WHEN I wore a strapless dress to my senior prom, I didn't want to stuff myself into an uncomfortable, constricting strapless bra that would dig into my skin all night.
So, I did the next-best thing: I duct-taped my boobs together. But now, we live in the future, where there's tape specifically for your breasts.
Honestly, if I hadn't learned about boob tape, I might be content with using duct tape on my chest forever.
That's kind of how it goes for boob-related anything when you're well-endowed: after puberty, you realize you will never be comfortable again, and then you take ibuprofen about it.
So, when Nue sent me a box of breast tape, my skepticism came from experience. The brand provided me a roll of their tape to review, along with a pouch of pre-cut strips labeled "Boob Job on the Go."
Breast tape has fans with large cup sizes and smaller ones, which I found reassuring. I'm not an outlier, but I definitely put the "bust" in "robust."
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Actually, my bra size is somewhat variable because one of my breasts is significantly larger than the other (a very common occurrence for many women).
The bra I wore to compare to Nue's boob tape is a 34DDD, and it holds my slightly-larger left boob with no spillage.
It's also uncomfortable after a few hours, so along with the lifting properties of the tape, I'd be gauging how comfortable it is, too.
Nue included a cute and handy chart to demonstrate the different ways of applying their breast tape.
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The Bandeau looks a lot like my duct tape "bra" from prom, while The Holster is more suited for a deep-plunge neckline.
For my first test, I decided to keep things simple and applied the tape horizontally across my breasts to rein them in a bit.
Because the tape is stretchy, I cut a piece from the roll that was a little shorter than the span of my chest, and I worried that my boobs would feel squeezed together.
Shockingly, the tape held my chest snugly, but without any discomfort. My boobs were held close together, but not so tightly that I felt like I had a "uniboob."
Then, I got dressed, slipping into a red strapless jumpsuit. The tape was totally invisible underneath the fabric, as I'd hoped.
The last time I wore this outfit, I was at a New Kids on the Block concert, so I recreated my best dance moves to test the tape's hold.
Even after bouncing around to You Got It (The Right Stuff) on repeat, my Nue tape was still hangin' tough, so I decided to take things up a notch.
To test the tape's lifting properties, I decided to add some Holster-style strips to the sides of my chest. My first attempts were a little clumsy, and I wound up peeling a too-long strip off my back.
I also felt validated in my decision to put my hair up with a clip before trying to add more tape to my chest when a few stray strands were yanked out of my head by the sticky adhesive.
Eventually, I had a fake bra of sorts, constructed from strips of tape, which ran like an "underwire" under my boobs and up the sides of my chest, all the way to my collarbone.
I considered adding another layer of tape to the bottom of my breasts to further terraform my cleavage, but as I had it, the tape provided plenty of lift while still being comfortable.
I donned a stretchy bodysuit with a plunging neckline, and compared my taped-in appearance to my normal bra.
The tape definitely doesn't add as much lift as the bra, but, again, I could've sacrificed my comfort for more lifting, squeezing and scooping.
I also found that the tape prevented a common frustration I have with this bodysuit, which is the bra's back and shoulder straps looking lumping under the thin fabric.
With a deep-V neckline, I would be much more interested in wearing boob tape and having a smoother look overall than suffering through straps digging into me all night.
Once I'd done my initial tests of the tape, I faced the biggest hassle yet: removing it. A tentative yank at the corner pulled my skin right along with it.
But I had everything I needed to remove it: coconut oil and patience. Nue's instructions say to gently massage oil into the tape, then let it sit for a few minutes before removing.
The removal process took just under five minutes, which isn't prohibitive but might be a problem for anyone who wants to take the tape off right when they get home.
And, annoyingly, I found my skin was still sticky after a second round of oil and a shower, so little bits of lint, fuzz, and cat fur stuck to my chest.
To test the longevity of the tape, I decided to wear a breast-tape "bra" underneath my demure, boring jury duty outfit.
With a full day of civic duty to look forward to, I woke up early and excitedly strapped myself into another tape-bra. This time, the tape was under a soft jersey fabric.
It looked smooth and natural, but still lifted – I checked myself out in various courthouse mirrors, and I definitely didn't look braless, which was reassuring.
Between my commute to the courthouse, my walk to and from lunch, and far too many coffee runs before my cohort was released from jury selection, I did a lot of sweating and walking over the course of the day.
But my tape was still in place when I got home after an early dismissal, and I removed it gently, after clocking just under eight hours of wartime.
As I removed the tape, I noticed red marks on my chest, matching the pattern on the bandage-like tape.
I don't have particularly sensitive skin, but I'm pale enough that I show red marks easily, so I expected them to fade overnight.
I also expected to wear the tape poolside, under a swimsuit, to see if it's waterproof along with being sweat-proof – but my experimenting was cut short.
Over the course of the next 24 hours, the red marks my tape had left behind developed into an itchy, scaly rash.
My skin's texture was raised and bumpy, and felt irritated under my clothes, like a sunburn.
I'd made a major mistake: before wearing the tape for an extended period, I didn't patch test.
Because my skin has never reacted poorly to an adhesive before (not even duct tape!), I didn't expect that I would have any issues with the breast tape.
However, anyone who uses breast tape should do a patch test first, as these products can cause irritation in some users.
"Patch test on inner arm for sensitivity or allergies," the brand instructs in the product description online.
I've also reached out to Nue for tips on what to do if you have a skin reaction to the tape. My rash was gone after around four days of keeping it clean and using a gentle, eczema-friendly moisturizer.
And if you wind up with scaly, itchy skin like I did, bad news: your boob tape days are over.
"Discontinue use immediately if redness or irritation occurs," the Nue website also reads.
Interestingly enough, I only had irritation after my long day of wearing the tape and walking around New York City, getting sweaty on the train and in the park.
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When I tried the tape for a shorter time period, I didn't have any irritation, so my mileage may vary based on the use case and how long I wear it.
If you're looking for an alternative to your bra, boob tape is an effective, easy substitute – and as long as you remember to patch test, a comfortable one, too.
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