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The Best Car Waxes for a Shiny Exterior

A man wipes a vintage red Chevrolet with wax.
Chemical Guys

“What’s the point of waxing your car?” you ask. Oh, there are so many reasons. Regular waxing protects your car from sunlight, salt, bird droppings, tree sap, and oxidation—all sources of possible paint damage. Unless you want to repaint your car at regular intervals, get out the wax! Plus, a waxed car looks good and saves you money by helping you avoid having to invest in a full exterior detail of your car.

Need more motivation? Much like mowing the lawn or cleaning, waxing the car can be quite relaxing, even meditative. Plus, it feels good to put in some elbow grease (pun intended) so that you can reap the benefits of improving the health and looks of your car. Oh, and don’t forget to wash your car first!

Purchasing Car Wax

When searching for a wax that will make your car perfectly shiny, it’s important to understand what’s available on the market. Consider these key factors to help guide your decision:

  • Wax Base: There’s carnauba- and water-based wax. There’s also the increasingly popular ceramic coating as well as various fast-finish sprays. It really depends on your preferences, your car, and maybe some experimenting.
  • Effort: Some waxes take a bit more time and energy to apply. It’s an activity that some people enjoy, but if you’d rather not bother with it, check out spray applications for a faster alternative. You’ll find something that you like.
  • Loyalty: Yes, some of us are loyal to our tried-and-true products. If you like what you’ve been using but want to try a variation (maybe a long-lasting wax of the same product), then do it!

Best Paste Wax: Meguiar’s Gold Class Carnauba Plus

A car wax tin presented in black and gold packaging.

If you’re familiar with car care products, you’ve likely heard of Meguiar’s. They’ve been around for more than 100 years! This premium carnauba and polymer blend paste wax improves shine and provides long-lasting protection against all of the usual culprits. What the heck is carnauba, though? It’s made from the carnauba palm tree of Brazil and is used as shoe polish, dental floss, and floor polish! Why? Because it has a high melting temperature, is water-resistant, and is UV ray protective. The people at Meguiar’s know this, and now, you do, too.

Best Paste Wax

Meguiar's Gold Class Carnauba Plus

This car wax by Meguiar's performs well against harmful debris, the elements, and UV rays. Wax on, wax off.

Best Spray Wax: SHINE ARMOR Ceramic Coating

A purple spray bottle of liquid wax.

Another popular way to wax cars is via spray application. Also, it requires less muscle power. Just spray and wipe off. SHINE ARMOR touts their 3-in-1 product as a ceramic wax. It provides a waterless wash, coat, and shine. This ceramic wax car sealant removes grease, grime, and dirt upon application.

Best Spray Wax

SHINE ARMOR Ceramic Coating

Don't have a lot of time, but still want to take care of your car? Check out this quick spray wax with its powerful formula.

Best Wax for Black Paint: Carfidant Scratch and Spot Remover

A black bottle of wax with yellow buffer.

White cars show dirt and wear and tear more clearly than other colors, so why do you need a special wax for your black car? Well, try erasing chalk on a black chalkboard. It never really gets clean! Carfidant has the solution with their black car scratch remover. It’s super easy to use and incredibly effective in removing blemishes such as water spots and oxidation, and restores the shine of your black car. First, wash and dry your car. Then, apply the wax scratch remover and polish with the included buffer pad.

Best Wax for Black Paint

Carfidant Scratch and Spot Remover

Black-painted cars have to be handled a bit differently than other cars when it comes to waxing and polishing. This product proves to be a quick and effective fix.

Carnauba Cream Wax: Chemical Guys Cream Car Wax

A yellow bottle of liquid wax.
Chemical Guys

The guys and gals at Chemical Guys prioritize the satisfaction of their customers (Yes, that’s you!) and the health of your car’s exterior. Just like people need sunscreen, your car needs wax, they say. Their Butter Wet Wax formula includes carnauba, polymers, and resins. These ingredients improve shine and add extended protection. Use this product over a ceramic coating, on metal or glass, or even on your boat or SUV. And, hey, it smells like bananas!

Carnauba Cream Wax

Chemical Guys Cream Car Wax

Get on board with the carnauba enthusiasts! Why? Because it works, that's why. This product can be used far and beyond your car, too!

Best Water-Based Wax: The Last Coat Premium Car Wax

A blue and black spray bottle of liquid wax.
The Last Coat

The Last Coat intends to be the last coat, for real. The formula is a water-based liquid infusion that’s hydrophobic, serves as a UV protectant, and is free of oil and silicone. To achieve a glossy shine, just spray your microfiber towel, and then spread the solution with the same towel. Lastly, buff away with a clean towel for a super glossy shine. This product bonds and sets within seven minutes. Essentially, you can use The Last Coat to shine up just about any surface. Apply it to an already waxed car for extra sheen.

Best Water-Based Wax

The Last Coat Premium Car Wax

When you are done beautifying the exterior, take this product into your car and get the dashboard, seats, you name it. It works in the kitchen, too.

Britta Kallevang Britta Kallevang
Britta is a professional writing tutor and freelance writer that is trained in journalistic, technical, and creative copywriting. At LifeSavvy, she researches products, writes about the items, and shares what she's uncovered with readers. Her writing is comprehensive and sometimes a bit silly. Read Full Bio »
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