The Best Carnauba Wax for Cars

The Auto Care Geeks tested over 30 quality carnauba waxes, looking for the best durability and shine performance. Our choices below passed with high marks and won’t dissapoint.

Let’s face it, keeping your car waxed regularly is important. Waxing helps protect your paint and gives you a deep and glowing showroom shine.

Carnauba wax, derived from a plant native to northern Brazil, is considered by many car enthusiasts to be the king of car waxes. Carnauba creates a warm glow that’s hard to beat. The best carnauba wax is P21S Carnauba Wax. It’s a premium blend, with outstanding shine, gloss, and depth properties.

While P21S ranks highest on our recommended list, there are other solid choices. Our list includes top quality waxes, all great in their own way.

The Best Carnauba Waxes in 2020 & Reviews

1 – P21S Carnauba Wax

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P21S wax has been around since the ’80s, but don’t let that fool you. P21S has consistently earned high marks by consumer reporting magazines worldwide. Made from premium Brazilian #1 yellow carnauba, plus beeswax, this blend creates a beautiful gloss that’s hard to duplicate.

It’s easy to apply by hand and it’s silky smooth. It’s free of additives and dyes, so it won’t stain your plastic trim. Also, it contains zero abrasives. If you’re on the lookout for a car wax with no residue, look no further. P21S wax won’t leave a powdery mess after buffing. Durability is consistent with many other carnauba waxes, lasting 5-6 weeks for most applications.

If you want an easy, brilliant shine, P21S is for you.

2 – Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax

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The Chemical Guys have grown a cult following with car detail fans over the past decade. They have a true passion for making quality blends that maximize shine. Chemical Guys Butter Wet Wax is amazing. It’s a liquid carnauba wax blend, making applications as easy as pie. There’s almost zero dry time – no need to wait for the wax to haze. Wipe on, wipe off. This is extremely helpful when on a time crunch. Why waste hours waxing when you don’t have to? Also, you can apply this carnauba wax to a wet car, no kidding! Another huge time saver.

The shine and depth are intense on light and dark colors alike. However, the show car shine on darker colors is unparalleled. This makes Butter Wet Wax one of our top picks.

3 – Mothers California Gold Pure Brazilian Carnauba Liquid Wax

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The Mothers carnauba wax formula has gone unchanged year after year for one simple reason, it works. Mothers markets a step-by-step system, with their carnauba liquid wax being the final step in the process. It’s a solid choice for all paint colors, light to dark. The sparkle and shine hold up well, and further depth can be achieved by applying thin layers.

Like all carnauba waxes we’ve reviewed, there are no abrasives and this Mothers wax formula won’t stain your trim. All around, it’s a great, dependable carnauba wax.

4 – Meguiar’s Gold Class Carnauba Plus Premium Paste Wax

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Meguiar’s is known for their high-quality waxes. Car detailers and enthusiasts alike trust their formulas to perform. Meguiar’s Gold Class Wax holds up well, bringing out your ride’s new car shine. This wax does include synthetic polymers to help enhance the glossy shine and for added durability. Don’t worry, it’s still really easy to apply and holds up very well. This one includes a foam applicator.

5 – Griot’s Garage Premium Carnauba Paste Wax

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Don’t let the old-fashion tin fool you. Griot’s Carnauba Paste Wax is formulated with some of the highest grade wax around – these guys don’t mess around. The shine is simply amazing and protection solid. This carnauba wax goes on smooth and leaves a silky soft finish. Application is quick and easy with minimal curing time. The entire tin will cover at least 14 vehicles. If you want ‘head-turning’ results, give this one a try.

6 – Meguiar’s Gold Class Carnauba Plus Premium Quick Wax

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Liquid waxes have their advantages. Meguai’s G7716 Gold Class Carnauba can be used in direct sunlight. No need to wax your ride only in the shade. Plus, it’s easy to quickly apply when you need it – simply spray and wipe, that’s it. There’s no messy residue and it smells great. The formula is a unique blend of carnauba wax and synthetics, making this a great choice if you’re needing a deep glow that will last a little longer.


What is Carnauba Wax?

Unlike car paint sealants, carnauba wax is natural and plant-based. It’s also referred to as Brazil wax or palm wax. It’s derived from the leaves of a plant native to Brazil, the Copernicia prunifera. The leaves are cut down and dried. Then, through a series of processes, the wax is extracted in powder form. Brazil has exported carnauba since the late 1800’s, and remains its top producer.

Carnauba wax has a wide variety of applications. It’s been used as an ingredient in floor, shoe, and furniture polish. Also, due to its waterproofing properties, it’s a main ingredient in surfboard wax. It’s most widely known for its automotive applications. Carnauba wax creates a bright glossy finish. It’s been used for decades by car pros and detailers, as well as do-it-yourself car enthusiasts


Benefits of Using Carnauba Wax

There’s nothing quite like the warm glow and sheen of a car freshly waxed with carnauba. It’s the original king of waxes, tried and tested to perform. Let’s cover why it’s important to consider using carnauba wax on your ride.

best carnauba wax

Shine Performance

Who doesn’t like driving a freshly cleaned and waxed car down the road? There’s nothing like the warming glow of a car layered with natural carnauba wax. Carnauba creates a glossy and rich depth to the paint finish. Many other coatings such as sealants and ceramics are formulated to help match carnauba’s brilliant shine abilities. Some come close, but nothing beats the luxurious glow and feel of carnauba.

Contaminant Protection

Waxes help protect the paint from harsh contaminants like dust, dirt particles, and more. Instead of harming the paint finish, the wax takes the beating. However, as the wax becomes ‘dirty’ over time, it’ll need to be stripped and replaced regularly to ensure paint remains protected.

Resale Value

Cars protected by quality waxes can retain more value when it’s time to sell or trade-in. Dull and dingy paint won’t help boost your car’s value; it could decrease your chances of resale. Wax regularly as insurance down the road once it’s time to sell.

Easier Washing Experience

Keeping your car washed and clean is extremely important. Waxed cars are much easier to wash as water beads quickly off the paint. Improved beading helps improve drying times and greatly reduces water spots.


How to Choose the Best Carnauba Wax

Not all carnauba waxes are the same and formulas can vary. Don’t let the wax potency be your deciding factor. Products stating ‘pure’ carnauba wax typically mean the only wax ingredients are carnauba. These pure carnauba waxes still include other solvents to help soften the wax for added performance. There’s no automotive wax made entirely of carnauba. Carnauba is extremely hard in its natural state, as hard as concrete.

There are plenty of carnauba blended waxes, many of which are excellent. Bee’s wax, for example, is a popular wax blended with carnauba.

Finishing Waxes

Finding the best wax for you starts with your car’s paint. If your car is fairly new, typically 3 years or newer, your paint is probably in good shape. The clear coat is still solid with few imperfections in the paint. If that’s you, try starting with a liquid spray wax. It’ll go on quick and easy with enough protection to help counter the elements. The only downfall here is you’ll need to apply every few weeks, as spray wax applications are typically thinner.

If spray wax isn’t your thing, go straight for paste or liquid waxes. Make sure to stick with finishing waxes, specifically waxes with carnauba that contain no abrasives or polishers. Be on the lookout for waxes with ‘cleaner’ or ‘all-in-one’ in their name. These waxes contain abrasives and polishing compounds. If your paint is already in good shape, avoid these types of waxes.

Cleaner Waxes

If your car is a little older, carnauba wax can still be a great choice. However, be sure to first check your car’s paint for scratches, swirl marks, and any roughness to the touch. It may be time to clay bar your car’s paint from end to end, removing embedded debris stuck in your clear coat. If swirl marks are present, check out cleaner waxes with carnauba. They’re also marketed as ‘all-in-one’ waxes.

Cleaner waxes include fine abrasives that help smooth and fill light swirl marks in your finish. Be careful though, if not used correctly, cleaner waxes can do more harm than good. Another, more long term option, including fully polish your car’s paint, then apply a quality non-abrasive finishing carnauba wax to your car.

Additional Factors

  • Price Point – Stick to your budget. There are pricier options but they typically have a higher ratio of natural oils and improved wax grade. However, check out lower priced options also, many still perform very well.
  • Application Ease – Compare application and buffing instructions. Applying any car coating can take time, be sure it’s easy to apply and buff off.
  • Gloss Properties – Look for high gloss reflective features.
  • Durability – Review how long the wax will last under normal conditions. Most instructions will list time between coats, re-application rates, etc.
  • Liquid vs. Paste – This comes down to personal preference, as liquids and pastes both perform well.

Carnauba Wax FAQ

Is carnauba a hard or soft wax?

Compared to other waxes, carnauba is much harder. For example, beeswax is softer and provides a slightly different and diminished glow. Carnauba’s harder finish gives paint more of a glass reflection with superior warmth.

What’s more durable, paint sealants or carnauba?

The best car paint sealants last longer due to their synthetic polymers and only need to be applied several times per year. In contrast, carnauba needs to be re-applied more often and has a lower heat threshold. However, sealants are more difficult to apply, and many consider their shine performance subpar to carnauba.

What’s better, a thin or thick layer of wax?

Less is more, always! Thin, manageable layers of wax are easier to apply and produce better results. All waxes include solvents as well as the wax oils. As carnauba wax is applied, the solvents evaporate, leaving behind the solids and natural oils. Thicker coats interfere with this process and create streaks, and the buffing process can be a nightmare. Thicker wax layers won’t increase depth or shine. Stick with a thin layer (or several layers).

Can you layer more than one coat of wax?

Yes, and many car pros choose to layer typically two coats. Make sure layers are thin and wait at least 12 hours between coats.

Are liquid waxes better than traditional paste waxes?

Liquid waxes have no clear advantages over paste waxes. Both are similar with performance, and it’ll typically come down to personal preference.

Does carnauba wax need to cure after buffing?

Yes, the best carnauba waxes for cars need time to marinate! Keep your car garaged for at least 12 hours for the wax to harden and cure fully. This will ensure the wax shell is fully protecting the paint finish.

How do I know when the wax is ready to be buffed off?

Try the swipe test. Use a microfiber towel and swipe your finger over a test spot. If the wax smears, it still needs time to dry. If it’s smear-free and clear, you’re ready to buff.

Sources:

  1. A Guide Into Wax – Detailing Wiki
  2. How do I know when my car needs a wax job? – How Stuff Works

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