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Beginners Guide to Ear Stretching: What to Know to Start Stretching Earlobe Piercings

Gauging Ears: Beginners Guide to Ear Stretching

Beginning Ear Stretching (Ear Stretching for Beginners) is an exciting way to enhance your look, allowing you to express yourself through the size and shape of your piercings. Before you begin stretching, the Beginner's Guide to Ear Stretching is here to help you navigate through the initial stages after your piercing, ensuring that you start stretching your ears slowly, properly and safely.

To start an ear stretching piercing with starter gauges, learn how to begin stretching your ears with the proper outlook in this guide. It details how to stretch ears for the first time, starting ear stretching properly with earring stretch materials and methods, jewelry for beginning gauge sizes, the misconceptions with stretching and recommendations for advancing in your journey.

20g, 18g and 16g are the sizes where most people start stretching earlobes. Lack of knowledge when choosing jewelry styles can cause unwanted issues as the use of heavy jewelry can cause earlobe deformities when used for stretching, according to a 2017 study by researchers at The American Academy of Pediatrics.

As a result, questions arise regarding how to gauge your ears for the first time, how long does it take to gauge your ears and more questions related to start stretching, as a beginner. In this article, we evaluate how to start stretching ears, what to know starting the stretching journey, starting gauge sizes to first consider, proper after care when gauging, the misconceptions of beginners and where to get more advanced info for stretching. So let's dive right in and set you off on a safe and enjoyable journey towards achieving stretched ears!


Table of Contents


Ear stretching can be a fun and unique way to express yourself through body jewelry. With the right tools, aftercare, and patience, you can achieve your desired look while keeping your piercing healthy and happy.

Start stretching your ears with a better understanding for how to begin stretching your ears successfully and know what to use when stretching ears, along with having the jewelry readily available at the appropriate sizes to begin. As the body jewelry brand selling quality stretching jewelry for lobes at PlugYourHoles.com since 2006, we look forward to the opportunity to be alongside you as you safely stretch your ears so you can wear unique jewelry, too!

So you might be excited to start stretching and wondering, "How do you start stretching your ears?" Let's get you in the know for how to start ear stretching today.


How to Start Stretching Your Ears

You begin by assessing the initial piercing and selecting your preferred stretching method which are the first steps for knowing how to start stretching your ears. To learn how to stretch your ears at home, start stretching earlobes using proper methods so they stretch properly.

As a first timer, knowing how to stretch an ear piercing and then progressing to bigger sizes is achievable with the right approach. To start gauges in your ears, stretch or gauge your ears for the first time with the steps you need to follow (shown below) as an ear stretching beginner.

Ear stretching for beginners requires being diligent in double-checking that the initial piercing is fully healed before starting to stretch.


1. Assess Initial Piercing

Initial piercings must be fully healed before stretching. The initial ear piercing is in the fleshy part of the earlobe, found at the bottom of the ear. After assessing your piercing and ensuring it's fully healed, select your preferred method. Whether it's using tapers, using wrapping tape, or using kits, we'll cover your options next.


2. Select Preferred Ear Stretching Method

Methods of ear stretching vary so it's important to pick the one most suitable for you to start, as you can always switch methods throughout the stretching process. The most popular method is the use of tapers, however, the taping method is highly recommended for beginners when not using a stretching kit.

The Taping Method is the safest way to stretch ears, while tapers are the easiest way to stretch ears. The best way to stretch your ears is up to you by reviewing the top choices for beginners, including, The Tape Wrapping Method, Starter Tapers and Starter Kits.


Tape Wrapping Method

The Tape Wrapping Method involves wrapping a non-adhesive tape around your jewelry. To do so, wrap layers of tape around your plugs 2 to 3 times per plug, per earlobe. The gradual increase in size of layering tape around the jewelry ensures safety and minimizes discomfort. You can increase the tape arounds every 2 to 3 weeks, if desired, to be on track for graduating to the next gauge size.

By knowing how to stretch ears with tape, you can easily switch to this method if switching from alternative methods to stretch. Using the taping method ear stretching, consider the following tape of choice by using a skin-friendly tape such as PTFE or bondage tape. Electrical tape and masking tape is to be avoided.

The Tape Wrapping Method is also useful for knowing for later stretches as the tape method is needed for stretching beyond 1 inch, as most taper sizes don't go beyond 1 inch stretches.

If you don't prefer using tape, though, then you can also opt for using a tool such as a taper.


The Tapering Method

Tapering ears requires the the use of a cone-shaped taper which is used as a tool for you to help stretch up the size of the piercing. The Taper Method is especially commonly used during the initial stages of ear stretching, as starter tapers help to temporarily stretch the piercing, especially to fit larger sized jewelry, but the hole shrinks to the original shape after taper usage. The taper gradually stretches the ear holes up to the desired size, with the help of inserted jewelry in place, when applied to the piercing holes over time.

Alternatively, you can opt for using a starter kit, if you don't want to use tapers or tape.


Starter Kits

A common method for stretching that helps throughout the entire stretching procedure is the use of a starter stretching kit. You can find an ear stretching kit that meets your needs as they all come in a variety of forms.

Starting your stretch with the use of steel ear stretching kits is advised for those with sensitive skin as stainless steel ear stretching tends to reduce the chances of experiencing allergic reactions.

A good ear stretching kit option for beginners includes the items needed based on whether you're stretching up one size or planning for a long stretching journey. Those new ear stretching kit beginners find the best options with us to stretch effectively from the start!


What is a good ear stretching kit for beginners?

A starter gauge kit is a great option as it includes a streamlined solution to start stretching. A gauges starter kit is affordable, with the 16G - 0G Starter Kit priced at $119.99 and includes everything you need to stretch a piercing (16G) to the 0G size.

A gauge starter kit for ears can also be purchased as a one-off item to simply go up a size. For example, the Size Up Pack allows you to go up a size and starts at $17.99 per pack.

An ear stretching kit beginners appreciate the most (sourced from customer survey feedback) includes everything needed to safely stretch them to the next size, but some people want an entire solution to use for months ahead as a packaged deal.

Methods to avoid as a beginner include the use of weights and dead stretching.


Guidance for using stretching methods

Beginning ear stretching requires patience and diligence. Learn more about all 5 Methods of Ear Stretching to perfect the technique, and follow the guidelines for applying to the above techniques:

  • Cleanse and lubricate your plug jewelry before insertion

  • Gently insert plug into your earlobe when stretching, taking care not to force or rush it

  • Allow ample time for healing between each stretch

Repeat this process until you reach your desired stretch size. Be mindful to simply wait until your piercing is fully healed when gauging your ears for the first time.Throughout your journey, remember PlugYourHoles.com is where to start stretching your ears.


Starting the Ear Stretching Journey

Start with the initial piercings, if needed, to stretch. Here are the recommended timeframes for beginners:

  • Wait a minimum of 1 month between gauge size changes, if you're starting to stretch for the first time, but be mindful of the piercing location to allow more time to heal, if needed. This gives your body ample time to adjust and heal from the previous stretch.
  • Wait a minimum of 6 months before considering to start stretching, if you recently pierced your ears. This timeframe ensures healthy healing from the original piercing.

Knowing when to wait and when to stretch is an important factor when stretching. Below is the timeline to consider for beginners when stretching.

Milestone Wait Time
Initial piercing 6 to 8 months before stretching (Stretch Up)
Stretch Up

1 to 8 months between each stretch

Wait at least 6 months before stretching after an initial piercing and only consider sizing up every 2 to 8 months with a minimum of 1 month between stretches afterwards, depending on your current size.

While the recommended timeline is a good starting point, always keep an eye on how your piercing reacts during this period. If you notice any signs of irritation or infection, slow down or stop stretching altogether. Your body knows best.

Some experts advise to wait even longer before starting your stretch journey after initial piercings. Waiting 2 to 3 times longer than the duration it took to heal the initial piercing before starting to stretch is the most ideal according to research conducted by expert on the topic, Elayne Angel, which was stated in her 2009 book titled The Piercing Bible: The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing.

So what's a good rule of thumb for timing stretches? Wait 1-2 months going from 16g to 14g and from 14g to 12g, as your starting points. Wait longer in-between when stretching to larger sizes, starting with 12g to 10g transitions (requiring ≥ 1.5 months at a minimum between stretches).


How long should I wait to stretch my ears?

It is recommended by experts to wait 6 weeks at a minimum before stretching again, however, we recommend that you wait 2-8 Months between each stretch. Doing so allows you enough time to heal earlobes, improving elasticity and strengthening the lobes for the next stretches.

For more specific details regarding the timing when stretching ears, view the Timeline for Ear Stretching for wait times, stretch times and more fully explained in detail.

Your journey begins by selecting a comfortable starting gauge size based on any existing ear piercings you may have. From there, consistent maintenance and gradual increases in size lead you towards achieving your desired look.

See below for the beginner ear gauge sizes to know how to gauge your ears for the first time.

Beginner Stretching Gauge Size Transitions and Wait Times:

Current Size Next Size Minimum Month/s Between Stretches
20g 16g 1
18g 18g 1
16g 14g 1
14g 12g 1.5

Popular starting points, size-wise, typically are in the range of 20g to 14g and the waiting times between stretches is anywhere from 1 to 8 months.

Wait 1 to 8 months before sizing-up gauge sizes while being mindful of the healing condition of your earlobes from the previous stretch. Decide not to go up to the next gauge size if you notice any irritation, redness or swelling.

Remember, patience is key when it comes to successful ear stretching. It's essential to heed your body and avoid pushing the limits of stretching too far or too fast. Be slow and mindful of your body's responses so you can use your time efficiently throughout the journey.


What are the starting gauge sizes for ear stretching beginners?

Earlobe stretching sizes for beginners vary between 20g (0.03" or 0.81 mm) to 14g (0.063" or 1.6 mm), as that's the range of piercing needle sizes used by piercers for most earlobe piercings. Most people start out at 14g sized jewelry to size-up from 16g (0.047" or 1.2 mm) sized piercing holes. The use of 16g sized jewelry is advisable, for sizing-up from 20g piercings or 18g (0.039" or 1 mm) sizes, if you're unsure of where to begin-- to be on the safe side.

For most beginners, 14g is an ideal starting point as it's only slightly larger than a regular earring (typically at the 20g-16g size). If your ears were pierced with a piercing gun, they're likely already at least a 20g which is the smallest first gauge size. Wherever you're at, start there and move up one size at a time.

NOTE: Never skip sizes, and go one size up at a time. This ensures your ears stretch evenly with minimal chances for issues in the future. It's important to begin at a suitable gauge size based on your lobes' size.

Beginners must start with gauge sizes appropriate for their stage in the stretching process so we'll cover the common ear gauges for beginners and touch on how to start the gauging process.


Beginner Ear Gauges

The ear gauges starting size is based on your current lobes' piercing size, which is one size up from that to start stretching. To start gauging ears for beginners, start stretching your ears at your current piercing size as your current piercing size dictates what gauge you start with to start stretching ears.


What size do you start stretching your ears at?

A starting gauge size is typically between 18-14g, and sometimes 20g. Here's what best for starters:

  • Before deciding to purchase stretching jewelry, you need to determine the jewelry size suitable for your piercings. A plug size for beginners can range from 20g to 14g, with 14g being the biggest size option (among those) for most jewelry options.
  • If you've recently healed from standard ear piercings and want to transition into a larger size, consider beginning with a set of 16g plugs. This cautious approach ensures that you maintain the health of your ear lobes, while gradually increasing their capacity for more stretching.
  • For details about sizes, you can use a gauge size chart to find the gauge piercing size you need when choosing between ear jewelry sizes for your piercings. That way, you can find the exact size you need before placing your order.

Understanding where to begin plays a significant role in ensuring successful and comfortable ear stretches. To learn about all of the available lobe sizing options, view the Ear Stretching Size Chart for complete details when sizing-up.


Can I start stretching my ears at 14g?
Yes, 14g is generally safe and common size to start in the body modification community. Simply wait approximately about a month and a half before considering stretching further.

Ear Stretching Journey From 14g to 00g: Remember this process takes time - rushing can lead to complications like blowouts or tears.

No matter of the original size for your piercings, you can safely stretch the piercings to the perfect size needed for your desired jewelry.


How to Start Ear Gauges

The "gauging" process starts by stretching earlobe holes using your preferred stretching method.

Start to select ear gauges based on your current piercing size with the following steps:

  1. To start gauging your ears, simply use ear stretching jewelry at the appropriate size for your earlobes' piercing size. Use a couple different sizes of jewelry to to determine the gauge your ears for the first time so you have a back-up option if one size is too big for the current piercing size of your earlobes; the bigger size can be used in the future when your earlobes catch-up.

  2. Once healing is confirmed for the current state of your ears, begin by massaging your earlobe daily with a safe oil to help warm up and stretch. Apply ample amounts of lube/oil to begin stretching your ears by generously applying to stretch ear lobe piercing while stretching.

  3. Don't rush through sizes or force jewelry into your ear. Take your time, listen to your body, and enjoy the journey.

You might be wondering "how do I start ear gauging with my ears safely," and in the next section, you'll learn of the lubrication to use on lobes and jewelry that you'll want to use to start. You'll always clean and lubricate the plug before gently inserting it into your earlobe.


How to Gauge Your Ears for the First Time with Lube

Lubricant used for stretching ears comes in many different forms, and it is applied to the ears, jewelry and tools (if using) throughout stretching. During the stretching process, moisturizers and lubricants promote healthy healing. You need to know the practical application of using lubricants to ensure that you're applying continuously throughout the stretching process:

Gently massage earlobes daily with the lubricant of your choice and begin inserting jewelry into piercings. Popular recommendations for safe oils for ear stretching include Jojoba oil, vitamin e oil and coconut oil, however the best oil for ear stretching is contentiously debated online, as ear stretching lubricant is largely based on personal preference. No matter which you choose, select the ones that are safe, natural, and effective in keeping your skin moisturized, healthy and they won't obstruct your pores or lead to any undesired results so your ears can remain healthy.

As a beginner, it's important to understand that this process requires commitment to long-term success. It involves more than just inserting larger pieces into your piercings - proper care must be taken before, during, and after each stretch to ensure healthy healing. Aftercare is also crucial, so make sure to clean your ears regularly and avoid using harsh chemicals.


What aftercare measures to take when gauging your ears for the first time?

After each stretch, it's important to clean your piercing with a saline solution. This allows your piercing to heal properly and reduces the risk of infection. Additionally, avoid using harsh chemicals or alcohol-based products on your piercing itself.

Here are some tips to ensure a healthy and successful ear stretching process from the start:

  • Cleanliness: Keep your piercing clean by washing it at least twice daily with warm water and soap that is chemical-free.

  • Salt Soaks: Give your earlobes a soothing break with twice daily warm saltwater soaks (1/8 to 1/4 tsp of salt per 1 cup of water). It's like a mini-vacation for your ears.

  • Oils: Regularly massaging stretching lubes into the stretched area can help keep skin supple and aid healing. It's like a spa day for your lobes.

Make sure that you have a smooth transition through each gauge size during your ear stretching journey. Additionally, consider your options carefully when selecting aftercare products.

Certain products for Ear Gauging Care such as lube and moisturizers are especially important for beginners to help aid in the basic healing process, enhancing ear lobe circulation, improving the performance of ear tissue skin stretching along with contributing to the overall earlobe health as you start to stretch.

Gauging your ears is a thrilling experience, but it's crucial to take proper care of your newly stretched ears and the material you choose for inserting into your piercing matters-- especially at this stage in the stretching process.


What are the best ear stretching materials to use for beginners?

Proper ear stretching materials are what to use to stretch ears, especially in the early stages of stretching. Recommended options to select are steel or glass.The best stretching materials for beginners are made of non-porous material when starting to stretch.

Choosing the right material for ear stretching is crucial, especially for beginners.The style and material for ear stretching that you use to stretch is considered before purchasing jewelry.

For jewelry, single flare plugs are recommended to use directly after piercing stretches. Though, not just any single flared plugs will do (for example, avoid acrylic at this stage of stretching). Also avoid earrings that stretch your earlobe due to the weight such as dangles, along with hangers and weights at the early stages of stretching.

Once your ear lobes fully heal at the next size up and you want to try other types of jewelry, then the following jewelry options open up for your newly stretched lobes: ear weights, ear skins, organic plugs and double flare plugs.


What are the Misunderstandings of Beginners Stretching Ears?

With stretching, everyone starts as a beginner. Sōtō Zen Buddhist Monk, Shunryū Suzuki is known for coining the phrase, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few." According to the history on ear stretching, the stretched ears of Buddha represents longevity to his followers. To have long-lasting healthy lobes, we want to cover some of the potential issues and misunderstandings when it comes to risks to avoid and the potential reversibility of stretching, in case you ever change your mind about stretched lobes.


What are the risks of ear stretching?

Complications can occur during the ear stretching process, if you're not careful. With the ear, you're battling biology to encourage healthy stretched ears with healthy blood flow, though, issues can occur with numerous factors such as ear cheese odor from dead skin cells accumulating in the piercing hole, tears resulting in a blowout in ear stretching or permanent disfiguration, in extreme cases. Before you're beginning the stretching process, it's advised to review the factors of unhealthy stretched ears so you can avoid those traps.


Reversibility of Ear Stretching for Beginners

To reverse ear stretching, simply use smaller gauge sized jewelry for inserting into the stretched earlobes. Ear stretching is not permanent as long as you don't stretch beyond the 'point of no return'.

Can ear stretching be reversed? In the next section, we answer the question.


Can stretched ears go back to normal size?

While being mindful that piercings stretched beyond 10mm (00g) may not fully close when removing jewelry, typically most stretched ear piercings constrict as expected up until the ‘point of no return’ when the ear piercing jewelry is removed from the earlobe.

If you're past the initial phase of beginning stretching and have already become accustomed to the feel of stretching, then we encourage you to use the same beginner's mindset to grow your knowledge to advance to larger sizes in ear stretching.


Where to Find More Advanced Ear Stretching Information?

Ear stretching is a gradual process that requires patience and care, so it's important to follow a regimen for safe stretching. You can review the Stretching Ears Guide for more details on stretching beyond the starting sizes, and achieve the ear stretch size you desire.

Remember, ear stretching is a personal choice and not for everyone, so do your research and contact us if you have any questions before starting.

Disclaimer: Any statements made within this website are based on a combination of vast professional experience, common sense, along with extensive research and practice. No products produced, manufactured, marketed, or distributed are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. If you suspect a medical emergency, seek professional attention. Consult your physician before beginning any piercing stretching, if you suspect any concern based on personal circumstances.