What is the Difference Between a Labret and a Monroe?

Most people are confused about the difference between a labret piercing and a Monroe piercing. They are both in the same area, however, placement of the jewelry gives them their identification. The most common labret piercing is centered below the lower lip just above the crease of the chin, but can almost be positioned anywhere around the mouth (higher, lower, in multiples ect). A labret is sometimes referred to as a “tongue pillar”. The common gauge size for a labret is 14 but it can range from 12 to 16 depending on placement and style. There are many options for the type of ornament that someone with this piercing can wear, for example; a ball, gem, stud, ring, stone, spike ect. Labret’s were originally worn by the American Northwest Coast Indians as a symbol of status. The word labret comes from the Latin word labrum, meaning “lip”.

One example of labret ornamentation is a stud. This is a short barbell with a slim disc on one side and some type of decoration on the other. The disc would go inside the mouth and the gem/ball would be shown on the face. The ornament can be twisted off so that it fits through the piercing, and is screwed back on or replaced with a different charm. A ring is also an option for the labret. This is a small circular barbell that is custom bent or widened into a “U” or “C” shape to fit you. The ring is safe and comfortable. It is important to wear the right type of jewelry for your piercing to ensure safety.

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The Monroe is a piercing that is placed off center above the upper lip, meant to resemble a beauty mark. The Monroe is also known as a Madonna or Crawford, named after the three famous women: Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and Cindy Crawford. This piercing is very glamorous, representing a beauty mark adorned by a piece of stud jewelry, like a sparkling diamond! Usually, if the piercing is on the right side of the face it is called a Madonna, and if it is placed on the left side, it is referred to as a Monroe. Placement depends on personal preference. The Monroe piercing has been seen on several celebrities, such as Amy Winehouse and Ashley Massaro, and even on male celebrities like Trace Cyrus.

Since both of these types of piercings are in and around the mouth, you must be cautious during aftercare. You should brush your teeth frequently to cut down on bacteria and stay away from smoking. In addition, a rinse can help reduce swelling and quicken the healing time. The healing process can vary from person to person, but for a labret piercing healing takes approximately six to eight weeks and for a Monroe it is typically about eight to twelve weeks.

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Remember, you can use the same piece of jewelry for both the Monroe and the labret piercing. These piercings are becoming more and more popular because they create a very pleasing aesthetic. Just make sure to use the right jewelry and to take extra care of your piercing.

Hey everybody. I got my nose pieced with a stud 18g and now my piecing has been change to a 16g and its a Monroe in my nose. I just absolutely love it has anyone ever done this. The shop said alot of people are doing this which its flat inside so it dont stick out

Linda Hassenplug on June 11, 2017

Hi Penny, Lip ring jewelry is going to be larger gauge than nose rings are, so unless your nose piercing was done at 16 or 14 gauge (20-18 gauge are the normal sizes) you would not be able to use this jewelry in a nostril piercing.