How to Put on the Bead of a Lip Ring

Extreme close-up of young woman's face with piercings, part of

Lip rings that use beads held in place by tension are called captive bead rings. These rings consist of one long, circular piece of metal. The circle is broken to accommodate a bead, usually made from metal or acrylic, that completes the circle when it is put into place. Since the bead is held in place by tension, it can be tricky for novices and experts alike to put the bead back into lip rings after removing them or after an accidental slip of the bead. Most beads clip into place with a little bit of time and finesse.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds before dealing with your piercing. Because the lip is prone to exposure to all sorts of bacteria and microorganims by virtue of its position, washing your hands prevents any additional contamination, as noted by Elayne Angel in "The Body Piercing Bible."

Put on a pair of rubber, latex or nitrile gloves. Not only does that help prevent the spread of microorganisms to this delicate piercing, but it also helps you get a better grip on the small, slippery bead.

Position the lip ring so the opening of the circle is facing forward. Stand in front of a mirror if you need to see what you are doing.

Wipe the bead and the piercing with a sterile saline wipe. Allow the bead to dry before attempting to position it in place.

Snap the bead into place. The bead itself should have two indentations on opposing sides of the sphere. The dents indicate where the bead lines up with the shaft of the piercing. Line up one end of the ring with one of the indentations. Hold the ring and bead in place with your thumb and forefinger. Using the tension you have created, slide the bead so that the second indentation snaps in place with the other end of the ring.

Tighten the ring if necessary. The ball should be able to move, but just barely. The ball should not rattle around. Conversely, the ring should not be so tight that the ball cannot move at all, a sign that there is too much tension in the ring, which can lead to the ball popping out on its own. Use a pair of circlip pliers to ensure a proper fit and tension.


If you feel uncomfortable replacing the bead in your lip ring or cannot get a good grip on the ball, speak to your piercer. They can show you how to replace the bead properly and may be able to offer insights on how best to care for your jewelry at home.


Don't pull, tear at or yank your lip ring. This can cause damage to the piercing. If you find yourself becoming frustrated, walk away and take a few deep, calming breaths, then try again in a few minutes.