Carnauba is rock hard in its natural form. When the leaves of the “Tree of Life”, a palm tree, are harvested, the wax flakes off as the leaves dry out, or they are put into a machine that removes the wax. It comes off in hard flakes. Car Wax makers have to blend the wax with oils, petroleum distillates, or a solvent called naptha (commonly used to thin wood varnishes and paints) in order to make the wax workable. The very best carnauba-based car wax is only about 1/3 natural carnauba. It’s probably for the best since the price gets higher and higher as the concentration of carnauba rises.
The drawback of carnauba waxes is that it does not last as long as a synthetic sealant. A carnauba car wax finish will wear off in approximately 6 to 8 weeks. It depends heavily on the climate in which you live and whether or not your vehicle is garaged. Daily commutes in a hot, humid climate mean a shorter life span for your carnauba wax coat.
In a nutshell, carnauba car wax is the wax of enthusiasts. It appeals to people who want the absolute most stunning show car shine available and are willing to spend a couple of hours every month or so to get it. Most of them will tell you it is time well spent.
Paint sealants last a lot longer, they are easy to apply, and there’s nothing natural about them. This is surface science at its best.
A paint sealant is made of polymers, which are composed of tens of thousands of synthetic particles that are linked together. When a sealant bonds to your vehicle’s paint, it forms a rigid shell. Paint sealants sit on top of the paint like a transparent chain metal suit. They are glossy and slick, but carnauba lovers will tell you they do not have the warmth and depth of a carnauba.
Paint sealants have gotten progressively more popular as time goes on. Some people really love the hard-as-glass look. In an industry that is driven by technology, it seems appropriate that an engineered paint protector is the new favorite among many detailers.