If you’re in the market for a body piercing, especially tricky parts of the ear like the conch or daith, it’s worth doing your research. Small piercing parlours can get it wrong and you could end up with a piercing that stays infected. We spoke to legendary piercer and jewellery designer Maria Tash on the dos and don’ts you should definitely follow.
Piercing is both an art and science, and let’s face it, no one does them quite like Maria Tash. Piercer extraordinaire and jewellery designer, Tash has a celebrity following that includes Beyoncé, Rihanna, Blake Lively, and Gwyenth Paltrow. With outposts in New York City, London, Rome, Dublin, and Dubai, Tash has become a go-to name not just for earrings, but also on how to wear them right.
We caught up with Maria Tash to understand the dos and don’ts of piercing, and how to take care of them.
What are the most important things to consider before getting a piercing?
It is good to have a starting point and an opinion on which styles of jewellery attract you. Think about what you would like to look like, what you would like to wear? You can even use nail gems to simulate a piercing and move it around. You don’t have to start with an earlobe piercing — you can go quite artsy or avant-garde with an unusual piercing and forgo the traditional lobes.
What are the common mistakes people make with piercings?
The angle of the piercing is very important for a piece of jewellery to be flattering. Many people have studs and rings that sit at mismatched angles. The angles on multiple piercings should be parallel to each other and sit so that the wearer can see them straight on. Clients should be able to look in the mirror and see the jewellery and placement in all its splendour and not have to turn the head to see a piece straight on. Our piercers are trained in my piercing aesthetic, called ‘forward facing’.
The ideal time before which one can change one’s earring after getting the cartilage (especially the conch or daith) pierced?
Healing does tend to take anywhere from 1-12 months. This also depends on the type of piercing, but if you’ve had any part of your cartilage done, like your conch area, you can expect it to take upto a year to fully recover.
Do you recommend piercing guns?
Everyone in the professional piercing world uses needles, not piercing guns. Non-disposable piercing guns are banned by the Association of Professional Piercers, and disposable ones are very frowned upon. Although the concept of a needle stirs up most people’s anxiety, the truth is you will get a cleaner, more accurately placed piercing with less trauma to the tissue with a specially designed piercing needle than with a gun.
How does a Maria Tash piercing differ from those done elsewhere?
It is my designs, and my piercing angle aesthetic and philosophy. The attention to detail found in the delicate, small, and sturdy designs is differentiating. There is a vastness and uniqueness to the types and sheer range of sizes of rings and studs that create the widest palate of styling and curation options available for true custom fitting and unique combination styling. I invented a thin internal threading to apply to the body, invisible diamond setting in studs and rings, and applied the latest in laser technology to diamonds to create elaborate and floating diamond effects.
Essential aftercare tips and how to treat any infections?
- Do not touch with dirty hands. It is easy to transfer bacteria from a door handle, keyboard, or other device into your fresh piercing.
- Keep your bedding clean, especially pillowcases.
- Clean your piercing gently and regularly. The best way to clean a piercing is to treat it gently, not torque it, and be very mindful of what touches it. The frequency of cleaning a fresh piercing should be twice per day until fully healed. I suggest using a mild product such as a sterile wound wash saline.
- Avoid using any heavy ointments or moisturizers over the jewellery. Let the piercing breathe so it can heal properly.
Dermal piercing (on skin that doesn’t have an exit point) is becoming quite the trend. Any advice on what one should consider before getting it?
There may be more chance of your skin tearing around microdermal piercings than traditional ones. So you might need to be a little more careful when it comes to ensuring you don’t snag your dermal piercing, than you would need to be with other non-dermal piercings.
Popular piercing trends right now…
- The high lobe is a fun accent to an existing first lobe piercing, especially one that has a low placement.
- Several high lobe piercings placed directly above or in-between existing first, second, or third earlobe placements. Layering jewellery above multiple piercings going up the ear in a second row, or staggered in between old piercings creates a fresh, deliberate effect.
- A new technique at Maria Tash includes piercing different parts of the ear that are far apart from each other but are connected by my jewellery design and story concept. An example is a jeweled flower whose petals fallen off and landed in different pierced parts of the ear.
- Happily, we are seeing more and more men getting pierced. Men tend to select interesting placement with subtle jewellery accents in multiple lobe, conch, daith, and upper ear piercings.
What is the Maria Tash #curatedear concept?
The curated ear is my philosophy of how we enhance a client’s beauty through layering jewellery on the ear. I want clients to look online or in our jewellery cases and find the Maria Tash designs they love, resonate with, and would want to wear continuously. Then, my jewellery stylists consider their skin tone and anatomy so we can choose the appropriate metal colour and diameters or size of studs that would work best their body. It is a basic tenet that the jewellery fit so well it can be seen as a second skin.
All images: Courtesy Maria Tash