“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring,” Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn Monroe is an iconic star who continues to dazzle the world today. We want to capture her beauty and charisma in our lives. Inspired by the beauty spot above her lip, the Monroe Piercing was born.
The Monroe piercing is one of the most popular piercings around the world. Our complete guide will take you through everything you need to know before getting a Monroe piercing.
What is a Monroe piercing?
Monroe piercings are perforations near the lip. They are studs and usually sit on the upper left side of the mouth to match Marilyn Monroe’s beauty spot. Most people who get this piercing want it that Marilyn-look, hence the name.
Interestingly, the Monroe is a variation on vertical labret piercings.
Labret piercings usually sit directly above the upper lip or right below the bottom lip. Snake bites are labret piercings.
Many people think the Monroe is a lip piercing, but it’s not. Piercers (the people who make the holes and put the jewelry in) don’t pierce your lips at all.
You can complete that Marilyn Monroe looks with a small black stud or something a little sparkly. They look great on their own or when coupled with other piercings around the mouth or on the nose.
Three elements make up a Monroe piercing. First is the stud head, which is the shiny part of the jewelry. Next, you have the disk that holds the piercing in place. Finally, you have the barbell that connects the head with the disk, bringing it all together.
Monroe Piercing Variations
A Monroe piercing is always on the left of your upper lip.
So, what about the other piercings that look similar? They aren’t Monroe piercings. You can choose from a variety of placements and each has a different name.
- Madonna Piercing – The Madonna piercing is on the upper right side of the lip instead of the left.
- Double Monroe – When a person has both a Monroe and Madonna piercing, you call it a Double Monroe.
- Reverse Monroe – As with the Monroe piercing, it sits on the left side of the lip, but at the bottom rather than the top. You can also call it a Bottom Monroe.
- Crawford Piercing – This piercing tries to emulate Cindy Crawford’s beauty spot and also sits to the left of the upper lip. The difference is that it’s usually a lot closer to the lip than a Monroe piercing.
You can choose which variation you like best, but a traditional Monroe piercing is always on the left and a little higher up than the Crawford.
Is it painful?
Pain is subjective. Everyone tolerates pain at a different level. You might not find a Monroe piercing painful, while your friend finds it agonizing.
That said, Monroe piercings aren’t the most painful. During the procedure, you’ll feel a sharp, jabbing pain, but it usually subsides quite quickly. Piercers insert the needle through the thinnest part of your upper lip, so there isn’t too much skin to get through.
Some people have a slightly more muscular area around their lips or the skin is a little thicker. It may feel more painful in those cases.
Many recommend that you take extra care of your body before going for a piercing. It helps reduce the amount of pain and helps speed up the healing process afterward. To minimize pain try to:
- Stay hydrated
- Eat at least three hours before your session, and try to make it healthy
- Keep stress to a minimum
Try using numbing creams on the area before getting the piercing done. It anesthetizes the area to lessen the pain. Apply it a little while before your procedure.
Remember that the Monroe piercing procedure doesn’t take long, so the pain will subside quickly. The area will be sensitive for a few days. You might feel some pain, but it usually isn’t overwhelming.
You will also experience swelling and sometimes bruising in the area for about a week. Be sure to keep your mouth and piercing clean to reduce the risks of infection.
How much does a Monroe Piercing cost?
Many factors influence the cost of a Monroe piercing like the jewelry, experience of the piercer, and the location of the piercing shop.
The average cost for a Monroe piercing is between $30 and $80. Avoid buying jewelry that’s less than $10. These pieces often won’t meet the requirements for implant jewelry, which can increase the risk of infection.
The initial piercing jewelry is fairly large, so you have to return to the piercer to switch it to a smaller one. Sometimes you won’t pay for it because it was included in the original price. Other times you can expect to pay anything from $25 to $120. It all depends on the quality of the jewelry you choose.
Understanding the flow of a Monroe piercing procedure can reduce nerves and prepare you for what’s to come.
There are a few steps you must take before getting your Monroe piercing. Up your oral hygiene game by 100% at least a week before getting the piercing.
Start brushing your teeth, gums, and tongue every morning and night. Get floss and an antibacterial mouthwash. It will reduce bacteria and the risk of infection.
Some recommend that you brush after meals and sugary snacks, but that can chip the enamel off your teeth, so it’s not advisable. Rather try to use mouthwash to rinse off any bacteria that might get trapped.
Avoid drinking alcohol before your appointment. It helps calm the nerves but can impact the procedure.
At the Studio
Piercers need serious skills to make sure they place the piercing in the exact spot. It helps achieve the perfect Marilyn Monroe look while preventing other issues like gum erosion.
The whole procedure takes around 10-seconds to complete. The piercer will disinfect the area, usually with an alcohol wipe. They then mark the entry and exit points on the upper lip and ask if you’re happy with the spot.
Once you’re happy, the piercer gently attaches a clamp to your lip so they can pull it away from your gums. They then push a sharp, hollow needle through the skin in one quick motion. The piercer removes the needle, pushes the barbell through, and secures it with the disk and head.
You usually get a fact sheet with instructions on how to care for your new piercing.
How you look after your Monroe piercing after it’s in will impact the way it heals. It can sometimes end up looking horrible if you don’t care for it properly. Here are a few things to remember.
- Leave your piercing alone – It’s tempting to fidget and play with your new piercing, but avoid touching it at all. Only move it around when you are cleaning it.
- Leave the original stud in – The first stud is always bulky and doesn’t look great, but you have to leave it in until the piercer says it can come out.
- Avoid alcohol – Don’t drink it and don’t use it to clean your wounds.
- No smoking – Smoke damages your mouth and breeds bacteria. Avoid smoking for at least a week if you can. It will speed up your recovery and leave your Monroe piercing looking perfect.
- Spicy food is a no-no – It will hurt to eat spicy food.
- Be a mindful eater – When you eat, chew slowly, so that you don’t hurt yourself while healing.
- Careful of chemicals – Some facial products have chemicals that will irritate the piercing. Avoid using them to help minimize pain.
Monroe piercings take about 6 to 10 weeks to heal. It takes nine months for the tissue inside the whole to regenerate to make scar tissue. Bear in mind that everyone’s bodies are different. Some heal faster than others.
You want to keep up a strong oral hygiene routine during that time to make sure it heals properly. Care for a piercing from the beginning, and it will last for a long time.
Make sure to exercise, get enough rest, stay hydrated, and eat healthily for faster healing.
How To Remove or Change a Monroe Piercing
The first time you change your Monroe piercing you will need to return to the piercing shop. They also use a larger stud because of all the swelling. Once that’s gone down, they will switch it out for something you like. You can start changing your Monroe piercing after the 6-month downsizing mark.
When you want to put in a new one, you can do it alone in the mirror. Start by unscrewing the head of your jewelry and setting it down somewhere safe. The easiest way to do that is to hold the barbell steady from inside your mouth.
What materials does Monroe piercing jewelry use?
The most common materials used to make Monroe piercing jewelry are gold, surgical steel, and titanium.
Interestingly, titanium is the safest metal for jewelry because it doesn’t have any nickel in it. You can use surgical steel if you aren’t allergic to nickel.
Where to buy Monroe Piercing Jewelry
You can buy Monroe piercing jewelry online or at the piercing shop. There are many options to choose from.
You can go for a plain black to mimic Marilyn or put in a sparkly stud to flash your latest piercing.
What are the risks?
You can get an infection because the piercing is in the mouth. Watch out for these tell-tale signs of infection:
- Strange smell
- Extreme pain or burning
- Itchiness – although some itching is normal during the healing process.
The most common risks are tooth wear and gum erosion. Depending on the placement of your Monroe piercing, it can rub against your teeth and gums. Your gums begin to recede, and your tooth becomes more sensitive and prone to damage.
Sometimes people experience what’s called embedding. It happens when a piercer uses a barbell that’s too short. The skin around the barbell begins to heal and pulls it in burying it in the new layers of skin.
Monroe piercings are beautiful and make you feel like an iconic star. You can try getting a Madonna piercing if you want it on the right instead of the left. Get your piercing today.