When it comes to tire dressings, there are basically three options: a high gloss look, a satin finish, or a matte finish. A recent poll by our friends at Detailing World asked the question, which is best? By a 6% margin, the satin finish won the day, and matte came in last place with only 25% of the vote. Today, we will explore the differences that each of these dressings makes beyond their shine.
A high gloss dressing is (more than 90% of the time) silicone-based. This provides a high level of shine and a glossy wet look to the tire. Unfortunately, that also means that the bond to the tire is not as strong. This will lead to a sling from the tire that gets on the bottom panels of your vehicle, disrupting your freshly cleaned look. To minimize this effect, we recommend applying all silicone dressing (well, every dressing, really) with an applicator pad instead of a spray nozzle. It will, unfortunately, lower the shine level slightly; however, it will improve the longevity of the dressing and decrease the amount you use on each application.
It is also important to note that many high gloss dressings do not provide protection, so make sure to read your labels before purchasing. With all that said, some vehicles need that high shine to match their gloss or contradict the depth of the paint. You see high gloss dressing on many sport's colored vehicles. It's also used in many films and television shows.
Satin dressing can be made of silicone and can also be water-based. The water-based dressing is more likely to contain conditioners that improve and protect the long-term look of your tire and help prevent cracking. However, we still recommend reading the bottle.
The satin dressing is recently the most commonly used in many car shows, especially in automotive events. Detailers have also started moving in the direction of satin dressing as many car washes now offer high gloss tire dressing with their services. Most water-based dressing can also be diluted, allowing an increase in the shelf life of each bottle. However, you will lose shine and protection effectiveness when diluting. On the opposite side, satin dressings can be applied multiple times to enhance the shine further.
Matte dressings are, by the majority, water-based and usually creams. Following the pattern down the line, many (though not all) matte dressings contain long-term tire protection, even more so than those included in satin dressing. Matte dressings are still a staple for many classic car enthusiasts and show car owners alike. Despite the heaviness or a repeat of application, matte dressings tend to stay a matte finish.
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