There are lots of conflicting opinions on the correct way to stretch, mainly by the general public sharing their personal, not professional opinions. So here you go, we’re making this blog post from a professional point of view – while trying to keep it simple and informative, as opposed to scare mongering and boringness. This addition to the blog will contain a step by step guide on how to stretch, riiiiight from the beginning with itty bitty lobes (but of course, the rule is generally the same no matter how big or small you’re at).
(This method is the most common – tapering)
So, you’ve had your ears pierced AT LEAST 4 months and they’re well healed and happy – congrats, you’re ready to start stretching. Most standard earrings are around 1mm in thickness, and most piercers will pierce lobes at a 1.2mm thickness as standard. If you’re unsure at all, an experienced piercer will be able to check what size jewellery you currently have and what first taper size you will need. Usually, a 1.6mm taper will be the first size to start at – these can be purchased at most piercing studios or ‘alternative’ stores.
To make stretching easier and more comfortable, start with a hot bath/shower – it can really benefit blood flow to the lobes and soften the tissue. After a hot soak, massaging the lobes with vitamin E oil or Emu oil can not only increase blood flow to the area, but the act of massaging the tissue makes it softer and more malleable, making stretching tonnes easier for the skin to handle. Massaging the lobes for 2-3 minutes or until the tissue is warm will save you heaps of time in the long haul and help your lobes stay as healthy as possible throughout the stretching process – meaning they’re more likely to keep optimum condition and thickness, even if stretched to larger sizes (20mm+).
Make sure to have clean hands before starting the process. Then you’ll need lube. Lots of lube. Squeeze a blob of lube onto the back of a clean hand or surface and lightly massage a small amount into the lobe just like with the essential oil of choice. A minute or two will suffice. Next, dip the thinner end of the taper into the lube (top tip; use around a pea sized blob on the end of the taper rather than lubing the whole taper – this can make the taper super slippy and hard to grip).
The most important rule of stretching: listen to your body. Insert the taper into the piercing thin-end first. Slowly push the taper through the ear until the thicker end is through. This process should NOT hurt, at most, it may feel like a burning sensation or a small nip, accompanied by maybe a dull ache/throb afterwards.
WAIT! We recommend leaving AT LEAST a month or two between stretches.
Once your earlobe is at around 4mm, it’s easier to find tunnels/plugs to wear at general alternative stores and studios. From around 4mm+, follow the same steps, but after inserting the taper, it’s important to wear tunnels/plugs while the lobe settles instead of a taper.
At smaller sizes, tapers don’t tend to weigh your ear down all that much, but the larger the taper, the heavier it will be – it’ll weigh down the ear and dangle downwards rather than straight through the hole.
All you need to do is leave the taper in for a few minutes to let your ear settle slightly, then really swiftly but gently place the end of the jewellery against the front side of the taper (largest part) and push the taper out of the ear (backwards) with the jewellery.
Now you’ll have replaced the taper with a nice piece of jewellery!
Revert back to step 5 – WAIT!
That’s about all for our initial stretching post! We’ll have more stretching-related blog posts coming up, such as different methods of stretching, sizes and jewellery!