What are the Best Size Earrings for a Helix Piercing?

When you have decided to move forward with a helix piercing, you will next wonder what to start with. What size is standard? What size works best for you? It’s normal to have questions—and we are here to help!

The standard size for a helix piercing is 16 gauge and at least 5/16” in diameter or length. For a helix piercing, you can get a larger length or diameter. You can also get a 14 or 18 diameter for your initial piercing.

Choosing a size does not need to be intimidating! We will go into more details about the size and style for your helix piercing.

Styles of Helix Piercings


You can choose a barbell for your helix piercing. While deciding, you will need to pick a gauge and a length for the barbell, along with a style.

When deciding on a gauge, the important thing to remember is the lower the size, the thicker the barbell. So, when you are looking at 18, that will be 1mm. 16 and 14 are close to that size, but the standard is 18. When you choose a gauge, it’s important to think about the future earrings you will be choosing.

As far as length, your cartilage needs time to heal. It should be at least 5/16” in length. This will allow the cartilage to swell and heal properly.

There are barbells that resemble studs, and some that are just plain. It’s important to choose a style that you like and can live with for a while, as you won’t be able to change the earring by yourself for a least 2 months!

Capture Bead Ring

Capture bead rings are a popular choice for helix piercings because they are easy to move and clean. The sizing is quite similar to barbell earrings.

Captive bead rings can come in 18, 16, or 14 gauge. They are circular earrings that are connected with a bead. They are simple to change by removing the bead and removing the earring—but don’t do that until your healing time is up!

The diameter should be at minimum the same as the length of the barbell—5/16”. You can always get anything larger than that, but this is the smallest you should go for a new helix piercing.


You may want to immediately wear a stud in your cartilage. However, you can’t get it pierced right away with one! Cartilage heals differently than the earlobe. It takes longer to heal completely. You can’t get an actual stud in your cartilage immediately—but the good news is there are a lot of barbells that resemble a stud!

If you have your heart set on a stud, make sure to choose a piercer who has piercing jewelry with a barbell that resembles a stud.

Helix Piercing Procedure

We’ve been talking about the correct size of a helix earring—but you may now be wondering how it’s done. You’ve made all the tough decisions, and now you may be nervous about the procedure itself! Don’t worry, we will walk you through what will happen and calm your nerves.

How It’s Done

An experienced and professional piercer will use a needle to pierce your ear and seamlessly put in your earring of choice. It’s all over in a matter of seconds!

If you have someone who is trying to pierce your helix with a piercing gun, you may want to run in the other direction. This can actually shatter your cartilage and cause a lot of issues. It’s actually illegal in some states to do this!

Does It Hurt?

Not as bad as you’d think! Of course, it depends on your pain tolerance. If you have your earlobes pierced, it’s a little more painful than that. It has more to go through of course!

If you have a tattoo, it’s pretty comparable to the beginning of the tattoo. It’s an initial shock because something is going through your ear, but it fades away quickly.

Aftercare Instructions

Your piercer will give you specific aftercare instructions, but typically you will be washing it twice a day. It’s best to avoid sleeping on it at first, but it’s okay if you do. It may hurt for a while sleeping on it, but that will fade as it heals.

When Can I Change My Earrings?

You can change your earrings when your piercer tells you to! But typically, this is two to three months of healing before you can change it yourself. If you want to change it before then, you can contact your piercer and they will be able to change it for you.

A helix piercing is an exciting decision to make! It can be nerve-wracking to go in and get a piercing, but as long as you are informed beforehand, it will go smoothly. Knowing the size you want is important before you go in to get pierced!

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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