NuFinish Car Polish
The polish that isn't

NuFinish is the once a year car polish that has been around for as long as I can remember. Which says a lot as I have been around since 1965 (ouch!!).

If any of you are one of my long term followers who have watched any of my videos on my YouTube channel, you will know just how much I hate the marketing hype this industry uses to separate you from your money.

Clearly this hyped-up form of marketing has been in play for a very long time. Not only is the NuFinish "product" a misrepresentation, but it is also a mislabeled product.

In an effort to help you become a more informed car owner and consumer, we are going to take a deep dive into this once a year car polish and answer some questions you already have, and perhaps some additional questions you have not thought to ask, but should be asking.

The Once a Year Car Polish
The car polish that isn't.

NuFinish car polish once a year car polish

If you are willing to part ways with your money to find the best car wax for your car, then Nu Finish has got to present a compelling argument as why their product is better than the thousand other car wax or car paint sealants out there.

From a marketing stand point, Nu Finish has done an excellent job in their marketing strategy. Through the use of ambiguous terms and labels, to complete misrepresentation, Nu Finish car polish does an excellent job of making a compelling case while simultaneously redirect your attention to throw you off track.

"Nu Finish is a magic act. With misdirection, hyped-up claims, and ambiguous terminology, Nu Finish car polish is the polish that isn't, and the wax that isn't"

Which is a lot of marketing! And a lot of bold claims on my part. Let's start chipping away at this product to see what Nu Finish car polish is, and what it isn't.

What is NuFinish Car Polish

I think it's a car polish because it says so right on the label. But yet I thought a polish is a product that can actually restore gloss, depth, and shine through abrasive technology.

But NuFinish has none of that. In fact the NuFinish website actually tells yu that this product requires no rubbing or buffing never mind it having no abrasives of which to actually polish your car.

Therefore the simple answer would be that NuFinish is a "once a year car polish". I know this because it says so right on the label. And if it says so on the label, then it must be true!

But is Nu Finish car polish really a polish? Or is Nu Finish really a wax? Or maybe Nu Finish is really a paint sealant?

But all these statements simply leads to questions. All these questions open the doors to even more questions. And visiting the company's website only offers additional questions due to their additional claims.

Questions upon more questions!!

We have ourselves a continuous loop of one question followed by an answer, that delivers yet another question followed by another answer, and so on and so on!

I feel like I am on a treadmill of disingenuous marketing. Doing all kinds of mental work, but not really getting anywhere closer to what I want.

What Is NuFinish

Officially it is a car paint sealant. The accepted rule among professionals is that a product made with synthetic ingredients (often referred to as polymers) would be classified as a sealant. (car waxes contain natural wax ingredients like carnauba or beeswax)

Darren's Note: Since this industry has no official standards or governing body, a manufacturer can label their product any way they want. Due to pervasive ignorance and inexperience by many people, common terms are commingled or use improperly. This adds continued confusion to beginners and veterans alike.

This means that a company may call a product a car wax, even though the product contains no actual wax in its formulation.

Is Nu Finish a Car Polish

Yes and no. It all depends on how you define car polish. I will make your head spin with this one, as the word "polish" has many meanings, as well as being pronounced differently based on its intended use.

Noun, Verb, or Nationality

Noun: (A person place or thing) NuFinish is a noun as it is a tangible product (thing) that you can see, hold, and touch.

Verb: (An action word) Like running jumping or wait for it....polishing. As in polishing a car. You are polishing your car by rubbing and buffing your car. This is a form of activity thus making it a verb.While NuFinish is labeled as a polish (most professionals agree it is NOT a polish), the directions state that no rubbing or buffing is needed. (This seems like not only a direct contradiction to how it is labeled, but how would you actually apply this product if you didn't do ANY rubbing or buffing?)

Nationality: (Where you were born as to a legal nation state) So if you were born in the country of Poland, you would then be Polish. As in polish (a product and a chore, like to polish a car) that is spelled identically to Polish. Polish or polish....

Are you confused yet?

How Can NuFinish Be Labeled As a Car Polish

Because they can label it in any way the manufacturer wants. And based on your definition of a car polish, will determine whether you consider this as legit labeling or false labeling.

As a professional I would consider this false labeling within the world of surface paint care. It is accepted by virtually all professionals that a polish contains some form of abrasive technology to it.

And like every other area of detailing, cosmetic car care, and surface car care, there is no limits on the use of hyped-up marketing, conflicting opinions, and the misuse of terminology.

Regardless of your understanding of the various types of "abrasive technology" manufacturer's can use in car polish and compounds, this product has none of them. Which then leads me to call this anything but a polish.

Is NuFinish A Wax

No. The website states that Nu Finish is the only car polish that contains no wax.This could be both the good news and the bad news. Mostly it just represents an additional layer of confusion as it is a direct contradiction to the term "polish" since the company claims it is a polish, but then says that no rubbing or buffing is required when using this product.

How is the product supposed to get from the bottle onto your car if you don't rub or buff it on? I imagine there is a genie you let out of this bottle that is going to magically put it onto your car for you.

The contradictions and confusion continue to expand!

Does NuFinish Work

Yes and no. Once again this depends on how you define "works". Does it work as a car polish based on how you define a car polish?

Does it work as a once a year form of protection?

Does Nu Finish really last a year?

Will it simply make your car paint look better or feel better?

For most of you, the simple answer would be yes, NuFinish will work. Just make sure you check-in all your higher expectations in at the door when you come in.

Does NuFinish Last A Year

I hate to repeat myself so frequently but I will and I must. It all depends on you and your understanding. What is even meant by protection?

Protecting against what?

Bird droppings, acid rain, water spots, dirt, pollution, UV rays, aging in general?

A classic case of using undefined, ambiguous terms that seem appealing at a casual observation, but when scrutinized to any degree, fall short.

But since the product is labeled as the once a year car polish, many people will allow their reptilian brain to shut off out of inherent laziness on our part.

After all, who wouldn't want a product that can last a year. Protecting form all those big bad things that can damage our car paint!

How Can NuFinish Last a Full Year

It can't. But once again, this depends on who you ask and what metrics they use to determine if the product is still "lasting".

And if this "once a year car polish" really lasts a year, does it suddenly disappear from off your car at day 365? Or does it wear out gradually over the course of a year.

And if it is wearing out gradually, at what point has it worn off prior to a year that you would want to add another coat of this car polish to your car before time is up, and all that Nu Finish is gone from your car.

I know, I many questions my little brain keeps coming up with. But all questions I think are worthy of asking when it comes to your car. A car you likely paid dearly for and would like to know that whatever product you have chosen, is in fact working as it is supposed to.

Keeping it Simple

If you are like many car owners and really don't want to overthink the moment, then you will not go wrong with NuFinish. It is a good product and it does work. (once again; so long as your standards are not set too high, and you buy into the hyped-up marketing)

If you can see past the confusion and the misrepresentation of the marketing and labeling, then you don't have to look much further.

Most (there are a very few exceptions) manufactures use some form of hyped up labeling and marketing to sell their "stuff". Car waxes, car polishes, etc., etc., etc. It is nothing new to any industry. Some industries do it more than others, just as some companies do it more than others.

Nu Finish Once-A-Year Car Polish (16 oz) Bundle with Microfiber Cloth Kit (2 Items)

  • Rated number one among consumer rating groups (Groups that really shouldn't be offering up any advice or any ratings when it comes to car waxes, polishes, or sealants)
  • One of the top rated car sealants on Amazon (no comment on this one)
  • Can be used in direct sunlight
  • 100% synthetic ingredients (think synthetic motor oil versus traditional motor oils)
  • Most professionals accept and agree that synthetic sealants will outlast traditional wax based products (this will be forever debated)
  • For anyone who wants to keep it super simple and cut-to-the-chase and get some form of protection on your car, then you can definitely use this product

Paint Sealant vs. Car Wax

Since the Nu Finish product is truly a synthetic sealant, let's clarify the difference between a car wax and a car paint sealant.

This is a topic with much confusion by most car owners and "non-professionals". And a topic that continues to grow in confusion due to companies just like Nu Finish that are more interested in selling more products than they are in educated you as a car owner or consumer.

Turtle wax ceramic solutions versus NuFinish

Car Wax: The industry standard is that any product labeled as a car wax, must have some form of "natural" wax as part of the formulation. Carnauba and beeswax are the most popular types of waxes used to produce car waxes.

Car Paint Sealant: Sealants are made using synthetic chemicals. (Think of traditional motor oil versus synthetic motor oil).

The problem with this industry is many! This is an industry will no standardization of terms and labeling, and no governing body to regulate or standardize.

There are plenty of car wax products that have zero natural wax in them, but still call them a car wax instead of a car paint sealant.

Hybrids: Hybrids are the combination of synthetic chemicals and natural wax ingredients. (Think of a hybrid car: a gas powered engine along with an electric motor)

The idea behind hybrids is to capture the winning attributes of each type of product and combine into a hybrid version so you get the best of both worlds.

Whether this science is valid or not, is and will be forever debated. There is no standardized way to determine or measure as to how long a product lasts, its durability, and what the product can actually do in the way of "protection".

Almost every manufacturer will add the over-used labeling of:

"helps protect against"

This claim is a massive generalization. I could spread just about anything on my car paint and make the same claim:

  • Peanut butter
  • Sun tan lotion
  • Vaseline
  • Face cream
  • Etc., etc., etc.

I could say that any of these products could "help protect" my cars paint from unwanted damage.

"Darren, my head is going to explode. Just tell me what you do!"

NuFinish Alternatives:
What Would Darren Do (WWDD)

The endless cases of misleading marketing, misleading labeling, and hyped-up terms leaves not just myself in chronic frustration mode, but also many people like yourself!

It is hard to know what to believe, who to believe, and what to do when you simply cannot trust much of the marketing and labeling of the countless car wax, car paint sealants, and car polishes.

No standardization in labeling, terminology, or testing.

But every day we are presented with the next best car wax or car polish. And in no way is NuFinish the only guilty party to all of this.

"The best car wax is the wax that makes it onto your car more often, not less often."

Despite the fact that I am a professional with decades of professional experience, I too have difficulty interpreting the hyped-up marketing that dominates this industry.

Which is why I default to that simple metric: A car wax am I willing to use more often. A car wax that will make it onto my car more frequently, not less frequently.

CSI Q-7 Wax 16oz 62-204-P

Why the Q-7 spray wax?

The Q-7 spray represents what I call my "sure-thing" when it comes to a car wax. Always reliable, never lets me down.

  • This is a true car wax (made with actual carnauba wax)
  • Easy on. Easy off
  • True waterborne technology (this means that the water molecule is formulated to be the carrier of the other active/inert ingredients)
  • Can be used in direct sunlight, on hot paint
  • Non-staining formulation (won't stain black trim)
  • Use as often as you want (no fear of wax build-up. I don't actually subscribe to the misnomer of wax build-up anyways)
  • Body shop safe (this car wax was actually developed for the commercial/professional trade)

Q-7 car wax on BMW

Darren's Tips: I have been relying on the Q-7 wax for over 15 years! It was the first wax that introduced me to "non-staining" capabilities. But more than just a wax or sealant being non-staining, the Q-7 wax is just as good for your black trim as it is for your car paint (clear coat in basic chemistry terms, is a form of plastic. Black trim is also a form of plastic).

I deliberately use the Q-7 wax on all exterior surfaces to enhance and "protect" as I am waxing the paint. If you dissect the exterior of your car, you will begin to see just how many materials go into the construction of your car.

From the paint itself, to hard black plastic trim pieces, to smooth plastic trim, to highly textured plastic trim, to rubberized plastic trim, to rubber gaskets around the windows, rubber gaskets around door handle fixtures, etc., etc.

All the many types of material components are safe with the Q-7 wax. And because of this, as well as the exceptional user experience, I have relied on the Q-7 wax as my "go-to" wax for over 15 years (as a side note: it is only recently that the Q-7 wax became available on Amazon)

NuFinish Alternative:
When you love the hype

I get it.

Some people love the "hype". Brightly colored packaging. Hyped-up labeling. Ambiguously provocative terminology.

If you are one of those people I fault you not. Sex sells! And much of the hyped-up marketing and labeling of the endless choices in car waxes and car paint sealants are not just sexy; but super sexy!

And to any of you out there that accept this flavor of marketing, then you have choices. Below you can find my choices when it comes to what I consider better alternatives to the NuFinish car polish.

Turtle Wax Ceramic Polish and Wax

Turtle Wax 53412 Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Polish and Wax-14 Fl Oz

  • Top rated paint sealant on Amazon
  • The latest in chemical engineering from a well known brand
  • A polish and a sealant
  • A better alternative to the NuFinish (at least in my opinion)

Chemical Guys Jet Seal

Chemical Guys WAC_118_16 JetSeal Anti-Corrosion Sealant and Paint Protectant (16 oz)

  • Unique anti-corrosion sealant originally developed for aerospace industry (It says so right on the must be true)
  • Top rated car paint sealant on Amazon
  • 100% synthetic sealant
  • I would choose this over the Nu Finish any day of the week

Mothers Ceramic Spray Coating

Mothers 01024 CMX Ceramic Spray Coating, 24 fl. oz.

  • Uses both SiO2 and TiO2 technology (Silicon Dioxide and Titanium Dioxide)
  • Creates a super hydrophobic (water beading) effect on your paint
  • What most professionals would call "retail grade"
  • Easy on, easy off

Laying the Foundation

Before you go rushing off to apply your choice in car paint sealants, let me add a note about preparing the foundation first.

Even if you choose not to follow any of my professional recommendations and still use the Nu Finish car polish, you will get better results if the paint surface has been prepared first by using detailing clay to remove any form of embedded pollutants.(often referred to as bonded paint contaminants)

You can refer to my page clay bar car page where I go into great detail on the decontamination process.

Darren's Application Tips

My golden rule is that you always refer to the manufacturer's labeling for specific directions of use. Once you learn the rules of the manufacturer, then you can break away from their rules and apply a different strategy based on you and your needs.

Nu Finish car polish vs Q7 spray wax

The Q-7 wax was formulated for use at the commercial/professional level. This means it does not have traditional directions of use, just like it is absent of the traditional marketing hype of retail products.

Regardless of the task you are performing, I always recommend micro-fiber cloths as my "go-to" type of cloth regardless. This means that when it comes to waxing your car with whatever product you have chosen, the safest and best cloth will be a micro-fiber cloth:

  • Softer than any other type of cloth you can use
  • The most absorbent cloth you can use
  • Lint free!

Regardless of the manufacturer's directions, any product will be affected based on the weather conditions at the time of application. This simply means that you will need to adjust based on the environment in which you are working.

Just as working on black or dark colored paints that simply require more effort, working in direct sunlight, on hot paint, or other extremes will require you to finesse the moment.

Any product will be more difficult to use (as a rule) when yo are working in direct sunlight on hot paint. I do it on a daily basis being here in southern California, but its not for everyone. I prefer it as I can see exactly what I am going to get while I am working, as well as I know that my customer is going to be inspecting the car in direct sunlight also.

NuFinish Summary

waxing car in direct sunlight

If you have made it this far down my NuFinish tutorial and review, consider yourself part of a select group called the informed! Most people simply don't want to put in the work to become a more educated and informed consumer and car owner.

My goal is to always do my best to help you be as informed as possible so you can make more informed decisions.

I wish you much success in your car detailing efforts!


Darren Priest

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