Your Guide to Belly Button Piercings, According to a Pro

Your Guide to Belly Button Piercings, According to a Pro

From the return of low-rise jeans to chunky highlights, 2000s beauty trends are making a grand return this year. Body modifications are no exception, of course, and this is especially true when it comes to types of piercings. More specifically: belly button piercings.

For the uninitiated, this placement of belly bling was huge in the early aughts, with stars like Britney Spears and Beyonc leading the charge. These days, it’s more like Dua Lipa, Megan thee Stallion, and . . . yes, still Spears getting in on the belly piercing trend. If you’re considering hopping on this what’s-old-is-new-again bandwagon, there are a few things to keep in mind before you make your appointment.

To help break it down, we asked a piercer to walk us through the process. Keep reading for the answers to all your burning belly button piercing questions.

How to Find a Good Piercer

Before you get any holes in your body, make sure you’re feeling good about your piercer. Harris recommends you look for a piercer who will take the time with you, answer your questions, and make you feel comfortable above all else. “Trust your gut,” Joshua David Harris, a piercer at 108 Studios, tells POPSUGAR. “If you go into a shop and get weird vibes, go somewhere else. You don’t have to do it just because you are there. Your body, your choice.”

How Much Does a Belly Button Piercing Cost?

Every shop is different, but you can usually expect to pay a piercing service fee plus the cost of jewelry. The material of the piercing jewelry is really what’s going to determine the price: for instance, solid-gold barbells can be significantly more expensive than surgical steel or other metals. To get an idea of what you’re looking at, 108 Studios charges $45 for the first hole, a simple solid-gold hoop starts at $70, and solid-gold barbells start at $220.

You also want to consider what the belly button piercing jewelry is made of; you should only get pierced with a hypoallergenic material, like gold, surgical steel, or titanium. Harris, for example, only uses 18K and 14K yellow gold, 14K rose gold, and 14K white gold. Ask your piercer if you aren’t sure what the jewelry is made of.

What to Expect When You Get Your Belly Button Pierced

First, you’ll want to make sure you’re old enough to get a belly button piercing. Most places require a valid driver’s license to confirm you are at least 18 years old, but there are plenty of parlors that will let you get a navel piercing for people aged 14 to 17 with parental consent. The best way to be sure is to call the shop directly.

Once you’re at the appointment, your piercer will take a look at your navel and talk to you about the best route in terms of jewelry and placement. Things like the shape of your navel — meaning an innie or an outie, or even the amount of skin you have to work with — will guide the type of jewelry you should be pierced with. Harris also says there are some people who might want to reconsider getting their belly button pierced at all, but it’s something you can talk about at your appointment. “It’s a case-by-case basis,” he says. “I’d rather not do it if I think it’s going to cause you problems or your body will just end up rejecting it.”

In terms of what jewelry works best for the navel area, Harris recommends starting with a curved barbell for easier healing. “You want some breathing room to allow for swelling in a new piercing.” Once it’s healed and feeling good, he says a small hoop can be swapped in to fit “nice and snug.”

Once you’ve landed on the jewelry, it’s time to get down to business. Your piercer will look at where your skin naturally falls when you’re comfortably standing and make a tiny mark where the piercing will sit. Don’t be shy about saying something if you don’t like the placement. It’s better to speak up now rather than after the piercing is done.

When you’re ready to go, your piercer will have you lie down on your back and place a clamp around your navel to keep everything lined up and set up. It feels a little tight but shouldn’t hurt. Most piercers today use a hollow needle to pierce this area, done by hand. “The needle seems a little scary, but it’s healthier on the tissue and allows us to get more precise with the piercing,” Harris says. “It’s also used to connect to the jewelry and guide it in. The gun pierces you with the jewelry by forcing it through the tissue.”

What to Wear to Your Piercing Appointment

The question of what to wear to your appointment might seem obvious, but it’s easily overlooked. Harris suggests you wear “something comfortable and not too tight. Pants or shorts that do not lay across your navel and a shirt are best. Anything with easy access to that area. Dresses or onesies are a little trickier for obvious reasons.”

Belly-Button Piercing Pain Level

While pain is relative and based on each person’s individual pain tolerance, getting a needle pushed through your skin is never going to be pleasant. Still, many people say it’s not nearly as painful as some of the piercings in areas with thicker cartilage. The most uncomfortable part tends to be the few seconds it takes to thread the piece of jewelry through the hollow needle.

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