The concept of a nose piercing isn't new. It dates back to several different cultural provenances, indicating societal status, marriage, and more depending on the type of piercing. While mainstream nasal piercings don't necessarily hold as much symbolic value (for the most part), they've become more common as a means of expression—and what you're trying to express has everything to do with the type of piercing you get.
Each nose piercing has its own (stereotypical) reputation: septum piercings are for the free spirits, bridge piercings are for edgy edgy types, nasallang piercings are for the adventurous, and nostril piercings are for everyone. But despite how they might be perceived, you can customize any type of nose piercing to fit any style. If you’re interested in a nose piercing but aren’t sure which to go for, read on to learn about the range of options available.
Meet the Expert
Courtney Morrison is a professional piercer with Art Immortal Tattoo in Madison, Tennessee.
Nostril piercings are the most common type, thanks in part to their low pain level, visibility, and ability to be customized. This type of piercing is done by having the piercer mark the spot and thread a needle through, pushing a piece of jewelry behind it to seal the piercing. Nostril piercings tend to be placed in the nostril's crease but can be placed wherever looks best, depending on style and nose structure. In terms of which nostril to pierce? “A nostril piercing is installed in either nostril of the nose,” says professional piercer Courtney Morrison from Tennessee's Art Immortal Tattoo. Expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $50 for a basic nostril piercing and minimal pain.
High Nostril Piercing
Thanks to the amount of cartilage on the nose, there are many different locations to pierce. If you want to try something outside the typical nostril piercing box, try a high nostril piercing. This piercing is best described as a nostril piercing that’s as far up as it can go, as it sits at the very top of the nostril—right before it turns into the bottom of the nose’s bridge. It’s a great option for those with several facial piercings who want to layer them, or for people who want something a bit more unique. Be aware that high nostril piercings are a bit more painful—a 4 out of 10—than regular nostril piercings because they're closer to the bone. You can expect to pay a bit more for them as well ($40 to $60), as they require an experienced piercer.
“A septum piercing is exactly that: a piercing through the septum of the nose,” says Garcia. “A properly placed septum piercing should go in between the plates of cartilage in the area.” Septum piercings are another popular style, as they can fit any aesthetic depending on the jewelry and can be flipped up and hidden instantly. These are a bit more painful than high nostril piercings, and many people experience a knee-jerk crying reaction when getting them pierced. In terms of price, “any piercing done by a reputable piercer using good quality supplies, modern techniques, and implant grade jewelry would never be ‘cheap,’” says Garcia. “I can say that, at the very bare minimum, a septum would be $60 with the lowest cost, implant-grade, basic, plain jewelry.”
If you like the idea of a higher-up piercing but want to go even more extreme than a high nostril piercing, there’s the bridge piercing. “A bridge piercing is installed at the bridge of the nose between the eyes,” says Morrison. These types of piercings are surface piercings, meaning they have an entry and exit point. That means that bridge piercings may look like two piercings, one on each side of the nose, but it’s actually a straight barbell that stretches from one to the other. As surface piercings, bridge piercings are more prone to migration, so be extra careful during the aftercare process. These piercings typically cost between $30 and $50, and the pain of getting one is comparable to that of a septum piercing.
Septril piercings are a fairly uncommon piercing, says Garcia, as they require an extremely stretched septum piercing to already be present. These types of piercings go through the nose from inside the septum to a point on the tip or bottom of the nose. “Most of the septrils in existence are most likely on body piercers or heavy piercing enthusiasts,” says Garcia. If you’re not deterred by their prerequisites, septril piercings can be fairly painful; it all depends on your pain tolerance and the exit point of the piercing. “Pain is a matter of perspective; this is a great example,” says Garcia. “I’ve heard that septrils were very easy, and I’ve heard it said that they are very painful, even when placed in the exact same way." Septril piercings have to be fitted to your nose and septum specifically, so make sure you find a piercer who has done one before. Expect to pay between $50 and $100 for this piercing.
A rhino piercing, a piercing that goes vertically through the tip of the nose, looks exactly the way it's named. “This is not a common piercing at all,” says Garcia. “I’ve been piercing for 30 years and have only ever done one.” There are a few reasons this piercing is so uncommon. For one, it’s extremely difficult to heal, requiring an extreme amount of effort, focus, and time. Also, it’s remarkably painful to have done. “The very few people that have them say that they are fairly painful, but again, pain is a matter of perspective,” says Garcia. Depending on the shop and the piercer, rhino piercings cost between $50 and $100.
“A nasallang piercing is a single bar placed through the right nostril, the septum and the left nostril,” says Morrison. Like bridge piercings, nasallang piercings are a bit of an illusion. From the outside, it looks like two separate piercings, one on each side of the nose. Internally, however, nasallang piercings are one piece of metal that penetrates from one side of the nose to the other, crossing through the septum (also called a tri-nasal piercing). These are another fairly uncommon piercing style, as they require a high pain tolerance and a very experienced piercer. In terms of price, expect to pay the typical price for more unique piercings: between $50 and $100. In terms of pain, expect somewhere in the 8 out of 10 range.