Auto Finesse Essence is a carnauba paste wax, marketed by the company as a complete all-rounder wax compared to other more specialised waxes Auto Finesse sell.
It is not bad – it is an easy-to-use wax, with durability and gloss meeting expectations but falling behind competitors in terms of value for money.
Prepmycar Rating: 8.1 / 10
I applied Auto Finesse Essence to the driver’s side panels of a daily driven car to test it in real-world conditions.
I first washed the vehicle using Meguiar’s Wash Plus to strip away any old waxes or sealants, as well as applying fallout remover and attending to a few tar spots. I then gave the panel a wipe down with a panel wipe to give the wax ideal conditions to bond to the paint.
On the day of application, the air temperature was around 10°C, with no direct sunlight.
Ease of use (9.0/10)
I applied this wax using a circular foam applicator pad, which I had dampened with a little water to ease application. As with all paste waxes, I found that using less wax makes application much easier, I made a quarter turn of the foam pad in the wax, giving me enough wax to coat most of a door panel.
I used small circular motions using light pressure to apply an even coat of wax. I left it for about 10 minutes to cure on a cool day.
When I noticed that the wax had started to haze, I wiped my finger across the wax to see if it was ready to remove. If the wax smears, it requires a few more minutes to cure. If the wax is removed cleanly, then the residue can be wiped off with a plush microfibre cloth. The residue was easy to remove and did not require any ‘elbow grease’ to leave a clean panel.
Auto Finesse Essence contains 40% carnauba wax, a natural resin that repels water and can fill in very light scratches in the surface, giving a warm gloss.
Prior to application, I noticed a few haze marks in the paint. After applying the wax, I could no longer see them, indicating the wax had temporarily filled them in and improved the finish.
Water beaded and sheeted very well after application, making the paint much easier to clean. The beads were round and uniform, but I did notice a decline in the hydrophobic performance after a number of washers, which is to be expected.
Essence is a blend of natural and synthetic components, and it is the synthetic materials that extend the longevity of the wax.
Auto Finesse suggest a durability of 3 months, and this matches my own experience with the product. Three months is the typical estimation for paste waxes, but as new waxes are released, more and more waxes are capable of pushing 6 months durability. I monitored the performance of the wax over time:
2 weeks after application: I used Auto Finesse Avalanche as a pre-wash and Gyeon Bathe as a contact shampoo to wash the car, with no noticeable difference in wax performance.
4 weeks after application: I used Bilt Hamber Auto Foam and Dodo Juice Born to be Mild, with the car being very easy to wash. Water was slightly slower to sheet but was still performing well.
6 weeks after application, 4th wash: After another wash using maintenance chemicals, the water performance did seem to be worsening, however it does still sheet water, albeit a bit slower.
Value for money (7.0/10)
Auto Finesse Essence costs around £2.50 ($2.70) per car.
Essence is sold in 150 g pots for a price of £44.95 ($48.60 USD). This is quite a high price for an all-rounder wax, certainly compared to the offerings from other brands.
It is also quite hard to estimate how much wax is needed to coat an entire car, however I estimate that I would need about 8 g to apply a single coat to a medium car.
Based on that assumption, about 18 cars could be waxed, at a cost of around £2.50 ($2.70) per car. While this does not sound like a huge expense, it is expensive compared to other waxes on the market. A wax that I consider to be a higher quality than Essence costs only £35 ($37.83 USD) per car to use.
Product Presentation (9.0/10)
The wax is poured into a metal case with a screw-on lid, protecting the wax from external moisture. It has a nice blueberry essence, making it very pleasant to use, with no cracks in the wax when new. I believe Auto Finesse now include a small drawstring fabric bag to store the wax, which is a nice touch.
Auto Finesse is a British detailing brand trading since 1999. They have a growing range of products, mainly aimed towards ‘weekend warriors.’ The company has a wide range of waxes, with Auto Finesse Essence being the middle of the road in terms of price point and quality.
My Final Thoughts
All in all, Auto Finesse Essence is a good wax. It was the first wax I ever bought, so feel very confident in saying this. It is pleasant and easy to use, and it does not require any specialist knowledge to apply.
While proper preparation will give the best results, it does not require any specialist tools to use.
I think Essence’s biggest downside is the cost, with £45 ($50.39 USD) being quite a big outlay for many people. I would be happy enough to pay this if I thought it outperformed cheaper waxes, but as mentioned, I have used much cheaper waxes that perform better.
How long will Essence last?
Up to three months durability if proper preparation is carried out, and if the car is washed with gentle chemicals.
Can Essence be applied in direct sunlight?
It should be applied in shade for best results. If application in sunlight is unavoidable, the wax should be buffed off quicker, so it does not dry on the paint.
How does Essence differ from other Auto Finesse waxes?
Essence is an all-round wax, providing good durability, gloss, and hydrophobicity. Other waxes will produce more gloss, but at the cost of durability, making them more suited to show cars. Other waxes have a higher synthetic content, giving them greater durability.