Ear Tapers: Everything You Need to Know

Written by: Stretch It Body Jewellery



Time to read 9 min

Model With Stretched Ears
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Stretch It Body Jewellery

SIBJ is one of the world's leading online specialist retailers and wholesalers in ear stretching kits, plugs, aftercare and body jewellery. We have over 10 years of experience in selling high-quality, unique ear stretching jewellery providing the knowledge, expertise and tools to stretch up confidently and safely.

"Always remember, ear tapers are meant to be used as tools in the ear stretching process. You’ll achieve larger ear gauges using them appropriately, whereas treating them as jewellery or leaving them in for too long can cause issues, ultimately compromising the appearance and health of your ears."

Let’s take a deep dive into ear tapers, a crucial tool in the art of ear stretching. In this article, you’ll find shedloads of hints, tips and facts to enlighten and inform when it comes to using tapers to stretch ears. So, let’s crack into all things ear tapers.

What are Ear Tapers?

Ear Taper

Ear tapers are self-explanatory. They taper from a narrow point to a broader base to expand your piercing gradually.

But, a word of caution. It's vital to use stretching tapers carefully to prevent any damage. And here’s the golden rule. Properly inserted gauge tapers might meet slight resistance, but should NEVER cause discomfort or pain.

Is it Safe to Wear Tapers in Your Ears?

Safety first, folks! Overall, there’s nothing unsafe about tapers. It’s the way you use them that can cause alarm bells.

Ear tapers have a useful role to play. But, a taper stretcher for your ears isn’t intended to be worn as jewellery, and should only be used during the act of ear stretching itself, (unless you really know what you’re doing – and, even then, with caution and expertise).

Here’s why. Wearing stretching tapers as permanent fixtures can lead to a whole host of issues best avoided, including:

  • Uneven stretching
  • Prone to snagging
  • Potentially serious damage to your lobes

Granted, plenty of people think gauge tapers look cool. But it’s best to see them for what they are - a temporary tool to achieve a bigger gauge, not as a final accessory.

What Do Ear Tapers Do?

Think of an ear taper as a bridge from one size to the next in your lobe’s stretching journey. This is achieved by the way they’re designed small at one end and gradually widening to the desired gauge.

They’re instrumental in helping you safely transition up in size, by preparing your lobes to accept larger jewellery, smoothly and without undue stress.

Just remember their function is transient. They guide but shouldn’t stay around for long.

How to Use Stretching Tapers

Here’s a step-by-step break down of the process when you choose to use gauge tapers:

Relax and Prepare

A warm shower or bath relaxes you and your earlobes, making them more pliable.

Model Taking A Shower

Sanitise and Set Up

Clean your hands, then your earlobes and all tools and jewellery with anti-bacterial soap, ensuring a germ-free environment.

Additionally, you might want to sterilise your ear tapers before you get going. Loads of people do, for extra hygiene and peace of mind. Just allow for cooling down time if you’re one of them. 

Hand Washing Under Tap


Apply a liberal amount of jojoba oil like LobeLove™ Organic Golden Jojoba Oil or Holey Butt'r to your lobes and taper, to minimise friction and maximise stretching comfort.

Jojoba oil

Insert with Care

Slowly and gently insert the taper, following the natural angle of your piercing. Never force it. And pause or give your ear more time to adjust if you experience any undue resistance or pain.

Insert Taper

Transition to Jewellery

Once the taper stretcher for ears is through, immediately follow it with your new jewellery. A single flare plug matching the size of the taper’s largest end is ideal. This should be an effortless transition to avoid any stress on your freshly stretched ear.

Ear Gauge In Ear

Adopt a Good Aftercare Routine

Clean off any excess oil and ensure your new jewellery is securely in place. Ba-da-boom! You’re done! Yet taking good care of your stretch in the following days is crucial. So, keep it clean and moisturised, and monitor for any signs of distress or infection.

Model Wearing Grey Glass Cat

Best Ear Stretching Kit with Stretching Tapers?

An ear stretching kit makes every stretch easy and completely pain-free, (so long as you do what you’re told!). All you need is a healed piercing to safely expand your lobes at home. The good news is there’s no need to look any further than SIBJ for everything from choosing the right ear stretching kit to effective aftercare.

And with the taper method on your radar, you’ll want to pay close attention to this bad boy:

  • Surgical Steel Taper Kit - Its ear tapers are the ideal tool for gradually increasing your piercing size from a standard lobe piercing up to 10mm.

They’re made from premium 316L surgical steel and hand-polished to a gleaming mirror finish. Plus, each kit comes with a convenient measuring card to ensure accurate sizing and prevent any school boy/girl errors during the ear stretching process.

You won't find anything quite like this exclusively designed kit elsewhere, a humble brag backed up by over a decade of experience in the industry and thousands of five-star reviews.

All the same, we highly recommend pairing these tapers with one of our specially designed tunnel or plug kits. These nifty kits contain various cherry-picked combos of plugs and tapers, all compatible with fresh stretches. You’re guaranteed the best results, setting you up nicely to maintain healthy stretches.

How Long Do You Leave Tapers In?

To clarify a common misconception… Stretching tapers shouldn’t be left in the ears beyond the stretching session. They’re designed to set the scene for the insertion of new, larger jewellery, not to stay put. If you leave gauge tapers in, it can lead to some pretty unpleasant upshots, like uneven stretches, and pressure on your lobes potentially causing thinning or tearing.

Can You Stretch Faster Using Ear Tapers?

Stop Hand Sign

Honestly, it’s this sort of misbehaviour that gets ear stretching a bad name!

Many an ear stretching kit comes with stretching tapers up to 10mm (00g). But it doesn’t mean they should be forced into your lobes frequently just because you can. Here’s the thing…

The graduating conical shape of ear tapers can suggest a gentler stretch than is the case in reality, and mislead users into accelerating the stretching process. This can lead to overly rapid stretching.

Emphasising again, please don’t try stretching faster using tapers, no matter how real the temptation is. Instead, be a safer stretcher. It's wiser to practice patience, have a bit of nous, and hold off on increasing the size, than go into a taper frenzy potentially leading to kickers like:

  • Infections
  • Blowouts
  • Formation of scar tissue

What’s the Right Jewellery to Wear After Using Tapers to Stretch Ears?

It’s crucial to choose the right jewellery post- stretching. Options include:

  • Single Flare Plugs - Ideal for freshly stretched ears, because they’re easier to insert and less likely to cause irritation.
  • Non-Porous Materials - Opt for materials like surgical steel, titanium, or glass, which are safer and easier to keep clean.

Another question that often follows directly on from ‘what’ is ‘when’. 

The answer couldn’t be simpler. Transition from ear tapers to tunnels or plugs straight away. You’ll likely hear some folks saying 24 hours. But there’s no need to wait or hesitate. Just do it!

What Can I Use Instead of Tapers?

Ear tapers are common, But, what if you prefer a different route?

Plugs and tapers are both typically used to get healed piercings off the starting blocks. But plugs are used instead of stretching tapers for the following highly compelling method:

Dead Stretching - The dead stretching alternative has major traction among the body mod community, for the way it combines simplicity with safety. The word ‘dead’ might make it sound a bit dubious. But think of it as ‘natural’ rather than ‘dead’ if the title freaks you out.

The dead ear stretching method often wins out over ear tapers, because it avoids the forced stretch gauge tapers can encourage. By comparison, dead stretching involves waiting until your earlobes naturally loosen around your current jewellery before moving up to a slightly larger size.

Here’s it’s key USPs:

  • Controlled and Gradual - Increases in size are minor (think 0.5mm to 1mm), allowing your body to make natural progress, reducing trauma, and promoting healthier lobes.
  • Reduced Risk of Injury - Less force. More allowing your body to dictate the pace of every stretch. As a result, there’s less risk of tears, blowouts or damage to your lobes.
  • Simplicity - The focus is on the gradual increase in plug sizes without the need for tools like ear tapers. No fuss and all focus on the health of your lobes.

How to Choose Plugs and Tapers for Larger Stretches

Model With Large Stretched Ears Wearing Black PVD Tunnel

It’s not advised to use tapers to stretch ears beyond 10mm, though some people prefer them for initially tackling particularly tough smaller sizes. But ear tapers aren’t suitable for stretches larger than 10mm. Instead, try dead stretching with plugs and tunnels for a safer and more gradual ear stretching process.

And how do different styles of plugs shape up for heftier stretches?

  • Flesh Tunnels – Favoured for their lightweight properties
  • Flesh Plugs - Preferred by some for their subtler appearance, making them more suitable for professional settings where tunnels might be inappropriate

Can I Wear Taper Earrings?

No, we’re not going off our rockers and doing a complete U-turn after we’ve spent this entire article warning you about the clear and present dangers of wearing ear tapers.

So, we’ve held this curveball back till the end. And it’s not something we shout… But it’s kind of ok to wear a light taper stretcher for ears for short periods of time, and only in fully healed stretched lobes.

In fact, you can get some really neat taper earrings for short term wear. Here’s our top five hot picks:

But we reiterate again, if you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing, don’t put yourself in a potentially compromising situation for the sake of a fashion statement.

Basically, we stock an amount of high-quality taper earrings to supply to the many diverse demands of the ear stretching community we serve. But we still facepalm when misinformed or reckless stretchers suffer as a result of misusing gauge tapers. And the bottom line is this. In the wrong hands (and ears), it can be a torn lobe waiting to happen.

A Final Word on Ear Tapers

Tattooed Model With Stretched Ears

Ear stretching with tapers should always be undertaken with care, patience, and respect for your body. You'll be able to enjoy your stretched ears safely and stylishly with the right approach and tools. So, listen to your body and proceed at a pace that feels right for you.

Always remember, ear tapers are meant to be used as tools in the ear stretching process. You’ll achieve larger ear gauges using them appropriately, whereas treating them as jewellery or leaving them in for too long can cause issues, ultimately compromising the appearance and health of your ears.

At Stretch It Body Jewellery, you’re invited to explore the diverse, exciting and spiritual world of ear stretching, with an awe-inspiring selection of the coolest tunnels, plugs and tapers. Visit our website and see for yourself how these unique and striking pieces of alternative jewellery help you express your individuality in a provocative and authentic way.

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