What Is a Taper?
A taper is a cone or spike shaped piece of jewelry that is used to stretch a piercing up a size. The shape of the taper allows the piercing to stretch smoothly as the taper is pushed through the ear. Certain tapers can also be worn as jewelry.
Tapers are very helpful in stretching up the sizes between 14 and 0 gauge. We sell taper sets for those looking to stretch up more than one size or individual tapers spanning a range of sizes for those just wanting to jump up one size.
Tapers for Stretching
Tapers made for stretching are straight and a few inches long. There are also shorter taper spikes, curved (or talon-shaped) tapers, and ring-shaped tapers, but these styles are intended for wearing after stretching, not for stretching.
The best tapers for stretching are made of stainless steel. Steel can be sterilized and has a polished finish that helps when stretching.
Acrylic tapers can be used for stretching and are the most affordable material. However, there isn’t a way to sterilize it, so acrylic carries a higher risk of holding or transferring bacteria. The surface of acrylic can also get scratched more easily than metal, so be sure there are no rough spots that will damage your skin before using an acrylic taper for stretching your ear. Acrylic is not safe to wear in a fresh stretch so be sure to transfer to steel or glass plugs.
Stone tapers are not to be used for stretching at all. They are only for wearing in healed stretches as jewelry because they are porous and can carry too much bacteria. Once your ears are healed, stone tapers are a really pretty choice of jewelry.
In general, tapers are only recommended for wearing in smaller gauges as jewelry. Large gauge tapers will pull the ear unevenly because of the heavy side of the taper.
How To Stretch Your Ears with Tapers
Now that you know what it is and how it works, you probably want to get started on stretching your ears with tapers. Gather up your supplies and take some deep breaths.
- A taper or one of our ear stretching kits
- A set of plugs safe for stretching
- High-quality ear stretching cream or oil
- Mild, unscented soap
Step One: Clean Up
Wash your hands and ears with the unscented soap to clean them. Massage the ear while washing to loosen up the ear tissue a bit. If the taper and plugs are not new, then wash and dry them too.
Step Two: Lubricate
Put a small amount of the lubricating oil or cream on the taper, your ears, and the new plugs.
Wash the excess off your hands so you can retain a good hold on the taper during stretching.
Step Three: Push!
Please note: If your ear is ready to be stretched, then the taper will go through pretty easily. If there is a lot of resistance, pain, or blood, then your ear is not ready to be stretched yet. Go back down to your current size and let your ears heal for a couple more weeks before trying to stretch again.
Insert the small end of the taper into your ear from the front. Hold your ear lobe gently with one hand and steadily push the taper in with the other hand. Don’t push the taper all the way through. Stop when the large end is even with the front of your ear so you can use the taper to guide the plug into your piercing.
Step Four: Transfer to Plugs
Hold your ear and taper in one hand and use the other hand to line the non-flared end of the plug up with the end of the taper. Once they are lined up, push the plug against the taper. The plug will push the taper out of your ear and take its place in the piercing.
Step Five: Heal
Let your ear heal for 4 to 8 weeks. Stretching your ears again before 4 weeks will increase the chance of getting tissue blowout a great deal. Waiting longer is better. The body heals the outside first. This means the skin of the piercing will look healed, but the inside tissue is still healing.