Pinterest Plugs, Tunnels And Flares - What Does It Mean?
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Published Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Plugs, Tunnels and Flares - What Does It Mean?

Single flare plugs, double flare plugs, no flare plugs—what does it all mean? If you’re new to ear stretching, it can be confusing, especially as you start shopping for jewelry. And if you don’t know which one is right for you, it can be harder to wear if you're not ready.

Let’s start with the basics.

What’s A Plug?

Single Flare Glass Colorfront Plug

A plug is a cylindrical piece of jewelry that can be worn in stretched lobes or piercings. It helps keep your lobes from shrinking and helps retain the shape. You might also hear plugs being called gauges. While these words might be used interchangeably, they are two different things.

The gauge measuring system measures the thickness or diameter of jewelry, and the plugs are the actual jewelry pieces. The process of stretching your lobes is also often called “gauging” for that reason, and that’s why many people just call this type of jewelry gauges. At BAF, we use both terms so feel free to use whatever you’re comfortable with. 

You can learn more about the gauge system and how body jewelry is measured here.

To make it easier to understand, the picture below shows different gauges (diameters) of the same plug. Shop all of our plugs here.

Now that we’ve covered what plugs are, let’s get into eyelets or tunnels.

What Are Eyelets Or Tunnels?

Eyelets are also known as tunnels. This type of jewelry is similar to plugs except that they’re hollow and you can see through them. Like plugs, tunnels come in different gauges and flares. Tunnels give you the flexibility to be a little more creative. You can wear a tunnel on its own, get tunnels that have hanging pieces or even hang ornate jewelry pieces from it. In the picture below you can see what tunnels look like and how they can be styled. Shop all of our eyelets/tunnels here.

What Is The Flare?

You can’t shop for plugs and tunnels without seeing the word flare. The flare refers to the outer edge of a plug or tunnel. The flared side will be a larger gauge than the actual gauge of the plug and this side helps keep the jewelry from slipping out. You can have plugs with no flare, single flare and double flare.

What Is A No Flare Plug?

Also known as flat flare plug, these types of plugs or tunnels have no flare. The cylinder is smooth along its entire length, without a flare or raised edges. These slide right into your lobe and are secured by O-rings on each side. Since there’s no flare, these are great for stretching. In the picture above you can see a no flare steel plug. Shop our no flare plugs here.

What Is A Single Flare Plug?

A single flare plug/tunnel only has one flared edge. The other side is secured with an O-ring. The flared side is meant to be worn on the front side of your lobe.

Before putting these on, wash your hands with soap and water and moisturize your lobes. We recommend a lobe moisturizer like the Zeep Plug Primer. To insert the plug, insert the non-flared side in your lobe from the front. Once it’s in, slide the plug all the way in, until you hit the flare side. The flared side secures the front part of the plug and you will secure the back side by sliding in an O-ring from the back.

We will include O-rings with every single flare plug/tunnel purchase. From wood to stone and glass, we have tons of single flare plug options on our site. Shop single flare plugs and tunnels here.

What Is A Double Flare Plug?

A double flare plug/tunnel has a flare on both sides of the plug. Since both sides are flared, you do not need to use an O-ring to secure the jewelry. The flared sides will keep the jewelry nice and secure.

Double flare plugs cannot be immediately worn by everyone. The flared edges will be larger than the actual gauge of the plug, so your lobes must be able to safely stretch to fit over the double flared edge. Double flare plugs are recommended for people who have a completely healed lobe and lobes that are a bit more flexible.

To safely put on a double flare plug, start by washing your hands with warm water and soap. We also recommend putting the jewelry in after a hot shower. The heat will help loosen your skin and will make the insertion process easier if you’re new to double flare plugs. Don’t forget to moisturize your lobes. We recommend a lobe moisturizer like the Zeep Plug Primer.

For double flared pieces, insert the jewelry at an angle, pull down your lobe and press the jewelry in. If you feel any pain as you put the jewelry in, STOP. Your lobes are not ready for double flare pieces. Forcing a double flared plug into your lobes can tear and damage them. To help you get to a double flare jewelry, we recommend wearing heavier single flare plugs made from stone or glass. With time and patience, you may reach your double flare goal.

It’s important to note that some people have naturally tighter lobes, and double flare jewelry may not be in the cards for you. But don’t worry! We have screw-fit style eyelets that can be inserted like single-flare, but have a back flare that screws on.

They take a bit of practice, but they’re great if you’re wanting to try double flare, but are unsure if your lobes will be flexible enough. You can see those here. Note: Some of them have a rear flare that can’t be worn like a double flare plug and always have to be screwed in, and these have very large flares. Others have a more gentle flare that can be inserted just like a regular double flare.

If you’re unsure, you can always ask us, but in general you’ll want to look for a flare around .5-1mm, for a very small, easy to insert flare.

We have tons of double flare plugs and tunnels. Shop all of our styles and designs here.

Still wondering how to put on single flare or double flare plugs? Watch our video below: