How to Gauge Your Ears with Tapers

Make ear piercings larger with tapers.
Make ear piercings larger with tapers. (Image: visage image by valpictures from

For some, pierced ears can be an important step in individualizing fashion and appearance. Pierced ears allow for a huge variety of options regarding jewelry and decoration, and some people may choose to have multiple piercings to wear multiple fashion accessories. Others choose to wear larger jewelry that exceeds the size of the regular piercing hole. These individuals must gauge their ears, or expand the hole in the ear, to accommodate the larger jewelry. They generally use tapers, which are cones inserted through the ear to expand the space.

Things You'll Need

  • Taper
  • Larger earring
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Lubricating jelly
  • Towel

Wash your hands, the taper and the new earring in hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly to remove all residual soap.

Remove the regular earring from your ear. Clean the ear hole thoroughly with hot soap and water or with rubbing alcohol.

Coat the taper with lubricating jelly. Cover the entire length of the taper with the jelly to reduce the risk of pain while gauging your ear.

Slowly insert the tip of the taper into your piercing hole from the front. Gently pull down on your ear lobe to open the hole more.

Push the taper through the ear hole gently. You will experience discomfort, as you are piercing through new areas of skin. Continue to push until there is about 1/2 inch of taper remaining through the front of your ear.

Coat the new earring in lubricating jelly. Line it up with the end of the taper. Push the taper the rest of the way through, applying pressure so that the earring follows the taper through the ear hole. The taper has now passed through the back of your ear, and the earring is in place in your newly gauged hole.

Wipe your ear with a clean towel or rag to remove residual lubricating jelly. Wear the earring continuously to permanently stretch your lobe.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not attempt to taper your ears until at least two months after the initial piercing. This will allow time for the earlobes to heal from the first piercing, reducing the risk of injury.
  • If you do not have a new earring, you can leave the taper in place to gauge your ear. However, sleeping with the taper in can cause damage or tearing.
  • Start with a small taper and gradually work your way up to the larger sizes. Small tapers can be as little as 1/2 inch wide.
  • If you experience severe pain or bleeding during gauging, remove the taper immediately. Safe tapering should involve discomfort and irritation but not severe pain.

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