READ DIRECTIONS: It always pays to read the directions, although often laced with marketing hype, you can glean some valuable info as to how best apply a specific product. Some waxes should be wiped off immediately after application, while others need some time to haze. Taking the time to learn about each product can save you from wasted time and headaches down the road.
Liquid sealants are a bit more modern than paste waxes and utilize the nature of synthetic polymers to protect your paint from environmental harm. Because the polymers actually form a molecular bond with the paint surface, durability is much improved over traditional carnauba waxes with protection extending to the range of 4-6 months on average. Conventional “wisdom” states that sealants generally have a more sterile and ‘plastic’ appearance as compared to carnauba waxes. The choice of looks or durability is one you have to make for yourself.
Sprays come in both carnauba and sealant varieties and can serve a variety of purposes. For most spray products durability is rather brief, you should only expect 3-6 weeks of protection, although there are a few exceptions. For example, Optimum Car Wax is a hybrid carnauba/sealant in an easy to use spray bottle, and can yield a few months of noticeable protection. Sprays are the easiest to apply out of the bunch, and should be used frequently during your maintenance schedule so as to maximize the life of your previously applied wax or sealant.
Please note that the characteristic types of products were idealized as described in this article. In reality there are paste sealants, liquid carnaubas, polymer infused carnaubas, and any other combination you can think of. For the sake of convenience and sanity, we try and describe LSPs in terms of these idealized characteristics of a pure carnauba and a pure sealant.
LSPs are aptly named, so make sure you apply them last and that the car is completely clean first! The surface should be completely clean and free of any kind of filth. This makes sure that you’re not dragging the aforementioned debris across the paint as you apply your wax, and also that the wax has a better chance of actually bonding to the true paint surface. If your paint is neglected or feels rough to the touch, you may consider using a clay bar or paint cleaner prior to waxing.