Shanghai's best piercing studios

Three of the best places to get your ears and body pierced in the city

Wonder where to get ears, tongue or body pierced? See Time Out's round-up of three of the best piercing studios in the city 

Legend Tattoo

Founded three and a half years ago and tucked away in the back of a parking lot off of Tianyaoqiao Lu, Legend Tattoo caters for both first timers and hardened tattoo/piercing addicts alike. After the somewhat dingy surrounds, the bright lighting and friendly atmosphere of the reception area come as a welcome surprise, though we did find it slightly messy on our visit. 

Simple piercings can be done by tattoo artist and store manager Mr He, while anything more complicated is handled by former surgeon turned piercing artist Darry (advance booking required), who makes sure that strict standards of safety and cleanliness are adhered to. As usual, prices depend on location and range from 100RMB for a pierced ear to 600RMB for a nipple piercing, while an eyebrow piercing costs 400RMB. In addition to the usual services, they’re happy to walk customers through long-term procedures like ear stretching. Limited English is spoken.
Legend Tattoo, Room 1, Bldg 5, 191 Tianyaoqiao Lu, near Nandan Dong Lu, Xuhui district

Prisonbreak Tattoo

Part of the Shanghai tattoo scene since 1999, everything about this Zhongshan Park tattoo parlour exudes confidence, from the impeccably clean and welcoming reception area of their new location to the knowledgeable staff. 

Their Japanese-trained piercing artist Lao Diao (main picture) has more than ten years of experience and offers everything from earlobe piercing (150-200RMB for a cartilage piercing) to belly buttons (600RMB). The usual safety precautions are taken, with earrings, studs and disposable piercing needles all made of medical grade stainless steel. Some English is spoken at the studio, while the mobile number listed below can be used for further English language inquiries.

Prisonbreak Tattoo, 6 Huichuan Lu, near Kaixuan Lu, Changning district

Utopia Tattoo

This two-man operation comes highly recommended by a fellow tattooist and body piercer, Hai Tao of ink-and-cocktail bar Tattoo Family. First impressions aren’t great thanks to its location in a tatty shopping arcade opposite Jinxian Lu, but the cosy incense-wafting interior, friendly English-speaking staff and scrupulously clean workstation soon put you at ease. Piercer Xiao Wu, who hails from Dongbei, has spent nine years honing his needlecraft and can tackle anything from cartilage piercing to more complicated ear gauging. On our visit for an upper ear cartilage piercing (300RMB) we’re impressed by the speed and efficiency of the process, which sees us in and out within 15 minutes. 

After marking the site with a red pen, we pick out a piercing from a selection of varying-sized stainless steel hoops and bell-bars. Wu thoroughly sterilises both ear and bar and uses a new needle from a sealed packet. While numbing cream isn’t offered, the piercing is done deftly and quickly so pain is minimal. After some aftercare advice (shower as normal but dry with a tissue, not a towel to avoid infection) we’re given a business card and told to phone them up if any problems develop. Highly recommended. 

Utopia Tattoo, Room 111, 122-8 Shaanxi Nan Lu, near Changle Lu