Where is the best place to get tweens’ ears pierced?

My 11-year-old has chosen getting her ears pierced as one of her Christmas presents. She asked around at school and all the girls said they got it done at Claire’s Boutique.

I have also heard of people going to the Piercing Pagoda or Merle Norman at the mall but I don’t see ear piercing offered as a service on the Merle Norman website.

When I Google searched “ear piercing” a bunch of tattoo and body piercing places showed up in the search so that was a little bit scary.

I liked that the Piercing Pagoda website had a lot of information about safety and cleanliness. (They write that they use single-use piercing earrings that are wrapped up when you get there. No needles.

(From the Piercing Pagoda: “one step, single use, sterilized, prepackaged piercing earrings that meet or exceed FDA (Food & Drug Administration) guidelines. that means, no needles!”)

But Claire’s site also offer care information.

This is Claire’s site about piercing.

I was around 6 or 7 when I had mine done in the middle of the Northlake Mall. It was in a little hut sort of store in the center. The lady did the first ear and I didn’t want her to do the second. I had gold studs, double heart studs and gold hoops for my first earrings. Then I went on to ladybugs from my Aunt Linda and pears from my parents. I have never been a big earring girl. I guess because I wear glasses.

So give me all the info I need:

Which place do you recommend and why? Where have you had the most professional experience?

Do you recommend doing two ears at once? My 11-year-old thinks she wants two ears done at once because she’s afraid she’ll lose her nerve after the first ear. But I’m afraid if you jerk away you are going to screw up both ears instead of one. Any recommendations on this would be appreciated.

Also, what’s the deal with the starter earrings? I thought they had to be 24-karrat gold but my friend said you just needed the surgical steel or is it stainless steel for the posts? (I need to do more reading on this.)

Also how do you clean? Is it alcohol or hydrogen peroxide? Claire’s a special cleaning fluid — do I need that? How long does it hurt?

What are the best types of earrings for 11-year-olds? She thinks she wants dangly one but I think smaller the better. She doesn’t realize that earrings can be heavy yet.

97 comments Add your comment


December 21st, 2012
12:36 pm

I got mine pierced at a neighbor’s house. He used an ice cube and a sharpened earing. My daughters got theirs done at Claire’s.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 21st, 2012
12:44 pm

I kind of wanted to ask my pediatric surgeon neighbor if she would do it but I don’t have the nerve …


December 21st, 2012
12:46 pm

Both of my girls had theirs done at Claire’s. They also used the single use kits. They had a selection of starter earrings to choose from. The posts on the starter earrings are a little thicker. They provided care instructions and a cleaning solution. It was not a big deal. We chose the both ears at one time method. You have to make sure they have two employees available to do it. It happens so quickly there is no time for jerking.

Relax, she will be fine!

Aunt Shell

December 21st, 2012
12:47 pm

I got mine done at Clair’s…back in the 70s. They were able to do both ears at once. I’ve seen them in the mall doing one ear at a time and the kid aways freaks out and doesnt’ want the second ear done.

They don’t have to be gold. My starter earrings were stainless steal. I also had a starter set that had my birthstone in them.

The first time I had them done, I used their cleaning solution. The next time, I use peroxide. Make sure that her ears are completely healed before you move from the starter set to regular earrings. Mine had not quite healed completely when I started changing them. I forgot to put in a pair overnight and the holes closed.


December 21st, 2012
12:48 pm

Wow. Obsess much Theresa?


December 21st, 2012
12:48 pm

You’re over thinking this. Claire’s is fine. Tell your daughter it does not hurt at all and she will be fine to get one done at a time. My daughter was 8 when she got hers done. Simplest thing ever. We bought the claires solution but I’m sure regular alcohol is fine. I got my ears pierced 35 yrs ago and there were no needles used even then. Except when done at home I’ve always seen ear piercing done with a little gun and the initial pair of earrings. It is REALLY not a big deal. She is more than old enough to handle this experience and to care for her new ear holes so they don’t get infected. Good luck!

Aunt Shell

December 21st, 2012
12:49 pm

I take that back. It wasn’t at Claire’s. It was at Bojangles.


December 21st, 2012
1:01 pm

TWG – DO NOT TELL HER IT DOESN’T HURT!!!! Tell her yes it will hurt, but only for a minute or two…..just like getting a shot. Don’t ever tell your kids it won’t hurt….be honest with them!!

Oldest daughter has multiple piercings in her ears. Two in the lobes, one in the upper ear, and one on the the part you use to close your ears ( I don’t know what that’s called).

Yes, you are overthinking…Claire’s is just fine, they know what they are doing. Piercing Pagoda is good also.

I had mine done by a nurse friend of my mom’s, who used ice and a syringe.

Oldest daughter had her ears pierce the first time at 8 years old. Two people did the piercing at the same time, so both ears were done at once. That child let out a scream that Gwinnett Place Mall had never heard before…….LOL.

It hurts, but only for a second. I had my second holes done at Spencers, at Northlake Mall….


December 21st, 2012
1:12 pm

As for earrings after she is done with the starters, let her wear what her friends are wearing. Kohl’s carries the Candie’s line of clothing and accessories for teens. Those earrings are stylish but most weigh practically nothing. My girls have several pair that are long and sparkly but you can hardly tell they are there.


December 21st, 2012
1:22 pm

I got my ears pierced at Merle Norman at North Point Mall about 2.5 years ago for my wedding. I never had my ears pierced prior to that because I was so nervous about how much it would hurt. They just used a piercing gun and it was over so quick it didn’t hurt. It was easy and it wasn’t crowded and they didn’t make me sit in front of the store window like they do at Claire’s!!

Yes, they had their own special “cleaning solution” you had to purchase after the piercing. I believe the whole transaction, including the piercing, cost about $40.


December 21st, 2012
1:24 pm

Don’t use peroxide or alcohol on piercings. Use the solution that they give you or a salt and water solution. Peroxide and alcohol are too harsh. I had my cartilage pierced last year at a piercing place and this is what I was told.

Grape Nuts are neither grapes or nuts

December 21st, 2012
2:03 pm

When I Google searched “ear piercing” a bunch of tattoo and body piercing places showed up in the search so that was a little bit scary.


Why? Why is it scary? Because they look different? You do realize these piercing parlors have to be licensed and inspected. Since piercing is their primary revenue, they are unlikely to screw it up. I’d much rather go to an expert, than a kiosk at a mall.

You’re uptight perspective is so stereotypical of the white, middle class suburban house wife. You never go in town unless you absolutely have to, you go to church, not knowing why only that you are supposed too…..I bet you even refer to blacks as the coloreds.

How is anything you write about journalism? Change to the name to Uptight White Woman Worries About Everything!!! and it will be a more appropriate blog.


December 21st, 2012
2:23 pm

I don’t get it.


December 21st, 2012
3:04 pm

We used WalMart for our second child. The first one was done at the mall (Gwinnett Place). Pediatricians used to do it so if that makes you feel better, ask. The worse they can say is no. Whether she gets one done at a time or both may depend on available staff. She’s old enough to understand that it will sting similar to a shot. She also needs to understand that both must be done at one visit. None of this one ear, flaking out and then driving mom crazy to get the other one done later. Absolutely wear the piercing studs as long as recommended. I’ve used both alcohol and peroxide on my kids with no issues. Once the piercing studs come out, stick with smaller earrings until she learns to care for her ears well and adjusts to the new jewelry. We typically pick the ones marked for sensitive ears to avoid any potential issues with weird metals. My girls go do not have long earrings (age 14 and 10). They both have longer hair which gets caught.

This should not be a stress-inducing issue TWG :) My ears were pierced at 2mo. Each of my girls were pierced by 4mo. No complaints, no anxieties. No worries :)


December 21st, 2012
3:18 pm

@Malleesmom – I am sorry, but I cannot stand to see people getting their BABY’s ears pierced at that age. WHY??????

We were vacationing in Cocoa Beach one year, and went to the local mall. There was a young woman (couldn’t have been more than 20) with her baby, who couldn’t have been 2 months old, getting her little ears pierced. I don’t understand the need for babys that young to wear earrings. That baby howled when they pierced her little ears. It was all I could do not to slap the mom. They were hispanic, so we just assumed it was cultural….???

Nothing against you, I just don’t understand piercing a baby’s ears. Both my girls were 10 when they got the first piercings….Their father couldn’t stand it, and insisted we wait until they were 10.

MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!!! I’m on vacation in about 10 minutes until next Thursday,a nd plan on staying VERY far away from modern technology (other than my phone), which means NO COMPUTER!!!!!

Have a safe and Happy Holiday!!!


December 21st, 2012
3:21 pm

yep, cultural thing.

[...] leia mais: Where is the best place to get tweens’ ears pierced? – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blo… [...]


December 21st, 2012
4:21 pm

I’ve had my ears pierced since I was 8 months old and I’m not hispanic.

Tattoo places are probably better/safer but I’m sure TWG would never dream of even parking her car in front of one. Claire’s employees make minimum wage and are hired as cashiers first and then given a quick lesson in piercing.

Tell her it hurts, show her a video and then go on your way. She’s old enough to want earrings in spite of the discomfort. Make sure she wears studs for closer to 3 months and then buy decent earrings for a while, nothing too heavy. I always had lots of issues with earrings until I was about 15 and then for some reason I wasn’t sensitive to them anymore.


December 21st, 2012
4:56 pm

over 40 yrs ago doc did mine. i remember he used his pen to mark the lobes to make sure the were level and put ice on the lobe and used a needle. i had 14k gold ball earrings, had to keep in for 3 weeks and every day put alcohol on them and turn them so the lobe wouldn’t grow around the post of the earring. i still have those little gold ball earrings. keeping lobes clean during healing was important.

i know people in the 60’s use to use self piercers, they were hoops that went into your lobe, small hoops and you would move the hoop through the lobe.

Don;t do it T...

December 21st, 2012
5:12 pm

…she will get an infection and her ear will fall off, then she will want a belly ring, and then nipple rings, then the favorite of all, the labia ring, but only after her tongue stud causes her tongue to fall off…


December 21st, 2012
6:17 pm

I got my ears pierced by cannibals. But then again, I’ve got cauliflower ears. I guess the boxer Hollyfield did too, when Mike Tyson bit his ear. There’s many of us with cauliflower ears, okay? We’d all appreciate it if people would stop taking bites out of them…….what? I can’t hear you…..speak up…….huh?……what?………..stop mumbling……..

A person SMART enough to know.....

December 21st, 2012
6:33 pm

My girlfriend got a Hood piercing and Claire’s doesn’t do that.

A person SMART enough to know.....

December 21st, 2012
6:36 pm

Why can babies get piercings but they can’t get tattoos?

all i want for critmas

December 21st, 2012
7:31 pm

from all the way in AZ(?), she wonders aloud on _her_ internets about where to get her tween pierced. omg, it’s not that tricky… overthunk it x10k!!!

i think you should get yer tween pierced while yer at it, a wonderful holiday memory.


December 21st, 2012
8:22 pm

I wouldn’t use a place that uses guns. They’re notorious for causing infections. I would, in fact, recommend a piercing shop. They’re usually well trained in the most sterile methods.

Here in Atlanta I recommend Piercing Experience over in Candler Park, across from The Flying Biscuit. They use only implant grade stuff.

Even if you can’t go to PE, check out their site so you can get info so you know what to look for in a place close to you: www dot piercingexp dot com

I got my nose stud done there in 2009 and it was a very good experience, very little pain and an easy heal.

My ears were pierced when I was 6 by a jeweler using a gun. They got infected, bled all over, and the holes in my earlobes can pass an entire stud through them. Attractive.


December 21st, 2012
9:00 pm

If you are at all worried, call a dermatologist and ask them what they recommend. They see and fix lots of mistakes. My daughter has super-sensitive skin that we have to be extremely careful about (can’t tell you the last time I used a dryer sheet in the dryer or used perfume-free detergent.) So when she she was 13, we made an appointment and went by the dermatologist. In and out in 10 minutes, and with a special antiseptic that wasn’t alcohol-based.

I can’t wear pierced earrings, unfortunately — some sort of odd metal allergy, even with 23K gold, surgical stainless, whatever . . . every time I wore them, my ears would get infected, no matter how careful I was. :-(


December 21st, 2012
9:03 pm

PS: I used to work in a jewelry store while i was in high school, before I had my ears pierced. Part of my job was to do ear piercings. I refused to do babies — I simply explained to the mother that their shrieking unnerved me too much and I was afraid I would mess up the second ear. Occasionally, someone would ask me why my ears weren’t pierced. “Never got around to it,” I’d say, truthfully.


December 21st, 2012
9:34 pm

My daughter was 6 she got hers done. We went to Clair’s and had no issues. They mark the spot to be pierced on the lobe with a pen and had 2 workers so they could be done at the same time. It was over so fast (literally 2 seconds) that there were no tears. We dilligently used the solution they gave us and she loves her earings. She currently is wearing little soccer balls and they are adorable! I agree with the other poster… don’t over think this.


December 21st, 2012
9:52 pm

I had mine done 46 (when I was about 10) years ago with circular “piercers” that you put on your ears and they painlessly worked their way through in about 2 weeks. My dad, a precise engineer, marked my ears and put them on. My oldest daughter had hers done when she was six, but I can’t remember where. The younger daughter begged to get hers done, but we waited until she turned six. They pierced the first one and she screamed out loud “Mama why did you make me do this??!!” All I could do was laugh – and make her sit still for the second ear!

Big Mama

December 21st, 2012
10:20 pm

If you are concerned that she is not ready for the pain of piercing (yes, it does hurt) then why not have her wait until she is older? She can always get them pierced in a few years. I did not get my ears pierced until I was 13. Waiting did not interfere with my social development…..


December 21st, 2012
10:22 pm

I didn’t read all of the responses, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it dependes on the child.

Are they an alternative-type child? five points-type in atlanta?

Are they debutante-type? Maybe Claire’s? (Help me out on the trend on that?

I’m a HUGE proponent of allowing a child to “reach out” for what fits their personality early in life so that they don’t run for it later. Let them have a some of what is in their nature. Meanwhile, set boundaries. You can do “x” when you’re ” x”. For example, my sister has the bikini rule for her girls; you can wear a bikini when you turn X age. There’s a goal, a limit, something to look forward to that isn’t like getting your nipples piereced, etc

But let it fit their personality.


December 21st, 2012
10:23 pm

We had my 13 yr old’s ears pierced at Wal-mart in September. Didn’t have any problems. The price of the earrings includes the cleaning solution. This is the second set for her. The lady at Wal-mart wore a pair of sugical gloves while she did the piercing and cleaned both ears before she pierced them. I have 4 sets, first one was done at the Doctor’s office when I was 12 (I almost fainted!). Second one was done at a Claire’s type store. The other two were done at mall kiosks. Never had a problem with any of them. Just make sure that she cleans them. I had my daughter clean hers at least 2 times a day. I also had her turn them at least twice a day, right before she cleaned them. So I know they got turned and then cleaned immediatly after! If she wants to turn them at other times, make sure she washes her hands before she touches them.


December 21st, 2012
10:55 pm

My ears were pierced for my birthday in 6th grade. My pediatrican did them. In high school I wanted a second set so I went back to my pediatrican. If not a doctor I would also highly recommend the Piercing Experience. Very professional and sterile.


December 21st, 2012
11:04 pm

Took a 7 year old visiting family member (by marriage) to Claire’s for ear piercing few months back per mother’s request. The child’s mother was there. The 7 year old did fine when her mother told her she could have her cartilage pierced soon after if she was a big girl just getting ear lobes done first. The mom also got her cartilage pierced on the spot to show daughter. I now know I’m old. Incredulous. Btw, no issues from their piercings at Claire’s. The mom indicated their piercings are on same level as getting a mani/pedi. Will say it again, family by marriage.


December 22nd, 2012
12:18 am

It seems like if the “patient” is too scared to get the second one done after the first may not be quite ready for this procedure. I would say one ear at a time, like others, who suggested two at once might mess up two.


December 22nd, 2012
1:24 am

I was 5 & done at a mall. Jerked a little so second ear is tiny bit off but it’s not noticeable. I use the hypoallergenic type earrings and do fine. She will be okay.


December 22nd, 2012
1:35 am

are you really that stupid that you can’t figure this out on your own, I mean seriously?


December 22nd, 2012
1:37 am

@Grape Nuts are neither grapes or nuts – you hit it right on the head, and you are funny too!


December 22nd, 2012
8:18 am

theresa it does hurt for a tiny second so dont tell her it doesnt. if she cant deal with a second of pain then she needs to wait. im with some above posters…go to a piercing place…they are certified and very experienced. its the upper part of the ear that hurts most when being pierced….the lobe really is such a tiny pain but it is a little pain. never tell your child something wont hurt if it will. and really…the people at the piercing places may look a little scary to you but they really are just normal and nice people. they are not mother rapers and father rapers. they just like piercings and tattoos :)


December 22nd, 2012
8:33 am

I got mine pierced on my lunch break at Wal Mart. The Grandmas I worked with decided it was time, as I was in college. They paid for it…haha! My daughter got hers pierced, when she was 7, at Claires. No big deal for either of us. Yes, it does hurt and yes you need to keep your ears very clean. I agree that you need to tell her the truth…it will hurt somebut it is quick! If she still wants to do it then fine.

What is normal to me may not be normal to someone else and vica versa ( sp?)…this I have learned.


December 22nd, 2012
9:37 am

Just reading the comments after posting early yesterday. You all crack me up. It.does.not.hurt! I know I got mine done at 8yrs old but I got second holes in high school and clearly remember what it felt like. Barely a pinch. That’s exactly what I told my daughter. It’s a quick pinch but I wouldn’t even say it is pain just like someone pinched you and in 1/2 a second it’s over. There is certainly no lasting pain and certainly not as bad as a shot. Maybe more like getting blood drawn. Which also does not hurt. I say this will all the love in the world. You guys are babies. ;-) Merry Christmas.


December 22nd, 2012
9:45 am

She had kids because a girl she went to high school had them, she got the mini-van because someone she knew had one, she got the mini mansion because..well you get the picture. Now with 3 kids, she doesn’t have a clue what to do with them so she relys on social media for the simplest thing. Little girls get their ears pierced every day. shes the only person I have every heard that has considered asking a pediatric surgeon (sly way of telling us she lives in a nice neighborhood) to pierce her 11 year olds ears! A pediatric surgeon!!!! Poor kids!


December 22nd, 2012
12:45 pm

Why not go to the tattoo place and go ahead and get her a tattoo while you’re at it? What’s the difference? You are “defiling the body” either way. This stuff amazes me and one of the reasons there are so many problems with teenagers today. The real problem goes back to guess who? The MOMS! I recall one of my nieces getting an infection, and if you could have seen her ear for about 6 months, it would be “no way”! Still has a scar.

Herpes Butter

December 22nd, 2012
1:11 pm

I just got a piercing in my nose and a tattoo of Uranus on my butt.

Atlanta Mom

December 22nd, 2012
5:25 pm

Around ten years ago I inquired of my pediatrician if they did ear piercings. They did not. Looked like an income opportunity lost to me!


December 22nd, 2012
6:07 pm

Kolo… Little Five Points. It really doesn’t hurt there. They do it the old fashioned way with a needle, not a gun. The girl who did my daughter’s ears took her time got my daughter to relax and was fantastic. My daughter said it didn’t hurt a bit.


December 22nd, 2012
8:00 pm

@homeschooler… everyone has a different pain tolerance. Mine is rather high. My daughter’s is not. I would not say it hurt ( me) a lot but it did hurt. A quick pinch is correct. I have O negative blood and give blood quite frequently. It does not upset me in the least. I also have rolling veins and it may take a few stabs to get the needle settled in. I still donate blood. Many people do not.

all the time

December 22nd, 2012
8:06 pm

Can’t the doctor do that? The idea being that a piercing is not something to do casually and there could be better compliance with a doctors’ cleaning instructions…

FCM on my cell

December 22nd, 2012
9:11 pm

I had mine done ar Yankee Peddler at Parkaire Mall in the 70s.

Eldest had hers done at Claires at Avenue East Cobb @ age 7 they were great. 6 yrs ago.

Youngest got hers @ age 7 at Sweet & Sassy @ Avenue in Cumming. They were also great.

The big thing is to keep the site clean.

FCM on my cell

December 22nd, 2012
9:14 pm

Neither of mine had hoops or dangles for a year after peircing. made aure fully healed & only light weight so not to rip…Both have better “holes” than mine.