#STRETCHING

Maybe you’ve just seen a photo online of someone with sizeable ears and their plugs

have caught your eye, or maybe you’ve tried and failed to acquire larger lobes in the past and

want to try again. No matter the reason for wanting to change your look, our staff has an

extensive amount of both knowledge and body jewelry to help you reach your goal size. This

mini guide to stretching your ears will lay down the groundwork for everything you need to know

and equip you with the basic understanding of our studio’s process!

BASIC INFO:

So you've decided to take the plunge and get your lobes stretched! Our studio has everything

you'll need to accomplish your first stretch as painless and as smooth as possible. Most normal

lobe piercings are around an 18g and are stretched up from there. The unit of measurement

used to tell what size your ears are at is a gauge. As your ears get bigger, the gauge of your ear

gets smaller by twos until you hit 0g which will then become 00g and continue in fractions of an

inch. Depending on how stretched your ears already are from previous jewelry you've worn, the

gauge you'll be stretched to will be determined by your piercer.

YOUR FIRST STRETCH:

After telling our staff you're looking to stretch your ears and the correct size has been

determined, you'll be able to pick out your jewelry! We use single-flared glass plugs for a

comfortable healing experience which come in several different colors. Single-flared glass plugs

are perfect for a fresh stretch since it's only flared on one side and rounded on the other which

makes it easier to slip straight in the ear lobe. Glass is non-porous, highly biocompatible and

easy to sanitize which makes it our stretching material of choice. Materials like wood, bone,

silicone or acrylic are great to wear once you reach your goal size but not ideal for stretching.

Once your jewelry has been chosen, it will be properly sanitized so the procedure can take

place. A taper (a long piece of metal that is small on one end and gradually increases in size

until it reaches the proper gauge) is the only tool used to widen the piercing channel. After the

taper is inserted jewelry will be put in to keep the hole at the new size. O-rings or the black

circles that are commonly seen on the back of plugs are used to keep the single-flared jewelry

in place. That's all there is to it!

TAKING CARE OF YOUR EARS:

So you've gotten your ears stretched and you're now ready to heal them. The most important

things to remember are to be patient with the process of stretching up and to keep them clean.

No using any hydrogen peroxide, neosporin or any ointments to clean them, those are for

scrapes and bruises. If you've gotten any lotions, potions or hair products on them, use the

soap we give you to keep them healthy and free from any foreign substances. Other than that,

follow the L.T.T.H.A. rule and Leave Them The Hell Alone!

SIZING UP:

When you notice that there's a sizable gap in between your ears and your plugs or they fall out all the time it

means it's time to size up! Come back in to the studio and you can grab your new

jewelry. Forgot your current size? No worries, we keep every customer’s info in our computers

and will always be able to look you up to find your jewelry size. To put them in bring them with

you next time you jump into the shower. Just take out your current size and slip in your new

plugs. The hot steam and water from the shower will help the new size easily slide in without

any resistance. If you feel like you have to push just wait a little while longer. There’s no need to

tear your lobes. Be patient.

Altering your body in a new way can definitely be daunting but whatever worries or questions

you have we’ll be excited to answer them! Feel free to stop into either of our locations to discuss

your stretching journey!

#ETIQUETTE

Hello Internet Land! Ever wonder what we at Cowpok complain about after a long day? We’ve put together a list of our pet peeves to help all you newbies look not so new. We know you’re nervous and have questions when you first get to the counter but here is a short list of how not to be the customer we talk about around the water cooler. When you step in the door please try to avoid saying the following:


  • “Yeah, I called.” Well so did about 23 other people in the last half hour. Please be a little more specific.  

  • Just the single work “piercing” or “tattoo.” #1- please speak in sentences. #2- There are over 30 types of piercing procedures we offer and an even larger number of places to put a tattoo so to help you we need a bit more information.

  • “I’m just price shopping.” If you’re looking for the cheapest place in town let us save you the trip, we’re not it. But if you want quality jewelry, friendly faces and tattoos that will look good forever come on by.

  • “We tried to go to four other shops but you guys were the only ones open today.” We’re happy to help your body piercings or tattoo dreams become a reality but as with any other place of business you are looking to get help from, respect from both parties needs to be present. Don’t let us think we were your last choice and only option.

  • “It’s not going to take long.” Please don’t tell us how long it will take to do our job. We want all our clients to leave satisfied and with the confidence to heal the new change they have made to their body and doing that is not something that should be rushed.


Now that you know both how to make a great first impression and what not to say, there are just a couple more things we’ve seen in our years working in our studio. These are some things that while common in customers are not good etiquette and are known to make any piercing or tattoo shop employee cringe:


  • Taking your jewelry out and placing it on our counter. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been pierced, it’s still full of dead skin and germs, boogers, spit, you name it. We can measure, assess and help with anything you need while your jewelry is still in. Let’s keep the jewelry cheese off of common surfaces.

  • Walking into the studio while on your phone. And do you know what’s worse? When you’re on speaker. Stay outside or in your car, our staff will be happy to assist you but not while you are on the phone.

  • Coming in for a tattoo and not having a clue what you want. It’s exciting to get some new ink but that fact that tattoos are permanent should persuade you to put more time and effort into your next piece.  

  • Asking how much a script tattoo is “per letter.” Who does that? Who charges per letter? No one.

  • Complaining about having to drive back home to get your I.D. when you live 15 minutes away. Plenty of our staff have hour commutes every day. And why did you leave the house without I.D.?  

  • Letting your friends speak for you. It’s your body and your decision only. Everyone needs a buddy but bring someone who will help you make decisions, not make them for you.

  • Bringing 6 friends. FYI: Watching someone get tattooed is boring and you’re only allowed to bring one person in the back with you. Everyone else will be stuck in the lobby watching Netflix.  

  • Staring at a CowPok customer/staff member or making them feel uncomfortable.

We are a safe space and everyone is welcome here. If you are making others feel uneasy or self-conscious you will be required to leave.



Walking into a piercing or tattoo shop for your first or even your 10th time can bring a whole slew of emotions and fears, but at least if you don’t do anything we’ve listed you can leave knowing you were a model customer!


#COWPOKFAMILYVACATION CONTEST RULES

Excited for a chance to win a trip with the crew to Mexico for a week? Here are the details!

  • All travelers must have a valid passport that remains valid for one year beyond our travel dates (October 30th-November 8th, 2018). They must be 18+ years of age at time of submission to win.
  • Prize includes airfare from Buffalo, NY only. Entries from all over the world are welcome, but any travelers from outside the Buffalo area must fund their own trip for departure, and back home after our return. Flight dates and times are FIRM, so don't be late!
  • Trip covers flight, stay, and food at an all-inclusive resort for you and a friend in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Prize does not include: tips on services, extra excursions off the resort, and any additional activities/transportation (but we encourage you to have fun on your own or with the crew!).
  • Entries are only valid if applicant follows all rules and all restrictions. Social media profile must be public so entry is visible, and must remain visible on the day we announce the winner.
  • Travel includes one carry on for you and one for your friend.
  • We absolutely in no way condone any type of illegal activity in pursuance of prize. Use your brain.
  • All travelers must have passport information readily available at the time of winner selection.
  • COWPOK IS IN NO WAY LIABLE FOR ANY ISSUES THAT CAN POTENTIALLY ARISE.

 

#SURFACEANCHORS: truths and myths

There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there on this topic so here are a few facts that might help you decide if this is a piercing for you.

Myth:

You have make a cut or use a scalpel to put them in or take them out.

Fact:

Nope.  At CowPok surface piercings are done the same way every other piercing is done.  With a needle.  Make a hole, put in some jewelry.  Very simple. And taking them out is just the same.  No cuts, it’s not surgery.  Just like taking your foot out of a shoe we slide one end out and then the other.  Please don’t let anyone cut them out of you.

 

Myth:

They are a permanent piercing.

Fact:

No again.  We’ve seen them migrate out in as little as 3 weeks or last for years.  It really all depends on your body, the placement and how many times you hit it while it’s healing.  If/when it starts to get gross stop in and someone can help you figure out the next step.  Sometimes they can be saved with a hot tea bag compress while other times we’ll advise you it’s time to say goodbye.  While not as easy to take out as a ear or nose piercing they can be removed if needed.

Myth:

They leave horrible scars.

Fact:

Everyone’s idea of “horrible” is a little different but as long as you stop in to have it removed when it’s on it’s way out and it doesn’t get ripped out the scarring is not that bad; one of those things you’ll notice but no one else will.

 

Recap:  surface piercings are not permanent, don’t require surgical removal and leave minimal scars.  Stop in and we’ll make you sparkle (or help remove it when it’s time)

#AFTERCARE

Isn’t the internet wonderful?  Instant map and directions to anywhere, what’s the weather going to be tomorrow… in Greece, how long does it take to heal my piercing, and everyone’s favorite: what am I dying of today- WebMD.  While the internet can make life a bit easier at times there are specific instances it can complicate things.  Take the piercing aftercare topic for example.  Go ahead.  Open another window and search “piercing aftercare.”  I’m sure you’ll end up with at least 3 different suggestions for each piercing along with just as many suggested healing times.  Tattoo aftercare isn’t any different.

While every artist and studio will say something different there should be a few guidelines to think about before you follow any advise.

  • If it’s the same aftercare directions they gave out 10 years ago maybe you should ask someone else.  If your doctor or pharmacist hasn’t updated their suggested treatments in the last decade you’d find a new doctor, right?  We are always improving and learning.  No more Bactine.
  • Moving jewelry doesn’t make sense.  Does ripping the scab of a healing tattoo make sense?  The next time you skin your knee rip the scab off everyday.  Sounds dumb, right… it is.  Everytime you move a piece of jewelry you rip apart all the healing that has been done that day.  Stop moving your piercings.  Unless you got pierced at the mall.  But that’s an different problem requiring a different blog topic.
  • In preschool we are taught to wash our hand because they are dirty.  You’re not in preschool any more buy your hands are still dirty. Don’t touch it.
  • Over cleaning causes more problems than leaving it alone. When in doubt keep it simple.
  • Neosporin says right on the package not to use on puncture wounds.  What do you think a piercing is? You were just PUNCTURED by a needle.  It’s a puncture wound.  No Neosporin or ointments. And don’t take it from me.  It says so on the package.

There are a ton of variables that can change the healing time of a piercing or tattoo.  Some you have control over, some you don’t.

  • Was it done correctly?  While correct placement won’t guarantee a healed piercing it sure will help.
  • Is it the correct jewelry?  Jewelry that is too thin/short/long or wrong material will not help a piercing heal any faster. Did the piercing only cost $20?  What do you think that jewelry is made of if even after the piercer gets paid they can only charge $20 and still make a profit.  Melted down hubcaps.  That’s what it’s made of.   When the swelling goes down stop in to a reputable shop to downsize so it is less likely to get caught on things.  When?  When the swelling goes down.  Some people it could be 1 month, others 5 months.  If you’re jewelry is sticking out get it checked out.
  • Do you ever sleep?  What’s your diet like?  We all know what we put in is what we get out. Be nice to your body if you want it to heal weird things.  Getting a tattoo or piercing is not a normal bodily function.  It takes extra work to heal these things.
  • Are you always cold?  People with bad circulation take longer to heal.
  • Do you have a piercing/tattoo shop that you trust?  You should have someone you can ask 7 million questions, call, email, DM and stop in every other day to check if your new piercing or tattoo is “doing okay” without feeling dumb.

That’s us.  No matter where you got it done CowPok is always here to help.  We want everyone to sparkle.

 

#TEABAGIT

If you got your piercing at either of our locations you may have left with a bottle of soap, an aftercare card, a super awesome new piercing and some strange advice to put a tea bag on it.  Soap is for use in the shower, the card has our contact info if you have any more questions but what’s up with this tea bag thing.  Let us explain and hopefully answer some of the more commonly asked questions.

Do you really want me to put a tea bag on my piercing? Simple answer: yes.

How?  Okay, let’s break it down step by step.

  •         Take a tea bag out of the package.
  •         Put it in a cup (a mug or something that keeps hot water hot for a long period of time).
  •         Add hot water.
  •         Take the tea bag out of the mug. (Don’t burn yourself.)
  •         Squeeze it a little and put it on your piercing.  Yup. Right on the piecing.  Don’t wrap it in a towel, napkin or clean sock.  We want the tea in contact with the piercing.
  •         Keep it there as long as possible.

How often? As much as possible for as long as possible. 4-5 times a day would be perfect but anything will help. Do it on your next Netfilx binge, in the car on the way to work (enjoy the stares and legally I have to tell you to keep both hands on the steering wheel), when you’re doing homework, reading or tape it to yourself while playing Overwatch.  Any time is a good time to tea bag.

But Why?

  •         The best answer we can come up with is that tea is not actually made of leaves.  It’s a little known secret that tea bags are actually full of little ninjas that when activated with hot water bust out with their super ninja skills to kick some bacteria butt and keep your piercing safe.  If you’re not into science and this answer is all you need skip down to the “what kind” section.   If you don’t believe in ninjas or that everything you read on the internet is true please read on.
  •         Hello science friends…strong dark black tea is high in tannins that are antiseptic (they prevent the growth of disease-causing microorganisms), astringent (contraction of body tissues), anti-inflammatory (reduces swelling), and antiviral (hopefully you know what that means).  These are all good things.
  •         Stops the spread of infection by creating a protective layer over the exposed tissue all while helping the piercing to heal.
  •         Rich in flavonoids which are plant chemicals that protect against inflammation. Hear that- plant chemicals.  It’s safe for vegans.
  •         Chock-full of antioxidants that repair cellular damage.  We stuck a needle through you. I’m sure a few cells were damaged and hate you right now.  Be nice to them and give them tea.
  •         The heat will increase circulation and that’s especially important for ears.

What kind? I’d worry less about the type than the frequency.  If you or someone is going to drink it pick something you like.  If you hate tea buy something inexpensive like a simple green or black tea.

So that’s about it.  Make all the jokes you want but when your piercing isn’t crusty and heals faster than your friends who was too cool to tea bag you’ll thank us… and the tea ninjas.

 

We're your family. #PRIDE

June is Pride month; actually, every month is pride month here at CowPok. June is just a little extra. It's the perfect time to let everyone know we are the place to visit when you need a friendly smile, a random hug or just some silent understanding.

Not a fan of the name you were given at birth but haven’t legally changed it?  Let us know and we will update our computer system and use your name of choice.

Not a fan of pronouns?  Cool. Let us know and we’ll make sure to use the correct one.

No one thinks you should be wearing that and everyone looks at you funny?  CowPok is judgement free. We are accepting of everyone (except intolerant assholes, they will not be tolerated).

Not interested in getting a new tattoo or piercing but need a place to be yourself?  The lobby is open when we are, the couch is comfortable and Netflix is always on.

We love our clients and our city, and think you're perfect exactly how you are, even if you're still figuring it out.