LAST UPDATED: June 3, 2019
Best Carnauba Waxes: Go All-Natural with Your Waxing Routine
Get a great shine and protective layer with these top carnauba waxes
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON June 3, 2019
Coming from the leaves of a northeastern Brazilian plant, carnauba wax is often known as the "best" type of wax for many reasons; chief among them is great looks and long-lasting durability. While some hybrid and synthetic waxes offer a lot of convenience in terms of quick application, many purists swear off anything but carnauba as blasphemy. If you want to see if carnauba wax lives up to the hype, the best place to start is with our guide on the best car waxes made of carnauba.
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Why Buy a Carnauba Wax
- Get a hard wax. In its natural form, carnauba is hard and dense. As a wax, especially a paste wax, carnauba is known for its tough finished layer that offers a lot in terms of durability and longevity. When you want the best in terms of durability, carnauba is the best place to start.
- Shed water. One purpose of a good wax is to repel and bead water on the surface of a vehicle. As a natural wax, carnauba creates a hydrophobic layer that often does a better job of repelling water than lower-quality options. This helps to protect the paint underneath and to create a better shine.
- Apply quickly with a spray. While it's not well-known as a quick wax, carnauba sprays actually can be applied fairly quickly if you aren't as concerned with the finished results. Like other spray waxes, corners are sometimes cut, but a lot of conveniences is gained in the process.
Types of Carnauba Waxes
Many purists will only use the most natural, 100 percent carnauba waxes available. Natural carnauba waxes simply use the real stuff derived from the leaves of Brazilian palm trees. While most aren't truly 100 percent carnauba (since the substance is often too hard to be applied by itself), natural formulas promote the benefits of carnauba the most.
Some brands like to use carnauba in combination with synthetic or other types of waxes to create a blend. In theory, this is a good way of getting a lot of the benefits of different wax types, but this isn't the case for a lot of budget options. Instead, blends tend to be common with quick-and-dirty wax solutions that focus more on speed and convenience than anything else.
Top Brands of Carnauba Waxes
The maker of Meguiar’s Ultimate Wax, the company didn't become one of the most recognized brands in automotive car care products for no reason. In the company's 110-year-plus history, it has produced a number of high-quality waxes and polishes, starting with Frank Meguiar, Jr.'s first bottle of furniture polish. The company creates a lot of different types of waxes, but its Meguiar's A2216 16 Ounce Carnauba Wax remains near the top for anyone wanting a good carnauba-based solution.
Lacking the broad product selection of other competitors, P21S has largely focused on automotive detailing products since starting production in 1984. Based in the roots of the German automotive industry, P21S is largely known for making high-quality waxes that many purists enjoy over quick and simple waxing solutions. The P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax is one example of the company's dedicated waxing products.
Carnauba Wax Pricing
- $20 and under: This is the budget range of most carnauba waxes that are filled with spray-on and liquid solutions, all designed to be quick in an application. Results tend to vary, but some brand name products can offer a great finish and decent protection.
- $20-$40: Higher-quality waxes are more common in this price range. Finishes tend to be better, in addition to the coat's durability, when you spend a little extra on a single bottle or jar of carnauba wax.
- $40 and above: There are few singular waxes in this price range, but the ones that do exist tend to be high in quality and application difficulty. For the most parts, waxes at this price come in whole car care kits that include other cleaning products.
Like any wax, there are different forms that carnauba waxes come in. Spray waxes, for example, tend to be very common for general waxes since they are easy to apply with the right applicator. On the other end, liquid waxes are more difficult to apply but offer better protection and longevity. There are a few carnauba sprays and liquid solutions available, but the best carnauba products to balance the benefits of both come in a paste form.
- Applicator: In addition to the wax itself, you will need to pay attention to how you will actually get the wax onto the surface of a vehicle. Hand and powered applicators tend to be the most common solutions available. Applying carnauba wax by hand is possible, but it will likely take a lot of work given the hardness of the substance. Power applicators take more skill to use but can make carnauba easier to work with at the end of the day.
- Vehicle Age: The age of a car plays a large part in determining the right kind of wax to buy. Newer vehicles, for example, don't need a lot of restoration or protection since the paintwork hasn't experienced a lot of wear and tear. With that said, it's never too early to start protecting your car's finish. Older vehicles tend to work well with carnauba waxes but be careful with anything that contains abrasive chemicals that remove stains and dirt. These chemicals can damage oxidized finishes further.
- Plastic Parts: Carnauba wax is quite versatile in the types of materials it can treat and protect, but plastics have a habit of making it more difficult to apply and wipe off without leaving marks or residue. If your car has a lot of plastic parts like panels and bumpers, find a carnauba wax that has been formulated to work with plastics if possible.
Best Carnauba Wax Reviews & Recommendations 2020
P21S' Carnauba Paste Wax is on the opposite end of the simple-and-easy spectrum of waxes. In other words, the convenience of many liquids and spray waxes offer isn't to be found here. Instead, this paste wax is all about the finished result. If you want a dynamic shine, to make your vehicle look brand new, and unrivaled protection, be prepared to work for it with this 6.2-ounce jar of paste.
The paste sports a buttery texture that essentially melts onto a car's surface with little effort. Useable with both power and hand applicators, it's easy to get an even coating of the paste as you rub it into the surface. The paste is also friendly to other surfaces like black plastics. Once everything is said and done, the resulting finish has a good "wet" look that is common on many showroom and show-car finishes.
The protective qualities of the paste wax are good, but longevity is the Achilles heel of this wax. As a soft wax, the protective coat degrades quickly in bad weather conditions or during long road travels. In general, you can expect around a month of protection under normal driving circumstances, but be prepared for the lifespan to shrink to a few weeks with abnormal conditions.
Mothers California Gold Pure Carnauba Wax is a liquid solution that does a good job of balancing easy application and good finished results. Coming in many size options (16 ounces, one gallon, and several bulk packages), the wax is also a good value purchase if you want to buy in bulk to stay well-stocked in your garage. For first-time buyers, however, we recommend the 16-ounce bottle to get a sense of what this wax can do.
If you are looking for a wax that excels in automotive protection, this wax is hard to beat. The finished results do a good job of keeping the paint protected from UV rays (with proper and timely reapplication), and the surface beads water better than most other value waxes we have seen and tested. The liquid solution is also quick and easy to apply.
The finished look doesn't match the protective qualities the wax boasts. While results vary depending on the application, it's difficult to get the noticeable shine other waxes to make it easy to achieve. On light-colored vehicles, you may also notice some streaks that will need some extra attention to remove.
If you're looking for a simple bottle of liquid carnauba wax, Meguiar's A2216 bottle is hard to beat in terms of results and easy application. As a result, this is a very beginner-friendly wax that offers a low-barrier entry into DIY car care. The 16-ounce bottle size offers a good amount of wax for a small price tag.
Despite the low price, the wax actually has a lot to offer in terms of overall finish and protective qualities. The shine isn't the highest in terms of high gloss, but it is noticeable enough to give a vehicle a semi-like-new look. More importantly, the durability of the protective coat can last between three and six months depending on your driving frequency and common weather conditions.
The application can be slightly difficult when it comes to getting an even coat. Like most waxes, this one suffers in performance in direct sunlight and can produce an awkward smell if it heats up enough. Minor streaks and the white residue is also common but generally can be wiped off with a good microfiber towel and a little bit of muscle.
Another excellent option for those who want to achieve a deep, wet look is Butter Wet Wax. Coming from Chemical Guys, this product offers exceptional quality and showroom finishing results. It applies to different surfaces and paints without much effort, providing not only incredible shine but also high protection against UVA and UVB rays.
As the name suggests, this product melts into the paint like butter. Thanks to the carnauba formula, the wax gently cleanses the car surface without causing any damage. You can even use it on painted wheels, chrome bumpers, windshields, and other surface types. The best part is the protective coat that leaves all these surfaces well-guarded against all kinds of threats. The coat protects against water spots, bird droppings, dust, road tar, and more. Therefore, you'll be driving with some extra peace of mind knowing your vehicle is shiny and highly protected on the road.
The extraordinary finishing result doesn't last, though. The wax leaves a shiny film, but it tends to wear off rather quickly. Water and dirt can easily make holes in the protective coat and make frequent reapplications necessary. Also, the wax doesn't always provide a glossy effect, especially on vehicles with bright paints.
If you're looking for a heavy-duty carnauba wax, the Mothers California Paste might be a perfect option for you. It's a quality product formulated to clean and protect the car’s surface. With it, you can achieve long-lasting finishing results and protect your vehicle for extended periods.
This particular wax gained its huge popularity because of its quality and durable formula. The pure Brazilian carnauba wax is completely safe for the car’s surface and proves to smoothen flaws and other imperfections on the paint. Along with general cleaning and maintaining abilities, the product also offers heat protection for a long-lasting shine. You'll enjoy a glossy finish for several months with just one application of this carnauba wax.
A little of this wax goes a long way, but the application might require some elbow grease. A lot of buyers complained about the wax not being easy to apply and wipe clean. Another thing to keep in mind is that the product leaves a strong chemical smell on the hands and surfaces. To avoid feeling uncomfortable after the use, you might want to wear gloves.
Turtle Wax is one of those companies that never fail to deliver quality car cleaning and detailing products. This time, we have a spray wax with carnauba that is well worth your attention. Thanks to the unique formula, the wax applies in a breeze, treats the surface, and leaves a glossy, protective coat.
Those who own black cars always struggle with finding the best products to boost their vehicle's paint and make it shine like new. Black surfaces are difficult to maintain and repair, which is why Turtle Wax made an effort to produce a spray wax that can cover scratches, swirls, and other imperfections.
The wax also leaves a glossy and protective finish that repels UV rays and water. That will preserve the black color of your vehicle and make it shiny for longer than usual, regardless of road conditions. All you need to do is to spray the product on a clean surface, away from direct sunlight.
However, wiping off the product might not be that easy. You'll most likely need to make several swipes to prevent spots and residues building on your flawless car surface. It's also important to keep in mind that this wax doesn't remove deep scratches and swirls. It's mostly designed for regular cleaning and maintenance.
The 303 spray wax is a convenient option for those looking for a quick solution to the lack of shine on their vehicles. Because it comes in the form of a spray, the wax is easy to apply and makes detailing and spot-cleaning super quick. You can use it to get rid of dust, dirt, debris, and water spots, making the surface clean and shiny again. On top of that, the product comes at an attractive price.
The biggest benefit of this spray wax is its gentle formula. It helps you get rid of harmful residues without damaging your vehicle in the process, while also leaving a protective layer. The UV and water protection lasts for several months, and the spray is safe to use on a gel coat, clear coat, paint, fiberglass, plastic, and other surface types.
The application is pretty simple and doesn't require a lot of effort, but it might take quite some time. You'll spend an hour or so working on your entire vehicle, mostly because the spray requires some buffing for a glossy finish. After a thorough application, the surface becomes sleek and smooth, but it still doesn't pop out. For deep and showroom results, you might want to look for other carnauba waxes.
Griot's Garage Show Paste is one of those high-end products that use the best carnauba wax out there. It's specially designed for achieving a deep, wet shine on all kinds of surfaces. You can even use it on faded and oxidized paint for quick and simple color repair. The improvements are visible almost instantly, and the finishing results make vehicles stand out from others.
Among the many benefits the product offers, even coverage is the main one. You don't need to apply excessive amounts of this wax to get the job done. A little of the paste goes a long way, covering the entire surface without leaving spots and other imperfections.
Users also like the fact that they can apply the wax on both warm and cool surfaces without compromising the finishing results. The shiny look lasts for quite a while, as well as the protective coat the product leaves after the application.
Nevertheless, the application might be quite challenging. The paste sticks to the surface, and you'll need to make several passes to wipe it clean. Therefore, it's not the best option for those looking for quick-detailing products. If you do opt for it, we recommend rubbing off the wax right after the application. The longer it sits on the surface, the harder it gets to remove it.
The Jax Wax liquid carnauba is one of the first choices among car owners who prefer quick cleaning and detailing. It's an easy-to-use wax that applies and wipes clean in several simple steps. You can use it for regular cleaning and maintenance, especially if you want to enhance and protect your vehicle's paint.
Jax Wax made sure to deliver a safe and quality formula. The wax treats the surface without leaving streaks, smears, and residues. The only thing that it does leave is a protective coat—your vehicle will shine under direct sunlight, rain, and snow, enjoying full weather protection.
One thing users don't like that much about this product is the bottle design. The cap makes pouring the liquid a little challenging, and a spray nozzle would work a lot better. However, a bigger concern regards the longevity of the product. It seems that the finishing results don't last for very long. If you want to keep a deep shine for several months, you might want to look for pricier alternatives.
Along with being a wax that provides shine and protection, this product also proves to be a surface cleaner. It's rather efficient in removing water spots, swirls, and light scratches. Therefore, if you're up to cleaning your vehicle and boosting its overall appearance, you can do it in one application with the Surf City Garage wax.
The product works as a cleaner and a wax thanks to the pigmentations that can fill in and hide scratches and marks. The formula is polymer-based, which means it's highly effective even under direct sunlight. Overall, the wax provides an excellent finish and protects the paint without being too hard on your wallet.
The shine might wear off rather quickly, though. You'll probably need to reapply the wax frequently, especially if your vehicle is exposed to challenging road conditions. Some buyers are not satisfied with the finishing results. Although the wax does make the surface shiny, it doesn't provide a deep, wet result after the application.
- Pure carnauba tends to have a yellow tint to it. Some waxes also have more of a white tint, which tends to indicate it's more of a blend than true carnauba wax.
- Be prepared to put some muscle into applying carnauba paste waxes. The natural hardness of the wax makes it difficult to apply like other waxes.
- In general, carnauba wax is the best for a durable coat, but the quality of the formula is the biggest determining factor. Do your research ahead of time to find a good carnauba wax that offers the durability you really need.
Q. Can carnauba wax be applied like other waxes?
A. In general, yes. Hand and power applicators are perfect for carnauba wax, but you might find power applicators to be easier to use given the hardness of the wax.
Q. Can you polish carnauba wax?
A. You can apply a carnauba wax over polish, but not the other way around. This is true for any wax since it works as a sealant and protective layer. Polishing removes small debris and blemishes from the surface of a vehicle that would be trapped under a wax.
Q. What does a wax mean when it says "carnauba-based?"
A. This is a fancy way of saying the wax is a blend. The carnauba is generally mixed with other substances (generally synthetic) to get a wax that has a blend of benefits, along with some noticeable drawbacks. Blends tend to dilute the strengths of carnauba wax in favor of other advantages like convenience and simplicity.
Although it's difficult to pick one single best wax, we feel the P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax gets pretty close thanks to its all-around results.
Since some carnauba waxes can get expensive, check out the Mothers 05750 California Gold Liquid Wax as a great value purchase.