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What is a Gel Bra?

By Maggie Worth
Updated May 21, 2024
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The term "gel bra" is most often used to describe a bra with fluid-filled or gel inserts designed to enhance the bust line. Such bras are most often used to provide lift and to create more dramatic cleavage. They come in a variety of sizes, colors and styles and are available through a number of manufacturers. Gel bras can be purchased from online specialty companies, in most lingerie boutiques and in the lingerie department of many department stores and women's clothing stores.

A gel bra is manufactured by creating shaped inserts, usually made of flexible plastic or PVC, filling them with gel, and placing them into pockets sewn into the inner surface of the bra cup. Many bras of this type are designed to be worn with or without the inserts, depending on the look the wearer wishes to achieve. Gel inserts are most commonly found in bras already designed to create lift, such as structured-cup bras and underwire bras. They are also seen frequently in bras that are designed for evening wear, such as strapless, low-back and plunge bras.

The inserts are most commonly placed in the bottom half of the cup to create lift. They may also be angled so as to push the breasts in, enhancing cleavage. Some manufacturers offer inserts that can increase the apparent size of the breasts by a cup size or more.

Most gel bras use silicone gel, though a few use other materials. A bra with air pillow or water-filled inserts may give results that are similar to a gel bra. Usually, the heat of the body warms the gel, allowing the inserts to mold around the wearer's breast, offering a more natural look. Some gel inserts, however, are designed to be chilled or frozen, increasing the appearance of "perkiness."

Gel bras can be worn with almost any outfit, but are most often chosen as the foundation for outfits that emphasize the bust. Dramatic cleavage can be created by pairing a gel bra with a dress or blouse with a low neckline or a plunging v-neck. Gel inserts should always be removed before machine-washing.

Some bikinis and bathing suits contain built-in gel bras as well. Gel inserts may also be purchased separately and used with the wearer's existing bras. Such inserts, or pockets for such inserts, may also be found in formal dresses that have necklines or other design features that do not allow for a bra.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By subway11 — On Nov 26, 2011

@Sara007-I am sure that the gel bra is really flattering on most women, but I don’t know how it would feel to wear one. I think that I would feel a little self conscious knowing that I had this gel bra on. The gel bra sounds like a great idea, but I don’t know if I would ever wear one.

I usually don’t usually wear clothing with plunging neck lines, because I usually don’t like to wear things that are too revealing.

By Sara007 — On Nov 25, 2011

@Mae82 - I think a strapless gel bra would be perfect to wear with a corset, as some of them can bring you up a cup size or two without looking fake. I would recommend getting the gel push up bra that feels best to you and fits in your budget.

I really think that the water bra and silicone bra aren't that different, it is just a matter of durability and personal preference. I like the water bras as they are cheap but still attractive looking and they do their job well. I would suggest though that you try everything on, as I found some of the bras a bit uncomfortable if the padding isn't in the perfect spot.

By Mae82 — On Nov 24, 2011

Do you think that a strapless gel bra would be a good choice to wear with a corset?

I recently brought a gorgeous dress with a corset top and would like to give myself a bit more volume in the bust area. I love the look of the corset, but even with it doing its best to squeeze my assets into place I still find it just isn't enough.

I've noticed there are a few kinds of gel bras, and was wondering which gives you the best look. The silicone gel bras seem to be a bit expensive, while the water gel bras seem to be a like a good deal. It seems to me though that as they use silicone for implants it might look better.

By manykitties2 — On Nov 24, 2011

Honestly, I think that a gel padded bra should be in every woman's wardrobe if they aren't busty enough for their own liking. I use gel bra inserts to give myself that extra boost, as I feel it helps with my confidence levels when I am sporting a tighter top.

One thing I like about the gel bras is that they are really comfortable, as well as functional. Some of the older padded bras I used to have were really uncomfortable and felt like I was stuffing miniature pillows into my top. It was kind of uncomfortable, and I always worried about looking lumpy. With gel bras though you are guaranteed a smooth line.

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