April 20th, 2023
Metric vs Imperial Sizing
When shopping for new plugs, a lot of people like to shop by size. You know your size and only want to see what fits you. Perfect! We've got you covered. You can shop by size on our site.
You may notice we list our sizes by the metric measurement first, then by the standard (imperial) size. That might be different from what you're used to. Our preference for measurement is metric because it is more accurate and easier to understand.
We're big fans of size accuracy. On glass, stone, and wood jewelry we will write the exact measurement of your plugs since these are hand-made and will have variances. If you order 8mm glass plugs, you might get plugs that measure 7.8mm. Those are still the correct size. That 0.2mm difference is about the thickness of a regular piece of paper. We write the exact size as sometimes the variances are a bit larger. On these plugs, the exact measurement can be up to 1mm larger or smaller than the size ordered. The exception to this is when the next size up is the next mm anyway, and in those cases the variance won't be more than 0.5mm.
For some reason, a lot of Americans hate the metric system and find it confusing. At least for sizing plugs, it is the easiest to understand system. You're a 8mm and want to know the next size? It's 9mm. After that is 10mm. Then 11mm. You get the idea. Super simple, it's just the next number. Now we apply that to the standard system. 8mm is 0g. The next size is 00g. Then 7/16". After that is 1/2". Makes no sense. We use a gauge size (which is a wire thickness measurement anyway) for smaller sizes up to a point. Then it switches over to fractions of inches. Sooooooooooo dumb.
We really don't care which measurement system you prefer, this is just a little background into why we chose to base our store off of metric. To each their own.
If you're unsure on your size, we offer two different tools you can use to measure. A gauge wheel is pretty straight forward. If the plug fits in that slot, that's the size and it is metric on one side and standard on the other so you'll know both measurements. Digital calipers will measure the exact size to the tenth of a millimeter, and can also display the standard size.
The size of your audience doesn't matter. What's important is that your audience is listening.
- Randy Pausch
Flares for All
April 20th, 2023
Flare Size Matters
Our skin is really pretty cool. The uniqueness of it can be charming but also super frustrating. When it comes to wearing plugs and tunnels, your skin has the potential to limit what you can comfortably wear.
But first, lets go over basic plug anatomy...
The size of your plug is the diameter of the part that is worn in the piercing.
The flare(s) are larger than the size to keep your plugs in place. The flares are not worn "in" your ears and stick out the front/back. Usually the flare is between 1-2mm larger than your size. A double flare plug has flares on the front and back of the plugs. A single flare plug (as pictured above) has only 1 flare in the front and an o-ring sits on the back to hold it in place. A no flare plug has no flares at all and requires o-rings on the front and back.
Single and no flare plugs can have a small groove indention to help keep the o-rings in place. Double flare plugs do not have a groove.
The wearable area is the space between the flares/o-rings. Some people have thick lobes and need a larger wearable size and some people don't.
So why does this matter?
If you are lucky enough to have stretchy, flexible skin, it doesn't. You likely won't have any trouble stretching over the flares when putting in your plugs. Some of us have tight skin that is constantly trying to repair the stretch. Even with a well established stretched size, the ears can start shrinking within a couple days of not wearing plugs. This type of skin can really struggle to allow any "extra stretch" to get over a flare when putting in or taking out jewelry. This is where single flare plugs come in. There is no "extra stretch". Remove the back o-ring and the plug will perfectly slide in with no discomfort. Replace the o-ring and you're good to go. No flare plugs are essentially the same. The only reason to have 2 o-rings is for aesthetics. Some people just prefer the look.
Once you know how stretchy your skin is, you can look for the style that works for you. If putting in double flare plugs is only mildly uncomfortable, try using GaugeGear stretching balm to reduce friction.
If you're actively stretching up to the next size, we recommend our stretching glass or steel plugs as they are single flare without the o-ring groove for ultimate comfort. They also have larger wearable areas to accomodate any swelling you may have.
If you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there Brian, why don't you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair.
- Joanna (Office Space)
Know Your Stones
March 16th, 2023
Natural or Synthetic
One of the ideas we love about stones is the connection of our bodies to nature. Stones are a natural beauty we can harvest and shape into so many different styles of jewelry.
Stones, however, are not always what you think. In our stone collection, you'll find natural stones, "enhanced" stones, and synthetic stones. What's the difference? Well, natural stones are exactly what they say they are, natural. They are simply cut and polished into the pieces we have. Enhanced stones are just that. They started as a natural stone, but then dyed, heated, or manipulated in some way to enhance it's beauty. Synthetic stones are a fun bunch. They are entirely man-made usually out of a glass base. If they're glass, why are they in the stones? Just because that's where people expect them to be. Cat eye is the best example of that. Most plug companies sell them as stones so that's where people go to look for them. We put them in both our glass and stone collections. There are some other interesting outliers like obsidian. Technically it is glass, but it's a naturally formed glass from volcanic activity. You'll also find that in both the glass and stone collections.
The point of all this is just that we want you to know what you're buying. In our stone listings, we will tell you whether it is natural, enchanced, or synthetic. We're also working to include information as to where the natural stones were mined. It's a work in progress so keep an eye out if that is info you are looking for.
Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are.
- Gretel Ehrlich
Oil Your Skin
February 16th, 2023
One of our most popular items is the GaugeGear Stretching Balm. This balm is truly amazing! It helps lube up your plugs for easier insertion but most importantly, it moisturizes your lobes! For the stretching process, moisturized skin is absolutely essential. As you're stretching the skin, it won't heal properly without being adequately cared for. That means clean AND moisturized.
While we're at it, this really does apply to all of your skin. Don't forget that your skin is your largest organ. Whether you're on a self care journey or not, you really do need to take care of your skin. It holds all the good bits in and keeps the bad bits out. Moisturized skin is strong skin.
As far as moisturization goes, we're all about keeping it old school and natural. That means plant-based oils and not mass produced commerial lotions. Our body care products are small-batch, hand-made, paraben and phthalate-free, and feel sooooooo good. These products typically use shea, cocoa, or avocado oil bases and essential oils for a more natural fragrance.
We list the ingredients on the products so you know exactly what you're getting before you buy. Allergies are no joke. We also know this is important for vegans and are continuing to add more vegan friendly options.
Be good to your skin. You'll wear it every day for the rest of your life.
- Renee Rouleau
January 19th, 2023
At this point, we all know how absolutely terrible single-use plastics are, but damn they can be so difficult to avoid.
Those of you who've been with us for a while know we used plastic bubble bags to protect your jewelry in shipping. Last year we made change. Just one change but we love it! We now use cellulose wadding instead of bubble wrap to protect your jewelry from damage in shipping. The cellulose wadding does kinda look like paper towels as some people have mentioned but it is not! It is made from 100% recycled paper, biodegradable, and curbside recyclable.
While we feel really good about this change, we know our work isn't done yet. We still use poly mailers to ship most orders and all jewelry is shipped in sealed poly bags. Finding a good replacement for the poly mailers will be our next big undertaking. It requires a balancing act we haven't been able to fulfill just yet. It needs to both be plastic free but also light weight enough to still allow affordable shipping. We'll get there.
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
- Maya Angelou
Glass vs Steel Stretching Plugs
At Arctic Buffalo, you know we are all about providing you with stretching plugs that help you size up in style and with ease. Our stretching plugs come in 1mm incremental sizing to allow you to stretch to larger sizes seamlessly. Most people say it's even easy and painless. The stretching plugs we offer provide you with a safer stretching method to reach your goals, without having to deal with injury or blowouts. We currently offer stretching plugs in glass and stainless steel. Let’s take a look at the difference between these stretching plug materials.
Glass Stretching Plugs:
The Single Flare Glass Plugs are available in black, clear, white and blue ranging in sizes from 2mm-28mm. They are made from borosilicate glass, which is durable and smooth to allow the plugs to slide in with ease. The post on these is slightly longer than other single flare plugs, which helps when dealing with fresh stretches by providing extra room for swelling.
The sizes of glass are not exact because they are handmade. We measure their exact circumference and write it on your receipt for your knowledge. Although these size variations are not drastic, if you have especially sensitive ears and you are uncomfortable with the size, leave the bags sealed and reach out to our customer service for a return.
Once you get your stretching plugs in the mail and open up those little bags with your new stretching plugs, pop those babies in for a couple weeks and watch them work their magic while you prepare for your next stretch.
Pro Tip #1: We recommend ordering each size up to your goal, all at once, so you only have to pay for shipping once.
Pro Tip #2: Combine your stretch with our stretching balm for best results.
Steel Stretching Plugs:
If you want the sizing pretty dang perfect, the Single Flare Stainless Steel Plugs might be your go-to option. These are also available in sizing up to 38mm, so they are an option when stretching to larger sizes. The sizes ranging from 1.2mm-16mm are solid steel plugs and the sizing from 17mm up has the plug hollowed out to remove some of the excess weight. The high-quality 316L stainless steel makes these easy to clean and a great material to consider when sizing up. If you have a nickel sensitivity, glass may be a better option for you.
What Customers Had to Say About Glass:
What Customers Had to Say About Steel:
Whether you choose to go with the glass or the steel stretching plugs, we don't think there's a wrong answer! There's incredible ease to stretching with either material and it truly just comes down to personal preference. The big win here is the 1mm incremental sizing! Give these a try and watch your stretching dreams come true. We're always glad to help if you have any questions. Happy stretching!
Get to Know the Zodiac Signs
As Aries SZN comes to a close, and we head into Taurus SZN, we wanted to take a little time to get to know our zodiac signs! Plus, your favorite jewelry company, Arctic Buffalo, is an Aries! Arctic Buffalo’s birthday is April 9th, so we’re celebrating with a zodiac blog! The Earth’s 360-degree orbit is broken up into 30-degree sectors giving us these twelve zodiac signs. Aries season starts on the first day of spring which is known as the vernal equinox and ends on April 19th. The western zodiac signs, in order, include Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. Kicking off getting to know our zodiac signs with Aries baby!
Dates: March 21st – April 19th
Symbol: The Ram
Personality traits: Determined, blunt, positive, fearless, and assured
Famous Aries’: Reese Witherspoon, Chaka Khan, Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, Keira Knightley, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, Fergie, Celine Dion, Eddie Murphy, Robert Downey Jr.
Dates: April 20th – May 20th
Symbol: The Bull
Personality traits: Social, desire stability, hardworking, ambitious, tenacious, and strong in their opinions
Famous Taurus’: Adele, Queen Elizabeth, Cher, Kelly Clarkson, George Clooney, Renee Zellweger, Channing Tatum, Lizzo, Jerry Seinfield, Travis Scott, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dates: May 21st – June 20th
Personality traits: Extroverted, clever, adaptable, loyal, creative and daring
Famous Geminis: Aly Raisman, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Amy Schumer, Mark Wahlberg, Iggy Azalea, Michael Cera, Liam Neeson, Kanye West, Natalie Portman, Venus Williams, Kendrick Lamar
Dates: June 21st – July 22nd
Personality traits: Nurturing, loving, lighthearted, humorous, entertainers, and loyal
Famous Cancers: Meryl Streep, Chris Pratt, Ariana Grande, Vin Diesel, Fantasia Barrino, Tom Cruise, Post Malone, Kevin Hart, Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell, Kristen Bell, Julianne Hough
Dates: July 23rd – August 22nd
Personality traits: Attentive, generous, big personalities, leaders, confident and driven
Famous Leos: Jennifer Lopez, Barak Obama, Sandra Bullock, Mick Jagger, Jason Momoa, Tom Brady, Meghan Markle, Robert de Niro, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lawrence, Ben Affleck, Steve Carell
Dates: August 23rd – September 22nd
Personality traits: Patient, creative, reliable, elegant, funny, and witty
Famous Virgos: Blake Lively, Keke Palmer, Melissa McCarthy, Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Tyler Perry, Zendaya, Salma Hayek, Kobe Bryant, Freddie Mercury, Keanu Reeves, Avicii, Adam Sandler
Dates: September 23rd – October 22nd
Personality traits: Friendly, peaceful, balanced, dreamers, fair-minded and cooperative
Famous Libras: Gwenyth Paltrow, Eminem, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, John Lennon, Gandhi, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Cardi B, Doja Cat, Kelly Ripa, John Krasinski
Dates: October 23rd – November 21st
Personality traits: Bold, mysterious, creative, passionate, smart and stoic
Famous Scorpios: Whoopi Goldberg, Drake, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, Gabrielle Union, Frank Ocean, Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Ciara, Matthew McConaughey
Dates: November 22nd – December 21st
Personality traits: Loyal, assertive, intelligent, extroverted, lively, passionate and philosophical
Famous Sagittarius’: Frank Sinatra, Taylor Swift, Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, DJ Khaled, Tina Turner, Trey Songz, Jay-Z, Tyra Banks, Nicki Minaj, Samuel L. Jackson
Dates: December 22nd – January 19th
Symbol: Sea Goat
Personality traits: Realistic, practical, ambitious, mature, grounded and a like to keep a tight social circle
Famous Capricorns: Martin Luther King Jr., LeBron James, Denzel Washington, Nicolas Cage, Ellie Goulding, Betty White, Calvin Harris, Kit Harington, Bradley Cooper, Kate Middleton
Dates: January 20th – February 18th
Symbol: Water Bearer
Personality traits: Clever, optimistic, self-reliant, free-spirited, eccentric, innovative and progressive
Famous Aquarius’: Alicia Keys, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Timberlake, Michael B. Jordan, Emma Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kelly Rowland, The Weeknd, Megan Thee Stallion, Michael Jordan, Niel Diamond
Dates: February 19th – March 20th
Personality traits: Emotionally aware, wise, open-minded, driven and in touch with their feelings
Famous Pisces’: Rihanna, Simone Biles, Tyler the Creator, Justin Bieber, Flavor Flav, Drew Barrymore, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Jon Bon Jovi, Dakota Fanning, Elliot Page, William Macy
As the Earth rotates, it causes the sun to appear to be in front of one of these zodiac constellations, which determines what zodiac season it is. Each sign has great qualities that make them unique from one another and allows you to have a bond with the people you share a zodiac sign with. While we may be slightly biased towards Aries SZN because that is Arctic Buffalo’s season, there are some insanely cool people that you can find with every sign. Rep your zodiac with pride by wearing a pair of our stainless steel zodiac tunnels!