For the times when a bra won’t work with your outfit but you don’t want to forgo the lift and support, boob tape can save the day. Consisting of a fabric strip with adhesive backing, boob tape is a customizable alternative to a sticky bra as you can cut and shape it to your natural curves. It’s a helpful bra substitute for when your clothes feature a strapless, backless or low-cut silhouette, giving you invisible support under virtually any garment.
“Most people think that boob tape can only be used in the way of pulling upwards to create a lifted/supported breast,” Hollywood stylist Tracy Shapoff says. “In fact, you can do nearly any neckline with tape. [It] can work with anything from high necklines to plunging (think a buttoned blazer with nothing underneath), bandeau and strapless.”
Another benefit of boob tape is that it’s completely size-inclusive. “Larger chests are the perfect candidate for boob tape,” Shapoff says.
And because most boob tape is labeled as waterproof, it should last all day and even hold up through sweating or swimming.
If you’re trying to decide between a sticky bra and boob tape, professional stylist Ariel Tunnell has some advice: “An easy way to remember it is: If your back is showing, go for a sticky bra. If your chest is on display, reach for boob tape.” In general, sticky bras will help give shape and a push-up effect when you need to go backless, whereas boob tape will give lift and support with plunging necklines.
“[Boob tape is] amazing if you are looking for lift or help with cleavage, but it will do very little if you are looking for something to add shape, structure or roundness,” editorial stylist Daniel Gaines explains.
Whether you’re going for a daring holiday look or you just want a discreet bra alternative, boob tape will stick through it all (literally). Ahead, we speak to the fashion experts about the best boob tapes to try and how to apply it like a pro.
How to use boob tape
How you wear boob tape will depend on the silhouette you’re working with, but there are some general tips to follow.
“Have a pair of scissors handy when using boob tape as you will need to cut the strips or shapes as you are taping,” Shapoff says. You can look in a mirror to measure and cut the tape as necessary. If you’re going for a lifted look, you’ll want to place strips of tape vertically over your breasts, taping upward toward your shoulders. However, Shapoff notes, “When doing styles such as strapless, you would tape horizontally as opposed to vertically on each side.” Oftentimes, the boob tape will come with instructions and diagrams to guide you for the perfect fit.
When you’re ready to stick the adhesive side on, make sure you’re applying to clean, dry skin, without any lotions or oils. This will help the adhesive stick as long as possible. “A little rubbing alcohol will also prime the skin nicely if you need to remove any skin products,” says Tunnell.
She also recommends using nipple covers “as protection underneath the boob tape to prevent any unnecessary irritation on your most sensitive areas.” And when it’s time to take it off, “make sure to use warm water and some type of body oil,” Shapoff advises. “Never just rip it right off of the skin as it can irritate and even scar depending on how strong the adhesive is.”