. For the sake of political correctness and the humane treatment of all the world’s creatures, the new freak show is based on performance and voluntary body modification rather than physical abnormality or disability. In the modern era, it is obviously distasteful to recognize and mock physical deformities. Modern side shows employ only those who work hard at their unique craft and know how to manipulate their bodies expertly. It is a way of life.
I am a burlesque performer, which has always gone hand in hand with the sideshow entertainment world. Many performers in the burlesque world modify and decorate their bodies with things such as corset training, tattoos, and piercings. During my career I have been lucky enough to perform with two different traveling sideshow circus troupes: The Cockabilly Roadshow from Coney Island and more recently The Hellzapoppin Sideshow Revue from Texas. Helzapoppin Side Show Revue is the biggest current travelling sideshow troupe, and they have been on tour with Ozzfest and more! I can’t believe that I have shared the stage with contortionists, sword swallowers, those who lay on nail beds, participate in play piercings, those with large amounts of tattoos, fire breathers, hook suspensionists, sword walkers, glass eaters, and I even met a woman named Boobzilla who smashes bricks with her chest. Chelsea NoPants, of Helzapoppin swallowed swords, breathed fire, and walked on a ladder of swords the night I met her. She was able to bend a normal coat hanger that was inserted into her throat like a sword. She also participated in play piercing by having darts thrown at her body. It is really an out of this world experience to be part of a show like that.
There are natural freaks and self made freaks. A “natural freak” has a genetic abnormality that shapes their performances, and a made freak has undergone body modification to gain their current physical configuration. These people prove that nothing is impossible. Many forms of body modification have their origins in the freakshow, even way back into antiquity. The current popularity of freakdom has broken into the mainstream once more. Tattoos , piercings, and extreme modification take center stage on this new wave of popularity. Extreme body modification is becoming more and more common and even accepted. Layered full body tattoos creates interesting characters and transforms a normal human into almost a cartoon superhuman. Subdermal implants, injections, and piercings that are stretched to great lengths are also gaining popularity.
Famous Side Show Performers/ Body Modification Stars
-Eric Sprague, aka The Lizardman , has sharpened teeth, a full body tattoo of green scales, split tongue, sub dermal implants on his brows, and stretched ear lobes.
-Dennis Avner, aka the Catman, surgically modified his body to resemble a tiger. Dennis is currently the world record holder for most body modifications.
-Etienne Dumont- Living Art- has tattoos from heat to toe, silicone implants in his head, nostrils and lower lip stretched, and he wears Plexiglas plugs in them to see through.
- The Enigma- has horn implants, a plethora of piercings, a full body puzzle tattoo, and he has the work of over 200 artists on him.
-Katzen the Tiger Lady- has extensive body tattoos and wears whiskers attached via piercings on her face. (Katzen is the German word for cats.)
-Rick Genest- full body zombie tattoos and other body modifications.
-Julia Gnuse- aka the illustrated lady, has 95% of her skin covered in ink.
-Lucky Diamond Rich- most tattooed person in the world.
-Elaine Davidson- the most pierced person in the world.
-Pauly Unstoppable- is heavily modified with large stretched piercings and dermals; he is always changing form, and is the first man to ever get tattoos on his actual eyeball.
You do not have to go to the boardwalk on Coney Island to view the side show anymore. You can check out one of the touring acts or even just browse the interwebs. The age of the internet gives a more broad and endless audience to the sideshow. It is a whole new arena of fame. Photo sharing sites such as Tumblr and Pinterest have sky rocketed the careers of many body modification superstars. These sites celebrate the unique and the unimaginable. Television is also jumping on the bandwagon. The A&E show called “Freakshow” features performers and human oddities that are heavily modified and performing death defying feats.
I have seen power drills inserted into nasal cavities, insertion of Fakirs through skin, sword swallowing, glass eating, laying on a nail bed, and so much more. It amazes me that these fantastic humans know exactly where to place skewers through the flesh or swords in their throats so as to not bleed or damage any muscles and organs. The performers are able to manipulate and move their organs out of way. The human body is truly a miracle to behold; it is magical how it can be molded and what can be done to it. Things that I once assumed were impossible are not; it just takes practice, skill, and dedication. Normal is only what you make of it, and self expression and culture can transform someone into a true masterpiece.