The Monroe Piercing: Everything You Need to Know
Named after the famed beauty mark on Marilyn Monroe’s upper lip, the Monroe piercing is quickly becoming as iconic as the fabulous woman it’s named after.
Not to be confused with the Madonna, which is located on the opposite side of the lip, the Monroe piercing sits above the upper lip on the left side of the face. In order to complete the Marilyn Monroe look, most opt for a simple labret stud with a small bead, gemstone, or cute charm. However, there’s always room for creativity, and the Monroe can be paired with other facial piercings to create an individualized look.
No doubt because of its namesake, the Monroe piercing is more popular among women than men, but piercings don’t discriminate; guys shouldn’t be afraid to rock this sleek and minimalist style.
Like all facial piercings, you should be 100% sure that this is the piercing for you before you undergo the piercer's needle; the last thing you want is a regretable piercing in the middle of your face. Here’s what you need to know to help you decide whether the Monroe is the piercing for you.
How much does the monroe piercing hurt?
Like many other upper lip piercings, the Monroe falls about midway on the pain scale. Your lips have more nerve endings than areas like your ears or nose, so you will most likely feel a fairly substantial pinch. However, unlike some other lip piercings, only one swift puncture is required, so the pain is quick.
Lip piercings tend to swell quite a bit, so you should be prepared for redness and puffiness for the first couple of days. Your piercer should fit you with a labret stud that is big enough to accommodate the swelling. If your jewelry presses too hard against the skin, you’ll want to see your piercer to get fitted with a larger stud; jewelry that’s too tight can impede the healing process.
If you experience extreme pain, excessive bleeding, or puss-like excretion from the piercing, you’ll need to consult a doctor.
Monroe piercing healing process
As with any piercing, healing times vary from person to person. In order to ensure the quickest healing time, make sure you adhere to proper aftercare practices. Most people find that their Monroe is fully healed after 6 weeks, but it can take as long as 12 weeks.
It’s important to note that your piercing may appear healed from the outside, but it might still be healing internally. Because of this, it’s a good idea to talk to your piercer before you stop aftercare practices and change your jewelry.
Beyond standard piercing aftercare practices, you need to take extra care that any oral piercing stays free from bacteria. Since your mouth is warm and damp, it becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and germs. Therefore, you need to make sure that your mouth stays clean, you keep on top of your oral hygiene practices, and you keep foreign objects away from your piercing as much as possible.
For shorter healing times and to avoid infection, here are some tips:
Only touch your piercing with clean hands. Especially in the first few days, you might be tempted to twist or touch your jewelry. Doing this can irritate the skin and slow down healing.
Stay away from alcohol and cigarettes. A cocktail every now or then is fine, but binge drinking can weaken your immune system, so stay away from the parties for a while. Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals that will negatively impact your piercing.
No kissing. This one can be a bummer, but you’re already fighting the bacteria in your own saliva; no need to add the saliva of your partner. Additionally, you should stay away from any oral activity in the bedroom until you’ve healed.
Watch your teeth. While healing, you’ll wear a larger labret stud. While this allows for your lips to swell during the healing process, it also means that you’ll have extra metal in your mouth that you’re not used to. Luckily, the location of the Monroe piercing is often high enough that the risk of chomping on your jewelry is lower than other lip piercings, but it’s still something you need to be aware of.
Brush your teeth regularly. Hopefully, you’re doing this already, but as with any injury to the mouth, you’ll want to up your oral hygiene game until you’re fully healed.
Monroe jewelry styles
As mentioned previously, the labret stud is the most popular jewelry for the Monroe piercing by far. This helps match the aesthetic of the beauty mark of its namesake. However, the jewelry type is far from limiting; there are tons of labret stud styles that you can choose from to make this piercing your own. Most Monroe piercings use either a 14G or 16G piece.
Choosing a black bead or perhaps a cultured peacock pearl helps to accentuate the mole aesthetic and looks most similar to Marilyn Monroe’s style. A shiny gemstone also looks adorable, and the sparkle helps to draw the eye. A bezel setting is great for the Monroe piercing because it provides a sleek and smooth finish that sits more flush with the skin. Dainty charms are also super popular, and a small heart or star could add an element of whimsy to your piercing.
Be careful when choosing your jewelry; a red bead or gemstone could be mistaken for a zit or blemish. You’ll want to opt for jewelry that goes well with your skin tone and highlights your piercing; you don’t want someone staring at your face trying to decide if you’re pierced or still have some lunch on your face.
As with all lip piercings, you should choose a stud with a flat disc backing. Not only is this a more comfortable jewelry option, but it also limits rubbing against your gums, which could lead to a receding gum line. If you suspect that your jewelry is starting to be problematic to your gums, take out your jewelry and consult a dentist.
Why shouldn’t I get a monroe piercing?
Not every piercing is for everyone. The shape of your lips and face, your health practices, and your daily activities can all contribute to whether or not you should get pierced.
If you have larger lips, any lip piercing is going to hurt more because there’s more skin to puncture. If you have a lower pain tolerance, then you might want to opt for a piercing away from your lips.
Because the Monroe piercing is meant to emulate a beauty mark, if you already have one in that area, you might want to rethink whether you want to pierce an artificial beauty mark. Additionally, due to its location, if you choose the wrong jewelry, it could be mistaken for a more unsightly blemish. If you have acne in this area, you might want to hold off on the piercing until your acne clears up, otherwise, your piercing might get lost.
If you have issues with oral hygiene, receding gum lines, or other oral issues, then you’ll probably want to stay away from lip piercings in general.
How much will it cost?
As always, pricing will vary from piercer to piercer. While we always recommend opting for the more expensive and experienced piercer, with the Monroe piercing, this is especially true; there are so many nerve endings in the lips to be aware of, and a poorly placed Monroe piercing could wreak havoc on your gums.
Typically, the Monroe piercing costs around $50 - $80. You should, however, choose your piercer based on their abilities rather than finding the cheapest option. Never choose a piercer who uses a piercing gun; these harbor more bacteria, and the blunt force it uses to puncture the skin can cause damage. You’ll want to make sure that the piercer uses a clean needle instead.
Monroe piercing variations
Another Monroe style that is growing in popularity is the double Monroe piercing. The location of the Monroe piercing means that there’s a big canvas to play with, so you can take a few approaches if you would like this style.
Some choose to align their double Monroe along their lipline so that the piercings are offset from each other. Others get their Monroe piercings side-by-side. Less popular, but still possible, is to get two piercings one on top of the other.
Don’t get this piercing confused with the Madonna, which is located on the other side of the mouth, or the angel bites piercing, which consists of both the Monroe and the Madonna piercings.
If you opt for the double Monroe piercing, be aware that the piercer will likely have you come in for two separate sessions to ease healing time.