You’ve admired nose rings on other people for years, and now you’re thinking about getting a septum piercing yourself. What’s not to love?

This punk-chic piercing adds a punch of personality to an otherwise demure face. It’s the kind of facial piercing that makes us want to know more about the wearer, like an authentic vintage t shirt or a tattoo that you just know has a good story behind it. With the right body jewelry, your style can become just as unique as your fingerprints.

Lucky for you, we asked our in-house Content Supervisor Shawn Houlihan to give us the scoop on her septum piercing. Before we take a deep dive into her personal experience as a beautiful badass with a cool piercing, here are the basics:

Septum Piercing

Septum Piercing Location

A septum piercing penetrates the soft tissue just below the septum, a wall of cartilage that separates the right and left nostrils. This fleshy part of the nose is called the columella, and is sometimes referred to by piercers as the “sweet spot.”

Septum Piercing Process

The septum can be pierced freehand with a hollow needle and receiving tube, or with the assistance of a small clamp. Once jewelry has been passed through the piercing and properly secured by a piercing professional, the septum piercing process is complete!

Healing time: About 2-3 months

Recommended jewelry: Horseshoe rings, captive rings (circular barbells), or segment rings

And now, to our Q and A with Shawn Houlihan:

Q: Can you explain what a septum piercing is?
A: Sure! Some people refer to it as a bull ring. It’s a piercing that goes through the septum part of your nose, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t actually go through the cartilage of the septum, just the skin right below it or the “sweet spot.”

Q: Can you describe the septum piercing process?
A: When I got my septum pierced, the piercer started out by sanitizing everything. Once everything was set and ready to go, he clamped my septum and pulled it slightly so he could get a good angle. Using a 16 gauge hollow needle, he told me to take a deep breath and before I knew it, the needle was in. The process itself was super quick.

Q: About how long did the piercing session last?
A: I’d say from beginning to end, I was in the chair for less than 10 minutes.

Q: How did you feel in the moments leading up to your septum piercing, and how did you feel immediately after?
A: I was very nervous. This was my first piercing besides my ears. I did have the luxury of being with someone who had gotten a septum piercing before, which brought some comfort and diminished some of the anxiety. Once it was over I felt great. The nervousness was worse than the actual piercing process.

Q: How long have you had your septum piercing?
A: I got my septum piercing in 2011, so I’ve been rockin’ this thing for 10 years.

Q: Did it hurt?
A: Honestly, no. I really did not feel a thing.

Q: Did you cry?
A: I didn’t cry, but my eyes watered. I think it’s a natural reaction when something is poking around in your nose. I kind of just felt like I might sneeze.

Q: How much did your septum piercing cost?
A: My septum piercing was $50.

Q: How do you clean your piercing?
A: I clean my piercing with a q-tip. It’s the only way to make sure I’m hitting all the nooks and crannies. I typically coat the q-tip with H2Ocean aftercare spray, or saline solution.

Q: Now that your septum piercing has healed, does it ever hurt?
A: NEVER. I seriously have never, ever had an issue with it.

Q: How long did you have to wait before you could comfortably blow your nose?
A: I’m not exaggerating when I say this, but I healed so quickly. I was not in pain during any nose-related activity, even minutes after I got the piercing done.

Q: Describe your favorite piece of septum jewelry.
A: I love captives. Currently, I’ve been wearing a horseshoe with CZ stones on the balls and I love the way it shines, but when I’m feeling really fancy I wear an ornate captive ring with CZ accents.

Q: What size gauge do you wear?
A: 16 gauge.

Q: Do you ever switch between gauge sizes?
A: Nope! I think 16 gauge is the perfect size for my face.

Q: Will your piercing close up if you take your jewelry out?
A: This is a complicated question. I’m sure eventually it would, but I’ve never removed my septum jewelry for a long period of time; only to clean it.

Q: Do you have to wear a retainer when you want to remove your jewelry?
A: The fun thing about septum rings is that they are easily hidden – you can flip them inside of your nose and no one knows they’re there! I’ve never used a retainer; I just flip it up if I want to hide it. I flipped it up for my wedding ceremony so I had a few pictures without it, but when the party started, I flipped it down.

Q: Can you wear your septum jewelry when you shower or go swimming?
A: I do! I just make sure I clean it after. Chlorine could tarnish jewelry, though, so I’d recommend being careful!

Q: What type of metal do you think is the most flattering for your skin tone?
A: I’ve never been a fan of anything other than silver. I usually stick to a silvertone look because it matches the rest of my body jewelry.

Q: Do you ever remove your septum jewelry for specific occasions?
A: Nope! I got this piercing because I loved it but also because it’s the easiest to hide!

Q: What’s the boldest piece of septum jewelry you own?
A: I’m so plain when it comes to my septum rings. I’d like to eventually venture out into some more intense looks, but I stick to classic horseshoes and captives for now.

Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to get their septum pierced?
A: Pain differs for everyone, but from my experience, it’s soooo worth it. I’d say remember to breathe during the process, and know that it’ll be over before you know it.

Q: What did your mom say when she first saw your piercing??
A: HAHA, I love this question. So when I got my septum pierced, I tucked it up my nose so my parents wouldn’t see it. I thought I was slick. I remember going out to dinner with them and my dad saying, “Hey… looks like there’s something in your nose.” I panicked. He knew what was happening. He’s not stupid. My mom just stared at me. I decided to tell them right then and there, probably about 3 days after I had gotten it pierced. My mom said she was okay with it but asked me to hide it when I was with her. I thought that was a fair deal, but after about week I kept it down 24/7 and they honestly stopped noticing it. We’re at the point where when my septum it tucked up, my parents think I look weird. They love it, and they know that it’s what makes me…me.

Q: Do you ever regret your piercing?
A: Absolutely not. I will have a septum ring until I’m 95. I LOVE IT.

Q: How does your septum piercing shape the way you feel about your identity?
A: Great question. I truly think it makes me who I am. I know that might sound weird to some people but in 2011 I was definitely struggling with who I was as a person. This was the same year I shaved my head and came to terms with who I was. Even though identify comes from the inside, outside appearance really does help. As a musician, I was constantly trying to figure out what type of artist I wanted to be, and trying to portray myself the right way to my fans. Getting my septum pierced was step one. It was just a liberating feeling of being who I wanted to be and not being who I was expected to be.

Q: Do you think you’ll keep your septum jewelry in forever?
A: Literally forever. Bury me with it.

Q: Do you get a lot of compliments about your septum piercing?
A: Here and there. I think there’s still a weird stigma behind piercings, so some people just avoid talking about it, but there have been many times I’ve met people who complimented it.

Q: How often do you change out your jewelry?
A: Rarely. If I’m feeling fancy I’ll switch it up, but for the most part I stick to my CZ horseshoe ring.

Q: Do you wear your septum jewelry to sleep?
A: I do! People may think it’s hard to do every day activities with a foreign object in your skin, but I swear I don’t even notice it. I can blow my nose just like everyone else. 

Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: Let’s go with Emo chic.

Q: Does your piercing affect your sense of smell?
A: Nope! It’s so small in comparison to the rest of my nose.

Now that we’ve heard all about septum piercings from someone whose nose knows, here are some additional frequently asked questions:

Septum Piercing FAQs:

Q: Will my septum piercing hurt?
A: Everyone experiences pain differently. Whether it’s an ear piercing, a nostril piercing, or a septum piercing, it’s safe to say that most piercings hurt. Some simply report that their eyes water for a minute or two while getting a septum piercing, and others report a healing period of close to a year. Talk to a professional about what level of pain to expect before getting pierced.

Q: What is the healing process like for a septum piercing?
A: While the initial pain of septum piercing healing tends to wear off in just a week or two, healing times can vary significantly from about 2 to 8 months. Professionals recommend waiting as long as possible to change jewelry after a piercing, but you can most likely do it after 8 weeks as long as the healing process is progressing well. It is important to wash your hands while handling your septum jewelry, keep the piercing clean, and strictly follow piercing aftercare instructions provided by your experienced piercer. If you suspect that your piercing healing process is not progressing normally, you should consult a professional piercer before attempting to change jewelry on your own.

Q: How do I care for my septum piercing?
A: Ask your professional piercer for cleaning instructions that are tailored to your specific piercing. Additionally, you can learn more about how to clean your piercing on our blog. Of course, all good piercing care starts with washing your hands!

Q: What kind of septum jewelry should I use?
A: Immediately after getting your nose pierced, we recommend circular barbells (captive rings) or horseshoe barbells because they’re fairly easy to insert and remove. When you’re ready for a new jewelry type, consider exploring body safe jewelry materials like surgical steel and ASTM F-136 Titanium. One of the most satisfying parts of getting a body piercing is choosing a jewelry style that enhances your personality!

Q: I’m on the fence about getting my septum pierced. What should I do?
A: Don’t rush it! Take some time to look at pictures of people with septum piercings. What do you like about them? What do you dislike? Try wearing one of our fake septum rings for a few days to see how you look in different settings before you commit to the real deal.

Q: How much does a septum piercing cost?
A: The cost of a septum piercing will vary based on your location, your piercer, and your septum jewelry. Remember to factor in the additional costs associated with body-sensitive septum jewelry and skin-sensitive cleaning materials if you have any allergies. We strongly recommend hiring a professional piercer.

Thanks for reading our guide to septum piercings! Spencer’s carries an extensive collection of septum clicker rings, horseshoe rings, and more. Check out our septum jewelry for inspiration.

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