Of all the beauty trends we buy into, the act of piercing is actually one that our ancestors may have approved of, with origins dating back to 1500 BCE.
But unlike shoes, handbags and other trends you can throw on and take off with ease, piercings have always been a more high-risk fad. After all, how many of us haven't experienced some kind of piercing-related trauma from our teens? As one Refinery29 editor remarks of her 2012 nose piercing, “It was a literal nightmare… I still have a scar because it never fully healed.”
Faux piercings, by comparison, involve far less pain, maintenance and aftercare, leaving you with nothing but benefits. But there’s something about most fake piercings that just feels too costumey for everyday wear. Thankfully, just as we thought we’d given every accessory under the sun a crack, there’s a new shiny thing to wrap our heads around.
Introducing the nose cuff: a no-fuss facial accessory that's perfect for us non-committals. Reap all the benefits of a nose piercing without the emotional rollercoaster that comes with infections.
Made from a wire that's bent to sit comfortably and securely around your nostril, the nose cuff is an accessory for those who like to make a statement — the kind that doesn't involve any blood.
For Celest Salgado, a Brooklyn-based artist who has started to make a business out of these little guys, the interest in nose cuffs was a complete surprise. Spinning a new hobby into a quick side hustle, like many managed to do during the pandemic, 22-year-old Salgado (also known as @Scor9io) has been creating the dreamiest nose cuffs, running from exquisitely fine designs that are perfect for day-to-day, to more elaborate designs with chains and charms. Our favourites have to include the dual chain cuffs.
And if you're not one for having things in your nostrils, some of Salgado's designs sit just over the bridge of the nose. No saline solution required.
“I’ve always been a statement jewellery kinda gal and I want to say it was early April when I saw some wire on sale at the store and wanted to play around with it just to see what I could do,” she tells Refinery29. “I remember so clearly earlier that week talking to my friend about how I wish I could get my nose pierced again and I ended up running home and trying to make myself some faux piercings and then they just got bigger and more intricate.”
“I posted a video of my very first ones on TikTok and to my surprise, the video ended up going viral,” she says of her success. “It really was overnight for me. I suddenly had thousands of people asking me to sell them and where/how/when they could buy them. It became pretty intense and surreal for me when artists I enjoy started to reach out to me! It took me a good two months before I felt even somewhat prepared to sell them.”
The shapes take form naturally for Salgado, who is mostly inspired by the art around her. Metal is a new medium for her but it goes hand in hand with her other art. “After that very first video of my nose cuffs, I explained pretty thoroughly where my brain goes when I make them. A lot of the shapes in my first rounds of cuffs were completely based on my paintings, and the shapes I use while painting.
The demand for them speaks to a greater need for us all to embrace maximalist accessories after lockdown. And, naturally, after the concentrated period of time that we spent hyper-focused on our faces in Zoom calls, it’s no wonder that accessories of the face are shining again. As Salgado says, it’s the unique and whimsical shapes that tend to resonate with people, including the chains. “As I’ve progressed, I’ve come to notice it’s my more unconventional shapes that people seem to gravitate towards,” she says. “I think people really like the idea that no one piece is the same as the next.”
Another important element of Salgado's work is ensuring she remains open to cultural boundaries. Of course, plenty of cultures across the world hold clip-on nose accessories and chains to significance, so Salgado has put the work into ensuring that her designs do not appropriate other cultures, and remain uniquely hers.
So if you're keen to level up your accessories game, but aren't ready to bite the bullet with a piercing, we highly suggest tuning into her collection drops or exploring Etsy for nose cuffs. Or, if you're game, you can even try creating some designs yourself. And with party season just around the corner, we're tipping the nose cuff to be everywhere in no time.