Natural Carnauba Wax vs. Synthetic Wax: Which One Is Better For Your Car?


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natural carnauba waxes or synthetic car waxes, which one to choose, car detailing planet

If you decided to protect the paint on your car by yourself, you’ve probably come across car waxes. You can choose either natural or synthetic car wax. But, which one is better for your vehicle?

Synthetic car waxes will give your car longer and better protection, but with a lack of shine and gloss. Natural carnauba car waxes last shorter, but your vehicle will have an unbeatable luster and warm glow.

That’s the quick answer, but I decided to dive deep into this topic and show you the benefits of both natural carnauba waxes and synthetic waxes.

Natural Carnauba Car Waxes

Carnauba wax comes from the leaf of the carnauba palm tree.Opens in a new tab. Mostly, those trees are found in northern Brazil, the native area for carnauba palm trees.

Natural car waxes are a mixture of carnauba wax, solvents, and oils. That way, it’s easy to apply to the surface of the car.

Types Of Natural Carnauba Waxes

You can buy natural carnauba waxes in three different forms:

  • Paste wax: this type of wax comes in a solid state. Paste waxes usually contain the highest percentage of carnauba wax. 
  • Liquid wax: this type of wax usually comes in bottles and is easier to spread than paste waxes.
  • Spray wax: these waxes come in spray bottles and are the easiest ones to apply. 

Paste and liquid forms of waxes are better and more durable than spray waxes. So, I recommend you to use any of these two options.

However, if you’re a complete beginner in the car detailing world, you should consider buying a spray wax since it’s the easiest option to apply.

Durability and Protection

In terms of durability, some mid-range natural carnauba waxes will last anywhere between 4-12 weeks. However, if you chose some high-quality waxes, they could last up to 4 months, which is excellent.

Natural carnauba waxes (especially in paste form) give excellent UV, heat, and water protection for the car’s paint. They also protect the paint from oxidation, contaminants, and mechanical erosion.

Natural carnauba waxes will also make it easier for you to wash the car. All the dirt grime, bugs, and tar won’t stick to the paint and will quickly rinse off.

When it comes to stone chips and other solid materials, you won’t get too much protection. However, if something falls to the car while you’re driving, it will cause fewer scratches since the waxed car has very slick paint.

Ease of Application and Removal

Natural car waxes are easy to apply. However, you need to prepare the car paint for it. Before you apply car wax to the car paint, you should thoroughly wash it, decontaminate the color, and polish it if needed. Then, it’ll be easy to apply the wax. It’ll bond to the paint and will last longer.

Of course, there’s a difference in ease of application for paste, liquid, and spray waxes. Paste waxes are the hardest to apply, following by liquid ones, and spray waxes are the easiest to apply.

However, paste and liquid waxes will give you the best protection. I only recommend you spray waxes in between maintenance washes.

When it comes to removing natural carnauba waxes from the paint, it’s an easy task. Just use some wax cleaner as a pre-wash, and you’ll successfully strip it.

However, if you don’t want to strip the wax from the paint, make sure to follow the proper steps for washing your car. Don’t ever use dish soaps since they’ll strip the wax.

Gloss and Shine

When it comes to gloss and shine, no product in the market can do a better job than natural carnauba car wax.

Natural carnauba waxes will give your car a deep shiny look with a warm glow. Car enthusiasts adore car waxes because of that, especially before some car meetings.

Price

Most natural carnauba waxes are priced anywhere between $10-$30. So, it’s a cheap investment in my opinion. 

Some of the best natural carnauba waxes cost less than $20. You can check my recommendation for the best car waxes here (pay attention to the first two). 

PROS

  • Budget-friendly
  • Come in many different types
  • Not hard to apply to the surface (especially spray waxes)
  • They give your car the deepest shine and warm glow
  • All-natural ingredients
  • They can be applied over already waxed car

CONS

  • Don’t protect your paint from scratches like some other products
  • They don’t last as long as synthetic waxes, sealants, or ceramic coatings
  • You need to be careful not to apply them to car plastic parts (they could become white permanently)
  • You can’t apply them in direct sunlight

Synthetic Car Waxes

Synthetic car waxes are a mixture of chemical polymers created to give your car better and longer-lasting protection than natural car waxes.

The most significant difference (asides from ingredients) from natural waxes is that synthetic waxes bond chemically with car paint, increasing durability and protection.

Types of Synthetic Car Waxes

Just as natural car waxes, synthetic waxes also come in three different types/forms. 

You can choose between:

  • Paste synthetic waxes
  • Liquid synthetic waxes
  • Spray synthetic waxes

The differences between those three types are the same as natural car waxes, so there’s no need for me to repeat it.

Durability and Protection

Since synthetic car waxes chemically bond to the paint, they’ll offer your car longer-lasting protection. 

You can expect synthetic car waxes to last anywhere between 3-6 months. Some higher-quality products could last up to one year.

Just as their natural counterpart, synthetic car waxes will protect your car from UV, heat, and water. The hydrophobic properties of artificial car waxes are much better than natural carnauba waxes.

Synthetic car waxes will give your car a bit better protection from moisture, bugs and tars, oxidation, and contaminants.

Also, synthetic waxes may prevent swirl marks and light scratches better than natural carnauba waxes.

Gloss and Shine

Even though synthetic car waxes will give your car an excellent gloss and shine, you can’t compare them to natural carnauba waxes.

Synthetic waxes will give the color a cold shine look, and it won’t be so deep and shiny.

Don’t think that your car won’t shine. It will, but natural carnauba waxes will do a better job here.

Ease of Application and Removal

Synthetic car waxes are a bit easier to apply than natural carnauba waxes. 

However, when preparing the paint, you should be more careful and do a more thorough job since they chemically bond to the coat.

The most significant advantage of synthetic car waxes is that many can be applied in direct sunlight.

Long story short, the preparation is more complex, but the application is more effortless.

Removal of synthetic car waxes is easy, use a wax remover product when washing your car, and you’ll be good.

The great thing is that synthetic car waxes are more resistant to dish soaps and other “wrong” soaps used to wash the car.

Price

The price of synthetic car waxes is similar to natural ones. You can expect them to cost anywhere between $15-$40. 

I think it’s still a budget-friendly option since you can use those products for many applications.

PROS

  • Last longer than natural carnauba waxes
  • It offers your paint a better protection
  • Most of them can be applied in direct sunlight
  • Some of them won’t ruin the plastic if you accidentally spread them over it
  • Great water-repellency properties

CONS

  • They require more thorough preparation of the paint
  • They don’t give the car that deep shine and warm glow as natural carnauba waxes
  • Applying sealant over wax isn’t recommended, while you can apply natural waxes on sealants (synthetic waxes)

Which One Should You Use?

Now that you know the most important things for both natural and synthetic waxes, you probably ask yourself, “Which one should I get?”. 

There’s no definitive answer. But here’s the quick guide:

  • If you want a deep shine and warm glow, and it’s not a problem for you to re-apply the wax very often, go with natural carnauba waxes
  • If you want longer-lasting protection for your car, go with synthetic car waxes.

Some Questions You May Also Ask

What’s the best natural carnauba wax?
In my opinion, there are two products that I could recommend to you. Collinite No. 845 Liquid Insulator Wax, and P21S Concours Carnauba Wax. You can check them here.

What’s the best synthetic car wax?
For the synthetic waxes, I recommend you use Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax. Check here (number 4. on the list).

Do you have to polish the car before applying paint protection?
If the paint is in an excellent state, there’s no need for polishing. However, if your car has swirls marks, scratches, oxidation, and similar, you should polish it before applying any paint protection to it.

Are there any other types of paint protection?
Besides natural carnauba waxes and synthetic waxes (sealants), you can also choose ceramic and graphene coatings.Opens in a new tab. They are much more expensive, require more work, but last much longer.

How often should I re-apply car waxes?
It depends on the product. However, when you see that the paint doesn’t have that shine and water repellency anymore, you should re-apply the protection. If you’re using natural car waxes, you can re-apply them every 8-10 weeks. If you’re using synthetic waxes, you can re-apply them every 4-5 months. Again, it depends on the product. Always read the description.

Conclusion

Whether you decide to get a natural carnauba wax or synthetic car waxes, you’ll be delighted with the results. I showed you some key differences, and now it’s easy for you to make a decision.

I’m a bigger fan of natural carnauba waxes because of that unbeatable deep gloss and warm glow. Both of them are great and will protect your paint – which is the primary purpose of all paint protectants.

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