Advantages Pretty & fashionable accessories, good quality
Disadvantages Not the cheapest
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I've never had my ears pierced, not even my lobes. Maybe law school got to me or something, but I decided to go straight for cartilage piercing (that's the one higher up, around the "bony" area)... and straight to Claires.First off, you must know that Claires charges 14.50 quid for cartilage piercing and 6.99 quid for the normal (and boring...)lobe piercing. Some other places charge as little as 5 quid but that's usually for the piercing alone and doesn't include after-care solutions or the earring(s) itself. If you're dishing out the dough from your own piggy bank, Claires probably doesn't sound like a good option to you now, but read on...
Just stroll into any Claires outlet and tell them what kind of piercing you want done. If you're below 16, you need a parent or guardian to be with you. The staff then asks you which stud you want. A cartilage piercing requires a 9 carat gold stud (with a pretty coloured gem in the middle -- I chose the emerald) because this sort of piercing is more prone to infection. Go anywhere else and they'll probably slap you with a nickel-aluminium alloy that'll rot your ears from the inside out.They then let you read a document explaining what you need to know about the process of piercing itself and then how to care for it. You (or your guardian) will have to sign as acknowledgement that you are aware of the risks etc. We learn about exclusion clauses in law school, so trust me when I say it is okay to sign AS LONG AS YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND IT. The language is clear and straightforward but ask if you are unsure of anything. Rest assured that Claires guarantees all staff are properly trained for the piercing process (www.claires.co.uk).
The salesgirl cleansed my ear and asked where I wanted the piercing to be. They mark the spot with a special pen and allow you to check if the position is correct. If you intend to pierce higher up, they sometimes advise against it if they think it is too risky. I was impressed by the fact that the salesgirl voluntarily asked to clean my ear again because I was fiddling my ear at the spot too much (I checked four times in the mirror to make sure it was where I wanted it to be...).I need to mention that Claires usually does the piercing near the window so if you're really unlucky, some voyeuristic sadist might be standing out the window salivating at the fact he/she could see you in pain. Fortunately, the sadist will be gravely disappointed. The piercing instrument comes individually sealed and is not menacing in sight at all. The salesgirl puts on gloves once the piercing stud is taken out and no needles are ever used. She asked if I wanted her to count to three or just get on with it. I chose the latter and the piercing was done in two seconds, painless.
I then paid at the counter and was given a voucher for my next purchase, a rather big bottle of after-care solution and another instruction sheet to remind me about the after care process. Claires then said to come back at any time if there were problems. I've had my piercing for nearly 6 weeks now and there are no keloids in sight(keloids = ugly red bumpy things that are the result of an over-enthused body's reaction to wounds/infections).Sure, you could go elsewhere cheaper but I leave that for the bold-at-heart and the keloid-hungry. And if you're more of a ninny than I am, get the magnetic earrings (3.50 quid and really pretty)... they aren't too bad either.
Wishing you the best in your piercing experience.
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