Car Care / Car Culture / Events

Mythbusting Car Waxes For Dark Colors – Don’t Fill Imperfections, Eliminate Them

Editor’s Note – This is the third of a series of articles on paint care myths. Jason Mathews has been burning up the highway for 20 years as our National Events Manager. He has more one-on-one face time with our customers than anyone else in the company. He’s dispelling misconceptions… today’s myth… waxes made for dark colors.

What do you have for black paint? Colored waxes are the buzz word for the less informed out on the show scene but this is one of the most popular questions and one of the questions that’s literally asked at every demo.

True paint correction removes scratches and swirl marks from existence.

We’ve noticed a lot of those who ask work by hand and it’s nearly impossible to work out a defect by hand… waxing by hand, yes… defect removal, not so much. So, since they can’t do it by hand, these desperate detailers want to look for a wax that, in their mind, is enhancing the color… but the effect it creates is merely the result of hiding the imperfections with fillers.

When you walk them through the process and explain that they’re actually not improving their paint condition… all they are doing is filling in the scratches and as soon as the product wears away, the blemishes reappear. The customers get it and say, “oh yeah you’re right, after a couple of washes I see the scratches come right back.”

Here we see a graphical representation of a typical v-shaped scratch that has been filled. It will become visible again once the filler (film-forming polymer) washes or wears away.

As for colored waxes, the dye in colored waxes does not bond to the finish. It is used as a marketing ploy to sell more wax. For years colored waxes have been offered by our competitors.  Imagine, it is like applying shoe polish on top of a clear coat finish. Even if it did bond to the finish, the film would inhibit the sunlight’s ability to bounce off the colored basecoat and reflect back to you via a crystal-clear clearcoat. It would simply muddy the finish and reduce your color, depth and clarity.

A scratch is just a v-shaped mark in your paint. When you fill it in with a film-forming polymer, the light reflection is bouncing off the top of that filler versus going in inside of the scratch. So the scratch itself is not as evident. What we’re trying to teach on the road is true paint correction, where they’re smoothing out the scratch and getting it to better match the surface… now the light is reflecting off the paint not into a defect. Polishing removes paint defects, waxing protects the finish. So polishing with one of our Random Orbitals and the appropriate BOSS correcting cream is the first step.

Wax doesn’t know what color your car is! Don’t believe the marketing hype. Learn to remove scratches not hide them by using the proper products and techniques.

Talking customers through that education process is huge. But the myth “what do you have for black paint or dark paint” is strong. When I tell them about Best of Show® Wax they say no I need something specific for black, blue, maroon, or whatever color their car is. They want a color-specific wax. I tell them we don’t have one and it’s a marketing ploy that has had some degree of success but promotes a misconception that perpetuates poor paint care habits and lower expectations.

They’re getting trained in their minds to think that to make their paint look better they have to use a color-specific wax. When it comes to light reflecting off your paint surface, a wax that contains high levels of natural Brazilian carnauba wax will produce the best light reflection qualities. When you start introducing pigment and colors, and fillers in your waxes you’re actually preventing the effect you want, that natural light reflecting off your paint.

Here we see the v-shaped scratch smoothed out via machine polishing so it reflects the light with less distortion. The next step is waxing to protect the finish.

Absolutely dark colors do show blemishes more prominently so you need to be on point. Don’t fill imperfections, eliminate them. We’re out on the road to teach people true paint correction… no gimmicks… As always, use the least invasive method first and remember there are no shortcuts to perfection.

4 Comments

  1. Excellent comments, so accurate and true about the waxes currently on the market.

  2. shredology says:

    I thought the point with dark wax was to eliminate the white wax residue from accumulating in rock chips and making them more visible.

    • We have a product for caked-on waxes called Dried-On Wax Remover. It was made to remove residue from black plastic trim and rubber seals and would be the go-to product for wax in chips. Many of our waxes are formulated for super-easy wipe off so toweling out a paint chip should not be a problem. In some cases the white you describe can be the primer showing through and the only remedy for chips this severe is touch-up paint.

  3. If I have never used any type of machine for buffing purposes, how do I start so that I don’t ruin my finish from bad technique?

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