The Best Lint-Free Nail Wipes… Does one even exist?

She dropped the words ‘lint-free wipes’ and boom, the chat box just lights up… Which ones do you use? Where can I buy them? This and the other…

All right. So today I have a topic that is quite popular among our private community, lint-free-wipes. I’m going to tell you what I like and what I’ve been using for years. 

And! I’m also going to talk about what my community is raving about, and also what the standard is among people that are either starting out or budgeting, and don’t really ,kind of, want to invest in a higher quality nail wipe just yet. I think you’re going to gain a lot of information and find the lint-free wipe that works out for you.

Let’s begin…

Light Elegance. They are 100%… WAIT I have not put them to the test yet… but it says on the packaging 100% lint-free.

All right. Next…

Kokoist. Now these kind of became popular when Katie Masters and I were on the LIVE and she dropped the words… ‘lint-free wipes’, and boom, the chat box just lights up! 

Everyone was like- Lint-free wipes?? Uhm…  which ones do you use. What are they? Where can I get them? This and that and the other. And in the meantime, I’m trying to continue the class and tell you how to apply these gels… either way.

We put in the word for our girl Koko… Uhm… can you… I know these are only like a Japan thing… but do you… want to drop them here in the US and see how they do?

So these were released in the US. I want to say, like two months ago.

NOW… Have you ever started with paper towels?

I probably did, but if I did, it was like for a super short period because I don’t even remember tearing towels to proceed with my gel manicure services. But so many people do. And I’ve been to salons where they do the whole paper towel thing.

OK, dental gauzes. Spoiler alert.

I’ve been using these for five-six years. And today, again, we’re going to put them to the test and see how they compare to what we have here. And also find out, if this is all the lint-free wipe you need or do you benefit from having a one hundred percent lint-free like the Light Elegance or Kokoist ones??

Ok, and then lastly these non-woven 2×2’s I get from a dental source. You can probably find one yourself, you can buy a whole case of these things, like 5000 of them for only 40 dollars. And that’s on Amazon.

Alright. Soooo… are you excited??

Before anything, I want you to think about the three scenarios, the three instances during your service that require the use of a lint-free wipe.

#1 PREP You need to dehydrate or cleanse the natural nail of oils and debris and dust and everything else during your service. 

#2 During the service…Perhaps you are dry wiping your brushes or you are creating art that requires a lint-free surface. And so you’re using your towelettes.

#3 After, for top gel…When you cure your topcoat, your topcoat still has a tacky residue, like it’s not a non-wipe top gel. 

Now, at that final stage (#3), having lint is not necessarily an issue because the gel is already clear. However, this is a big thing, especially when we’re working with soft gel formulas. As you know, my niche is soft gel. I learned this from my Japanese Gel Nail Training. Basically what I was taught is that you don’t want any hard, rough surface or texture to wipe off the inhibition layer off of your top gel. This is also one of the big reasons I believe that nail companies have really made the effort to provide us with a non-wipe top coat … because of this one technicality.

And it’s a good one, I think. I mean, you don’t want to scratch your top gel. So it is always recommended that you use something soft, kind of like these facial bamboo wipes. However, these are not necessarily completely lint-free either. Although, as you can see, it is like silky smooth. So this is sort of like the material that I was trying to wipe the inhibition layer off of my top gel, or if I’m cleaning my brushes or a lot of tools, I do keep these bamboo wipes handy.

Paper towels, if you feel them, they are very very rough. You can dull, and to some extent scratch up your top gel. So either way, that was the principle that I was taught early on not to use paper towels or other rough napkins to wipe the residue off of your top shelf.

If you would just take a paper towel and tear it, you may or may not be able to see that there are actually small particles coming into the breathing zone area.

If this was your only option at the moment, or this is all you could afford, or you are really trying to cut back on costs because maybe you’re just starting out … you’re DIY or maybe you are a pro, but you’d rather spend your money somewhere else. And what I would recommend that you do, rather than tearing paper towels and causing all those particles to go all over the place, is to go ahead and cut it, because that is going to minimize the amount of particles in the air or lint pieces that this towel might have.

Paper Towels may work as a lint-free source, if I don’t tear it, but rather cut it. And it wouldn’t really work for dry wiping brushes either. Again, this is not a complete debris and lint free surface. It does have dust, as I told you earlier. And when you dry wipe your brush, it will pick up dust or lint.

So that’s the paper towel.

On to the Light Elegance, cleansing wipes. Now, here you have their big, bold statement “One hundred percent live free”. They also say that they are absorbent and strong. Again, I believe I paid about twelve dollars for this and then the rest were shipping. So I kind of splurge here like almost twenty dollars on these nail wipes. In this package you get three hundred and sixty nail wipes.

And when I first saw it, I did think like, oh my gosh, how is this different from the paper towel? It nearly looks… like the same… and definitely feels the same. It has a bit of that rough texture.

I was a little nervous and I was like… All right, guys, again, a lot of members of my community were raving about this. And so I was like, are you sure? But Light Elegance is a totally reputable company I know to trust them 🙂

When I tried my brush on it, for a dry wipe, no lint was left behind (oo weeh!). The rough texture of this wipe is beneficial for when scrubbing the natural nail, prior to gel application… a good thing.

Now the packaging does also say absorbent and strong, and I was kind of skeptical… It is kind of thin. But after taking some alcohol to it, the alcohol does seem to absorb into the towelette and not evaporate… and it even has a little bit of cushion factor, like tiny, tiny bit.

So, yeah, they are definitely 100 percent lint-free and absorbent, also strong!

Now for me personally, especially with soft gel formulas or the Japanese Gel that I use. Again, I have been trained to use soft material to wipe off the inhibition layer from the top gel. From feeling the texture of this nail wipe compared to something like the bamboo wipes (which are again, super silky smooth in comparison.)

I personally think that this Light Elegance lint-free nail wipe fails that third scenario within a manicure that I would need. (#3 Wiping off the inhibition layer…) I think it’s great for prep and also  great for your art. (Like, if working on a piece and you need to quickly dry wipe your brush, I do believe I won’t pick up anything here.)

But, I personally do not rub my brush on any nail wipe, even if it’s like one hundred percent lint-free. I still just don’t, because I mean… at the end of the day, this is like a paper towel or and if you tear it, you are going to eventually break into some sort of fiber.

So perhaps you’re like, OK, Paola. Well, what do you do for a lint-free wipe?

I’ll give you that in a moment because I think as an independent stylist, we have a lot of areas to consider where we’re going to splurge on, and so you want to be strategic here. (Side note: towelettes was not where I spent my money).

So let’s wrap up this Light Elegance nail wipe…

Great for the prep, great  during the service and me, me, me personally, just from experience, I will feel more comfortable wiping the inhibition layer with something softer than the Light Elegant nail wipe.

Next, Kokoist Nail Wipes.

I’m telling you, we were on this LIVE (Q&A training for Kokoist Certification), we were teaching about Japanese Gel Nail Application and everyone is going off in the chat… like, What are those? Where can I get those and so on-and-so-forth. And so then we suggested Kokoist to carry these.

So for prep? Yes, these Kokoist ones do it. Their softness does not prevent you from giving the nails a good scrub. These kind of remind me a little bit of the bamboo wipes I talked about earlier. Ever since my first training in Japanese Gels, I’ve known that last step (of wiping the inhibition layer from the top gel) to be key. You need something soft, something gentle. And for this reason I am not surprised that the wipes from Kokoist are on the softer side. With that being said, let’s put it to the test with our three scenarios during a gel manicure.

#1 Prep. Yes, pretty much anything works for now except cotton balls do not get cotton balls. (I know you know better, but just in case we have a tender in-training nail tech). Otherwise, you will definitely have a lint fest !

#2 During Service. Say you’re constantly dry wiping your brush on the lint. I would say that with a dry wipe, after doing it so many times, there may be the possibility that you pick up a lint piece if you break into the fibers of the towelette.

But just like any other nail wipe we break/tear, this is going to be a little harder to tear, but you may still wear it off by dry wiping excessively… just enough to the point where you break the fibers and they become a little loose and you start picking them up w/ every wipe.

Personally, I find that if you do like a “tight” dry wipe, so as long as you don’t break the fibers too much, you’re fine. You’re not picking up lint.

All right. So next stop, the non-woven sponges, 2×2 and 4-ply are my preferred size. Even after having tried the Light Elegance and Kokoist Wipes I still kept coming back to the dental wipes. Call me … lame. lol.

The dental gauze satisfies all three scenarios during a manicure procedure for prep for me. You can use it for any of those three scenarios during a service I have been mentioning.

And again, same thing, I would probably not do a dry wipe on it because you will start making the fibers ubloose. They’re really intertwined together and technically all lint-free up until the point you start wearing it off and exposing the fibers. And yeah, of course, the nail wipe would no longer be lint-free.

Definitely on the paper towel, you are going to break into these fibers and pick up some lint or dust, quick. OK, however, for me and I think the reason why I’m so stuck on these  dental/nail wipes is because it’s soft enough for that final step that’s been so important for me all these years, which is wiping the inhibition layer from the wiping top gel. So this is what I use. 

Let’s look at another brand of wipes that is quite popular… the OPI Expert Touch Lint-Free Wipes. I like that they come in a sort of storage box already so you can easily work out of it. That’s pretty cool. I do remember buying these when I first started because I was also in search of the ultimate lint-free wipe. These are kind of hard and texture and remind me of waxing strips, I definitely would not use this to wipe top gel, or you would create micro-scratches.

Ok, so now, I’m going to tell you what I do to always have a lint-free surface so that I’m not even concerning myself with the highest quality lint-free towelette.

When it comes to lint-free towelettes I think this is something that you have to be able to buy in bulk. You cannot let them affect your bottom line, just my caring-for-your opinion.

All right, so these are the most popular lint-free wipe options.

Now, I did tell you that I was going to give you my tip on what I use for a true lint free service.

So the reason why I never suffered with lint so much is because I always work with gloves. And real talk, I think that investing in wearing gloves for every service is more important, in my opinion, and for my bottom line at least, than finding fancy towelettes that you’re going to have to go through alot.

So I also use gloves for every service because I’m going to be the person most exposed to gel throughout the day, hour, week, years, etc…. 

So gloves, I think, this is where you want to spend your money, not necessarily in fancy nail wipes. Try to get the best that you can, but then really consider these lint-free tips I’m giving you now.

If I’m working on nail art… because my glove is black you kind of just quickly dust off or wipe a small area on your glove, and boo, just like that, you have a lint free surface.

Again because the glove is black, I can always see whether it has dust or lint on it. So if I needed to dry wipe my brush, guess what? I always do it on my glove.

The second option that I had for a lint-free surface when working on gel nails, is a dental bib. Yep, a dental bib. Again, if you have a dental source by all means source them from there but if you don’t, you can now also find them on Amazon.

Dental bibs just about all the time come with a plastic backing because if you remember your last dental visit, there may have been some water involved and to prevent it from getting on you, they used these sheets with plastic backing. And so for us nail techs this is also going to ensure that no alcohol or acetone gets on the surface of our desk.

But back to our lint-free conversation, guess what?

So when I would do my gel nail service, I did my prep and removal if there was one and all of the debris  went all on here. Then, I would fold this dental bib to keep all that junk confined and I used the back area, the plastic area, as my lint free surface! I didn’t even have to solve the mystery of which nail wipe was one hundred percent lint-free!

I mean at some point you can wear them all down during the service and break into the fibers remember?  But you can’t break into the fibers of this plastic. Like what fibers?

And another way to create a lint-free surface is by grabbing any one of your lint free wipes and spraying your cleanser solution. If you’re a regular of this channel, you know that for me that’s 90% alcohol solution, just damp your towelette a little bit during your service to wipe off your brush. This actually creates a perfect lint free surface and it’s going to keep your nail wipe from wearing off so you can use this technique with any one of your towelettes. Again, it’s just going to ensure that indeed your working area stays lint-free and then allows you to quickly wipe your brush.

The other thing you can do to create a lint-free surface is to simply have a palette of some sort. It can be anything. It can be a stone. It can be this. It can be a lid. Like personally, I didn’t even know that 100% lint-free towelettes was a serious goal for nail techs!

Like it was for me, but I guess I was looking more for lint-free surfaces vs specifically towelettes.

And I want to influence you just a tiny bit in your decision and have you, from henceforth, use the three spaces that I’ve shared with you that give me a lint-free surface: glove, dental bib, or moist towelette.

These surfaces have allowed me to always be able to work with the more affordable option of dental gauzes… because when I slightly damp it with alcohol… it becomes like the perfect lint-free wipe for me. So I hope this tip helps you a lot by helping you cut back $ a bit.

And in case you’re wondering if that tiny amount of alcohol will over time dehydrate your brush… I totally get that and so there is actually another little trick you can do, and that is to use any clear gel instead of alcohol. Just put a little dab on any lint-free hard surface, and tap your brush on there whenever you need to. Kokoist has a gel specifically designed for gel cleaning, and it is in the perfect applicator bottle. 

Well, thank you so much for joining me. I hope that searching for the best lint-free wipe with me was a super fun thing for you as it was for me. I’ve been putting it off for a while now and it was just time to get it done. I hope that with my criteria, you are able to decide on what nail wipe works for you and you decide where you rather spend the bulk of your money when it comes to disposables..

Do what works best for you, now you got the knowledge. Knowledge is power. Use it.

I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.

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