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Lip rings are a difficult subject to tackle, because so many different types of piercings can be worn in or around the lips, and a multitude of jewelry styles work there as well.  For our purposes here, we’ll just cover the basics, starting with the different types of lip ring.

First we have the “labret/monroe ring,” or stud.  This is basically just a stud style piece of jewelry with a small decoration on one side, a post in the center, and a flat backing of some type on the other end.  The flat portion sits under the lip (inside the mouth), and the post rests inside the piercing itself, while the decorative portion is the only part that shows.  This type of jewelry is measured for length along the shaft, from the backing to the bottom of the embellishment.

 traditional stud style labret lip jewelry

Next there’s the circular, most often just referred to as a “lip ring” or “lip hoop.”  There are several different types of circular jewelry that can be worn in a lip piercing, including horseshoes, segment rings, BCRs, spiral barbells, and lippy loops.  Each of these items will be measured for diameter rather then length, which is always the distance between the two inside edges at the widest part of the hoop.

 BCR, spiral, and circular barbell body jewelry

Finally, we’ve got the last type of jewelry worn in the lip, the small curved barbell.  This type of jewelry generally only works with certain piercings, like the jestrum (vertical medusa), the vertical labret, or the ashley (inverse vertical labret).  This item will be measured for length like a stud, but instead of measuring along the curve of the barbell, you’ll be measuring the distance straight across from the bottom of one ball or decoration to the other.

 curved barbell style ashley and jestrum jewelry

Once you’ve got the length or diameter measurement for your lip jewelry, there’s a couple more things that you’ll need to get a good fit.  First, you’ll want to know the gauge, or thickness of the item, as lip piercings can be done in more than one standard size.  Most commonly a labret, monroe, or medusa will be pierced with either a 16 or 14 gauge, and the difference can make or break the fit of certain jewelry.

measurements for lip ring sizing

After making sure of the correct gauge and length (or diameter) of your lip ring, you’ll then need to decide what type of ball or decorative tip you’d like and how big you want it.  For those interested in minimizing the look of their piercing due to professional or aesthetic reasons, a small simple ball or single gem might suffice, but if you have fuller lips or are looking to make a statement, anything from larger gems or multiple crystals, to spikes, shapes, or even dangles might be what you’re looking for.

 decorative lip jewelry variations

The last you’ll want to consider is material.  For some, allergies might dictate what they can wear, and others might find non-metallic backings more comfortable against the gums.  It really is a matter of anatomy and preference.  If you’re ever in doubt, your piercer is a great resource for sizing and material suggestions.  For more about jewelry and sizing, check out our Jewelry Sizing Category, and as always, buy smart.

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