The Tape Dilemma


The Tape Dilemma

By: Black Mariah

How do you apply pasties?

I think the only real point that will never have one answer between burlesque dancers is “how do you keep your pasties on?” The answers will range from Flash tape, eyelash glue, spirit gum, toupee tape, and the list grows every year I spend in the world of burlesque.

I have attended many shows, many conversations in the dressing rooms, many “pastie rescue efforts”, and one thing I do know, is as many answers as exist to the pastie dilemma question, whatever choice a dancer uses, they stick to it. (no pun intended. Ok it was intended)

I have only decided that the reason for the variety in adhesive usage is A) availability of products and B) skin types and their reaction to adhesives.

Liquid adhesives like Liquid Latex (which is also known as eyelash glue) and spirit gum, and medical glue are favored by many dancers. The disadvantage to these is the drying time. In the need of quick pastie changes, drying time cannot be an issue for a dancer’s changing regiment. Another point to consider is skin allergies. Although people can be allergic to virtually anything these days, a latex allergy is a very common allergy, and must be considered when choosing an adhesive.

The other types of adhesives are the tape style adhesives. These are adhesives that come in a solid double sided sheet type form, and are applied to the pastie, then a wax backing is removed to expose a sticky side which adheres to the skin. The tape style adhesives vary greatly in their adherence and composition. Flash tape, toupee tape, carpet tape, medical adhesive (the tape form), and many others are all adhesives used to apply a pastie. Testing products to see what works best with your particular skin type is essential to becoming a happy pastie wearer.

Make sure that whatever adhesive you choose does not take skin off when you remove the pastie, (think cheap bandaids! OUCH!) look for swelling, itching, hives or sever redness while wearing the adhesive, as all of these are signs of skin allergies or sensitivity to the adhesive.

When you apply your adhesive, apply the adhesive to the outer ring of the inside of the pastie that makes contact with your skin. Make sure your skin is clean and dry when applying the pastie, free from lotions or body oils as the adhesive will not stick when oil is present. The nipple area is sensitive and thin skinned so avoid placing adhesive where it may make contact with the nipple itself (center of the pastie). Those of you with nipple piercings will also want to avoid adhesive that will make contact with your jewelry. Pulling off the pastie when it is adhered to jewelry could cause trauma to the pierced skin.  If you have exhausted every possibility of adhesives and your pastie is still coming off, then resort to putting tape adhesive all over the pastie. Do not try this method with liquid adhesive as the center of the pastie will not dry while the outside will dry. Also avoid liquid adhesives if you have piercings as wet adhesive can seep into the piercing and cause lots of issues and even infection. When removing the pastie take care and gently pull the pastie off starting on one side and pulling towards the opposite side. If the adhesive requires a remover (spirit gum) be sure to use that to remove your pastie. If you should receive battle scars or irritation from pastie removal (this will happen with repeated pastie changes in a short time) apply Neosporin or some type of triple antibiotic cream to the area that is irritated until healed. And certainly don’t cover it with a band aid!

Here are some brands you can look for to try their adhesives.

Braza bra “Flash Tape’ comes in a 30’ roll of double sided tape.Can be found at local dancer shops as well as online.

Top Stick Men’s grooming tape- toupee tape this can be found at beauty supply stores and wig shops. Top stick comes in 1×3 strips. Top Sol which is made by the same company comes in a roll, and is virtually the same product.

Double sided tape from This tape is pressure sensitive and heat sensitive, becoming more secure the harder it is pressed into the skin and the longer it is worn.

Duo lash glue- get clear, the dark tone will dry black.  Can be found at beauty supply stores and drugstores in the beauty supply section.

Liquid Latex- can be found online as well as local sex shops in various sized containers.

Spirit Gum/ Spirit Gum remover- sold by Ben Nye or any theatrical supply company. This product can be found online or at local costume or theatrical suppliers.

Medical adhesive/removers- can be found online through medical suppliers. Searching locally could prove to be a hard sought adventure.

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