Its a common question we see, and probably one you see posted on a variety of forums. I'm here to dispel any myths, misconceptions, or rhetoric about color specific waxes.
The very first thing to understand is that your choice of wax really has very little to do with the color of your vehicle. Wax doesn't know what color paint paint its being applied to, nor will it change characteristics based on what color paint is under it. Your choices of wax need to be predicated more on your desired effect: Durability // Aesthetics // Ease of Use // Price
Yes, there are waxes out there marketed as to only be used on a specific color. I'm here to tell you they're more snake oil than hard facts. Some contain oily tinted fillers that will give you a short lived 'masking' effect to help hide imperfections, but this has more to do with the filling ability of the product than it does with the fact that its dyed black. The same effect can be had using a NON-tinted glaze, like Adam's Brilliant Glaze, so the addition of color specific dyes is moot.
Waxes DO NOT remove swirl marks or correct paint issues! This is a common misconception among many newcomers to detailing. Wax is a coating, nothing more. In order to remove imperfections like swirl marks, spider webbing, scratches, etc. a car will need to be polished (most likely by machine) Once the paint is perfected the wax can provide the most possible enhancement. Applying the very best wax to poorly prepped paint will only result in disappointment.
That being said certain colors do display a wider range of characteristics that can be ENHANCED by your wax choice. For example black is a color that, when cleaned and corrected, will display great depth and a 'wet look' as opposed to colors like silver or white. Using a carnauba wax on black will generally produce a deeper/wetter look, assuming the paint has been properly corrected and prepped. That same wax applied to silver or white won't have the same effect, thats not to say there isn't an enhancement, but its less noticeable as white/silver aren't colors that display depth to begin with.
SO HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT WAX FOR MY BLACK CAR?
Your Last Step Product (LSP) should be chosen based on your criteria for what you're trying to achieve. Below are some outlined characteristics to help you understand what each products strengths are.
- SEALANTS - Products like Adam's MSS or the soon to be introduced Spray Sealant are synthetic. They contain no naturally occurring 'wax' but many people will still refer to them as a wax. Sealants are typically more durable than a naturally occurring wax due to their overall higher melting point and detergent resistance. Products like these are typically the best choice for someone seeking the longest lasting protection for their paint. Sealants are also typically known for very bright, reflective, mirror like, shines. They tend to lack the depth/wetness of a natural wax but still give very intensely reflective shine.
- GLAZES - Products like Adam's Brilliant Glaze are excellent for enhancing gloss on a finish and are actually made using some carnauba wax. The drawback is that due to their composition glazes are not intended to provide protection. They are highly susceptible to heat and detergents, meaning that glazes alone, though good for paint enhancement in a hurry, are not long term solutions for protection. Use glazes in conjunction with sealants or waxes for better results and protection.
- BASIC CARNAUBA - This is a term that is very familiar to most detailing enthusiasts and car nuts in general, but its also widely misunderstood. Carnauba is a naturally occurring wax harvested from a variety of different palms and can come in varying grades. Typically the quality/grade of the wax dictates the durability, ease of application, and how it will enhance a cars finish. Liquid waxes on average utilize a lower grade yellow carnauba, which is relatively inexpensive and generally easy to apply. Adam's Buttery Wax for example utilizes these types of waxes, blended with other ingredients resulting in an easy to apply, easy to remove, 'quick' liquid wax. The trade off for these characteristics are lowered heat/detergent resistance and slightly less enhancement to the paint as compared to waxes made with higher grade carnauba.
- PREMIUM CARNAUBA - On the other hand Adam's Americana Paste Wax is comprised of the highest grade of carnauba available. This specific type of carnauba is chosen for its higher heat and detergent resistance. In addition with the physical particles of wax being substantially larger than its lower grade cousins this wax will provide more enhancement of depth and gloss on dark paint. These characteristics are more exaggerated on black and dark colors, but are present on any color the wax is applied to.
In the end, what I hope you take away from this thread, is that the choice of 'wax' has very little to do with the color of the vehicle and more about what you're trying to achieve. Waxes can only do so much to enhance whats there, proper paint correction and prep do more for black than wax can. A wax is meant first to serve as a layer of protection and secondly a way to enhance the characteristics of the color a small amount. So choose your last step product (sealant, glaze, wax, or a combination) based on what your primary goal is - If you're all about protection go with the sealant. If kicking that gloss up just a little is your goal, then carnauba is the way to go! Also don't be afraid to experiment to find your shine.... as much as detailing is a process, its very much an art, and like art very much subjective. Find the product(s) you think make your car look best and enjoy!
Hope you find this helpful and happy detailing!
Edited by Dylan@Adams, 09 May 2012 - 04:39 PM.