Guide to Bra Inserts

Guide to Bra Inserts

Bra inserts are quickly becoming one of the most common shapewear accessories in a woman’s wardrobe. They’re a surgical alternative to amazing looking cleavage, providing that extra boost and confidence when needed. Whether you're dealing with a top that's a little too loose or aiming for a more voluptuous look, bra inserts are probably the solution you’re looking for.

But what are they? How do I choose the right bra insert? How do I use them? Are they safe? We’re going to answer all of these questions and several more, in our Ultimate Guide to Bra Inserts. But first…

What are Bra Inserts?

Bra inserts are breast-shaped cups that you can place inside a top to pad, shape, and lift your boobs. Also known as bra pads, these accessories instantly enhance your figure, adding 1-2 cup sizes and giving you that cleavage you’ve been looking for. 

However, you don’t necessarily need a bra to wear an insert. They work just as effectively without bras in: 

  • Structured tops like bodices or corsets e.g. on wedding dresses
  • Tops with support bands or boning
  • Thicker and tight tops
  • Tight bikini tops

One of the main benefits of these is that you can wear a backless, strapless top without having to wear a bra.

At Nueboo, we simply call them sticky bra inserts, but they’ve also been referred to as chicken filets, gel bras, and bra pads – they’re all the same. And though they all serve the same purpose, there are several types available, such as silicone, foam, and push-up bra inserts.

What is the Point of Bra Inserts?

The main point of bra inserts is to accentuate women’s breasts and create a beautiful silhouette. However, there are also practical uses for bra inserts, especially for trans women and breast cancer survivors who are looking for some added lift & feminine energy.

On the aesthetic side, bra inserts can help  different needs, but the end goal remains the same—to give you the desired silhouette. For instance, bra inserts for dresses helped Olivia P. “finally, wear backless tops and dresses with more confidence.” Or if you need that extra oomph at the beach or pool, Ashley says that Nueboo inserts “helped me [her] with some bathing suits that lacked padding. [They] worked well inside a bathing suit, I was swimming in and outside for 4 hours.”


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One significant advantage of bra inserts is that they immediately enhance your cleavage without surgery, making it look completely natural. They’re also a simple alternative to boob lifting tape, another popular shapewear solution.

Types of Bra Inserts

There are several types of bra inserts and brands that sell them, each with their own unique materials, shapes, and sizes. To ensure that your girls look amazing, it’s important to choose the right bra insert for you. Let’s get into the specifics: 

Material Varieties

The material of bra inserts directly impacts comfort, breathability, and the natural appearance under clothing. they provide. Also, those with allergies or skin sensitivities may be limited to a certain material: 

  • Foam Inserts – The lightest type of bra inserts, making them easy to wear under a tight outfit for extended periods. Foam inserts with water-resistant coverings hold up well to sweat and chlorine which make them ideal for swimwear and gym attire. Nueboo sticky inserts are made from a foam base and outer layer of glue.

  • Silicone Inserts – Offer a natural-looking, smooth feel akin to the touch of human skin. They are exceptionally forgiving and resilient, making them perfect for activities like swimming. Silicone is robust and water-resistant and ensures a pleasant feel against the skin. 

  • Gel Inserts – Typically made with medical-grade silicone, these add additional volume and lift to your natural shape. They feel natural and subtly enhance cleavage, making them an ideal choice for push-up bras.

  • Fabric Inserts – Both breathable and cozy, these are a comfortable choice for those who prefer less synthetic materials. They don’t offer the same enhancement level as silicone or gel, but are generally more skin-friendly and can be worn longer.

As far as shapes & sizes go, both will vary between brands. There are certain inserts designed for full coverage and shaping, like push-up bra inserts. For subtle enhancements, some options are more akin to pads with a nipple mold. For anyone requiring more specific requirements, there are more engineered options like post-mastectomy inserts that offer unilateral support.

How to Choose the Right Bra Inserts

Every set of breasts is unique and thus, requires careful consideration when choosing the right bra inserts. We’re going to break down all of the major factors that you should consider before buying: 

  • Bra Type – Push-up bras warrant inserts such as additional padding. You can consider foam or silicone bra inserts for a natural push-up effect. On the other hand, swimsuit bras may call for lighter foam inserts as they efficiently hold up against water and sun exposure.

  • Based on Outfit – For strapless dresses, consider thinner, more flexible inserts that will subtly shape and enhance cleavage without compromising the dress itself. Oppositely, tight-fitting outfits work better with fuller-sized inserts, offering an enhanced lifting effect that matches well with deeply cut necklines for a fuller appearance. Alternatively, you could tape your boobs to wear a strapless dress.

  • By Body Shape – Small pads are perfect for women with smaller cup sizes, creating a natural & fuller-looking bust. Larger cup sizes require full-sized inserts that comfortably shape & support your breasts.

  • Intended Purpose and Occasion – For everyday use, use subtle inserts that provide comfort and natural shape throughout the day. For special occasions, foam or silicone bra inserts will significantly lift your boobs and enhance your cleavage, accentuating your plunging neckline.

  • Based on the Desired Effect – Nueboo bra inserts offer the most realistic look and feel if you want a natural boost, plus they retain their shape after several hours and dozens of wears. For a more subtle lift, foam inserts are probably your best bet. 

How to Use Bra Inserts

1. Prepare the Insert

Remove the protective film from the adhesive side of the stick insert. Attach it to the inside of your clothing first. The padding should point outwards, with the thickest padding at the bottom.

2. Design Your Cleavage

Create stunning cleavage by scooping your breasts upwards and towards the center. Your boobs should sit on top of the pads just like a push up bra. Imagine pushing your breasts together to create cleavage with your hands. The sticky bra inserts are designed to replace your hands and round out the bust. 

3. Press the Insert Onto Your Breast

Finally, while scooping your boobs, press the insert onto your breasts and secure them firmly in place. Repeat on the other side and adjust to get the right amount of cleavage. For maximum cleavage and support, position your nipples at the edge of the insert.


It’s that easy! You’re ready to confidently flaunt your cleavage in style. For more advanced styling tips, check out our guide on how to wear bra inserts with different outfits

How to Care for Your Bra Inserts

Whether they’re silicone, foam, or push-up, proper care will increase the effectiveness of your bra inserts and help them last longer. Each requires their own special care & maintenance techniques. For example, fabric inserts can be washed with regular laundry, but silicone inserts must be hand-washed in warm soapy water, and gently massaged to remove oils and residue, then rinsed thoroughly. Allow them to air dry on a lint-free cloth. Regardless of material, store your bra inserts flat in a cool, dry place to maintain their shape and avoid creases. 

Common Concerns and Solutions

Not everyone is sold on bra inserts – we get it. There are a few common concerns that women have when weighing their options of using them or not. Here are the most common: 

Skin Safety

Skin safety is of course a top priority when using bra inserts. To limit any type of reaction, follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid damage or discomfort. We recommend that you give them a test run at least 24 hours before you plan to wear them. If your skin is sensitive to the material, you can promptly remove the insert and make alternate outfit plans for the next day. 

Wardrobe Malfunctions (aka Nip Slips)

Adhesive bras are great for backless or strapless outfits, but many wonder just how safe they are from a nip slip. They don’t want to pull a Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl – they want to show off their cleavage without showing off their nipples. The first step of the solution to this is simple – choose a sticky bra insert with high-quality adhesive. And before applying, make sure to avoid oil-based skin products like sunscreen or lotion, and also make sure your bust is free of sweat or water. Clean the inserts gently with warm water after use and store them with the adhesive side down to help maintain the adhesiveness over time. 

Comfort Issues

Duration and comfort are significant issues with any shapewear accessory. Things like slippage or uncomfortable pressure points tend to spring up with bra inserts. Generally, gel and silicone inserts make good choices for long-lasting comfort, while foam inserts are lightweight and great for daily wear.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of bra inserts?

Bra inserts come in various materials, including silicone, foam, gel, and fabric. These provide options for enhancing the natural form and boosting confidence. The choice of materials depends on individual preference, sizing, and desired benefits.

How are bra inserts cared for?

To prolong the life of bra inserts, clean them properly and store them in a flat position in a cool, dry place to retain their condition. Follow the manufacturer's suggestions, and use gentle, hypoallergenic cleansers, especially for inserts that come into contact with the skin.

Is there a skin safety risk with adhesive bra inserts?

Conduct a patch test for adhesive inserts to see if your skin reacts to the glue. Also, select inserts made with hypoallergenic materials to reduce the risk of skin sensitivity or allergies.

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