Why You Can’t Wax Matte Paint Finishes

Wax and matte paint are mortal enemies for one reason: wax gradually begins to reverse the ‘flat’ effect. Waxes are most commonly known as protection products that yield a shine, mostly because they’re made of carnauba and filling ingredients. In basic speak, traditional waxes fill imperfections to create an even surface. Problem is, matte paint is full of imperfections. In fact, it’s those very imperfections and microscopic dimples that diffuse light rays and make the surface appear non-reflective to the human eye. Now I know what you’re thinking… what does that mean? I put together some visuals that may clarify this concept a bit further.

gloss clear coat reflection diagram

The even clear coat creates a reflective finish on glossy cars.


matte paint clear coat reflection diagram

Matte paint diffuses light, therefore creating a visibly non-reflective surface.

Now for protection. As you would imagine, adding a wax or sealant to a glossy car essentially adds to the surfaces ability to reflect light specularly. By covering up and filling in blemishes, any scratches or swirls that would otherwise be noticed by scattering light are successfully filled and shielded from your vision. With matte paint, if this happens, you lose your non-reflective appearance. As you can see, enough wax would begin to reverse the matte effect. Because of matte paint’s need for untraditional means of protection Matte Paint Sealant was born. As the diagram shows, its unique chemistry bonds to the surface at the molecular level and does not fill like a wax would. Unlike any other protection product available for matte paint, the surface remains ‘flat’ and not glossy.

Wax on matte paint

Wax fills and can make matte paint begin to appear glossy.


How Matte Paint Sealant Works

Matte Paint Sealant keeps matte paint non-reflective while protecting it.

So you see, waxing a matte car essentially reverses the effect that makes your ‘flat’ painted car unique. All paste or liquified waxes should be avoided, as the idea behind carnauba (for example) is to fill imperfections. Once again, it’s those imperfections that make matte finishes appear the way they do. Hopefully this clarifies a bit of the worry surrounding matte paint, and I trust you’ll invest in properly protecting the paint to retain its unique appearance. If you ever run into questions, we’re happy to help: facebook, MyTeam, or comment below.

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  • Sammi

    I purchased the Matte Protection kit – but I am not sure when I would use the Cleaner. I used the wash, and then the sealant while my bike was wet, and I’ll keep the Finish in my bag, in case it needs a spot clean, but when do you use the Cleaner?


    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Hi Sammi,

      Matte Paint Cleanser is probably the product you will use the least if you properly maintain the finish (wash, seal, etc.). It acts as a deep cleaner and is used when you run into sap, caked on bug guts, overspray, scuff marks, light staining, hard water spots, and other hard to remove substances. On a normal finish you would be able to polish or clay to remove these contaminants, but on matte you can’t without affecting the look of the finish. This is why we developed Matte Paint Cleanser… to take care of these issues without the use of abrasive scrubbing or polishing. We recommend using it during a car wash, and always remember to reapply protection to the area it’s used on.

      Hope this helps! Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions.


  • Joe

    This new craze is CRAZY. Still can’t understand why anyone would do this to car. We have to change how we deal with cars at my
    San Diego car detail shop.

  • driver123

    matte paint looks better in my opinion i just painted my car performance red with matte finish it makes The grooves and body pop more i like how it shadows

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s

      Thanks for your comment! I couldn’t agree more.

      The flat look totally brings out the body lines and makes the car look more aggressive (in an aesthetically awesome way). I think more and more people are picking up on this… I’ve certainly been seeing an increase in the amount of matte finishes on the road.


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  • wizz

    I have a mt09 matte grey, when I was detailing it today I used a soft cloth that in the past had car wax on it, have I done any harm to the paint, its still looks matte thank you for any advice.

    • http://www.drbeasleys.com/ Dr. Beasley’s


      If it was protected with Matte Paint Sealant than you’re safe!

      If it wasn’t protected but you still don’t see anything wrong so far than don’t worry. If it does start to show up, then use the Matte Paint Cleanser.

      We always recommend having completely separate tools and accessories for matte vehicles for just this reason.

      Thanks! And let me know if there’s any other questions!

      Will @drbeasleys