The 21st Century Piercing Renaissance

How has your approach to piercings changed over the years?

For thousands of years, piercing trends have come and go in cultures around the world. Believe it or not, we’re currently going through a major shift right now. Let me take you back to the days of MySpace and Tumblr. Back then, it seemed like more was more when it came to piercings. Many of the most reblogged people had every piercing they could fit on their face—from snake bites to cheek piercings to face dermals. Yet, in recent years, many people have cut back on their piercings and adapted a less is more mentality when it comes to body jewelry.

I’ve gone down this road myself. During my first few years of college, I was all about piercings. At one point, I had a nose ring, a septum piercing, a lip piercing, gobs of jewelry in my ears and several ornaments below the neck. It seemed like I was visiting my local piercing parlor every three months and I took inspiration from all the cool alternative girls at the time. But, after a while, the piercing excitement wore off and unlike a tattoo, you can easily remove your jewelry. And if you’re me, once it’s out you’re probably not going to put it back in.

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One of my piercing idols in my early days of college was tattoo model and YouTuber Morgan Joyce. During her earlier years on the platform, Joyce had heaps of piercings and then, as the years went on, she retired many of her piercings and even had her stretched ears sewn up. “Piercings were the one ‘non-permanent’ thing I was allowed to do before the age of 18,” shares Morgan Joyce, an established tattoo model and piercing enthusiast. “I really loved the idea of decorating my body, but I had limitations due to my age. As I grew older and started covering my body with tattoos, I felt less of a need to have the other decoration. I still have piercings, but I think it’s actually a common evolution for many people in the community.”

Although many of us have cut down on the number of piercings we have on our faces, piercing is a thriving industry. Now, instead of focusing on quantity, it’s about quality. People are now more aware of the importance of investing in high quality jewelry and seeking out reputable piercers. Instead of running down to the local Hot Topic to pick up some acrylic jewelry, people now choose to visit local piercing studios. “I think 5-10 years ago, heavy face piercings were popular for alternative people and it came with a negative opinion,” shares Naomi Marie, a jewelry stylist at Nine Moons Piercing in Manhattan. “The jewelry was stainless steel or some lesser quality material, and pretty bulky. But where body jewelry has gone and is continuing to go, there are so many more options. I have six piercings in my face and because of the quality of the jewelry, and how delicate it is, it works. I definitely believe my face isn’t overwhelmed with jewelry, because less is more.”

Although there are still plenty of people out there who rock the more is more look, the tides are certainly turning in favor of quality over quantity. The piercing world is going through a drastic shift and more people than ever, including doctors, lawyers and teachers, are embracing sophisticated body jewelry. We’ve got a bright and bold future ahead of us, and we cannot wait to revel in it.