Archive for Crash Course
It’s that time of year again. The time for back to school shopping, stacking up that new new Fall wardrobe, and prepping for yearbook photos and homecoming dances. But for those who are pierced, there’s a couple things you’ll need this season that may not have been on your shopping list. Here’s the lowdown:
1. Replacement Parts
Replacement parts are a must have to prevent any little mishaps from becoming big problems. From time to time, a barbell might get bent or stripped, or a body jewelry ball might get lost, and for those instances when you can’t exactly leave class to grab another, having a bonus pack with all of the necessary pieces stashed in your locker can be a life saver.
Aftercare (for new piercings especially) is an absolute must, but can be difficult to fit into a busy schedule packed with after school clubs and activities. That’s where ready-mixed, on the go products like sprays and mouthwashes come in. Just carry some of these with you, and you’ll always be taken care of whether its after gym or at your after-school job.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’ time to welcome another happy, healthy, and ridiculously hectic school year.
When it comes to hair coloring products, makeup products, and all of the clothing and accessories we wear, the first step is to determine skin tone. Once you know if your skin’s undertones are warm or cool, the corresponding shades of almost any color can be found, and wearing corresponding colors will maximize your natural glow.
Skin tones that fall under the “warm” spectrum will have bases that are reddish, orangey, yellowish, golden, or olive. Those that fall into the “cool” category will have a base of more rosy pink, cooler browns and beiges, and blue based hues.
One easy way to tell is to find a paper or cloth sample in both true white (stark, paper white) and cream (yellowish off-white) and hold them up to your face in the mirror. If the creamy tone seems to fit best against your skin, then you likely have warm undertones, and if the pure white sample is more flattering then your undertones are likely cool.
Now that you have your skin tone down, here are some of the colors that will look best with both warm and cool undertones:
Those of us with warm skin will look great in gold tone jewelry, as well as rose gold, copper, and more neutral shades of silver.
As for other colors, peachy pinks, corals, Chinese red, safflower, yellow-based greens, reddish browns, and slightly warm lighter blues will all be great choices.
For those with cooler skin tones, steel or silver tone jewelry will be best, along with rhodium and titanium finishes with a gently bluish undertone.
In colorful items, rosy pinks and purples, deep blue-based reds, teal and seafoam greens, and blues of varying depths will work nicely.
Although both black and white will work on every skin tone, even here you can maximize your natural coloring by choosing blue-blacks, and true white for cooler tones and rich blacks and creamy whites for warmer ones.
A small percentage of persons have truly neutral skin undertones, and if you’re one of those lucky few, a wide variety of shades from both ends of the spectrum will work. Just remember in a pinch that neutral browns, purples, grays and flesh tones will always do the trick.
So now that we’ve gotten the hard part over with, time to go shopping!
When we say “dermal,” we’re making a reference to a class of piercings that appear to have a single entry point in the skin, rather than both an entry and an exit point like a traditional piercing. For organizational purposes, there are four main types of dermal piercing: the sub-dermal, the trans-dermal, the microdermal, and what’s called a skin diver.
Sub-dermal piercings can be considered less of a piercing, and more like an implant, and thus are often referred to as sub-dermal implants instead. This is when a piece of jewelry is implanted underneath the skin so as to leave the impression of its shape. Some common sub-dermal implants include those in the shape of horns, stars, hearts, and loops or “doughnut” shapes.
When a sub-dermal is completed, there will be no visible entry or exit points as with a piercing, just the shape given to the skin by the underlying jewelry. These are generally implanted surgically through a single incision which is then healed shut.
Trans-dermal piercings are also considered a type of implant, and are implanted through a two-prong process. These require both an incision and a punched or pierced hole. The hole will be made using a hollow needle or dermal punch, and then a few inches away an incision will be made too. The jewelry is then inserted under the skin via the incision, and moved so that its free end protrudes through the piercing. This allows for less noticeable scarring around the piercing itself, as the healed incision is not in the same area as the visible portion of the jewelry.
Trans-dermal and microdermal jewelry both consist of two parts: a base (which remains underneath the skin), and a topper (the part that can be seen above the skin.) The big difference is that microdermal bases, also called “anchors,” are implanted solely through a single hole pierced or punched in the skin, and don’t require a separate incision of any kind.
For this reason, microdermal bases will often be smaller than those used to anchor a trans-dermal implant, and will heal a little quicker and leave no significant scarring. The single entry point of a microdermal is usually made using a device called a dermal punch that utilizes a very sharp circular razor to pierce a hole through the skin, but it has also been made with relative success using standard hollow piercing needles.
Finally, the skin diver is much like a microdermal, except that instead having a separate base and top to the jewelry, the skin diver item is a single piece in the shape of a hand weight. One large end sits underneath the skin, and the other sits atop. For this reason skin divers are far easier to pull or yank out of their piercing than items with a wider base and separate top, but this ease of removal is the very reason many choose them.
Because the jewelry is a single piece however, and is meant to remain until the piercing itself is no longer desired, the ability to change out for a different color or shape doesn’t exist. With two piece jewelry like that used for trans-dermal or microdermal piercings, changing style is as easy as twisting off the topper, and twisting on a new one.
For every body or facial piercing, there is a set of common sizes that the majority of persons will be pierced at. Knowing these sizes won’t be a failsafe, but it can help tremendously when buying body jewelry. Here they are:
20 Gauge: This is the smallest gauge that regular body jewelry will come in, and is used almost exclusively for nose piercings. Some people who had their piercing performed in India, the Middle East, or very select areas of the US, UK, Australia, or Europe may require an even tinier 22 gauge, which would normally be considered a specialty size, and may need to be handmade by an artisan.
18 Gauge: This is the gauge used for larger sized nose piercings, some single piercings of the ear cartilage, standard ear lobe piercings, and very occasionally for piercings of the lip (mostly on females.) Slightly larger than a 20 gauge, you’ll normally find small studs, regular pierced earrings, nose rings, and circular jewelry like BCRs in this size.
16 Gauge: Piercings performed in a 16 gauge vary widely, and will include various piercings of the ear, the septum, the facial area around the mouth (labrets, monroes, medusas, etc.), the eyebrow, and infrequently possibly even the belly button, eye lid, nostril, or some surface piercings. Due to its variability, you’ll find sixteen gauge jewelry in circulars, straight barbells, curved barbells, studs, and various retainers.
14 Gauge: The 14 gauge size is even more versatile than the 16, including the vast majority of belly piercings, tongue piercings, nipple piercings, surface piercings, and many of the lip piercings, like the labret. Piercings of the septum, ear cartilage, eyebrow, and upper lip may also be made in a 14 gauge. Thus the jewelry will usually be found in almost all types ranging from circular, to spiral, barbell, shield, stud, spike, retainer, and even small plugs or eyelets.
12 Gauge: Although a 12 gauge isn’t generally the standard, piercings of the ears, lip, or septum in particular may be done in this larger gauge, especially those piercings on men that would generally be worn slightly smaller on a woman. Also, because the sizing difference is easily overcome, many who are in the beginning stages of stretching a piercing of the nose, lip, or ear may require this gauge, which can be readily found in barbells, circulars, and plugs.
Most gauges larger than a 12 will be found in circulars, straight barbells, and plugs or tunnels only, as these larger gauges require a piercing to be stretched in order to accommodate them.
Depending on the type of piercing, there are four basic styles of jewelry generally worn in the lip. Those are: the stud, the talon, the curved barbell, and the circular.
For those who have a vertical labret piercing, an inverted vertical labret (also called an Ashley), or a jestrum (the vertical version of a medusa piercing) which lays just above the top lip’s center underneath the septum, curved barbell jewelry will be the standard. The barbells are usually small, with a length of about half an inch or less.
Persons who have a standard Medusa piercing or a Monroe will generally prefer a stud (jewelry that has a flat backing and a visible ball or gem that either screws on or pushes into the back). Studs can also be worn by those who have standard labrets, lowbrets, dimple piercings, or any variety of “bites” including Dahlia bites, cyber bites, spider bites, snake bites, etc.
Talons, also called claws or hooks, are worn almost exclusively in regular labret piercings or “dolphin bites,” a set of two piercings underneath the bottom lip. This style is often referred to as “Disturbed Labret,” after famous wearer David Draiman, frontman of the rock band Disturbed.
Finally, circular jewelry can be worn in piercings of either the bottom or top lip. Common types of circular include the ball captive ring, the horseshoe ring, and the lippy loop, which gives a look similar to that of a vertical labret piercing, but for those who have a regular piercing.
All of these types of jewelry will commonly be found in either a fourteen or sixteen gauge, and will be measured by length for barbells or stud ring shafts, and by diameter for circular pieces.
It’s almost Mother’s Day, and all of those soon to be mamas whose buns are still in the oven are getting ready for an amazing year. But for those of us who are modified, there can be some pitfalls that occur during pregnancy, and that’s enough to ruin anyone’s baby glow. So today it’s time for a little maternity troubleshooting.
For those who have a navel piercing that they’d like to keep, there’s a great solution for safety, comfort, and fit: the pregnancy belly ring.
This type of belly ring includes an extra long barbell made out of flexible, biocompatible material. It’s nickel and lead free, non-metallic, and because it bends with the skin as it stretches, it’s nice and comfy. And the best part? The long shaft of a pregnancy belly ring can be sliced on an angle to any desired length. Then all you have to do is twist the ball on and off a few times, and the newly clipped barbell will self-thread. Voila! Custom belly ring.
In case of any medical testing or surgical procedures that may require all metallic jewelry to be removed, there are non-metallic retainers for a huge variety of other piercings too, many of them also made with comfortable, flexible bioplast.
And if cleaning certain piercings starts to become difficult, no problem. Pre-mixed safe and effective aftercare products make cleansing easy. There are even natural holistic products containing soothing aloe that come ready and waiting inside a disposable cotton swab.
For those who have nipple piercings, the American Pregnancy Association recommends that jewelry be removed if you’re planning to breast feed, as the pieces then become a choking hazard. But for women who plan on using formula instead, piercings can be kept, and may require the switching of captive jewelry to flexible barbells for comfort.
Fun Fact: In traditional Indian medicine called “Ayurveda,” piercings of the nostril are believed to assist in feminine health and lessen the pains of childbirth.
Straight barbells are usually used in tongue piercings, nipple piercings, in industrial ear piercings, and occasionally in other ear cartilage piercings. Depending on preference, flexible ones may also be seen in surface piercings (like the nose bridge piercing), or in the septum.
These are worn in a vast variety of piercings including those in the eyebrow, navel, madison piercings, ear cartilage piercings, septum piercings, and oral piercings of tongue web or connective tissues. When worn in the navel, curved barbells will usually be a banana bell, with a smaller top ball and a larger bottom ball, and may or may not include dangling elements.
Spiral and Wave Barbells
On occasion an industrial barbell may be bent or waved, mostly for aesthetic effect or fit. Spiral barbells are also seen, usually in the belly button, ears, or lip.
A stud, or straight post, is usually worn in labret/monroe style piercings, in tragus piercings, or in other piercings of the ear cartilage. These will include lowbrets, bites, medusas, tragus, and forward helix piercings.
Ball or bead captive rings and segment rings are universal, and depending on style and initial piercing, can be worn almost anywhere. They’re commonly seen in the ears, septum, nipples, navel, and in corset piercings. Essentially these are just a ring with a ball, 3D charm, or ring segment that pops out to allow for insertion and then pops back in to hold the item in place.
These are exactly what they sound like, a circular in the shape of a horseshoe. Each end is closed off with a ball or charm, and the item will be worn in many different piercings, just like a captive ring.
A lippy loop is a kind of rounded staple shaped barbell with decorative ends made to be worn in the lip with the barbell inside and both ends facing outward.
Shields are worn in nipple piercings or navel piercings, and include a barbell and a large design with an open center. For belly button rings, the shield portion is usually attached to the curved bar, while for others it may be fashioned to slide on over a straight barbell.
Large Gauge Jewelry
A plug is solid (without a hollow center), and comes in straight, single flare, double flare, and shaped varieties. Common shapes include hearts and teardrops, for which a stretched ear may or may not be specifically scalpelled or shaped.
Tunnels, like plugs, may come in double or single flare and are also available in shapes. These have a hollow center, meaning that you can see through them from one side of the ear and out the other.
These come in many types, including straight, curved, buffalo curve, spiral, super spiral, and hanger style. The common thread connecting all tapers is that they change in thickness at different areas of the structure and are meant to be worn with the thickest portion through the piercing.
Gold jewelry. Most of us own at least one piece that’s made out of some type of real gold, especially those of us who are pierced. For persons who have an allergy to certain metals or just prefer the look of the real thing, gold is an ideal option for both regular and piercing jewelry. Here’s why:
Solid gold is hypoallergenic, and all gold jewelry has a karat weight that tells you how much gold composes the item. Some of the standard karat weights of gold that you’ve probably heard of are 10kt, 14kt, 18kt, and 24kt. Though other variations are used worldwide, these four make up the selection of karat weights most commonly used in jewelry. Each is a mixture of real gold and other metals, which common include copper and silver (both of which have an extremely low rate of allergic reaction), and reflects the individual needs of certain styles of jewelry.
For example: in body jewelry, 14kt and 18kt are most often used solid, while 24kt is generally used only for plating. This is because real gold is fragile, and since 24kt has the highest percentage of gold, it isn’t strong enough on its own for the wear and tear that commonly occurs on piercing jewelry. Because 14kt and 18kt have a little less gold, their composition affords them more durability.
As a general rule, the higher the karat weight of an item that’s solid gold (not plated over other metals), the higher the price. If you have two nose rings made from the same exact mold and one is 14kt gold while the other is 18kt gold, the value of the 18kt piece will be higher, because there’s more actual gold in it than in the lower karat weight item.
So now everything makes a little bit more sense, right?
With the nose being the most prevalent body piercing site worldwide aside from the ear lobe, most of us know at least one person (if not several people) who regularly wears a nose ring. So when it’s time to purchase new nose jewelry, everyone should know the basics.
For starters, there are five main types of nose jewelry: the nose screw, nose bone, l-shaped nose ring, fishtail, and hoop.
The nose screw is shaped a bit like a corkscrew, while the nose bone is straight with a small nub on the end, and the l-shaped nose ring is of course, shaped like an L. These three styles of nose piercing jewelry are most commonly used when the look of a stud, or single jewel, is wanted.
To properly size one of these nose rings, you’ll need to know the gauge size and the length. Most nose piercings are performed in either an 18 or 20 gauge, with 22 gauge piercings being far less common and primarily performed in parts of India and the American West Coast. The standard length of nose jewelry will be about 5 to 7 millimeters, and is measured as the distance from the bottom of the gem setting to the curve or tip of the ring.
For those who require custom lengths (longer or shorter than average), that’s where the fishtail comes into the picture. A fishtail is a nose ring with a long, straight shaft of approximately 3/4″ in length, and it’s made to be custom bent by a piercer. Because the fishtail is meant for custom fitting, it cannot be worn without being bent, as it is far too long and there is no bulbous tip or curve to hold it in place. Therefore, when purchasing a fishtail, all you’ll need to know is the correct gauge, and the piercer will custom bend and clip the nose ring to a perfect fit.
Last but not least is the nose hoop. After experiencing a lull in the early 2000s, the hoop style nose ring has come back into vogue, becoming one of the most popular types of Western nose jewelry. A standard hoop will necessitate knowledge of the gauge size appropriate to the piercing, and the diameter measurement, rather than the length. Diameter is measured as the distance across the widest portion of the hoop, from inside edge to inside edge, and will most commonly be sized at either a 5/26″ (8mm), or a 3/8″ (10mm). For contemporary Indian style nose hoops, diameter will purposefully be larger.
For those who have multiple nose piercings, the use of captive ring jewelry may also exist, primarily for aesthetic purposes. In this case, just as with a traditional nose hoop, gauge size and diameter are needed, as well as attention to the size of the ball or bead. Due to the various hues and styles, BCR nose jewelry is great for creating a more colorful or unique appearance to nose piercings.
And there you have it!
It may come as a surprise that there are over thirteen recognized piercings of the ear other than the standard lobe. So what are they called, where are they situated, and what do people wear there? As with all modern piercings, style is limited only to imagination, but there are definitely some basics to bear in mind.
The common forms of ear lobe and cartilage piercing are as follows:
Anti-tragus: This is a piercing of the cartilage that lays directly across from the tragus and just above the lobed portion of the ear. Due to the thickness of the cartilage here, piercings are normally initially completed at no larger than a 14 gauge, and primarily studs or small diameter captive jewelry are worn here. As with other cartilage piercings, you’ll want to know the proper gauge size for those who are pierced before purchasing jewelry for them because this will vary from person to person.
Daith: The daith is considered contemporary in origin and as indicated by its co-creators is meant be worn with a captive ring or segment ring. It is traditionally a piercing of the ridge that lies just above the opening of the ear canal, but individuals who lack a defined ridge here may choose to be pierced through the flap of cartilage directly above and closer to the head.
Forward Helix: A piercing of the helix, or outer ear rim, as it comes forward to meet the side of the head. This can be worn with small captive jewelry, a small curved barbell, or a stud.
Helix: The helix is the thin cartilage that forms the outer rim of the ear, and a helix piercing is any piercing performed along that edge. Many choose to get multiple piercings of the helix, which are often worn as a row of spiked studs or hoops.
Industrial: This is the name for a piercing that goes through two individual points in the ear cartilage but is worn as a single piece of jewelry connecting both. Although the common placement for an industrial is across the upper part of the helix, the name can be used to refer to any piercing that connects two separate points on the ear with a single barbell, including those that are made vertically through the helix and rook. Multiple industrial piercings that cross each other are often referred to as a “cage” or “lattice” piercing.
Inner Conch: The term “conch” generally references the hollow of the ear, and piercings across its plane are normally broken up into two parts. The inner conch piercing is a piercing of the upper and innermost portion of the conch and is worn almost exclusively as a stud piercing, though occasionally will be seen with a small curved barbell.
Orbital: An orbital is also a perforation of the conch area, but is done close to the helix and definitively worn with a larger diameter captive ring that loops around the outside of the helix.
Outer Conch: The “outer conch” is a piercing of the lower portion of the ear’s hollow closer to the helix and is normally filled with a curved barbell or a small stud.
Rook: A rook piercing is a piercing of the first thick cartilage ridge below the upper helix of the ear. This is mostly worn as a circular barbell of some sort, but depending on the person a curved barbell can also be worn. Like with other ear piercings, gauge sizing for a rook is usually small, though it may vary from person to person.
Snug: One of the lesser seen cartilage piercings, the snug is a piercing through the inner rim of the ear that lays inside the helix. This is one of the few cartilage piercings of the human ear that can be worn with a straight barbell due to its shape, although curved barbells and captive jewelry may also be worn.
Standard Lobe Piercing: A standard ear lobe piercing is done at the fleshy area where the lobe is most full and can be performed at many different gauges and stretched to accommodate larger jewelry. Standard size for an ear lobe piercing is 18 gauge.
Tragus: The tragus is a piercing of the thick bulb of cartilage that lays in front of the ear canal. This is one of the more common ear piercings and almost all types of jewelry have been worn here as a matter of personal preference.
Transverse Lobe Piercing: Transverse ear lobe piercings are made horizontally through the lobe, thus being worn primarily with a straight barbell. This type of lobe piercing is less common, and some individuals with attached lobes may not be able to receive a proper transverse piercing.
Upper Lobe: The upper lobe or “high lobe” piercing is done higher up on the fleshy portion of the ear near where the helix begins. Mostly performed as secondary or complimentary to a regular lobe piercing, these extra perforations of the lobe can generally be easily stretched to hold larger gauge jewelry.
For those who wear circular jewelry in their ear piercings, gauge size as well as diameter will be needed to attain a perfect fit.
And for persons with multiple stretched piercings in the cartilage and/or lobes, gauge will need to be noted.
Also, for industrial wearers, length will vary greatly due to the piercing’s many variations, and some will require custom bent or waved barbells for either comfort or simple aesthetic value.