What You Need to Know About Glazes

Car Glaze on Black Ferrari

In the world of exterior car care, glazes tend to be lumped into the polishes categories and in some cases waxes – neither is really correct. In fact, a glaze is often considered “optional” during paintwork procedures, but can be the difference between a wet looking shine and a dullish shine. So where do glazes fall? Directly after polishing, immediately before waxing. What does a glaze do, exactly? In short, it’s all about depth…

Basically, a glaze is a shine enhancing product that is applied after polishing to fill in any remaining imperfections that polishing may not be able to tackle, adding even more depth when wax is applied over it. By filling in microscopic imperfections, light is more evenly and symmetrically reflected, giving the car a clean, crisp, deep, and lustrous shine that a simple polish and wax just can’t match. Now, while you may be thinking glazes are used only before car shows or during major details, consider one of the more common uses of a glaze… body shops use glazes to restore shine and eliminate hazing after compounds are used to remove heavy scratches, orange peel, and more paint problems. To that same extent, by glazing after polishing you’re only adding more of a shine to your car’s finish.

The Difference Between Glaze and Car Wax

To begin, glazes are very similar to waxes in how they’re applied, but very different in terms of their purpose. While a wax is applied mainly to protect (higher gloss waxes tend to protect less), using a glaze underneath to keep the finish gleaming puts you at an obvious advantage. By glazing, you’re essentially giving the wax an even surface to protect, rather than a bumpy or imperfect finish; this leads to longer protection and more durability than you’d get if you were to wax immediately after polishing. That said, while both glazes and waxes “fill”, they do so with very different motives. For detailing purposes just remember that waxes protect, glazes do not… and when you wax over a glaze, you’re enhancing shine, depth, clarity, and the level of protection you’re getting out of the wax.

The Difference Between Glaze and Polish

Although this often trips up car enthusiasts, the difference between glazes and polishes is quite simple, too. Polishes are abrasive whether you like it or not. If you’re polishing your car, you are essentially shaving/smoothing your paint down at a microscopic level. Glazes do no such thing, but rather fill in the tiny clear coat imperfections and lines that polishing leaves behind – even though they may not be visible to the human eye. By glazing, you’re successfully sealing in the work that the polishes have done, which will enhance the high-gloss appearance of your paint after you’ve followed it up with a wax.

So you see, the bottom line here is that these three exterior car care products work together. Polishes, glazes, and waxes are really inseparable and should all be a part of the same process. I, for one, would say that a polishing procedure is never really done without a glaze… and if you’re waxing without glazing first, you’re probably missing out on a dramatic, wet-like shine. Next time you’re getting ready to polish, don’t forget to bring out the glaze!