If you considered a fringe, pink highlights, or found yourself Googling “tiny tattoos” at some point during the year 2020, chances are you’ve toyed with the idea of a new ear piercing, too. The psychology is pretty intuitive: Many of us are itching for a change, and a permanent one is especially tempting.
But as the UK continues to enforce strict salon restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, the days of walking into your local tattoo parlour or piercing studio with your sister and getting quickie cartilage piercings are over. Instead, you’ll have to make a solo appointment with a professional well in advance, affording you extra time to think about what you want — which might actually save you from future piercing regret.
So, in the spirit of planning for future piercings, we spoke with Brain Keith Thompson, celebrity piercer and the owner of LA’s Body Electric studio (which is currently closed due in accordance with California public-health mandates), and he gave us some of his favourite ear-decor predictions for the new year and beyond. Scroll through for the coolest trend report you’ve seen in a while.
Right before the most recent mandated salon shutdown in California, Thompson says he was booking safe, single-client appointments, mostly for constellation piercings. “I was seeing a lot of constellation piercings — which is multiple piercings clustered together — and I feel the trend will definitely stick around,” Thompson explains. “It’s a great option if you’re looking to get a few piercings in a single appointment; you get that instant gratification.”
In terms of earring styles, Thompson says there are two trending pieces, both small and dainty: gold hoops and teeny-tiny diamond studs. Of the former, it’s huggie or bust. “It’s funny, I had never heard the word ‘huggie’ until all my clients started asking for them,” he says. “It’s in reference to tight-fitting, snug, mini hoops — and truly, everyone wants stacks of huggies right now.”
When it comes to diamonds, or micro pavé settings, the smaller, the better. “I’m usually piercing with very small diamond studs,” Thompson says. “I’m not doing a lot of very extravagant, large pieces, like I once was. I see the trend towards a dainty, minimalistic ear look. It’s about a lot of tiny diamonds instead of one big one.”
It’s impossible to talk about piercing trends in 2021 without mentioning face masks, which secure around your ears. “Given that we’ll be wearing face coverings at least until the end of the year, I’m letting clients know that cartilage piercings might not be the best idea,” Thompson explains of the 2021 move towards earlobe-exclusive piercings. “When you’re piercing your cartilage and that mask is coming on and off, it might cause irritation. But lobe piercings a lot are easier to avoid, and they heal a lot faster.”
If you’re going in for a new piercing (or three), Thompson recommends treating each ear individually. “I like to decorate the ears completely different from each other,” he explains. “So on one side might be all gold hoops, stacked together. The other side would be a mix of small studded diamonds. I love any kind of asymmetrical decoration.” Think of your ears as sisters — not twins.