As a professional detailer, one of the most common questions we run into is “how long will the results last?”. The biggest factor of this is of course how well maintained the vehicle will be by the customer (i.e. how do they wash it, how do they dry it, how much is it exposed to the sun etc). But another major factor is what LSP (Last Step Product) is used by the detailer on the vehicles paintwork.
Major paint correction and detail may easily take 10+ hours. After all of this hard work, it is paramount to select a product to protect (and enhance as I will explain soon) the results. We will address 3 basic types of LSPs that are often used.
Wax- a detailer’s “go-to” product.
Easily the most commonly known option. But did you know there are literally HUNDREDS of waxes out there? Each has its own benefits, some are even designed for specific colours/types of paint.
There are 2 basic options, organic or synthetic. Organic waxes contain a high % of generally Carnauba wax, this results in a deep gloss on the paint, however often at the expense of longevity as the organic nature of the wax means it is broken down easier over time. High-end detailers preferred high % carnauba waxes for use on show cars (where longevity isn’t an issue).
Synthetic waxes generally contain polymers which will last longer, generally with the loss of some gloss. At the lower end of the wax spectrum ($10-$50 waxes), you often won’t be able to tell the difference in gloss levels. In fact, the majority of these lower end waxes will contain low % carnauba with a blend of synthetic wax in there also to provide a reasonable gloss for a reasonable length of time (generally a few months).
Sealants – for lasting protection of every little detail.
Fully synthetic sealants coating is designed to provide lasting protection for your paintwork. Over the years they have developed amazingly with regards to the amount of gloss they can provide. Many detailers like to follow a layer of sealant with a layer of a quality carnauba wax to gain a combination of lasting protection and impressive gloss. Sealants generally last around 6-18 months.
Paint Protection – the holy grail.
This phrase is thrown around a lot nowadays, we generally class protection products as advanced sealants. They are inorganic to prevent breakdown (and thus very impressive lifetimes) and often have a Silica Oxide base. These are extraordinarily hard to provide a scratch-resistant (note not scratch-PROOF) coating and now offer exceptional gloss and shine. They leave a very easy to maintain surface and in our opinion, undoubtedly worth the investment.