The piercing of the lip is practiced throughout the world, and has been practiced for many centuries. Many African and South American tribes practice body piercing and specifically the piecing of the lip. For jewelry they typically use wood, ivory, bones of animals, and crystal. Many African tribes usually stretch the labret piercing to very large sizes using a large wooden plate or a clay plate.

Amongst the ancient Mayans and Aztecs, the labret piercing was only for male members that held a elite or significant role in society. They would wear extravagant labrets that were commonly made from pure gold. The labret piercing has different meanings amongst people around the world.

In the United States, people use body piercing as a form of self expression rather than social or religious reasons. There are a few variations of the labret piercing. Depending on the person being pierced preference, it can be done the standard way, vertically, or on the upper lip off to the side.

The standard labret– This variation of the labret is done right below the bottom lip and is centered.


Vertical labret- Similar to the standard labret piercing this variation is done vertically so instead of only one piece of the jewelry being visible the actually lip is pierced. A curved barbell is used to perform this piercing.

vertical labret

Labret Monroe– This has to be the most popular and the most common form of the labret that is done. The monroe piercing is placed on the left side of the upper lip, to mimic the beauty mark of the late great Marilyn Monroe.