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    Here's What It's Like When You Physically Can't Pierce Your Ears

    The impossible search for a pair of clip-on earrings that won't damage my ear.

    by ,
    Rebecca Hendin / Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    When I was 10 I got my ears pierced. For a brief moment I felt like a princess.

    However, a month into my new-found maturity, things weren't right: My ears kept bleeding, they were constantly sore, and small lumps were forming on my lobes.

    After multiple nights awake, crying to my mother as she cleaned blood-red dots off my pillow case, we went to the GP and got an answer: The small lumps were keloids.

    Keloids are raised scars that occur when a wound abnormally heals. They vary in size depending on the size of the trauma site.

    My keloids were removed with plastic surgery, but since then I've actively avoided anything that would cause cuts to my skin, including new piercings and tattoos. It sucks.

    All I've wanted is to find a comfortable, wearable alternative to actual piercings so I can safely live out my rebellious teenage fantasy.

    Sadly my memories of fake-ear piercings as a teen are bleak – sore earlobes, lost backs of magnetic earrings, desperate glances over at girls whose ears resembled pin cushions.

    So I decided to see if fake earrings had improved since my youth. Maybe I could finally wear those big hoops or tunnels I'd always envied.

    I searched on the high street and online to find the clip-on earrings of my dreams.

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    My task?

    – To wear each pair a day at a time.

    – To test if the earrings are comfortable.

    – To test if the earrings stay on.

    – To find a style of earring I can claim to be mine.

    Day 1 – Topshop Hardware Vintage Jewellery floral clip

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed
    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed
    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Price: Β£10.00

    Do they look good? I liked the elegant style and the blue/gold pairing.

    Did they stay on? I decided to dive in at the deep end and wear these while building my new bed. Despite huge amounts of arm-flailing and head-shaking, they remained in place.

    Were they comfortable? Ah. Here's the downside. After about three hours of wear, my ears became hot, and touching my ear was almost unbearable. Close to tears, I removed the earrings to find a swollen lump behind my right ear. I spent the evening lying on a bag of ice, praying for no permanent scarring.

    Would you wear again? Maybe, for a short dinner party or date.

    Day 2 – Claire's Love Hoop Clip On Earrings

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed
    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed
    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Price: Β£4.50

    Do they look good? Wow, I really dig hoops, these are cute. Hoops ftw.

    Did they stay on? Despite forgetting multiple times that I was wearing earrings and thus getting them tangled in my jumper/limbs, the hoops remained dangling from my ears.

    Were they comfortable? The small clips meant a smaller yet more intense pain. I managed to wear these for a whole day, mainly because I thought they were really cute.

    Would you wear again? Definitely. I'm in love.

    Day 3 – New Look Gold Mini Wire Ear Cuffs

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Price: Β£2.00 (reduced from Β£3.99)

    Do they look good? When I can get them to balance on my ear, yes.

    Did they stay on? I couldn't exactly get them on. My ears were too small for the initial size and when I attempted to tighten the earrings I ended up squashing my ears. I quickly gave up and used them as alternative piercings.

    Rachael Krishna / BuzzFeed

    Were they comfortable? When I eventually got them to stay on my ear for a measurable amount of time they were unnoticeable, so much so that I didn't notice them fall off halfway through my day.

    Would you wear again? They're quite pretty, so yeah, I would.

    Day 4 – New Look Cage Ear Cuff

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Lynzy Billing / Facebook

    Price: Β£2.99

    Does it look good? It's not really my style – felt a bit chunky.

    Did it stay on? It stayed on, but over the course of a day made its way up and down my ear. I don't know if I have thin ears or it was just a weirdly shaped cuff, but it wouldn't stay put.

    Was it comfortable? It felt a bit odd and itchy at times, but overall I was pretty oblivious to it hanging on the side of my ear.

    Would you wear it again? Unfortunately not.

    Day 5 – Topshop Hardware Vintage Jewellery (Tassel)

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Price: Β£14.00

    Do they look good? I felt like Pat Butcher. A bit too grand for my style.

    Did they stay on? These were pretty robust earrings – I'd rather refer to them as clamps than clips. For the limited amount of time I could wear them they remained on my lobes.

    Where they comfortable? Earrings as grand as these were not intended for casual wear. I managed a couple hours before I felt my earlobes stretching. Also, the tassels' continuous movement was off-putting.

    Would you wear again? Maybe, if I ever found anywhere fancy enough to go to justify wearing them.

    Day 6 – Eternal Collection Mia Lilac South Sea Shell Pearl Close Fitting Silver Clip On Earrings

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed
    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed
    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Price: Β£15.00.

    Do they look good? I didn't really like how obvious the clip part of these earrings were. It made them feel overly large and clunky.

    Did they stay on? They did, although the large clip was quite easy to accidentally knock.

    Were they comfortable? They were more comfortable than I'd anticipated, although maybe by this point in the week I was conditioned to expect pain.

    Would you wear again? I didn't like the style, so no, but I'd be interested to try different clips from Eternal Collection.

    Day 7 – Claire's Accessories Magnetic Bee Stud Earrings

    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed
    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed
    Lynzy Billing / BuzzFeed

    Price: Β£3.50

    Do they look good? They're a very cute, subtle design.

    Did they stay on? I lost them about two hours into the day. So no.

    Were they comfortable? So comfortable and unnoticeable that I didn't notice they had fallen off until the end of the day.

    Would you wear again? Well, I've lost this pair so I don't think that would be a sensible financial investment.


    Despite the 10-year break since I last tried clip-ons, it seems the fake jewellery market has not yet created earrings that both stay on and don't leave lumps on my ears, but I'm happy that there are a range of styles on the market so non-pierced people aren't just stuck with boring clip-on studs.

    Since writing this piece, I've grown overly attached to my heart-shaped hoops. Although I can only wear them for a few hours at a time, seeing that earrings can suit me has given me the confidence to experiment with other styles of fake piercing.

    And if there are any clip-on earrings out there that are willing to make a long-term commitment to my ears without the nasty swelling side effects, it could be the start of something beautiful.

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