Gauging ears might seem like a new trend, but it has been around for ages, literally, with ear stretching going back thousands of years. The oldest evidence of humanity practicing ear stretching is Otzi the Ice Man, whose mummified body is estimated to be around 5,200 years old.

Ear stretching is one of the unique options for body modification, but taking the proper steps is vital to get the right look. Getting ear piercings is a beautiful first step, but the right knowledge and supplies will help you achieve the gauge sizes you’ve always wanted and the look you’ve always craved.

The good news is that you’ve found the perfect guide to learning the difference between a gauge vs. piercing and tips for a painless gauging experience. Keep reading to learn more today!

What Is Ear Stretching?

Ear stretching has origins dating back thousands of years. It was viewed as a way to enhance beauty through body modification in ancient civilizations. Many cultures still practice gauging ears, especially in Kenya and the Amazon jungle.

It’s a process that takes time and patience, but you can achieve impressive gauge sizes with the right tips. Some gauges are large enough to accommodate soda cans, while others are the size of a pencil eraser. It’s a painless process if you take the proper precautions and use the best tools.

Equipment for Gauging Ears

The first step of gauging ears is to get ear piercings in both ears. Find a reputable piercing shop near you and visit or schedule an appointment for your ear piercings. It’s wise to check out the online reviews for the piercing shop before moving forward with the process.

It’s best to allow your ear piercings to heal over a few months before you start gauging your piercings. Don’t give in to the temptation of starting the gauging process too soon, as you could cause damage to your ear lobes that never heals. Rushing into large gauge sizes is not advisable to get gauges without pain.

Find a piercer with a license to perform body piercings for the best results. If you choose a piercer with a poor reputation, you face health risks, and it’s not worth getting Hepatitis or HIV. Take the proper precautions before scheduling your piercing appointment.

Once your piercings have healed, shop for the equipment you’ll need for ear gauging. Tapers, plugs, and lube are all required items that you’ll want for a painless gauging experience.


Tapers are long objects that look like spikes and are crucial in gauging. These spiky objects help stretch the skin when preparing for larger gauge sizes. You’ll find various sizes that you can use to work toward your goal, and it comes down to how much you want to stretch your ear lobes.

The best tapers are made from steel or acrylic. Most people recommend choosing steel tapers since they slide effortlessly into your piercings. They’re an effective option, but they’re more expensive than acrylic tapers.

Avoid cutting corners with taper prices. Low-quality tapers are made from unknown materials that could cause irritation and infection in your ears. The healing process will take significantly longer if you opt for a cheap taper option.


Plugs are another essential option that you’ll want if you’re moving forward with body modification. These items are the round pieces of jewelry that you insert in your ear piercings to keep your ear lobes from closing. You can find plugs in several materials, so choose the one that stands out to you the most.

Steel is a great option if you’re looking for a durable option. Steel plugs will help you get the most value from your investment in gauging ears, though it will cost more than other alternatives.

Titanium is another excellent choice if you’re looking for new plugs for the gauging process. They weigh less than steel plugs, and they’re less likely to cause irritation as your ears start healing. The maintenance with titanium plugs is minimal compared to options like silicone plugs.

Silicone plugs are a good investment if you’re looking for an inexpensive plug option to fit within your budget. Organic plugs are also worth considering, especially polished stone and wooden plugs.

Steps for Ear Gauging

Now that you’ve purchased the essential equipment to start gauging your ear piercings, it’s time to learn the proper steps to get the gauge sizes you crave. Slow and steady wins the race with gauge sizes, so stay patient throughout the healing and stretching process.

Wait to start the process until you’re sure that your ear piercings have healed completely. Check for swelling and discharge before starting the process.

Always massage your ear lobe to get the skin warmed up before using the tapers. A hot bath is an excellent way to heat up your ear lobes. Wash your hands before handling your equipment or touching your piercings to prevent infection.

You should also sterilize all your equipment with rubbing alcohol before starting. Lubricate the taper from end to end and slowly push the taper through your ear piercings. Go slowly, and stop if you’re feeling too much discomfort.

Put your plug in at the thick end of the taper for easier insertion. The plug should go into the piercing hole with ease once you’ve worked the taper into your ear. From there, place the plug in your ear piercings and allow it to remain as your ear lobes stretch out to the desired gauge size.

Consider Gauging Your Ears in 2023

Gauging ears is a beautiful form of self-expression and body modification, and it’s worth exploring if you have ear piercings. You’ll need tapers, plugs, and a lubricant to start stretching your ears and exploring gauge sizes, and it’s best to use rubbing alcohol to keep your piercings clean. Remain patient, and stop if you feel too much discomfort during the gauging process.

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