Differences Between Polishing & Waxing

I wasn’t sure if I was to split this post into two or not. I eventually decided to keep it all in one place. It might be a bit of a long post but I think it’s worth it. As a follow up to my mega wax comparison test the write up for my comparison of Dual Action polishing pads is now completed. This post has taken me many, many hours to collate and put together, not only for my own sanity of product comparison all in one place, it will hopefully be a help for you as well. That’s regardless of being a Professional Detailer or a Weekend Washing Warrior like me.

There is a huge minefield out there when it comes to buffing pads by various manufacturers for similar products. Although they may look the same they can perform very different tasks. They can do the same things but are different colours, it’s all very confusing. It drove me mad, so what I have tried to do here is create a chart of the most well known manufacturers and their Dual Action pad products. I chose the ‘Dual Action’ variables for a couple of reasons;

1) I have a Meguiar’s MT320 Dual Action tool.

2) Rotary tools and pads are for the experienced user or professionals. Incorrect use can damage your paint job. You have been warned!

I am a weekend washer as I mentioned, I’m not quite up to the professional detailing standards yet, but I keep trying. If I take my car to show or just taken out for a drive, I clean it via quick detailer product when I get to where I’m going. When I get home the car gets a full waterless wash before it goes in the garage and covered up again.

I found many charts and explanations from many sources, but none that done a full comprehensive comparison side by side. My Pad Guide which I collated below is for reference and you really should get the right pad for the right job. The chart here is also downloadable in High Quality PDF as well. 🙂

I have tried to provide links to each manufacturer and the descriptions of their own pad products below. If you find any others that may be of use, just let me know and I will try and add them.

Clicking on the individual links below will take you to that company’s website for more details. Some are great pages with lots of info, some are rather shabby to say the least. I honestly recommend having a look at the links as they will explain in greater depth why you should use their products and for what tasks.

  • Lake Country Products and Charts click here.
  • Meguiar’s Products and Charts click here.
  • DoDo Juice Products and Charts click here.
  • Chemical Guys Products and Charts click here.
  • Mitchell & King Products and Charts click here.
  • Auto Finesse Products and Charts click here.
  • 3M Products and Charts click here.
  • Shine Mate Products and Charts click here.
  • Gyeon Products and Charts click here.
  • Menzerna Products and Charts click here.
  • Scholl Concepts Products and Charts click here.
  • Sonus Products and Charts click here.
  • Vertool Products and Charts click here.

I found a couple of images from the net (below) that are pretty good to explain some of the terminology of this coveted detailing skill. There are many, many books out there and plenty of ‘how to..’ videos on YouTube as well, so I won’t duplicate them here who are much better qualified to explain it than me.

Marks on the paint can be from poor washing routines, bird lime, tree sap, third party damage such as keys or car park dings, damage from hedges when driving to close or stone chips etc. These sorts of damage can spoil the look of your car may require the polishing step. The easiest way to remove these marks are with the DA pads.

First the misconception of ‘Polishing’ and ‘Waxing’ are the same thing! They’re not.

Polishing Pads or Cutting Pads or Compounding Pads,: Choosing your correct pad and polish combo is critical, using a waxing or ‘finishing’ soft or super soft pad won’t do much at all, and you will be there a while wasting your time. The courser polishing pads or ‘cutting’ pads are designed to work the product to the paint and not just apply it.

Waxing Pads or Finishing Pads: Most of the waxing or ‘finishing’ pads are soft or super soft, they are designed primarily to apply the product to the surface and not ‘work’ the product into the paint as such.

A little common sense; before you decide to polish, you must wash the car thoroughly. I won’t go into the full details of how to wash your car, but I will touch on the main points before the polish and the eventual choice of pads. You can use waterless washing if you want of course, but applying waterless washing tends to add an element of protection to the paint.

An ideal prep for a polish is to use a pre washing “Snow Foam” first if you can. This tends to remove the worst of the debris on the car as a touchless process. If you don’t have access to a snow foam, then at least rinse the car first and then wash the car using the two bucket method with a wash mitt, not a sponge. Remember that a good quality shampoo should nourish the paint and prepare it for a wax layering process, it shouldn’t remove the wax that is already on the paint surface. The least amount of contact with the dirty paint is desirable.

Remove any wax that is on the surface of the car’s paint. This is a separate step after washing using a specific product just for that wax removing job. However, some of the cheap and nasty car washing products will also remove the wax at the same time as washing, saving you that extra wax stripping step. Use a proper de-wax wash product like Chemical Guys ‘Clean Slate’ to leave the paint bare to the elements. Don’t be tempted to use cheap washing up detergents to wash the car, as they themselves can also be abrasive and often contain salt.

Once the car is washed clean, there is a step that is often overlooked before polishing; the ‘Clay bar’. This is as it sounds, a piece of soft clay which is flattened out into a thin pad and rubbed over the surface of the paint using fingertips. This clay lifts the stubborn contaminates and they in turn stick to the clay. Use the clay with a recommended lubrication and turn frequently to a fresh piece of the clay when it becomes dirty. If you drop the clay bar, Never Ever pick it up and re-use it on the car, get a fresh piece and continue. If you dive straight into the polishing stage you could end up dragging these foreign particles over your paint making things worse. It’s always best to try and get the paint as smooth as possible first before you tackle that polish stage. I have review links to a great clay bar from Bilt Hamber here and pretty poor clay bar from Auto Finesse here. Choose wisely, not all clay bars are the same, some work and some really don’t. A Clay Bar will also remove wax as well. Rinse the car and dry thoroughly.

Tip: Polishing is an acquired skill and shouldn’t be taken on with a slap dash approach. Go to a scrap yard, get an old fender or hood and practice on that first. Practice on an old car, or a favour to mates old car. With a heavy cutting compound, or an overly abrasive pad along with undue pressure being applied during the polishing process, there is every chance that such an abrasive combination could take the paint of your car. Rule of thumb is that a polish cleans the paint with mild to very abrasive product.

Some polishes are known to have fillers to hide imperfections and to give a richer look to the surface paint of the car. Auto Finesse ‘Tripple’ is such an example or Meguiar’s ‘3 in 1’.

Another step than can be used instead of a polish is a ‘Glaze’. This can be applied by hand or a DA machine. This product is a filler for fine scratches or swirl marks. This will only mask the problem of damaged paint. It certainly won’t cure or fix the problem like a proper paint correction or polish would.

What is Polish and Polishing?

Depending on the paint condition this will determine the pad and polish product you will need to use.

Polish, or sometimes referred to as a ‘compound’ is usually in the form of a liquid which contains a varying degree of abrasive content. The polish abrasiveness is also referred to as it’s ‘Cutting’ strength. During a polish you are in effect removing microns of your paint, the harsher the abrasive or cutting, the more of the paint or clear coat will be removed. Polishing can also restore the shine of the paint on your car from a faded or neglected surface. If you see some slight discoloration, damaged paint from bird lime or similar, or when you think there is a lot of dirt that has got stuck on the surface that won’t be removed after a wash with a good shampoo, it may be better to go for the polish. Small scratches can be reduced or removed after a polish. This can also be known as a ‘paint correction’.

The majority of the time a Polish will require multiple applications of finer or less course cutting polishes and softer pads to obtain that smooth mirror like surface. Rule of thumb, start soft. If nothing is happening go heavier and work back to the light combo again. If the paint is getting to hot – STOP. Many experienced detailers and car body work painters just know what they need to use.

Why Polish?

Simple answer is that if you see scratches or swirls the polishing step could remove them depending how bad they are of course. This would leave a mirror looking paint if done correctly.

How does it work?

The light hits our eyes at strange angles, which shows up as a scratch, blemish, swirl etc. on the paint work. If the paint is smooth with no marks the light is bounced in an even manor. This is explained a lot better with the help of a little diagram towards the end.

What is Wax (ing)

Wax is just a protective coat to protect the paint of your car from the elements, prolong the longevity and lustre. There are two main products, natural and synthetic. Natural tends to offer the best shine with not much longevity. Synthetic offers the best longevity but not quite a good a shine. There are of course mixtures of the two and hybrids. Some of the ‘hybrids’ are now incorporating the ‘ceramic’ technology which is creeping into the consumer market. Natural waxes are often found at high quality car shows or concours events to show the paint to it’s full extent. Synthetics are for generally for daily cars who also want a nice shine. Waxes have moved on with technology, these waxes often come with UV protection to help stop paint fading in sunlight. They last longer, apply easier and offer great value for money, well in most cases anyway.

There is also another step that can be applied, that is ‘Sealer’. this is applied before the wax as it says coats the paint job to protect it better than a wax – so it’s said. Sealers do one job only and not designed for pure shine. More to protect what you already have before the shine is applied.

Waxes come in two main application forms; liquid or paste.

Paste wax or hard wax, is more of the traditional method and often classed as old school. Often requiring application, curing and then buffing to a shine, often repeated to build up the protection or shine. Usually the enthusiasts or connoisseur’s choice. These products are best applied as ‘a little goes a long way’.

Liquid wax or soft wax, is the modern approach. They tend to be quicker, easier and generally don’t require cure time or additional applications, also know as ‘wipe on, wipe off’ products. The down side is that you tend to use more of the product.

Why Wax?

Waxing protects the car from elements and even sunlight. It also makes the car look good and helps to retain the vehicles value.

How does it work?

The wax forms a protective barrier between the paint job and the elements.

There is no right or wrong for the type of waxing you take, what ever suits you. I have it on good authority that there are no differences between the paste wax and the liquid waxes apart from composition. The only real choice you have is what you want the wax to do, last, shine or a bit of an all rounder?

Understanding the paint problems

I found these various diagrams to show what the polishing is designed to do. Make the paint as smooth as possible, then protect it with wax (or sealer).

They say a picture speaks a thousand words and I think these pictures do just that to explain it better way than I ever could.

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Some examples of things that can damage the paint and how badly, and yes that does say ‘fingernails’!

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As I mentioned earlier on how the eye sees the light. If light reflects badly and is distorted instead of a bouncing straight back, that is when you get to see the marks on the paint as shown here:

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Various way to fix this is the buffing with pads to get to the bottom of the damage to leave a smooth even reflective area. As I have already explained, things likes glazes, sealants and waxes can help along with disguising these areas of damage to make the light reflect in a much more uniform manor. Thus making the surface look smooth and shiny again.

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Then we get a little more techy with the thicknesses of paint and how the paints are applied. Of course the different applications of paint (Single coat, 2 pack, water based, cellulose etc.), amount of paint applied, types of paint; solid, metallic, pearlescent, matte, special mix custom. The type of primer, fillers, top coats, clear coats all need their own types of care. For some one product may not work the same on another manufacturers paint etc. Some manufacturer paints are known as hard paints, while others are considerably softer. This diagram shows the generic application of thicknesses, these vary wildly depending who done what. Some respray jobs cost £2,000 and others £20,000 and that’s for a good for a reason.

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The ‘basics’ of the paint application;

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Don’t worry that is as technical as it will get about paint and the theories behind it. After all we are just looking at the comparison of pads to ‘fix’ the paint, according to my very own comparison chart above.

When I mentioned the combination of products and pads above, this is the visual representation of just that.

Not all these DA pads are for polishing or cutting alone. Oh no, Many people use the much softer pads to apply the waxes to the car for a much easier, smoother and even application of wax. I have a link here on 10 wax comparisons in a mega test.

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Wax Comparisons

During the last quarter of last year, the UK had a few nice days of sunshine and as I had a few days off work owing to me, I decided to use my holiday up. That time was put to good use and completed a little project I wanted to try for myself. It’s often done on YouTube, but not to this degree, I think.

There are often a few car cleaning products compared on YouTube channels, but not ten side by side, with the same testing criteria by the looks of it. When I say “Top Branded”, I mean top manufacturers and their best selling products for normal weekend washing warriors on the street. Those of us who like the best products that work and at reasonable prices using traditional waxes, not the latest in thing of ‘Hybrid’ or ‘Ceramic’ waxes. Lets face it, there are some truly great products on the market at the moment, some of which are even essentials of my own cleaning routines, still. To put this into context there are waxes out there that are expensive for expensive sake, like Swizöl International’s Divine costing £2,150, Brough & Howarth’s Definitive Wax Marble costing £24,000, Zymol Vintage Glaze costing £2,400 or The Ultimate Shine costing an insane £65,000 which can be seen here:   http://www.performancemotorcare.com/car-cleaning-product-news/worlds-most-expensive-car-wax/1808

However, there has been (a strong) rumour that the ‘Ultimate Shine’ wax itself is actually made by Mitchell & King in Scotland. I can’t verify this, but can only state what I have read so far. The original mix (allegedly) sold by M & K is called Gold Rush Rally at £75 a pot which is a mere 0.11% of the price! This brings me back to my point, although these ten waxes are (mostly) affordable and will last a good number of applications, they are not in that stupid silly money league. However there is an in-between level of Luxury car waxes such as Swissvax Crystal Rock at £300, BMD Prometheus £120, Auto Finesse Desire at £120 and Mitchell & King’s top of the range wax ‘Lily’ around £600 where only One pot is made a year, or anything in between from M&K for a comprehensive range of waxes between £45 to £600.

I will be reviewing Mitchell & King’s ‘Lily’ in a very special review coming soon. This was purchased with my wife’s very own money for a special Christmas gift. Before anybody asks – No, I’m not on commission or paid by them.

If you can afford those crazy sort of prices I suspect you will get somebody else to clean the car for you. I’m guessing most of those super high end waxes are being applied to Veyron’s, Ferraris or any other super or hyper car where money is no object. Then there is the other end where Poundland stores sell car shampoo for £1. Pure logic dictates that there has to be a difference right? But somewhere in the middle, there is a sweet spot and that’s these sort of products I have reviewed here.

Anyway, back to these standard off the shelf and top selling waxes, I have been very happy with most of these waxes and will continue to use them on my daily cars. Some do a great job and perform well after application. That’s why I really wanted to compare these particular mainstream products. Picking the best of the best that I like, then at a later date this summer step up to the ‘Real Luxury’ car wax to see the real differences, if any. But a couple of these waxes are getting close to treading on the toes of the ‘Luxury wax’ end of the market; Dat Wax and Illusion based on their cost to volume ratio. The scores I have given in the past to some of these products I stand by. At the time I didn’t know any better or had anything else better to compare them against until now that is.

Costs:

Multiple products which varied from a very reasonable £12 to a eye watering £75.  All these products I purchased myself, no sponsorship to skew reviews. These are my own thoughts and findings for the products with my own hard earned cash I parted with for each of them.

Meguiar’s :

Gold Class paste  £21 for 311g  click here for individual review

Ultimate Wax Paste  £40 for 311g  click here for individual review

Mirror Bright Polish Wax  £23 for 226g  click here for individual review

Nxt Gen liquid Wax 2.0  £26 for 532ml

Auto Finesse :

Glisten £12 for 500ml

Illusion Show Wax £75 for 150g  click here for individual review

Chemical Guys :

Butter Wet Wax  £23 for 473ml

Cherry Dripping Wet wax  £23 for 473ml  click here for individual review

Instawax+  £16 for 473ml  click here for individual review

Dat Wax :

£25 for 100ml  click here for individual review.

YouTube video of this written review:

The full video of this test can be found on my YouTube channel or here for the shortcut or paste the link to YouTube. It’s easier to see what is going on rather than read about it. The video lasts for thirty two mins or so and has be trying to film, commentate, wax and buff all at the same time. I think I pulled it off after a bit of editing.

https://youtu.be/mfUyFS-hRk8

Date Of Review:

October 2019

Background:

I have reviewed many products for detailing, especially waxes and quick detailers. Some have been rated 10 out of 10 by me when I tested them. Which at the time was correct as I used the product in isolation. However, there are always those nagging thoughts in my mind; what about side by side comparisons? Are the expensive waxes worth it? Can you tell the difference? I aim to answer these questions the best I can.

When you apply a wax on it’s own you can only gauge by what you are working with, application may be great and buffing at the time. But, you forget how others perform that you had previously used or reviewed.

So; I got my favourite waxes out and decided to compare them. That’s five hard paste waxes – old school and my preferred option. Then five soft or liquid waxes of similar products not made in a wax form.

The top three big boys are Meguiar’s, Chemical Guys, Auto finesse and a wild card of Dat Wax.

There are only really three actual ‘hard’ paste waxes which are the Meguair’s trio, Gold Class, Ultimate and Mirror Bright Polishing Paste Wax (made by Meguiar’s). The Auto Finesse Illusion and the Dat Wax are both very soft butter texture type waxes not quite liquid, but not a hard paste in comparison either.

The Sales Pitch(s):

These are found under each of the reviews I have done to date. See the links above. I still have a proper Glisten review to do and my latest purchase of the Butter Wet Wax.

Each of these products claims to have the best shine possible and protection, but they can’t all be right can they?

Instructions:

The instructions were followed on the tins and bottles of each product. The donor hood was my 2014 Toyota Avensis in a metallic grey. I divided the hood into roughly ten even sections via some masking tape. The day was overcast and sunny, but not enough to make the metalwork hot to the touch.

The top five sections were for the hard waxes, and the bottom five sections were for the soft waxes.

Top; left to right – Meguiar’s Gold Class, Meguiar’s Ultimate, Mirror Bright Polish wax, Auto Finesse Illusion, Dat Wax.

Bottom; left to right – Auto Finesse Glisten, Meguiar’s NXT Gen 2.0, Chemical Guys InstaWax+, Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax, Chemical Guys Cherry Dripping Wet Wax.

Application:

The hood was first given a wipe down with quick detailer to get the light dirt off.

The hood was then clayed with Auto Finesse clay bar and a Megs Quick Detailer, not the greatest detailer it has to be said, it’s recommended by Meg’s as a clay lubrication product as well.

The hood was then given a good spraying with 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol to remove anything left, which was quite a lot based on the clean white 100% cotton cloth.

My fingers dragged and squeaked across the paint, I knew then it was clean. The hood was the taped up ready to apply the products. 

Each Product

Rather than going into pages and pages of what I did and how I did it, the video will show you each product as I went along.

Each product was applied with a clean applicator or cloth. The pastes and liquids were left to haze except for the Auto Finesse Glisten which could be buffed off straight away. It took around 15 minutes for all the waxes to cure / haze over.

Each buffing was done with a clean 280gsm microfiber cloth all from the same manufacturer for consistency, the only difference being the colours. I tried to apply each product in the same way, and buff off in the same way. The only difference being the Mirror Bright Paste as that required working into the paint as it was a polish as well. Failing to apply that correctly would have compromised the product. It’s interesting to note that the Auto Finesse Illusion and the Dat Wax never actually hazed over probably due to the oil content not evaporating.

I tried to apply the products to the paint for the same amount of time, and buff to a shine for the same amount of time for continuity.

Each product was only applied once to the cleanest of my paint work I could muster up. That way they all have a same starting point. It was obvious that some required additional coats to get to the desired levels of coverage. But, to be honest, you do need to actually build up the wax layers. It wouldn’t be fair to apply two coats of one and just a single coat of another.

The Video

This is a full half hour video I uploaded to my YouTube channel. The Video has me narrating (some say droning) on what I was doing and what I had found on the comparisons. Put thirty minutes aside and enjoy.

Results:

Don’t get me wrong, I like these products or I wouldn’t have bought them in the first place. I have previously given some of them 10 out of 10 for a review. They are all (mostly) great products from the top suppliers.

HOWEVER; when they are side by side there is a difference and I didn’t think for one second that the results I got were what I was going to predict below, that actually shocked me.

The results I decided to do in three categories. Touch, Shine, Water Sheeting/Beading.

The Touch Tests:

No matter where I go at a car show and my car is all shiny, somebody wants to feel the paintwork. Not sure why, but they do. So I decided to make that a test. No amount of photos will ever show you the feel of a wax.

Process:  I had a single cloth soaked with Isopropyl Alcohol that I could wipe my fingers on between each touch test. That way I had no other waxes on my fingers to cross contaminate to the next touch test.

After a single application of the products and allowed to cure then buffed, touch test was ready. This was a simple feel for the surface, was it smooth, was it streaky or still there. My fingers really could feel a difference. The Meguiar’s Gold Class applied an adequate coating, but no doubt about it that it needed two or three applications to become a nice smooth barrier like the rest. It was really odd to feel the paint roughness still though.

I often refer on the video to a wet feel, of course it wasn’t wet, but just sort of feels silky or smooth buttery texture.

The touch test results are for the Pastes waxes:

1) Mirror Bright,

2) Dat Wax,

2) Auto Finesse – Illusion,

4) Megs – Ultimate,

5) Megs – Gold Class

Conclusion for Paste Waxes: The mirror Bright just felt like glass  where as both the Dat Wax and the Illusion felt more oily which was to be expected by their constitution to be honest. Some may prefer that type of feel. Ultimate was in no way a let down and felt like the Mirror Bright but not quite as deep feeling as it were. The Gold class could be felt as a coating there but certainly not great on a single pass.

The touch test results for the Liquid waxes:

1) Chemical Guys – Butter wet,

2) Chemical Guys – Insta Wax+,

3) Megs – Tech wax 2.0,

4) Chemical Guys – Cherry Dripping Wet,

5) Auto Finesse – Glisten

Conclusion for liquid waxes:  The CG Butter Wet Wax was the clear winner here with the Instawax+ with hardly any difference and a close run for top place. Megs Tech Wax 2.0 felt just like the Ultimate and a glassy feel to it. The CG Cherry Wet Wax was super smooth but just shaded a little by its siblings, a second coat and I would say it would be right up there with the winners. Glisten was on there but felt more watery based and you could feel there wasn’t much of a coating on the paint work, although a little better than then Gold class for a single application.

Overall: There is a difference between the feel of the waxes. The pastes are applying a thicker coating than the misting of Glisten for sure. Especially when you run a finger from bare paint to the waxed areas. It’s a very close thing between the Butter Wet Wax and the Mirror Bright. For a straight forward wax on the Butter Wet takes it, for a little cleanse and slightly harder work the Mirror Bright takes it. The Dat Wax and the Illusion over car show coatings feel like an oily coating to give that much desired consistent smooth look across all panels.

The Visual Inspection

Process: After the applications I was going to look at the colour and how the reflectivity, gloss, depth and warmth of colour of the waxes looked on a paint job. As my car has metallic flake this would be a real tell-tale of shine.

As I mentioned before this was a single application of waxes and inspected from their. The sun was in and out during the inspection. When the sun was out the metallic was made to pop by some waxes better than others.

The results are for the Pastes waxes:

You can clearly see from the top of this picture that the Meguiar’s has warmed the colour of the paint and clear to see.

The results for the Liquid waxes:

This picture shows the same warming glow to the paint from the Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax.

Conclusion:

As each of these products are now applied they should be performing as a finished product as it were. That’s the look of the waxes once applied and the effectiveness of the waxes.

There IS a difference in the way that these waxes can effect the look of a paint, say on a white car using a yellowish based wax will give a warmer glow compared to a white wax for example. It not as immediately obvious on much darker colours. I picked my Toyota as an example to test for the metallic and the neutral grey. My hunch was correct as the colour differences can be clearly seen.

Consider the look of the paint you require if you are that into it, or not worry it’s up to you.

Overall:

The waxes either the paste or liquid made little difference in the end to the look of the paint. A personal preference obviously comes into play as it does all the reviews. But I found the liquid of the Butter Wet wax and the Ultimate wax paste was virtually undisguisable.

1) (Meguiar’s) Mirror Bright Polishing Wax

2) Chemical Guys – Butter Wet

3) Megs – Ultimate

One thing to remember here, the hard waxes will last way longer than the liquid versions just by the nature of how they are applied. This could be a major factor when considering a purchase – value for money.

Water Tester Sheeting and Beading

Process:

I filled a gallon pot with clean water and chucked it over the car. This would show the clearing capacity of the wax properties for sheeting and beading.

I did multiple tests of the water deluge on the video and it’s very easy to see the differences.

On a personal note: to see the beading looks great as there is a barrier between the paint and the water. But as the car moves it will run off anyway. I prefer to see the water run off the car completely, but ‘Bead Bragging’ rights is a huge thing in the detailing circles.

Why do I prefer to see it all run off? Well if dirt lands on the car or dust it will sit around the beads. Once the beads are gone it will leave a dusty layer looking like a moon surface. With sheeting it will at least be a uniform film of dirt.

For the hard wax beading I found the following;

  1. Meg’s Ultimate Wax
  2.  Mirror Bright
  3.  Meg’s Gold Class
  4.  Auto Finesse Illusion
  5.  Dat Wax

For the liquid wax water beading I found the following;

  1. Meg’s Nxt Gen
  2.  Chemcial Guys Insta Wax+
  3.  Auto Finesse Glisten
  4.  Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax
  5.  Chemical Guys Cherry Dripping Wet Wax

For the Overall Sheeting ability I found the following;

  1. Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax
  2. Meg’s Mirror Bright
  3. Chemical Guys InstaWax+
  4. Dat Wax

Conclusion:

Without a question some waxes bead better than others, Meguiar’s take that crown here with both the paste and liquids.

Large amounts of water should run of quickly, and small rain drops tend to form together until the beads are to big and run off.

A little misting and ALL these waxes will bead very nicely and there isn’t a lot in it at all. In fact I would go far as to say you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Perhaps by full on pour of the water is a little unfair, but the sheeting tests is similar to those used on ceramic coating demos. I was just showing the same type of reaction from a well applied wax.

The difference between the hard and soft waxes is minimal if at all.

Overall:

Such a difficult thing to sum up.

It has to be preference for application. Traditional or old school – Hard wax on, cure and buff off. Great results and little goes a long way. New or time saver – Liquid waxes apply and buff off to a great result. This method tends to use more product, but is cheaper.

Beading / Sheeting, under heavy water its easier to see the ones that deal with it quicker, but allowing for beading they all performed well with the hard waxes being the more consistent beaders.

Scores: 

Various out of 10 for these as I have reviewed most of the products before, but more to come soon.

Conclusions:

I’m not convinced that the fine mist spray waxes like Glisten are on a par with the liquids / hard waxes from the other suppliers. Personal preference is a huge factor for application, you either see it as an art form process – hard waxing, or an exercise to keep the car protected and looking good – soft waxes.

Costs between these waxes is insane – £75 for Auto Finesse Illusion that applies beautifully and smells nice looked no different from Chemical Guys InstaWax+ at £16 once both buffed off to a shine.

There is an amount of snobbery regarding brands between users out there. But the big boys vs the cheap end of the market there is a difference no doubt about it. However when you get to these high quality level of suppliers, all their great products in relation to each other there is virtually nothing in it.

Some prefer the wax of ‘So & So’ because it doesn’t streak, but on another car’s paint it may be difficult to buff to a shine. I found that I am using mixtures of brands to get what I want from a detail for a show. No one brand has everything covered better than the rest. You just have to try it for yourselves. If you buy it again then you have a product that works for you. I have a couple of friend’s Craig and David who are both as sad as me when it comes to detailing, we swap products between us to see what we like. I may like the look, but not the process, where as he may like the gloss that I don’t. We have different cars and they are very different colours, white, grey, black, dark blue, light blue etc so we can see the varying results.

I do need to mention that the waxes are dyed. Thats the Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax after applying it to a car for two coats it looked like had been smoking 60 a day for the last twenty years. Same with the Cherry Dripping Wet Wax which left me with red fingers like I had been picking strawberries all day. Just saying!

So, when I go to a car show and a want a wax on the car not just a quick detailer, then it’s a liquid wax. At home with plenty of time it’s back to the hard waxes. I never thought I would hear my self saying that, but I use both types of waxes now. So I have moved on with the times, I think.

Would I buy them again?

To be fair most of them I would, but not the £75 Auto Finesse pot or the Auto Finesse Glisten, not my favourites to be fair, but both are at the opposite end of the price scales to each other. The hard waxes will last me a good few years yet and will probably still be some left to polish the handles on my coffin when I drop dead! Having to choose, the Butter Wet Wax I would buy again, as I would the Mirror Bright polish paste.

Would I recommend any of them?

Without a doubt some I would; such as the Meg’s Ultimate and Gold Class (when multiple layers applied), Butter Wet Wax and Mirror Bright. However, it’s hard to recommend a wax for £35 for few fluid ounces in a little jar or a £75 for a wax that don’t last long as it’s a “show wax”. Especially if there is no real difference that can be seen straight away after application.

Like I said earlier, I am looking forward to using a premium hand blended quality wax which I will review and apply before some car shows – weather permitting of course. To suppliment this post I have also created a Dual Action pad comparison & guide from the manufacturers. Once I have written that up I will also post that very soon before the car show starts again in earnest. This post may not all be exactly Mustang related, but it could be for any car and I hope useful. I have learnt a lot from speaking to the designers of the products and I will share a little of that information in the next forthcoming posts. I am really pleased to say that the blog is also attracting some car detailers to and not just Mustang fans.

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