Nose piercings are one of the most common body piercings in the world, so there’s no wonder why so much different terminology is used to describe the piercings and the jewelry that goes in them. With nostril piercings being so prevalent around the globe, there’s bound to be confusion at one time or another, but this post – and two subsequent posts that will be up in the next week – is your go-to guide for becoming an expert in all that is pierced noses. Today’s post will focus on the ways to size nose rings in order to find the body jewelry that will best work with your own unique nose piercing. The next post will talk about materials that are used in our nose jewelry.
Step 1: Find Your Gauge
The gauge of body jewelry refers to the thickness of the item, which directly correlates to the needle size that is used to pierce you by your chosen piercing professional. Since there are so many different sized noses, there are also different gauge sizes of nose piercings.
The thickness of the item is extremely important to the fit of the item. Standard sizing for nose rings is normally a 20 gauge; this means the thickness of the portion that goes through the piercing is approximately .8 millimeters. Nose piercings can also be done in a slightly larger 18 gauge (1 millimeter thickness).
22 Gauge (.6mm)
Piercings done in India, the Middle East, or very select areas of the US, UK, Australia, or Europe may use the tiniest size: 22 gauge, which would normally be considered a specialty size that may need to be handcrafted by an artisan.
20 Gauge (.8mm)
This is the smallest gauge that most body jewelry will come in, and it is used almost exclusively for nose piercings. You’ll find most styles and types in this average size gauge.
18 Gauge (1mm)
This is the gauge used for larger sizes nose piercings. Slightly larger than the 20 gauge, this size will still provide you with countless fashionable options.
There are a few exceptions for those who were pierced in particular parts of the world or who have larger noses and chose to be pierced a size or two larger, but for the most part, the common gauges are what you’ll be working with for your nostril piercing. Knowing the correct gauge size is incredibly important to be sure your jewelry fits comfortably without slipping out.
Step 2: Find Your Proper Length or Diameter
The length (sometimes referred to as the rise for some types of nose rings) is measured from the base of the gem or decoration to the beginning of the curve, bend, or bulbous end; a portion of the jewelry often referred to as the “wearable surface.” This is the part that will actually be worn inside the piercing and its average length is about 6 millimeters, but for those who have slightly thinner or thicker nasal cartilage 5mm and 7mm lengths are also available.
Unless your nose is either very dainty or larger than average, any of these sizes are likely to fit your nose, but for a truly perfect and comfortable fit, getting your ideal length measured at your piercer is a good idea.
Other sizes for piercings that are done in non-traditional areas of the nostril or for nostrils with different thicknesses of cartilage can be custom made or created from a fishtail nose ring.
First, the piercer will use a special device to measure your nose, and then they’ll bend the long end to the custom size that will best fit your nose. The two most common types of bends will be either a nose screw (the standard type of nose ring that looks like a corkscrew) or an l-shape, which literally leaves the item in the shape of an uppercase L.
Diameter is measured instead of length for nose hoops, and will always be the distance between the inside edges of the hoop at its largest point. Depending on how high up your piercing is and how large or small your nostril is, an incorrect diameter can end up looking a little funky, so this is important to figure out so you can achieve your best style.
The two most common diameter sizes for nose hoops are 5/16″ (8mm) and 3/8″ (10mm). Those with larger noses or with large gauge nose piercings may need rings with a little larger of a diameter, so measuring a hoop you’re already sure fits you is a good decision in those cases.
If you need a size that isn’t commonly sold on our site, an alternative to find the right fit for your nose piercing is to visit your local professional piercer so that they can measure your jewelry, your nose, or both and recommend a specific size for you and your nose.
Step 3: Pick Your Decoration and/or Gem
One of the most fun parts of choosing a new nose ring is picking out the gem or decoration you want to show off on your pierced schnoz. The gem or decoration size of a nose ring is often overlooked, but depending on the look you want and the size of your specific nose, this measurement can be rather important.
Our nose rings (most notably our solid gold options) are set in a low profile setting with a flat bottom to ensure the ring sits flush to the nose. Each stone has its own “seat” where a notch is cut by a highly skilled craftsman into the setting to fit that individual stone. Not only is there an aesthetic quality to this, but it also makes it less likely you’ll get your jewelry caught on something.
The gems/settings on nose rings start as small as 1.2 to 1.6mm (called a micro nose ring) and go up to about 3mm in size. Decorative shapes can be even larger, sometimes measuring up to 6 or 7mm (about 1/4″) wide.
For persons with petite noses, standard 2mm sized gems can look a little bit oversized, and for those who have larger nostrils, a tiny micro nose ring may not gain the attention you and your nose piercing deserve.
Click “read more” below to read about some troubleshooting you can implement if your nose ring’s fit is a little off.
Many of us with pierced noses will spend some time jumping around with the several styles available. We’ll try them all, stick to a few, and then ultimately pick one or two go-to nose rings that fit great without much difficulty on your end.
But what happens when you find a nose ring you like and it just doesn’t seem to fit right?! This trio of issues for troubleshooting when your nose ring isn’t fitting correctly should be your first line of defense when combating the style frustration that is a perfect nose ring with an imperfect fit:
Problem #1: My nose ring sticks up a bit and leaves a gap between the stud and my skin instead of laying flat against my nose.
Solution: If the gem or decorative end of your nose ring sticks up too far from your nose, you’ll probably need to check the rise of your nose jewelry. The rise is the length of the portion between the base of your nose ring’s gem (or the end that is visible outside of your nose) and the curved of the screw or l-shape. Most of these kinds of nose rings have a rise of either 6 or 7 millimeters, but for those who have slightly thinner nostrils, a 5 millimeter rise may be necessary for a proper fit in your piercing.
Problem #2: The corkscrew portion of my nose screw sticks out and is visible from the bottom of my nostril.
Solution: When this issue occurs, it could mean you either have a nose that is slightly smaller than average or that your piercing lays slightly farther down on your nostril than typical. Neither are a bad thing, but both can make wearing nose screw types of nose jewelry difficult. Switching to a nose bone style is a quick and easy fix, but if that isn’t a comfortable enough option for you, then stick to the screws and try an item with a less pronounced curve in its design or one that doesn’t make a full revolution to solve the problem.
Problem #3: How can I get a nose hoop that will fit without looking like it’s too big for my nostril? I want to wear this type of nose jewelry, but my nose piercing is a little higher on my nostril than standard.
Solution: If when you wear regular nose hoops and they don’t seem to be big enough for your piercing, but larger universal circular rings (such as seamless segment rings) stick out from your piercing too much, a good solution is getting a custom bended nose ring. In this case, you can purchase a type of nose ring called a fishtail, which is extra long as straight, that is able to be taken to a piercer to get a custom hoop (or other style nose ring) bent for your unique fit.