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The complete beginner's guide to boob tape

No bra, no problem.

How to use boob tape Credit: Nue

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For as good as strapless tops and low-back dresses look, they make finding the right bra a nightmare. Visible bra straps, unwanted nip slips, or peek-a-boo cups? No thank you. Of course, you could opt for a strapless or backless bra. But those can be uncomfortable and may not offer enough support.

Fortunately, you don't have to go without support (unless you want to!). Instead, you can use boob tape. It may sound intimidating, but the world of boob tape is easier to navigate than you might think. Below, the best boob tape for every type of person and outfit, along with how to use it.

What is boob tape?

Boob tape is designed to lift the breasts and hold them in place sans bra, giving your girls that coveted full, perky look. It can be cut and customized to fit any body shape and size and holds up any cup size with its strong adhesive.

Boob tape is becoming more and more common thanks to the trend that is strapless and backless tops. Many retailers, including Amazon and Target, now sell rolls of the sticky stuff and there are a handful of niche brands that have popped up on social media, including Booby Tape and Nue. Even Kim Kardashian West's shapewear brand Skims offers boob tape—it sells out almost instantly every time its restocked.

There are a few options when it comes to what kind of boob tape to use. Each has its own merits, and you might have to try a few before finding the one you prefer.

  • Gaffer tape: The gold standard for celebrities on the red carpet, gaffer tape is one of the strongest options for taping your breasts. However, it can cause skin irritation, so proceed with caution if you have sensitive skin or an allergy to adhesive. You can find gaffer tape in almost any color.
  • Athletic tape: Traditionally used to support athletes' joints and help heal injuries, athletic tape is designed for use on the skin and supporting body parts, so works well for keeping your breasts in place. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to opt for athletic tape as it's gentler than gaffer tape. It comes in black, white, nude beige, and a rainbow of other colors.
  • Tape branded for boobs: this, of course, has breasts in mind in its design, and is more similar to athletic tape than gaffer. It may be gentler, but it will most likely cost more than the first two options.
  • Double-sided fashion tape: While you can't use fashion tape to hold up your breasts, you can use it to secure the fabric of low-cut tops or backs to your skin to keep your clothes in place and avoid any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions. The double-sided tape, which is safe for sensitive skin, comes in small strips and is designed to stick to the skin without irritating it.

How to use boob tape

Booby Tape
Credit: Booby Tape

There's no shortage of ways to use boob tape.

Anyone can become a master at using boob tape with a little practice. These five tips will make the entire process, from application to removal, a little bit easier (and a lot less painful!).

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1. Do a patch test.

Before you tape yourself up, you should do a patch test. The last thing you want is to pull off the tape at the end of the day only to find a painful rash or itchy skin.

To perform a patch test, cut off a small strip of the tape and apply it to your skin. Two good test spots are your breast (of course) or your inner arm. Try to keep the strip on for about as long as you would wear the boob tape. Once you remove the tape, check for redness, bumps, inflammation, or itchiness. If you notice any of the above, don't use the tape. Note, however, that some redness immediately after removal may be normal if you have sensitive skin.

2. Clean and dry the area first.

Don't just slap tape on your un-showered self. Clean your breasts and wherever you plan to put the tape thoroughly, then allow the area to dry before applying the tape. This ensures that the tape will stick properly.

Avoid applying lotions or oils to your breast, shoulders, back, or any other spot that could come into contact with the tape. A slippery surface will prevent it from sticking.

3. Don't tape too tightly—or too loosely.

The whole point of boob tape is for your breasts to be secure, but that doesn't mean you should wrap yourself up like you're in a body cast. While wearing boob tape, you should be comfortable and still have a full range of motion. Not only can taping too tightly make you stiff and uncomfortable, it can also restrict blood flow, impact your ability to breathe, and irritate your skin.

On the other extreme, applying your boob tape too loosely won't give you the kind of support you need for low-cut, backless, or sleeveless outfits. Instead, your tape should be pulled taut so it lies flat against your skin without digging into it or causing discomfort.

4. Use nipple covers in addition to tape.

No matter how you tape your breasts, it's a good idea to use nipple covers before taping. This protects the sensitive area and helps reduce irritation. You can also use a cotton round pad if you don't have nipple covers or pasties.

5. Remove the tape carefully.

If you know the pain of ripping off a band-aid, unfortunately, taking off boob tape is a similar sensation. However, you can lessen the ouch factor in either of two ways. First, you can take a hot bath or shower. The steam and hot water will loosen the adhesive, making the tape easier and less painful to pull off. Or you can apply oil to your skin by lifting a corner of the tape and slowly working the oil underneath. This breaks down the adhesive so that you can gently peel it off.

How to tape your boobs

Nue boob tape
Credit: Nue

Plan your taping strategy based on your outfit.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all method when it comes to breast taping. You may need to adjust these popular techniques depending on your breast size and the neckline or cut of what you're wearing.

How to tape boobs for a strapless dress

Start with a strip of boob tape that's slightly longer than the width of your chest. Attach the tape onto the side of one breast, carefully pressing as you wrap it in front of you before securing the other end to the side of your other breast. Continue pushing and lifting your breasts together the entire time. You can also lean forward while you tape to get even more lift.

Repeat wrapping with two or more tape strips. An extra strip of tape underneath can add more push-up action, or a strip across the top of your breasts creates more support, assuming it won't show with the neckline of your outfit. Be sure to check that you can't see the tape from behind or under your arms. Add nipple covers if wanted, or tape a cotton round over each nipple.

How to tape boobs individually

If your garment has a plunging neckline, the key is to tape your breasts individually to leave your cleavage clear. First measure how much tape you'll need to cover from the bottom of your breast to the back of your shoulder. Lift your breast and place one end of the tape on the outer edge underneath your breast, slightly wider and higher up than the end of the underwire of a bra would end.

Press down and run the tape under your breast and then up over your shoulder. Using two more strips, repeat this step and work your way inwards with the following strips. Tip: The further down your back you tape, the more hold and support you can get. If you're using nipple covers, place them on after taping. Repeat these steps to secure your other breast.

Remember that as with anything, practice makes perfect. You may not get it exactly right the first time but the more you experiment, the more you'll learn the best way to use boob tape for your breasts and your outfit of the day.

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