Best Carnauba Waxes: Go All-Natural with Your Waxing Routine
Get a great shine and protective layer with these top carnauba waxes
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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.
- Best OverallP21S 12700W Carnauba WaxSummarySummaryA dedicated paste wax that focuses more on performance and good looks than quick application.ProsProsButtery texture applies to applicators and car surfaces smoothly. Can be used with many different applicator types.ConsConsThe resulting finish doesn't last long and tends to degrade quickly in bad weather or heavy driving conditions.
- Best ValueMothers 05750 California Gold Liquid WaxSummarySummaryOne of the simplest carnauba waxes to use when you need a quick way to protect a vehicle's paint job, including dark-colored vehicles.ProsProsGreat protective properties in the finished wax layers. Water beading is a highlight. Good UV protection as well.ConsConsThe finished look is lackluster. Resulting shine isn't as noticeable as other waxes. Some marks may be left after application.
- Honorable MentionMeguiar's A2216 16 Ounce Carnauba WaxSummarySummaryA beginner-friendly bottle of carnauba wax that is easy to apply, even for true DIY beginners.ProsProsThe general quality is good in the finished coating. Longevity is a highlight, lasting up to six months of normal use.ConsConsGetting an even coat can be difficult. Application in direct sunlight leaves marks.
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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 2019
Best Overall: P21S 12700W Carnauba Wax
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.
Best Value: Mothers 05750 California Gold Liquid Wax
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.
Honorable Mention: Meguiar's A2216 16 Ounce Carnauba Wax
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.
- 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.