English English Nederlands Nederlands Deutsch Deutsch Italiano Italiano Español Español Français Français 简体中文 简体中文 Português Português Русский Русский
    DetailingWiki Newsletter
    Get free and automatic updates on new articles
    We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!


What is a finishing polish

Written by:

A finishing polish is often considered the last step in the polishing process. It is a very fine polish that has a low grade of cut but a high level of perfect finish. A finishing polish can remove oxidation, marring, very light swirls and some of the minor imperfections.

Why a finishing polish

When polishing, you adjust the grade of polish that you are using, depending on the grade of cut that you need. For deeper imperfections, you would need a polish with a higher level of cut. For very shallow imperfections you can get away with only using a polish with a low grade of cut. Since polishing means that you are removing a small parts of the surface layer, you don’t want to remove more surface then you need to. Therefore the recommendation is to start with the lightest product and slowly work you way up until you get the result you want. A finishing polish is the last refining step you should do after using a higher level of cut. A finishing polish will offer little cutting power, but will allow for a much more smooth finish. Just like the other processes in polishing, you might need to do several passes before you are completely done.

Types of polish

There are 2 typical types of polish when looking at finishing polishes. The chemical polish or the abrasive polish. In practice the difference in result is very low. The biggest difference will be made with the choice of pad. Some manufacturers add certain oils to the polish that will give a glaze effect, which will aid in hiding small imperfections that are left after polishing. Unfortunately this means it will only hide these imperfections temporarily, and won’t remove them.


A little known technique allows for achieving greater results then normal. This technique is called Jeweling and increases the level of finish by decreasing the level of cut even more then normal.
Quote from the article about Jeweling

Jeweling is the act of applying a finishing polish on a finishing pad on very low speed. The rotation speed of the rotary or DA is turned down to its lowest setting. Then a clean finishing pad is used to slowly work in the finishing polish. This step takes a lot of time, because you still need to work in the polish. Although the difference in gloss is almost not noticeable, it does add depth to the paintwork. Because of the relatively small improvement (compared with the time it takes), this step has little use for those who charge their customer an hourly rate, or those who need to do a certain amount of cars per day.
Jeweling isn’t always written in the same way, it can also be written as “jewelling” (American English).

Exception to the rule

Although a finishing polish is made to refine the surface to a perfect result, it can be used to achieve more polishing power. The Kevin Brown Method revolves around the technique of using a finishing polish to achieve higher level of cut. This is pretty much the exception to the rule, however this is mainly achieved by using a different polishing pad. Knowledge of the technique helps to understand how this is achieved.

How to use a finishing polish

Using a finishing polish is not different to any other polish. The main difference can be made by changing the polishing pad. A pad with more cutting power will increase the level of cut and the polishing power, but might interfere with the flawless finish you want to achieve. In general the recommendation is to match the pad with the grade of the polish. A finishing polish should be matched with a finishing polish pad.
Out of all grades of polish, the results achieved when using it by hand is the closest to machine application with a finishing polish. Due to the low level of cut, the difference between these 2 types of application are very small. However, abrasive polishing still prefer to be machine applied due to the polishing agents needing to be broken down properly.

Different related articles

  • What is polishing by hand
    Polishing by hand can either refer to applying polish with the bare hands, or by moving the polishing pad by hand instead of using a machine polisher. This article describes the latter....
  • What is a pre-wax cleaner
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    A pre-wax cleaner is a product that helps to prepare the surface for a layer of wax, the effects the product can have can differ from just preparation by cleaning, to filling swirls (like a glaze) and leaving an oily residue for added gloss....
  • What is a paint thickness gauge (PTG)
    A Paint Thickness Gauge (often abbreviated to PTG, and also called a Paint Depth Gauge) is an electronic device that measures the distance between the body-panel and the sensor. This way you can measure the thickness of the paint. This gives you an indication of how much paint you have left to work with....
  • How to clean tires
    Even though tires can have a big impact on how a car looks, they are often ignored. They get a quick wipe and then a new coat of dressing. But cleaning your tires properly can decrease the need for a dressing and can help a dressing to perform better for longer....
  • Protecting a matte surface
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    When you have a matte wrap on your car, or just matte paintwork, you need to take care what protective product you are using. Protecting a matte finish is just as important as on a normal surface, but you need to be careful what you use....
  • What is decontamination
    This is the act of removing said contamination. The aim of turning a contaminated area into a pure and perfectly clean area. Decontamination can be achieved in several different ways....

Links to this article

There are no external links to this article. Yet.

Stay up to date with our free newsletter
Always be the first to know about new updates, articles and other informative content.
Don't miss out, opt in!
We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!