These days, a well-positioned piercing—or, more likely, a collection of them—is as ubiquitous a beauty note as a swipe of mascara. But unlike makeup, which tends to have a prescribed application area, it’s the where of the piercing placement that makes it yours. In recent years, facial piercings have evolved from a simple one-two punch of the lobe to a more intricate modern mandate, with delicate jewelry catching light from noses and ears alike—the latter of which often play host to a high-shine procession. No longer a beacon of irreverence, today’s piercings skew chic, effortlessly elevating even the simplest above-neck looks to simple, but with some sparkle. But what exactly are a tragus, a conch, an orbital, an auricle, and more importantly, which of the seemingly endless options is idiosyncratically you? We rounded up an assemblage of chic facial piercings worth going under the needle for. Choose your shimmering fighter—or fighters—from the list below.
The most classic of all the piercings, the lobe is a jumping off point—so start here. Even if your arsenal should grow, the first lobe punch is where one secures the biggest hoops and the most memorable statement earrings. Consider this the ear accessory anchor.
The double piercing. Should one wish for a collection of piercings that inch upward, this is a natural next step. Every piece, from a statement making stud to a huggie hoop, is welcome here, as long as it plays well with lobe piercing #1 (think graduated, size-wise).
"The conch is a favored show-stopper—and for good reason. This piercing actually goes through the ear’s center, the puncture applied somewhat close to the edge to allow for optimal wear. Opt for a stud or a hoop that wraps around the outer ear, all the better to play with other placements."
Higher up and one tier over from its sister piercing, the outer conch is a means of bedecking your upper cartilage. The conch is so named for its resemblance to the storied shell—think of these options as a visual siren song.
That bit of cartilage that guards your ear canal? That’s the tragus, and it’s one of the most popular spots for a piercing. Even when worn without any other facial jewelry, this option demands a second look.
Above the tragus is a node of cartilage called the rook. Sometimes referred to as the “anti-helix,” the rook has potential for both striking looks and those more subtle. A dainty ring or barbell is sure to draw the eye.
The helix is a piercing of the cartilage of the outer upper ear. Back when the ear piercing menu was slightly more sparse, you probably knew the helix as a “cartilage piercing.” A standout when worn alone; plays well with others.
The front side of the rim that houses the helix, the forward helix is the more unexpected placement of the two. While a single stud—perhaps in a fun shape, like a star or a triangle—will do the visual trick, a duet or even a trio of adornments is worth your consideration.
Think of the auricle as the midi skirt of the ear. This perforation sits between the lobe and the helix. A must-have if you want your ear-level embellishments to have that climbing-ever-upward vibe.
The industrial harkens back to a time when any piercings beyond the lobe were a study in edginess. Sometimes referred to as a “scaffold,” this placement is defined by a bar which connects two separate piercings: the helix and the anti-helix. The word badass comes to mind.
Whether adorned with a diminutive stud or a well-fitting hoop, the nose piercing is a mainstay. It may go in and out of the of-the-moment ether, but at this point, it’s something of a classic. And should you want to double-down? Pair with a septum piercing.
Those close-fitting hoops worn at the nose’s center are septum rings, and are a trend on the rise. Though the septum piercing may appear a more irreverent option than a nostril puncture, its placement is actually a bit more covert: should you want to appear more conventional for the day, simply remove the hoop. It’s your secret.