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Constellation piercings are blowing up your Instagram feed, and for good reason. They're stylish and trendy, but the look has longevity, too. According to Astrid & Miyu's head piercer Sam Hayler, "constellation piercings are a group of multiple piercings that are placed to create unique patterns and stacks on your ear. These are referred to as constellations, as they look like star constellations in the sky." With that definition, it's pretty likely you might be rocking a constellation piercing of your own without even realizing.
While constellation piercings can come about by happenstance or by fixing an ill-placed piercing, they can also be deliberate. Nicole Mitchell, head piercer at Sacred Gold, notes that "they can mimic actual true-to-life constellations or shooting star-style formations, or also simply have a dazzling, yet minimal and somewhat understated pattern and effect." If you're tempted to get a series of constellation-inspired piercings and want to know more about the trend, get the answers to all our burning questions below.
Placement: The upper and lower ear lobe
Pain Level: 4/10
Healing Time: two to three months
Aftercare: Clean the area properly and avoid sleeping on the side with the new piercing
What is a Constellation Piercing?
A constellation piercing is basically a smattering of piercings along the ear lobe. When it comes to constellation piercings, placement and jewelry choice are important. "Constellation piercings are particularly arranged for the specific jewelry and look; they might not necessarily work if the jewelry was changed dramatically in style. For example, a staggered, wavy lobe constellation may look messy if the jewelry was changed to rings, as the placement is so specific," says Mitchell.
Before committing, it's important to do your research and choose a piercer whose work you love. "These beautiful arrangements look incredible, but it takes immense skill from the piercer, and time, investment, and dedication from the piercee, to heal up and have that desired final effect," Mitchell adds. Don't rush the process. Mitchell recommends looking at the piercer's portfolio of healed constellations and discussing your goals for the final look.
Constellation Piercings to Cover-Up Bad Placements
If you get a weird lobe piercing, or a placement you're not happy with, a constellation effect can be used to cover it up. Mitchell says, "I have tidied up many non-ideal placements by creating patterns and pretty arrangements this way! It doesn't need to be complex if the piercee does not wish to commit to a solid idea or want many, many, piercings—a small and delicate cluster or simple minimal placements can be just as stunning and effective than a whole ear-full."
No matter what, patience is key. "You most likely won’t be able to achieve the 100 percent finished look of your dreams in one session," adds Hayler. These are a project and labor of love from you and the piercer's side to get them healing well and looking perfect.
Pain and Healing Time
How much a constellation piercing hurts, and how long it takes to heal, will depend on how many you decide to get at once. "At Astrid & Miyu, we only recommend getting up to three piercings done in one sitting as more than that can confuse your immune system and cause it to heal longer or not at all. Constellation piercings are a project," says Hayler.
"Two to four piercings are the usual maximum to heal at once, and one ear at a time for upper cartilage and more intricate placements such as daith and forward helix. This is to help ensure that the aftercare and healing for the piercee is as smooth and comfortable as possible," notes Mitchell.
Cost of a Constellation Piercing
The cost will depend both on how many holes you get at once, and the price of the jewelry you select. Inquire about price discounts for multiple piercings at once. For example, at the NYC piercing salon Studs, one piercing is $35 and two is $50, which is pretty standard pricing. The biggest variable should be the cost of the jewelry.
"Ultimately, it will be faster to heal piercings a few at a time, than to get eight in one go and struggle to heal them all," says Mitchell. "I advise sleeping on the side that has not been pierced, and to give the body time to recover and heal up, a few piercings at a time."
"Safely performed piercings by a professional piercer, high-quality jewelry, and consistent checkups and communication with your piercer before, during, and after piercing, are vital for a positive experience and healing journey," Mitchell adds. Dermatologist Shari Sperling, MD, agrees that making sure your piercings are "done in a sterile fashion" is one of the most important parts of the process.
Side Effects of Piercing
- Pain and swelling: Most piercings are accompanied by minor pain and swelling. While it shouldn't be cause for alarm immediately, see a doctor if it persists. "Any rash, bad odor, swelling, or pain, see your healthcare professional," says Sperling.
- Infection: Any style of piercing comes with a risk of infection, which can range from minor to severe. To prevent infection, follow the piercing care instructions from your piercer to the letter.
How to Change Out a Constellation Piercing
"Constellations are recreating an image/arrangement and using the ear as a direct canvas for that, and usually, the jewelry is very simple, delicate and minimal," says Mitchell, adding that curated ears can have all kinds of styles, colors, and sizing of jewelry. "The piercer and piercee can discuss alternating looks and future possibilities before committing to a particular concept. The possibilities are truly endless and can be made versatile with both constellations and curations!"
What Type of Jewelry Is Used for a Constellation Piercing?
- Simple studs: Mitchell recommends, "Dainty and delicate shapes in alternating textures. Our little BVLA (Body Vision Los Angeles, our premium brand of precious metal body jewelry) Stars and Moons and planetary-themed jewelry is also very fun, should you wish to really commit to a space effect! I love using tiny diamonds and gemstones of varying sizes."
- Hoops and rings: "Rings, when form-fitting and simple, can also be used to create shapes and break up multiple studs," notes Mitchell. "Sometimes delicate chains and longer pieces can be used to link piercings and drape the anatomy." Above all, "minimal jewelry is key. Anything too loud and complicated can take away from the effect of the arrangement. It should be clean, clear, and any intricacies should be in the placements rather than the jewelry design itself."
What Jewelry Material Is Used for Constellation Piercing?
- Titanium: This is a popular choice for many piercings as it is hypoallergenic and not likely to cause a reaction, though it can be on the pricey side.
- Surgical Stainless Steel: One of the most common choices for piercings of all kinds. According to Sterling, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you "need to be careful with allergic reactions to certain metals like nickel, cobalt, and gold."