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How Long Should You Wait to Put Plugs in After Tapers

tapers in before gauges

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While some people wear tapers as jewelry, it’s generally considered unsafe for gauges. Tapers should not be left in at all when increasing your gauge and should be immediately swapped to gauges. The purpose of tapers is to ease the stretch from one gauge to the next in a quick motion. Many people believe tapers slowly stretch your gauges when in reality that is not what they were designed for. They should only be used when swapping your gauges for a larger size and should not actually be left in.

Is it Okay to Leave Tapers in Overnight?

For some reason we see advice on leaving tapers in sometimes overnight when they get stuck. The truth is, if your taper can’t go all the way through, your gauge isn’t ready to be stretched. It’s much better to wait another week or two than let your tapers stay in your ears. If your taper is stuck and it gets pushed through, it could cause a blowout, which are extremely painful and can even cause ear disfigurement in some cases. Never leave your taper in overnight because you might roll onto it, push it through, and cause a blowout.

How Long Should You Wait Between Gauges?

How long you need to wait between increasing your gauge depends on how large your gauge is. Smaller gauges can be increased at a rate much faster than larger gauges. Please note that with a new lobe piercing, you shouldn’t attempt to increase the gauge for at least 6 months to make sure that the piercing is first fully healed. We’ve prepared an ear stretching timeline table for easy viewing:

Starting GaugeNew GaugeTime
16G14G4 weeks
14G12G4 weeks
12G10G6 weeks
10G8G8 weeks
8G6G12 weeks
6G4G12 weeks
4G2G12 weeks
2G0G16 weeks
0G00G16 weeks
From a freshly pierced lobe to a 00G takes at a minimum, 2 years and 3 months.

How to Gauge Your Ears with Tapers

To gauge your ears with tapers, you’ll need to find a taper with a specific size that goes from your starting size to the size you are gauging to. You should lube up your taper because it will make the stretching process more comfortable and decrease your chance of damaging your ear. Use the taper to push out your old gauge and slowly press the taper all the way through the piercing until it is all the way through and you can push out the taper with your new gauge. If at any point your ear hurts or you feel like your taper is getting stuck, return to your old gauge and try again in a week or two.

How Long Should Your Ears Hurt After Stretching?

This is a difficult question because your ears shouldn’t hurt during or after the stretching process. However, there is a dull ache feeling that is completely normal. If all is healthy, the ache should subside in a couple hours. If your aching feeling lasts an entire day, that means there could be something wrong and you should go back to your old size for another week.


You should never leave your tapers in. Tapers are not jewelry – they are simply a tool to quickly increase your gauge. If your taper gets stuck while you are swapping your jewelry, you should still not leave them in and instead go back to your smaller gauges for a week or two. If you leave a stuck taper in and it gets pushed through, it could cause a blowout and ear disfigurement.