What to Know Before Getting One of Those Constellation Piercings That Are All Over Instagram

With piercings and tattoos becoming more commonplace, we're seeing new trends pop up faster than ever before. From clustered cartilage piercings to high-low lobe piercings, we've come a long way from your standard earlobe bling. Moving forward with the idea that more is better (at least as far as tattoos and body jewelry go), constellation piercings are growing in popularity, too.

You've probably seen the piercing trend before, whether in real life, on your favorite celebrity, or on Instagram, but a constellation piercing is a cluster of piercings across your ear that form a pattern.

The great thing about it is there's no right or wrong way to do it: "A constellation series is a great vehicle of self-expression — in a more literal sense, you can curate your ear with celestial-themed earrings, or mix and match shapes, stones, and metals for a totally unique look," said Louisa Schneider, founder of piercing company Rowan.

If you're ready to try out the look for yourself, we're answering all of your most pressing constellation piercing questions and telling you everything you should know before you go under the needle, ahead.

Who Is a Good Candidate For Constellation Piercings?
Getty | ZenShui/Frederic Cirou

Who Is a Good Candidate For Constellation Piercings?

"There are several factors that determine if someone is a good candidate for a constellation piercing, but the most important is the anatomy of an individual's ear," Schneider said. "At Rowan, we start each session with a skin and ear assessment by a registered nurse who is also an ear artist, having been trained specifically for piercings."

Your piercer can help you determine the best placement based on your ear structure and anatomy. Depending on your features, you may not have enough room for multiple piercings in a certain area. They will also take into consideration the possibility of infection and irritation.

Another thing to keep in mind when you're picking the placement: ears are rarely identical. "Your ears are sisters, not twins — one piercing that works well on one ear may not work on the other. This is something to keep in mind when planning and building your constellation."

Does It Matter What Shape Constellation Piercings Make?
Getty | Jon Kopaloff

Does It Matter What Shape Constellation Piercings Make?

There's no right or wrong way to do it. "Constellation piercings are unique to the individual," Schneider said. "The beauty of them is that you can frame and curate your piercing scape to your preference. It really is a personalized approach, with many people opting to decorate piercings differently throughout each ear — the possibilities are endless."

Before your piercing appointment, try to find some inspiration of what you want your final results to look like. That will help your piercer give you a cluster of piercings that best fit your style.

Middle, lobe, cartilage — the piercings can go wherever. "There is no steadfast rule; the piercing landscape can either decorate the entire ear or be focused more throughout the lobe with piercings clustered closer together," Schneider said. (That means if you don't want any piercings on the cartilage of your ear, you don't have to get them.) Your piercings can be focused just on the lobe or a mix of both. "For example, we recently did a series of three piercings with two on the lobe and one on the upper helix."

Can You Get a Constellation Piercing With Your Existing Piercings?
Getty | Jeff Kravitz

Can You Get a Constellation Piercing With Your Existing Piercings?

In a word: yes. "Individuals can use their current piercings as their base and build their desired piercing scape from there," she said. "If this is the approach, we strongly encourage that you wear the 'anchor' earrings you plan on featuring in your existing holes as you determine placement for new piercings."

This is because the size and shape of your "anchor" earrings can affect the desired location of the new piercings.

Can Constellation Piercings Be Done All at Once?
Getty | Eugenio Marongiu

Can Constellation Piercings Be Done All at Once?

It largely depends on the individual and the piercing facility you are getting it done at, but Schneider recommends capping the number at four piercings in one day.

"Piercing the ear is essentially a small trauma to your body, and the rate of complications and infections rises with each additional piercing," she said. "It's extremely important you don't overwhelm your system and are diligent about aftercare for a positive outcome."

How Can You Help a Constellation Piercing Heal Faster?
Getty | Steve Granitz

How Can You Help a Constellation Piercing Heal Faster?

The same rules apply for a constellation piercing as they do for any other body piercing, the number-one tip being to never touch it with dirty hands. Some additional best practices Schneider recommends are:

  • Do not touch your ears for at least 24 hours following the piercing. Aftercare really starts after that.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching your ears or earrings, and only touch your earrings when cleaning them.
  • Clean the piercing two to three times daily with an aftercare solution.
  • Make sure to rotate earrings one full twist (360 degrees) while wet.
  • Always leave space between the back of your ear and the earring back.
  • Make sure to leave in starter studs for six weeks for lobe piercings and six months for cartilage.

"You have to commit to the process," Schneider said. "What you see on Instagram may not work for you specifically. Attaining your ideal piercing placements is a commitment and may take multiple sessions to achieve your ideal look. Aftercare is crucial, especially when it comes to multiple new piercings."