What Are Waxes For?

Waxes come in many different forms and grades, some are better than others, some last longer, this all depends on the formulation and grade of Carnauba used.

A lot of people say they prefer to use a sealer as an LSP (last step product) the only issues with this is they do not last as long as waxes do, so this often leads to caring for your paintwork even more.  Some people have a passion for polishing / waxing paintwork, they find it very enjoyable to see the shine on the paint get deeper and deeper, compared to a sealant or a ceramic coating. The sealer we are talking about here is a sealer / glaze, rather thana sealant spray.

A sealant will last a great deal longer than a wax, most can last 6 months minimum but today these sealants are lasting 12 months or more, but the protection they offer is not as good as a carnauba wax offers, the carnauba wax protection provides a stronger shield of cover than a sealant does.

As a golden rule carnauba waxes is that they will also bead far better than a sealant does and it provides the deepest, wettest look you could possibly give paintwork, you get that true, deep, wet look with waxes that you just don’t get with other products. 

The thinner you apply the way, the better the results, less is more with waxes, it must be applied in microscopic thin layers, don’t load this on thick as it won’t bond to your paintwork at all.

Allowing time for the wax applied to dry before buffing off again, must stress make sure it’s very thin layers of wax applied.

Always use a good quality application pad, like a microfibre application pad along with a good quality microfibre cloth, something like a high quality 350GSM or a 500GSM microfibre cloth, the microfibre cloths are used for removing the waxes from the paintwork, a nice soft microfibre application can also be washed out after use ready for the next time, as carnauba forms a nice semi hard shell on the surface, it’s advised to wash all application pads ready for next time, or you will end up introducing a lot of scratches to the paintwork if you don’t. 

Why Layer Waxes?

It’s surprising how many people still don’t know how to layer waxes correctly or that you could even layer them….

Adding layers to your wax protection has a great deal of benefits. The most obvious is the extended protection it offers, if layered correctly the next obvious is the shine it provides, you can truly see shapes on your vehicle that you just didn’t know existed if you layer waxes correctly. There are still millions of people who prefer waxes over ceramics, waxes give you that sense of care and pride for your ride. A ceramic goes on and you don’t really care for it any more like you do when applying waxes frequently, yes, a ceramic has the advantage that you’re not touching your paintwork as much cutting down on potential swirl and scratches, but waxing your paintwork just has that instant buzz. It’s so special the feeling it gives you applying the wax seeing the paint come alive each time you pass and add more layers of wax.

How and what direction you apply waxes is especially important, this must be done correctly to get the best shine and depth from your paintwork. Just applying the waxes in straight lines or circles isn’t going to get you that deep wet look finish you crave for.

Waxing with lines gets greater reflection and depth from your paintwork, this simple drawing shows exactly what to do, wax up and down larger flatter areas, but then a curved section wax side to side, waxing from the top to bottom, to the top of the curve again in straight sweeping lines. This layers the wax nicely and allows the crystals in the wax to reflect natural light in the correct direction making the curve look deeper, longer and wetter. If you polished in straight lines up and down a curve like you would on a flatter area, you would not get the depth look to the curve that you would with polishing from side to side going down into the curve. It would give a flatter look with no depth to it.

This drawing shows the most common ways to wax paintwork for best results going round wheels arches, allows the wax to shine better in that direction making the wheel arch look pronounced and rounder, while polishing up and down a door gives the sides more curve and roundness as the light reflects up and down the paintwork making the vehicle look wider and deeper.

Once you get the drift of this, you will soon learn new ways to wax your paintwork, finding curves you didn’t know existed, waxing in directions that you never thought possible, you will become obsessed with it, the way you can make paint pop is astonishing.

Allowing time for waxes to cure properly is important also. Cure times can be anything from an hour to a few hours going up to as much as 24 hours, sometimes longer depending on the wax and how’s it made. Also consider heat, dampness, and humidity in the air, they all play a major role in waxes curing correctly.

Once a wax is cured fully this can be buffed to increase shine, then you can layer another coat on top, again allow this layer to cure and apply more.

How Frequently Can Waxes Be Applied?

Waxes can be applied as often as you wish, but as a golden rule, you should always strip back once every 12 months and start all over again. By this we mean a deep cleaning, decontamination, and clay bar process.

In most cases, waxes will last anything from 3 to 8 weeks, before they start to breakdown and show signs of a new application is required, but this also depends on a lot of factors, like how and where it’s kept, garaged, outdoors, under a car port etc etc, Weather conditions for your areas, all these factors determine how frequently you should apply a new coating of wax.  

To know how your wax is standing up to the daily elements, keep an eye on things like water beading, it’s the best sign to know how it’s protecting, not many beads then it’s time to apply more wax, we’ve always lived by the rule apply wax every month. If you can do this by layering the wax as above the protection will be better and the depth of gloss even greater.

The better the protection layer, the less likely contamination will bond to your paint work keeping it looking better for longer.

One point to remember, the more you touch the paintwork the more likely you will introduce marring, swirls and scratches.