You want to stretch your ears but you don't know where to start... that's pretty normal. Sometimes people go into it with no information and you can really mess your lobes up doing this and it can make future stretching a pain, which it never should be. You need to know that stretching your ears takes patience. You can't go straight to an inch within a month but I promise you'll get there, just slowly. Here are a few hints from us that with make stretching your ears a breeze.
1) You can either contact a local piercing expert (we mean a tattoo and piercing shop, not your local mall or grocery store), which is of course recommended, or you can do a lot of reading on the internet. EarGauges.net has a lot of that information for you already, but you want to do as much research as possible. Of course doing both of these things will ensure that you learn as much as possible about ear stretching before you get into it.
2) Of course, you want to make sure that you have your ear(s) pierced and that your ears are not freshly pierced. Most people say that you can stretch your ears after 4-6 weeks. While this may be true for ears that are already being stretched (and even then 4-6 weeks is a little short), we recommend that you wait at least 4-6 months. What will happen is your ear lobe with get a chance to heal from the first initial piercing and it will create a fistula - which is essentially a healed tunnel of scar tissue. This will ensure healthy stretching and less of a chance of tearing or complete blowouts.
3) The next thing that you'll want to do is purchase a taper. You'll want to know the size of your ear piercing so that you can go the next size up. I cannot stress enough that while going from a 20 gauge (normal ear piercings are either 20g or 18g) to an 18 gauge doesn't look like much, it is. Stretching correctly and slowly at this point will lead to healthier lobes and safer stretching when you get towards the bigger sizes. Further more you'll want to make sure you're using clean tapers and jewelry during this entire process as you don't want to risk infection.
4) Once you have the taper in hand and are sure that your ear lobe is healed, you'll want to clean your ear lobe and the taper as well as your hands. This creates a lesser risk of infection. Some people prefer to stretch after a hot shower or you can warm your lobes up with a warm cloth. This makes it easier but it doesn't mean to just shove it through. You will want to use a lube (never stretch dry!) of either Vitamin E oil, Jojoba Oil, or we recommend our Holey Butt'r, which is a mixture of a few different oils that will not only help you stretch but will help your ears heal and keep them in good condition.
You'll want to insert the taper, slowly. While it may sting a bit since you are stretching your ear lobes, it should never be painful and never bleed. Both of this signs are signs that your ear lobes are not ready you stretch. You need to put the old jewelry back in and let it heal for a few more weeks, possibly even the next month or two. You don't want to keep trying every few days because this is going to cause pain and tearing.
Slowly, you'll want to insert the taper. If it's not going in easily, make sure that you have enough lubrication on the taper and your ear lobe. Then, go on to keep pushing it through but only if it's not painful. If something doesn't feel right, take it out. While you may be impatient to stretch, you don't want to hurt yourself. After you've got your taper in, you don't want to wear it as jewelry. This can cause uneven pressure and again can affect your lobes. However, you can leave it in for at least a few hours until you are comfortable to take the taper out and slide the new jewelry in.
So we only have a few things left to go over. First you'll need to know that while your friend only had to wait 2 months before going up another size, you may take shorter or longer. You need to see how your body will react to this foreign object. You need to of course keep your ear lobes and the jewelry clean. I suggest keeping the jewelry in and cleaning it once a day (twice if you'd like, you don't want to irritate them though) for a week or two and then once you feel comfortable, you should take the jewelry out and clean it and your ear lobes. You can do this with either anti-bacterial soap or a sea salt soak. Also, you can use the Holey Butt'r that I mentioned earlier and massage that into your ear lobe at least every other day.
Now comes the fun part! Show off your newly stretched ears and buy some fun jewelry plugs. Be careful and take care of your lobes and they will be good to you for many stretches to come!