The "Snug" Will Be 2018's Biggest Piercing Trend

At Maria Tash's three piercing studios — located in New York, London, and Rome — new looks are put through a series of trials and tests before they make it into the beauty zeitgeist. "We're always beta testing new trends," she told Refinery29, "And for 2018, we'll be releasing a few of them." The jewelry designer and longtime piercer is one of the most respected in the game and says the ear is due for a comeback.

Famed L.A. piercer Brian Keith Thompson, who's worked with entertainment industry elite — Jennifer Lawrence, Beyoncé, Emma Stone, and FKA Twigs are just a few clients — agrees. He notes that naval and septum piercings have both plateaued, the nipple has slowed down, and lip piercings and dermals are "as dead as your Christmas tree," he jokes. "It's going to be the year of the ear," he reports. "I predict that the snug, the upper lobe, and multiple constellations are going to be big."

Tash notes that nipple piercings are still popular in New York and the naval is surprisingly big in Rome, but when it comes to the ear, she plays favorites with the high lobe. "It's first place for 2018," she says. "It's the most under-appreciated middle zone between the lobe and a really low helix."

Don't worry if these terms are lost in translation. Ahead, Thompson and Tash break down the most popular looks in L.A., the first big placement that is officially through beta testing in New York, and more.

The Upper Lobe

Tash reports that this overlooked spot will be huge in 2018 — and it's great for newbies, too! "The placement is where your fifth or sixth hole would be," she explains, noting that the skin at this location tends to be thinner, so many piercers have historically avoided the area. (Our pros say there's no reason to avoid it.)
Thompson co-signs: "The upper lobe is incredibly popular right now," he says, noting that it ushers in a second trend: asymmetry. "Instead of having the same look on both sides, it's cool to have a unique side that helps tell two different stories," he says. "Your left and right ears can be totally different."
There's no need to get numerous holes going up your ear if you don't want to. In fact, skipping your third and fourth holes adds an interesting gap that looks incredibly modern. (Bonus: This is still the lobe, so the healing will be easier than something placed higher.)
The "Tash Rook" & Standard Rook

Tash reports that constellation-like clusters of diamonds and small hoops going up the ear were popular in New York and London in 2017 — and will continue to be — but this year, it might look a little different.

"People got bolder as we approached the end of 2017... they got a little more into it," she says. Towards the end of the year, a new trend emerged: clusters on the conch or Tash rook (the industry-wide term Tash coined that describes the flat on the ear above the rook). These clusters and duos are impactful, but will take longer to heal that the lobe.
For Thompson, it's the classic rook that he's loving, noting that a lot of people have trusted him to make the call on piercing placement — and he's been going rook, rook, and rook. (Not sure what you're looking at here? It's the top, inner piercing with the hoop!)
The Snug

Above her bottom three lobe piercings, and under the hoop adorning her helix, is the oft-ignored snug. "I am starting to do a lot more snug piercings than I used to," Thompson notes. "It's between the helix and the conch and it's becoming incredibly popular in L.A."
Staggered & Stacked Piercings

"The lobe is going to be where it's at for a while," Thompson says. "Everyong will be tricking out their lobes this year. This image also represents two other trending looks: tiny diamonds and imperfect lineups.

"I can't keep 1.5mm diamonds in stock because everyone want more petite and dainty diamonds," he says. "The smaller the diamond, the better — it just looks more sophisticated right now." For the latter trend, Thompson is more attracted to staggered piercings. "Your piercings don't have to look like ducks in a row," he says. "You can space it out, which gives it depth and looks more interesting. Things that are non-uniform make a statement."
Tash is also a huge fan of stacked piercings, a trend that's reemerged from the early '90s. "So many people have first holes that are stretched or don't have optimal placement for whatever reason, they were pierced as a child or by their friend, so you can make that placement more deliberate by pairing it with a very high earlobe piercing."
Two helix piercings stacked on top of each other adds instant interest.
Fun fact: The look works just as well on the flat of the ear.
The Tash Daith

One of the piercings that Tash and her team will be rolling out for 2018 is what they're calling "the Tash daith." In short, it's the small flap of the ear in front, and slightly below, the daith. The best part? "It doesn't go out the back of the ear," she says. Translation: Easier to heal because it doesn't get bumped as often and far easier to keep clean.
"We try things out on our staff before they hit the market," Tash says. She notes that a hoop or stud can work for this piercing, but she prefers a floating diamon, which you can find in her line now.
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