A common misunderstanding is the difference between a polish and wax, i hear a lot of people associate the two and believe they do the same thing. This is false, I cannot stress this enough, waxes and polishes are different and do different things, but the marketing people behind big car care brands don’t really care about definitions and will call a product anything that they think sounds good.
A polish usually contains micro abrasives, they may also contain lots of solvents which clean your paint work. A polish is used to remove light scratches, swirl marks, oxidized / faded paint and to restore and enhance the paint work back to a deep gloss. There are lots of polishes on the market from heavy cutting compounds to mild cleaner polishes, it is best to start with a mild polish first as cutting compounds can cause damage to the paint work if not used properly.
The purpose of a wax or paint sealant product is to coat your car with a protective layer to protect it from the environmental elements. Wax products contain a blend of waxes and oils. Waxes can be natural waxes and/or synthetic. Waxes and sealants generally last from 1 month to 12 months, be warned they don’t always do what they say on the label. Waxes are designed for slightly different purposes, some people like to wax their car every week and want the best shine they can get, other people want to put it on and forget it for a year.
All In One
There are plenty of products that are both a polish and wax in one. These combination products are very good and a perfect solution for most people, they are quick and easy to use an can give excellent results on paint work that is already in reasonable condition. These products usually contain a very mild abrasive and cleaners to restore the paint work whilst also adding a protective layer. Whilst these products will never give as good results as doing a proper polish and wax they are great for someone that is looking at a quick and easy solution instead of spending hours polishing your paint work then applying a wax.