What is a Ceramic Wax? Everything You Need to Know


Ceramic waxes have become very popular over the last couple of years with leading brands such as Meguiar’s, Turtle Wax and Chemical Guys all producing lines of ceramic-infused waxes and spray sealants. In this article, I’ll be talking about the durability, water behaviour, application methods, finish and prices of popular ceramic waxes on the market.

The Quick Answer

A ceramic wax is a form of paint protection made from a blend of silicon dioxide and conventional waxes. They often come in a paste format, but can be found as sprayable or liquid waxes. Ceramic waxes offer between 6 and 12 months of protection, excellent hydrophobicity and good levels of gloss.

Popular Ceramic Waxes and Sealants

With most leading car care brands offering a ceramic wax or sealant, I thought it’d be a good idea to compare the specifications of each product directly so we can assess the average prices and durability claims.

Ceramic WaxDurability ClaimAverage PriceApplication Method
Meguiar’s Liquid Ceramic Wax6 months$23/ £29Spread, dry and buff
Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax6 months$20/ £23Spray on and rinse off
Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Spray12 months$17/ £18Spray on, dry, wipe off
Turtle Wax Ceramic + Graphene Paste Wax12 months$35/ £30Spread, dry and buff
Chemical Guys Hydroslick Ceramic Coating Hyper Wax12 months$40/ £40Spread, dry, wipe off
Pyramid Car Care Ceramic Wax6 months$70/ £50Spread, dry and buff
Adam’s Ceramic Liquid Wax6 months$16/ £20Spread, dry and buff
Popular ceramic waxes

Amazon Links to Popular Ceramic Waxes

Application of Ceramic Waxes

Traditional waxes generally come in a paste format and are spread using a foam applicator, left to haze and then buffed away with a microfiber towel. However, with the emergence of ceramic waxes, the lines between what is considered a “wax” and a “sealant” have become blurred. A lot of brands now have a ceramic wax in their range, however many of the products do not apply in the traditional method.

Types of Ceramic Wax:

  • Paste format
  • Liquid, spreadable format (often called liquid wax)
  • Liquid, sprayable format (often called spray wax)
  • Spray and rinse format (often called wet wax)

Here’s how they all apply, and an example of each product. Remember to always check the back of the bottle for application instructions before using any product.

Ceramic Paste Wax Application

  1. Use a foam applicator to spread the product on the panel in a very thin layer
  2. Allow the product to haze (usually takes 5-15 minutes)
  3. Buff away the residue using a microfiber towel

Examples: Turtle Wax Ceramic + Graphene Paste Wax and Pyramid Car Care Ceramic Wax

Liquid Ceramic Wax Application

  1. Apply the liquid wax to a foam or microfiber applicator and spread on the panel in a thin layer
  2. Allow the product to haze (usually takes 5-15 minutes)
  3. Buff away the residue using a microfiber towel

Example: Meguiar’s Liquid Ceramic Wax

Spray Ceramic Wax Application

  1. Spray the product directly onto the paint, or a microfiber towel and spread
  2. Allow the product to haze (usually takes 1-5 minutes)
  3. Buff away the residue using a microfiber towel

Example: Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Spray

Spray and Rinse Ceramic Wax Application

  1. Spray the product onto a clean, wet panel
  2. Immediately rinse away using a pressure washer

Example: Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax

Durability

Most ceramic waxes claim to last between 6 months and 12 months. Applying the wax to decontaminated and polished paintwork will help it to last longer. Ceramic waxes can be reapplied frequently to maintain the best performance.

Typically, ceramic waxes last around twice as long as regular waxes. Ceramic waxes contain silica, which is the active component of ceramic coatings. This helps to improve durability compared to traditional waxes which usually contain Carnauba.

Whilst most ceramic waxes claim to last for at least 6 months, this may not always be possible if the surface wasn’t prepped properly, or the car is driven frequently in harsh conditions.

To get the best possible durability:

  • Prepare the paintwork thoroughly. Decontaminate the paintwork using iron fallout remover, tar remover and clay and then polish the paint and use a panel wipe or IPA solution to remove any remaining oils.
  • Wash the car frequently using pH or mildly alkaline products designed specifically to clean the car.
  • Store the car in a garage if possible.

Water Behaviour

Ceramic waxes offer outstanding water behaviour by repelling water very quickly. This prevents dirty water from roadside puddles from sticking to the car and drying, causing it to look dirtier faster. The level of water repellency also helps when washing and drying the car, as there will be less surface water to collect using a microfiber towel. In a lot of cases, running a low pressure hose over the panel, will clear most of the water from the surface.

Check out this quick clip of Hybrid Ceramic Wax.

Finish and Gloss

Ceramic waxes offer a slick, glossy finish. They often contain natural waxes to help add a warm, glow to the paintwork, and the slica content also allows the surface to feel very slick and smooth. A slick finish helps to repel dirt and keeps the car cleaner for longer.

Here is an edited photo of my car when finished with the Pyramid Car Care Ceramic Wax.

Car with 2 coats of Pyramid Car Care Ceramic Wax

Average Ceramic Wax Price

Most ceramic waxes cost between $25-40 (£20-40 in the UK). One of the most popular ceramic waxes, Meguiar’s Liquid Ceramic Wax, costs around $23 in the US (£29 in the UK). The average price of a regular wax is similar, however entry level waxes can be found for around $10 in the US or £8 in the UK.

Are Ceramic Waxes Better Than Regular Waxes?

Ceramic waxes usually offer better durability, water behaviour and slickness than regular waxes. However, ceramic-infused waxes generally cost more than regular entry-level waxes. Both types of wax are similar in terms of their ease of application and gloss-levels.

Try not to get hung up on the word “ceramic” when purchasing a wax or sealant. Many brands now use this as a buzz word and it can often make little difference to the overall performance. Yes, ceramic waxes in general last longer than regular waxes, however, there are plenty of non-ceramic waxes that will out-last them. For example, Soft99 Fusso Coat is a PTFE-based wax, and does not have any ceramic components, yet will usually last at least a year on a well-prepped car.

Ceramic Waxes vs Ceramic Coatings

Ceramic waxes and ceramic coatings are both forms of paint protection, however ceramic coatings last between 1-5 years, whilst ceramic waxes last between 6-12 months. Ceramic coatings are harder to apply and come in a liquid format. Ceramic waxes come in paste, spray or liquid formats and are very easy to apply.

Ceramic WaxCeramic Coating
Can be applied over other waxes and sealantsMust be applied to bare paint
Only thoroughly washing is required to prep the paintPaint must be decontaminated and polished before application
Last 6-12 monthsLast 1-5 years
Cost $25-40Cost $75-200
Can be removed using detergentsCan only be removed using abrasion
Ceramic waxes vs ceramic coatings
  • Ceramic coatings are not designed for beginners and should be applied by professionals or experienced car care enthusiasts, whilst ceramic waxes are safe to use for beginners

Check out this article I’ve written on applying a ceramic coating at home to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some more ceramic wax and sealant related questions you might still want the answer to.

What is Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax?

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax is a spray and rinse-type exterior protection product, infused with silica, which offers up to 6 months protection. It is applied to clean, wet paint, by spraying on, then immediately rinsing off with pressure. It offers good water behaviour, slickness and is quick to use.

What is Meguiar’s Ceramic Liquid Wax?

Meguiar’s Ceramic Liquid Wax is a silica-infused form of vehicle paint protection. It can be spread on the paintwork using a microfiber or foam applicator, left to haze for 3-5 minutes and then buffed away. It lasts for up to one year, has good water behaviour and is safe on plastic and trim.

What is Turtle Wax Ceramic + Graphene Paste Wax?

Turtle Wax Ceramic + Graphene Paste Wax is a unique blend of 10 waxes infused with silica and graphene. It can be spread onto the paint in a thin layer, left to haze and then buffed away. It offers up to 12 months durability, impressive water behaviour and slickness.

Is ceramic wax good for your car?

Ceramic waxes are good for a car because they provide a layer of paint protection. This helps to protect the car from the elements and contaminants such as tree sap, water spots and tar. Ceramic waxes also repel water which helps to keep the vehicle cleaner for longer.

What is Graphene Wax?

Graphene wax is a form of vehicle paint protection. It usually comes in a paste or liquid format and can be spread over the paint in a thin layer, left to haze, and then buffed away. Graphene waxes usually offer between 6 and 12 months or durability and impressive water behaviour.

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Heather

I first became interested in car detailing around 3 years ago and learnt all the main techniques on my very first car. I spend a lot of time detailing my current car, and trying to keep my family's cars looking presentable too!

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