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5 Methods Ear Stretching: Top Ways to Stretch Piercings

5 Methods Ear Stretching: Top Ways to Stretch Piercings

Ear stretching instructions (Ear Stretching Methods) differ based on which approach to the ear stretching process you are implementing, as they vary depending on the technique. Whether you are stretching with or without tapers, whether wrapping tape around plugs or not, and more options like that all require following instructions and are a consideration to select from when stretching ears.

Methods for ear stretching are wide-ranging including methodologies for taping jewelry, the use of taper tools, the use of stretching kits, dead stretching techniques and wearing jewelry. Don't simply plan to just wear heavier hangers for stretching ears, as heavy jewelry can cause earlobe deformities when stretching, according to researchers at The American Academy of Pediatrics (2007).

As a result, questions arise regarding how to stretch your ears without tapers, what are the distinctions among the different stretching methods, and what to do to carefully stretch while preventing unnecessary risks when stretching. Those answers along with the top 5 stretching methods, differences of methods comparison, best method to start stretching, potential risks to avoid stretching along with how care for the ears using any of the methods, and more are all covered.



Since 2006, Plug Your Holes has seen all of the attempts to plug earholes and since we sell the finest stretching jewelry in the world, we want to properly prepare you for safe stretching methods during your journey so you can look your best wearing preferred body jewelry at all stages of your journey.

Though tapers are the most common method to stretch, they're our second pick. Below is the list of the top methods to stretch your ears.


What are the 5 best methods to consider for ear stretching to reach my desired size?

When it comes to safely and effectively stretching your earlobes to achieve your desired gauge size, there are common methods that professionals generally recommend. Taping and tapering are the names, the recommended methods are explained briefly below, further detailed.

The ear stretching process starts with the Taping Method which involves you taking pieces of tape and wrapping it around your plugs 2 to 3 times per plug.


  1. Taping Method

The Taping Method in stretching is something you can start right away because all you need is: some tape.

Wrap it around your jewelry to slowly and safely expand your piercing to stretch. Avoid using duct tape and electrical tape for this method.

The taping method, also known as the tape wrapping method, has gained popularity as one of the safest methods to stretch your ears. This technique involves wrapping a layer of tape around your jewelry, allowing your earlobe to slowly expand over time without causing unnecessary trauma.

NOTE: You start by adding just a few wraps of tape to your jewelry, increasing the diameter slightly. Over time, you can add more layers, allowing your earlobe hole to slowly stretch and adapt to the larger sizes. Always remember to cut off any excess tape to maintain hygiene and comfort.

There are specific types of tape recommended for this process, such as PTFE tape and bondage tape. These tapes are non-adhesive and hypoallergenic, making them safe for contact with the skin. Electrical tape and duct tape are not recommended as those can cause adverse reactions due to its adhesive and chemical properties.

This method allows you to stretch your ears without tapers. By providing a slow and steady stretch, the tape wrapping method minimizes damage, making it a safe and effective choice for those looking to reach their desired size.


How to Use the Taping Method?

To use the tape wrapping method, simply add a layer of the chosen tape around your jewelry, ensuring it's smooth and evenly applied. You then insert the jewelry with tape into your ear. Over time, you can add more layers of tape, allowing your earlobe to gradually adjust to the increased size.

  1. Clean your hands and jewelry before starting.
  2. Wrap 1 to 2 layers of tape around your plug or tunnel.
  3. Lubricate the taped jewelry with safe oil before inserting it into your earlobe.

Remember to replace the tape daily and maintain hygiene to avoid infections.The taping method allows for a safe and gradual increase in size, ensuring the health and longevity of your stretched lobes.


  1. Taper Method

The Taper Method requires the use of tapers which are tools that have a classic taper shape and are inserted at the tip to match your current earlobe hole size. The tool is designed to gradually increase the diameter of your earlobe hole, over time.

These cone-shaped tools are like personal trainers for your piercing. They'll help you gradually increase your lobe's piercing hole size over time. To use an ear taper, you simply insert the smaller end into your piercing and slowly push it through until your earlobe has stretched to accommodate the larger end.

NOTE: Tapers are designed to gradually expand your piercing by inserting the thinner end first and slowly pushing it through.


How Can You Effectively Use Tapers for Ear Stretching?

Start with a clean taper, and apply a lubricant to ease insertion. Then gently begin pushing the taper into your piercing, taking care not to force it if there's any discomfort. Use tapers following these simple steps:

  1. Wash hands and clean jewelry

  2. Apply Lubricant to taper and earlobe

  3. Push gently on taper to widen piercing hole to transfer to plug

Do this for each ear. After this process, allow the earlobes to properly heal.


Transitioning from Taper to Plug

Once you've successfully pushed the taper through without discomfort, quickly follow up with a plug at the larger end of the taper. This ensures that your stretched piercing maintains its shape while healing.

One popular type of taper is the concave steel taper, which is designed to guide jewelry into the piercing smoothly. Concave tapers are specifically shaped to align with the natural curve of your earlobe, minimizing discomfort and potential damage. The use of steel as a material also ensures a smooth surface that reduces friction during the stretching process.

Tapers offer control over pace which makes them ideal for stretches, though, they are just one method available for stretching earlobes. The use of a stretching kit can also get you to your desired size.


  1. Stretching Kit

A stretching kit can be one of the best and safest methods for ear stretching. Stretching kits are specifically designed to help you reach your desired size in a gradual and controlled manner.

  • Equipped with a variety of tools, each kit helps in increasing earlobe gauge sizes to accommodate the gradual stretching process. This allows you to move up in size at a pace that's comfortable and safe for your body, reducing the risk of tears or blowouts.

  • Using a stretching kit also provides consistency in the stretching process. Each tool in the kit is designed for a specific size increase, eliminating guesswork and ensuring that each stretch is accurate and uniform. This ensures that your ears are stretched evenly and reduces the risk of uneven or lopsided stretches.

  • A kit offers a comprehensive, safe, and effective method for reaching your desired ear gauge size. It provides all the necessary tools and guidance needed for a successful and safe stretching journey.

The popular Ear Stretching Kits range in price from $17.99 for the Size Up Pack to $119.99 for the 16G to 0G Starter Kit.

Instead of choosing a kit size, you can also use use dead stretching plugs: which are essentially body jewelry, like glass plugs, you'll use for stretching that way.


  1. Dead Stretching

No, it's not a zombie technique. Dead stretching ears is a gradual process of putting larger jewelry in piercing holes that relies on time, massage, quality body oil, gravity, and the right jewelry to expand your piercing naturally.


Dead Stretching Method

Dead stretching technique involves wearing a slightly larger piece of jewelry in your ears, allowing your piercing to naturally adapt and stretch.

The key to successful dead stretching is patience and time. Only increase the size of your jewelry as the lobe allows and never force jewelry in, as it could cause irritation along with other risks if not done properly. Awaiting a proper, natural waiting period for your lobes to recover ensures that your earlobes have fully healed from the previous stretch before you introduce a larger size.

If you feel any discomfort or resistance when trying to insert a larger piece of jewelry, it's advisable to wait a couple of days before attempting again. Forcing the process can lead to issues ranging from mild -to-serious.

Remember, this dead stretching technique requires careful attention. Monitor any changes closely when expanding the piercings.


The Right Pace is Crucial

Stretching is like a marathon, not a sprint. When stretching your ears, it's important to take it slow. A conservative approach involves gradually increasing the size over time using the stretching ears timeline as a reference, allowing your earlobe to adapt to each new size without causing unnecessary strain or injury.

Ear stretching is an art form that allows for personal expression through unique body jewelry. Wearing jewelry along the stretching journey is a must, and next we'll cover the use of jewelry during the stretching process.


  1. Wearing Jewelry

Wearing plug jewelry is considered one of the best and safest methods for ear stretching to reach your desired size. These pieces of body jewelry come in various styles, like single flare plugs, double flared plugs, ear weights, ear skins, and more, offering a multitude of options to suit individual preferences at each stretching stage.

  • Double flared plugs are a popular choice due to their secure fit. However, they can be a bit tricky to insert, especially at smaller sizes. Single flare glass plugs or acrylic tapers might be easier for beginners, with the single flare being less harsh on a fresh stretch.

  • Ear weights can be used for gentle stretching over time, while ear skins offer a comfortable, flexible option for healed stretches.

  • Organic plugs, such as wooden plugs, are great for fully healed stretches, as they allow the skin to breathe and reduce odor.

  • Ear tunnels, with the silicone variety known as flesh tunnels, are circular pieces that leave the stretched piercing hole visible. They can be worn alone or filled with other jewelry, such as dangles.

  • Standard earrings or gauge earrings can also be used for some stretched ears.

NOTE: Ear stretching costs can vary depending on the type and quality of the jewelry chosen. The Body Jewelry Shop on PlugYourHoles.com provides a range of options, from your current body jewelry size up to larger body jewelry sizes, ensuring a gradual and safe stretching process while looking stylish.

Avoid heavy gold earrings or larger plugs that may weigh down your lobes too much when stretching. The key to successful stretching is patience, proper body jewelry, and regular care of your piercings. Listen to your body, take your time, and enjoy the journey of expressing your style through your favorite body jewelry.


Ensure you're progressing with safe sizes

Wearing jewelry for stretching earlobes requires careful attention to detail to sizes and patience when stretching-up.

A critical aspect to keep in mind is knowing the unit of measurement used for the jewelry so you can always choose the right size of jewelry to wear. It's essential to understand this to ensure that you're increasing the size at a safe and manageable rate. Aim to increase the size of your jewelry by only one unit of measurement at a time, allowing the earlobes to adapt to each new size with the stretching ears sizes that are manageable for your lobes at each stage of the stretching journey.

While both the taper method and the tape method can be effective, it's important to listen to your body and not rush the process. If you're starting from a standard size, don't aim for the biggest size right away. Instead, gradually work your way up from your current gauge size to your goal size, giving your body ample time to heal between stretches.

Alternatively, some people think that wearing weighted jewelry is a safe method to stretch. With this method, you let your piercing stretch over time by wearing heavier jewelry, using jewelry such as weights and hangers.


Are Weights and Hangers a Safe, Effective Stretching Method?

No, hangers (aka "ear weights") are not a safe nor effective safe stretching method alone. The method of using ear weights for stretched ears involves the use of hangers as weights on the earlobes. The usage of these types of jewelry are meant for completely healed lobes and are not recommended for the stretching process, as they can cause uneven stretching.

Once the lobes have healed from stretches, you can optionally use weights and hangers for jewelry.

However, this technique can be used as a supplementary approach to proper stretching methods, as long as there's no force, nor pain, when inserting larger-sized jewelry.

NOTE: Weights or hangers are perfect for those who want a natural stretch after stretched ears have completely healed. But use them cautiously, improper use could result in uneven stretches or tears.

To incorporate weights safely into your routine, start with lighter options first before gradually increasing weight size as your ears adjust. Always heed your body's signals; if there is any distress or agony when wearing the weights, take them off right away.


What are the differences between the earlobe stretching methods?

There are several methods you can choose from when it comes to the process to stretch ears. Each method has its own unique approach, along with pros and cons, as shown below.

Stretching Method Pros Cons Main Benefit
Tape allows you to control the pace of stretching, reducing the risk of complications be aware that certain tapes may irritate sensitive skin precision control over stretching speed and reduces the risk of blowouts
Tapers object used for stretching provides certainty for start and stop times for stretching rushing can lead to tears or blowouts control over the stretching process using a tool
Stretching Kits all-in-one solution includes everything you need to start stretching and size up to new sizes may not offer the variety of jewelry you desire initially simple approach to start stretching with everything readily available
Dead Stretching it's economical as you don't require any additional tools or materials it can be slow compared to other methods like taping or using tapers so if you're looking for a quick fix, this may not be the best option if following your body's natural pace, it can be safely applied
Wearing Jewelry wide variety of options available to wear such as plugs, tunnels, and more may not be suitable for initial stretches due to their fixed sizes ability to wear the type of jewelry you want at every stage of the stretching process

The comparison table above gives details comparing the various stretching methods. Note that wearing jewelry is used at every stage.


Can I switch methods to stretch?

Yes, you can switch stretching methods. For example, use tape to start stretching (Taping Method) or switch to a taper, using the Taper Method. Other methods are also switchable throughout the process.

Regardless of the method you choose, remember that ear stretching is a gradual process.


What is the best way to start stretching your ears?

The best way to start stretching your ears is to begin with a standard piercing, allow it to heal fully, then gradually increase the size of the jewelry over time. For those people just beginning to learn how to gauge your ears for the first time, you would start with a standard ear piercing. This initial piercing creates the foundation for the stretching process.

  1. Once your pierced ears have fully healed, which can take several weeks, you can begin stretching. It's important not to rush this healing process, as a fresh piercing can be more prone to infection or other complications.

  2. When you start the stretching process, you'll be moving from regular piercings to larger-sized gauge piercings. Gradually transition, increasing the size of the jewelry slowly over time. This allows your earlobe piercing to adapt naturally to the larger size and reduces potential risks.

Proper aftercare is just as important for stretched piercings as it is for standard piercings.

Always prioritize cleanliness and patience to ensure a safe and successful stretching process.


What are the potential dangers of gauging ears?

Improper stretching can result in issues ranging from mild issues such as ear cheese smells from stretched piercing holes to serious issues such as causing detachment of the earlobe from the head or earlobe blowouts resulting in more troubles. Oftentimes, issues can be avoided using proper stretching techniques, proper hygiene, patience and careful attention to the status of the earlobe itself.

Rushing this process could lead to tearing or other complications, so patience is key here as stretching too fast can injure your ears. Other potential risks, include:

  • infections caused by unclean hands and tools: There's a risk of infection, especially if you don't follow proper hygiene practices or rush the stretching process. Always clean your hands and jewelry thoroughly before handling your piercings to minimize this risk.

  • build-up of keloids or scar tissue caused by tears or blowouts, usually due to skipping sizes or forcing jewelry to fit into piercing holes: A blowout occurs when the earlobe skin is forced out through the back of the piercing due to rapid stretching. This can result in pain and may require medical attention.

  • odd cheese smells coming from the ears, called "ear cheese": A common issue associated with ear gauging is the buildup of dead skin cells in the stretched earlobe. This accumulation can often lead to unpleasant smells during ear stretching. Regular cleaning of your earlobes and jewelry can help prevent this.

So it is fair to say that gauging ears is a form of body modification that carries a degree of risk for complication risks, but with you understanding these potential dangers, you can now do better to avoid them.

Minimize risks by using proper techniques like gradual increases in size and regular cleaning routines.Whether you're aiming for a larger gauge size or just a slight increase in diameter from your original size, patience, proper technique, and the right tools are key to a successful and safe stretching journey.


How to be careful preparing to stretch your ears?

Care about the materials you use to stretch as it is one of the biggest advantages you can have when stretching. Though, to get started with stretching, be prepared to provide adequate care before, during and after stretches.

One crucial part of the stretching process is the use of lubricants when stretching. By massaging the lobes with oils, it promotes healthy circulation in the earlobe for safer stretching experiences.

Jojoba oil and Vitamin E oil are commonly used as safe lubricants in ear stretching. These natural oils not only provide an oily substance that eases the insertion of the jewelry but also nourish and heal the skin, keeping it stretch-friendly. The Ear Stretching Lubricants help to ease the jewelry into your piercing, making the process more comfortable and reduces potential risks when stretching.

You can apply these oils on a regular basis, even when you're not stretching, to keep your lobe ready and healthy for the next size. Commercial-grade lubricants specifically designed for ear stretching, like Ear Butter, are also available. These products are formulated to provide the right amount of slip without causing irritation or damage to your skin.

Below are other safety considerations for stretching the lobes:

  1. Be careful with the materials you use

When preparing to stretch your ears, it's crucial to consider the best type of materials for stretching you'll consider using based on your personal requirements, and avoid those not listed.

  • Natural materials are often recommended for completely healed lobes as they can harbor bacteria in their porous surfaces. Non-porous materials are less likely to harbor bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, reducing the risk of infection. They're also easier to clean, making them a more hygienic option for ear stretching.

  • Hypoallergenic materials like surgical steel or glass are also excellent choices, especially for those with sensitive skin. These materials are less likely to cause an allergic reaction, reducing the risk of complications during the stretching process.

When choosing body jewelry for stretching, it's essential to consider the material. Opt for hypoallergenic, and non-porous materials to ensure a safe and successful stretching process. Carefully choosing the right materials is a key step in preparing to stretch your ears. The next step is use the methods properly to the chosen materials for safely stretching your ears.


  1. Use proper stretch methods carefully

Ensure your initial piercing is fully healed before you begin to stretch your earlobes. Next, follow these tips to stretch:

  1. When you're ready to safely stretch your ears, gather all necessary materials. This includes rubbing alcohol, antibacterial soap, salt, and warm water. Ensure that your hands and the jewelry are clean before starting; use the antibacterial soap for your hands and the rubbing alcohol for the jewelry.

  2. To promote natural skin elasticity and blood flow in your ear lobes, take a warm shower before stretching. The heat from the shower makes the ear tissue more pliable and less prone to tearing during the stretching process.

  3. Once your ear is stretched, maintain hygiene to promote healing. Clean your fresh stretches twice a day with a saline solution. You can prepare this at home by dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a cup of boiling water. Once it cools down to a warm temperature, use it to cleanse the stretched area. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide as it can potentially damage the ear tissue and hinder the healing process.

  4. During the healing time, it's crucial to keep your ears clean and avoid unnecessary touching. This helps prevent bacterial infections. If you notice any signs of infection such as severe pain, swelling, or discharge, consult with a healthcare or piercing professional immediately.

Remember, keep your jewelry clean and listen to your body throughout the process. Use guidance for how to care for stretching ears as stretching your earlobes is an involved process. Listen to your body's signals and take your time to ensure a safety with and healthy stretching experience.

In addition to safety considerations, aftercare practices are equally essential when using all methods. Regular cleaning of both your jewelry and piercings helps prevent infections while promoting healthy skin growth around stretched areas.

The benefits of carefully attending to the details of using proper methods sets you up for a timeless look of stretched ears, unique to you and your style.

Remember, it's crucial to keep the piercing hole clean throughout this process to prevent infection.


What are the desired outcomes of using proven stretching methods?

Piercing stretching is a diverse world with unique techniques that cater to different preferences and goals. No matter what your motivation may be, from aesthetics to self-expression or cultural significance, there's a stretching technique that will fit the bill.


Stretching your ears can add an edgy touch to your appearance or showcase intricate jewelry designs like plugs from PlugYourHoles. It's like a mini art exhibit on your ears.


Earlobe stretching is a powerful form of self-expression. It's a way of showing your identity and what matters to you, displayed through the lobes of your ears. It's like wearing your personality on your ears.

Cultural Significance

In some cultures, stretching ears holds significant meaning. It may symbolize adulthood rites or tribal affiliations. It's like a cultural badge of honor.

Whether you're drawn by its visual allure, desire to express yourself uniquely, or honor cultural traditions, understanding these benefits can help guide your journey towards achieving your desired gauge size safely and effectively.

The stretched ear lobe has often been seen as a symbol of status, beauty, or religious devotion for thousands of years across various civilizations.

In many societies, ear stretching was a rite of passage. Young members of the community, such as the Fulani people of Africa, would have their ears stretched as they transitioned into adulthood. This marked their acceptance and responsibility within the community.

Today, while many individuals choose to stretch their ears as a form of self-expression or fashion statement, it's important to remember the rich cultural history behind this practice. Understanding its historical significance can bring a deeper appreciation for the art of ear stretching.


Techniques Takeaway

Stretch your ears safely with these top techniques for expanding piercings. Now that you've explored taping, tapers, weights, hangers, plugs, tunnels, and dead stretching, you can now to use the best method for you. Each technique has its own benefits and risks, so be sure to consider them before stretching.

Follow the best practices outlined in this guide to achieve your desired gauge size without harming yourself or your piercing. Express your personal style and make a statement with your stretched ears.