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The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Stretching Your Ears

The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Stretching Your Ears

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Have you been considering stretching your ears but are not sure where to start? Look no further! We’ve covered all the best tips and tricks about ear stretching to make you feel confident and knowledgeable about the whole process. At Tribalik, we offer beautiful handcrafted jewellery to support you in your ear stretching process while supporting our Fair Trade mission so you and the artisans benefit well!

Follow the steps below to avoid any unwanted damage to your ears, and to make your personal style come to life! Contact a professional piercer before you stretch.

Ear piercing chart

1: Ear Piercing

The first step of stretching your ears is to start with the initial piercing. Be sure to wait 3-4 months (or as long as your piercing needs) for the fresh piercing to fully heal. Infection or tearing can occur if you don’t wait for the piercing to fully heal. Once you have healed piercings, you are ready and prepared to start stretching! Be sure to oil the skin and take a hot bath to stretch the skin. 

Check out our collection of fair trade starter ear stretchers 1.2mm Upwards! They're perfect for getting you started on your ear stretching journey!

Perhaps you're already on the road to stretched lobe perfection, check out our full full range of Ear Stretchers here:

 

Monarch ear weights

 

2: Choose Your Ear Stretching Method

Did you know there are two methods of stretching your ears? Read below and decide which method is best for you. 

Tapers

If you are stretching your ear lobes from a small to medium size, using tapers is the most common method. After you get to 8mm and above, the taping method is a more manageable way to safely stretch, when you want to make larger jumps between sizes. 

Tapers are made out of acrylic, organic, wood, stainless steel, or precious metals. They are round and taper down from the size gauge that you are stretching, down to a small point for easy insertion. Read below to pick the right taper for your ear stretching, as there are important factors to consider. 

Organic Tapers:


Coconut shell ear stretcher expander

Our organic shell, horn, bone and wood are both both an affordable and safe option to welcome yourself into the stretching world. With ethically and responsibly sources materials, our unique ear stretchers range from 1.2mm up to the larger ear expanders of 50mm. I personally love shell tapers, they have the least irritation of all tapers and energetically feel great against my skin. 

Mother of pearl ear stretcher

An organic ear stretcher, hand-crafted from Mother of Pearl shell in a classic taper shape. The taper shape with the natural material is perfect to further stretch your ears gently. Natural, organic and less porous, a perfect way to keep stretching.

Brass and wood ear weights

Arang wood and brass tribal ear weights in the shape of a horseshoe. these ear weights are both futuristic and rustic with tribal style dot work in the brass section & smooth dark arang wood comprising the top half. A perfect organic vegan stretcher for gentle stretching. For stretched ears of 14mm and above. 

 

    Steel or Sterling Silver Tapers:


    Sterling silver ear expander

    Steel or sterling silver tapers are best recommended since they are cleaner and easier to use. Since these are slicker materials they are easier to stretch with than acrylic tapers. Steel is a safer and cleaner option because it can be sterilized. This will avoid accidentally introducing bacteria into your stretch if a tear was to occur.  

    Sterling silver ear expander

    92.5 Sterling silver ear expander in a circular shape. The circle is a profound symbol: it's said to represent wholeness, completion, the life cycle, heaven, eternity, and the universe.

     

    Brass and Silver Plated Tapers: 

    These are a great option since they are high quality, affordable, and soft on your skin. Our beautiful brass tapers are a sterile and beautiful choice. They are also easy to insert and will last you a long time. 

    Brass triangle spiral stretcher

    Brass ear stretcher in a triangular spiral shape cast in gold brass. Perfect size for starting your ear stretching journey or just for enjoying a simple earring. The spiral in many traditions means new life. It represents peace, tranquility and spirituality.

    Mother of pearl and brass ear stretcher

    An amazingly detailed carved earring with a floral inspired crescent shape. Brass curved hook with a detailed mother of pearl carved floral crescent earring. You need a stretched ear of at least 2mm (6g US) or above to fit these contemporary ear stretchers into your stretched ears. The brass curved hook slides perfectly into your stretched ear lobes.

     

    Concave Steel Tapers: 

    Concave steel tapers are similar to steel tapers as they can be sterilized and therefore are cleaner and safer to stretch with than acrylic. The difference between these tapers and regular steel tapers is that there is a concave in the taper. This means they have a dip in the back where you can insert your new plugs for a quicker and easier transition. When you apply the tapers through your ear lobe, the concave taper puts the new plug in place. This eliminates the extra step of having to wait to put the new size of gauge into the stretch. When using steel tapers, you typically have to wait until your ear is ready or wrestle the new, larger plugs to get them in properly. Concave tapers are worth the extra money because they are efficient, easy, and make for a quicker stretch process.

    Check out our Founders Favorites!

    An organic starter ear stretcher, hand-crafted from responsibly sourced cow bone in a simple spiral design. Perfect to start stretching your ears from a standard pierced hole.

    An organic ear stretcher, hand-crafted from Mother of Pearl shell in a classic taper shape. The taper shape with the natural material is perfect to further stretch your ears gently. Natural, organic and less porous, a perfect way to keep stretching.

    Hand made buffalo horn ear expander with cow bone powder inlay, inspired from the Mayan tribe jewellery. You can slowly expand your ear piercing a little larger with this natural ear stretching taper

    Filigree ear stretcher made from black buffalo horn. This stretcher is a Tribalik classic with the curved hook gently sliding into your stretched ear and the intrigate design. The horn is a by-product of water buffalo.This gentle stretcher is natural for your skin on your ear stretching journey.

    Sterling Silver ear stretcher in a fibonacci spiraling shape. The spiral in many traditions means new life. This is excellent as a standard piercing or select the slightly larger size to start your ear stretching journey. Sterling silver is a precious metal for stretching your ears and is gentle on the skin. Select from two sizes. 

     

    Tape Method

    The tape method is most commonly used when stretching above a 0 gauge and can be used to stretch over an inch as well. The tape wrapping method stretches your earlobes carefully and over a longer period of time to reduce any unnecessary damage or tearing. Although taping takes longer than using a taper, this method will keep your earlobes thick and healthy when stretching to larger gauges. You will want to avoid using regular tape, electrical tape, or duct tape at all costs. The below mentioned tapes are safe for your ears and are thin enough to get the desired outcome. There are 2 kinds of tape to consider when choosing the tape wrapping method:


    PTFE is an affordable and quality option that you can use to stretch into large sizes. It’s inexpensive, non-adhesive to other surfaces other than the tape itself, and very thin which avoids irritation to your ear like other tapes would cause. This is a great tape for plugs under 1 inch and is ½" in width.


    Bondage tape

    is another great tape to use for the taping method. It is self-adhesive so it only sticks to itself as well. The width will cover your plugs and the tape is thin enough to easily stretch with. The difference between bondage tape and PTFE is that the material is smooth which allows you to easily insert even after wrapping your plugs multiple times.

     

    How to Use The Taping Method:
    Wash and dry your hands and earlobe. Take your tape of choice and wrap it around your plugs 2-3 times. This will gradually and safely make a difference in your stretch size. 
    Wash and lubricate the plug, insert slowly into your ear, and allow time to heal.
    Repeat every 2-3 weeks until you increase the stretch to your desired size.

    3: Tools and Supplies 

    Once your piercing is healed, you are ready to start stretching with the proper tools and supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Depending on your method of choice - tapers, PTFE tape
    • Lubricant or oil safe for ears 
    • Antibacterial soap
    • Your stretcher  

    Check out our full collection of artisan stretchers here:

    4: Stretching 

    1. Wash your hands and anything you’ll be using in your ear lobe with soap and water. This will keep the stretch clean and help to avoid unwanted infection.
    2. Choose a lubricant. You can use plant based lubricants like jojoba oil, vitamin e oil, coconut oil, or commercial-grade lubricants sold at your local piercing or jewelry shop. This will help reduce the risk of tearing when you use the taper. 
    3. Apply lubricant to the taper and the pierced area on your earlobe and slowly insert the taper. Take your time, it shouldn't be painful and your ear should stretch fairly easily. If there is pain or bleeding, stop what you are doing, go back to your current size and let it heal.
    4. Put the plug in immediately after the taper is inserted.

    Allow 4-8 weeks for the stretch to heal. Everyone is different with their healing time frames, but feel free to check your ears every 4 weeks to see how they are progressing. Our bodies heal from the outside in, which means it is best to wait longer and allow your ears to heal rather than stretching too quickly and causing damage.


    You can continue stretching to larger sizes by repeating the above steps until you are at your desired gauge. 

    Check out our full collection of beautiful stretchers here:

    5: Care for Your Ears 

    Even after you have stretched to your desired size and your ears have healed, you will need to take good care of your ears and keep them clean. Healed ears and plugs can have dead skin cells build up over time, so be sure to rinse and clean them in the shower. To improve blood circulation, gently massage your ears using your favorite oil to moisturize them at the same time. Give time for your ears to relax without jewelry during the day or when sleeping. These important steps will keep the tissue thick and healthy over time.


    6: Express Yourself! 

    Stretching is a great way to make your personal style come to life. Use Tribalik’s beautiful and affordable collections to share your creativity and individuality with the world. Tag us on Instagram @Tribalikuk so we can celebrate your journey and personality with you! Check us out on Pinterest for more inspiration!