Read This Before You Get A Rook Piercing

The rook piercing is an unusual inner-ear piercing. The tragus and the daith are the most popular choices, but who wants to copy everyone else?

What Is a Rook Piercing? 

The rook piercing is a cartilage piercing in the upper ear. It is located above the tragus part of the ear in the anti-helix. The “rook” is the ridge that sits between the outer ear and the inner conch. Since it is located two steps above the tragus, it makes rook piercing quite unusual and eye-catching.

This is one example of how piercing professionals have gotten creative over the years. The historical trend of rook piercings is owed to Erik Dakota, a renowned piercer from California who introduced the perforation during the early 1990s. It was featured in the fourth issue of Body Play and Modern Primitives Quarterly. He popularized the daith piercing. 

credits: Pinterest

A rook piercing is done on a vertical orientation, this allows both sides of the curved barbell to be shown. When you go in for your piercing appointment your piercer will help you pick out a 16 Gauge barbell that is 5/16″ in length. When you go back the piercer will clean the ear with an antibacterial/antimicrobial solution. The piercer will mark the spot where the jewelry will be inserted, and have you approve the placement. Once you agree on the placement a piercer will use a hollow needle to pierce through the cartilage of your rook and then insert the jewelry.

Due to the placement of the “rook” you can get extremely creative with your jewelry. It can be done with a curved barbell or a circular ring. Most piercers prefer to start with a 16-gauge curved barbell because it has less movement than a ring. The curved barbell will move less than a ring, a ring is going to move naturally disturbing the healing process.

As the rook piercing has to penetrate the cartilage tissues thoroughly, it might be painful. In spite of the pain, many try to rock the rook piercing because of its uniqueness. Infact, the rook piercing is versatile as you can choose either a bar or hoop, unlike the daith, which is better suited to a hoop.

Why Many Don’t Opt for Rook Piercing:

Many people have to wait MONTHS to change their earring because of how long the healing process takes. Rook piercing often takes longer to heal in comparison to other ear piercings because they pierce the earring through the thickest part of the ear cartilage. The ear is pierced using a curved barbell to ensure it pierces through the thick cartilage. Once the piercing has healed, the earring can be swapped and changed for different designs including hoops

Due to the style of the rook piercing, many people do not like this type of piercing or can’t actually get the piercing. The ear needs to have the right shape for the piercing to be placed through the ear cartilage. This along with the healing process, pain and limited variety of earrings have made the faux rook piercing a more popular choice

If you are still not sure then know that these 2 options are available: 

  1. Double rook piercing:  two punctures on the inner ridge. With shiny earrings, the result is beautiful. 
  2. Faux rook piercing: a single horizontal perforation, going out behind the ear and gorgeous when decorated with studs. It looks almost like a conch piercing. 

What To Know Before Rocking a Rook Piercing

It is not the easiest procedure to perform. If you go for a rook piercing, the thick cartilage may hurt a lot when perforated. Basically, you are going to feel sharp intense pain, but it is not going to be agonizing. Normally, the person at the parlour wouldn’t give you any painkillers, but if you really need some, it is not forbidden to take one pill of ibuprofen or paracetamol. However, the initial pain will be gone in 20 minutes or so. But you will still be feeling some discomfort during the few coming days.

It is important that the piercing remains stationary during the healing process. While the piercing is healing, leave it alone, avoid touching it, moving it, or rotating it. Try to sleep on the opposite side of the piercing and if you wake up on the piercing be conscious and flip over to the other side. 

The anatomy of one’s ear does not always allow you to have a rook piercing. The reason is that not everybody has a prominent ridge. That can create certain obstacles during the procedure. However, you can simply choose another single piercing instead of a double one.

The Procedure

STEP 1: The procedure has to be done by an experienced piercer, who will properly instruct you and care for you. The piercing saloon must be clean and hygienic for you to be sure of the quality of the procedure.

STEP 2: The procedure of rook piercing is relatively more complicated in comparison to other perforation or piercings as the needle has to go through a hard surface. It is best to contact a reputable piercer in order for you to be guaranteed with skills and proper sanitation. The entire ear must be cleaned using alcohol. All tools that must be used should be new and/or sterilized to ensure that communicable diseases may not be acquired.

STEP 3: Usually, rook piercing is performed quickly. At first, the piercer will mark out the puncture spots with a surgical pen. After this, the ear is perforated or pierced by a 14 or 16 gauge piercing needle. The perforation is done almost similar to the other parts of the ear that have cartilage. The piercer may use a clamp but ideally done using just the hands for better control.  A huge gauge(an instrument) between14 to 16g depending on the cartilage’s size, will be inserted into the antihelix.

STEP 4: At the bottom, a hollow tube will catch the end of the tool so that it will not prick the face or other parts of the ear. Once the antihelix has been completely penetrated, the barbell earring will be inserted and properly positioned. Once the jewelry has been placed appropriately, the area will be quickly cleaned to get rid of the blood (mostly just a little amount).

How Much Does Rook Piercing Cost?

  • US: $35 – $50
  • UK: £18 – £40
  • Europe: €20 – €35

In the U.S. you would spend $35 – $50 in a professional studio.

In the UK it would cost you a little bit less, around £18 – £40.

In Europe, the price is €20 – €35 per piercing with jewelry.

Tips for Healing A Rook Piercing

  • Cartilage piercings take a long time to heal and you want to make sure they are being taken care of for optimal healing. The primary healing stage is 6 months, but the secondary healing process takes between 12 to 18 months. This is when the fistula is considered to be fully healed. During this time, it is important to keep the jewelry as stationary as possible. 
  • The jewelry does not need to be moved or rotated while healing. 
  • Try to avoid public bodies of water such as: jacuzzis, pools, lakes, and oceans. These bodies of water all contain bacteria that can enter the piercing and cause infection and other healing problems. If you do go into something like a jacuzzi make sure to go in waist deep, do not submerge you head in the water and open up the ear to the water.
  • Keep the piercing clean and let your body do its job.
  • Avoid any bottle cleaners such as; Bactine, Neosporin, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Alcohol. These cleaners are all too harsh and can cause more harm than good. They can kill both the good and bad tissue that is trying to heal. 
  • After-care procedures should be practiced until the piercing is fully healed as recommended by your piercer. Use your basic sea-salt solution and let your body heal the piercing on its own. Remember to gently wash the pierced area twice a day with simple liquid soap and warm water. The antibacterial soap is recommended to use in order to avoid possible infections or bump. Also, during the first months of cleaning, it is a good idea to use sea salt mixed with warm water. And avoid germs getting into the hole, don’t pull the fresh piercing with your hands.
  • Don’t let the phone which is commonly contaminated with germs touch the pierced area.
  • It is always advisable to try to avoid sleeping on any new ear piercing until fully healed as it can cause problems and delay the healing.
  • As per the Association of Professional Piercers, the jewelry should not be moved as the generation of new cells will be bothered, freshening up the wound once again. You have to make sure that the jewelry is settled for 5 to 7 days so you won’t impede the healing.
  • Make sure that you do not let your rook piercing touch anything, especially those that harbor bacteria, like your cell phone and pillow. Always these disinfect items so that if these touch your ear, these cannot aggravate your piercing condition.
  • When you plan to change your jewelry, make sure that you visit a reputable piercer in order for him to assess if it is already safe to do so. 
  • Rook piercing usually heals after 6 months, depending on how you take good care of your piercing, so you really have to wait for a long time before changing the jewelry to something that will really accentuate your look.

Aftercare Products for your Rook Piercing

When caring for your rook piercing the only suitable cleaner is sea salt. You want to go to your local grocery store or pharmacy and pick up a gallon of distilled water and Non-Iodized Sea Salt. Make sure that you are buying distilled water and not substituting it with any other type of water. Non-Iodized Sea Salt is easy to find, it is pure organic sea salt. If you look at the ingredient list the only ingredient that should be listed is sea salt. When you get home pour four teaspoons of the Non-Iodized Sea Salt into the gallon of distilled water and shake the jug well. When you are ready to clean the piercing pour the solution into a coffee cup or a shot glass. Be sure that you are only using glass or porcelain, paper and plastic products will contaminate the sea salt solution. Put the cup into the microwave for a few seconds.

The best products to treat your rook piercing and heal it fast are listed below:

H2Ocean 4oz Piercing Aftercare Spray

Use a saline spray such as H2Ocean 4oz Piercing Aftercare Spray and mist your piercing three times a day. Let it dry so the solution will soak into the skin. Afterward, rinse the piercing area with fresh water. Use a clean paper towel in drying it. When using a saline spray you should also keep on using a sea salt soak once a day.

Recovery Piercing Aftercare Sea Salt And Tea Tree Oil Combo

A combination of sea salt and tea tree can revitalize your skin. For your saline washes, you should avoid using ordinary salt. Instead, use Recovery Aftercare which consists of 100% dead sea salt taken from the Dead Sea in Beer Sheva, Israel. Such saline washes heal the rook piercing quickly.

The sea salt soaks mimic the salinity of your body fluids. If you plan to do it yourself, you can mix a teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt with 1 cup of warm distilled or pre-boiled water. Get a piece of cloth or cotton, soak it in the solution, and place it on the pierced area for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Inverness After Piercing Ear Care Solution

Inverness Ear Care Solution is specially created for the care of rook piercing or any other type of ear piercing. Be sure to properly clean your new piercing in order to avoid any infections.This solution can kill germs. If you will not properly clean your piercing, then it can result in a painful experience. Use this product at least 2 to 3 times a day so you can have safe healing.

Piercing Care Healing Sea Salts & Botanicals

Making an accurate solution is very important for healing. The correct ratio of mixing Piercing Care is 1/4 teaspoon to 1 cup (8 oz) warm water. After mixing, soak your rook piercing for 5 mins. Do this twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. This will drive out any bacteria found inside your piercing. When used properly you only need one tub in healing your rook piercing.


How long does rook piercing pain last?

A rook ear piercing is painful and uncomfortable because the pierced area is quite small and thick on the ear. It usually takes around 2 months for the pain to reduce but it is always very subjective and entirely depends on your pain tolerance. So, if you have a low threshold for pain and depending on your body’s healing clock, it will hurt for 2 months or more. The piercing itself is supposed to be at a pain scale of 6 out of 10. 

Does the rook piercing help with migraines?

No they don’t help with migraines but this trend has been falsely advertised as so. They’re on trend this year for their ability to center a piercing constellation, a star-like pattern of piercings.

Does rook or conch hurt more?

Soreness in the rook def lasted a few days longer than the conch soreness, but contributing factor could be that I got both rook piercings done at once and that’s a lot of swelling in a small area. I didn’t have a hard time healing either. LITHA with both. Conch: Healing was a bit more problematic.

When can I change Rook piercing?

Rook piercing usually heal after 6 months, depending on how you take good care of your piercing, so you really have to wait for a long time before changing the jewelry to something that will really accentuate your look.

What is a faux Rook piercing?

It is a more feasible, less painful piercing that is in a very similar place on the ear. The faux rook piercing goes straight through the tissue that is above the ridge of the rook. The faux rook piercing is pierced with a straight barbell. This is rather than a curved one which helps give you more choices and variety.

Can you wear headphones with a rook piercing?

No, you shouldn’t wear headphones as it can press against your new jewelry. This puts pressure on the new piercing holes and leads to complications like jewelry rejection and migration, cartilage bumps, or infection. What you can do is opt for ear buds for the duration of your healing process.

Do rook piercings hurt to sleep on?

You will experience a little tenderness in the area, which is normal. Avoid sleeping on the side with the rook piercing as this can cause the pain to flare up.

Is Rook Piercing Dangerous?

Rook piercings present the same set of complications and risks associated with any cartilage piercings and its concealed nature makes it less prone to accidental snags than other piercings. Not everyone has a suitable structure for a long-term rook piercing as the piercing is suitable for most, but as each person’s ear anatomy is different, a small number of people may find they are not able to get it.

Should you twist a rook piercing?

The rook is the ridge that sits between the outer ear and the inner conch. It is important that the piercing remains stationary during the healing process. While the piercing is healing leave it alone, avoid touching it, moving it, or rotating it.

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