A couple of years ago, I wrote a product review on CarPro Essence which was a big hit at SEMA in 2015. Essence is an outstanding finishing polish from CarPro that is meant to be used as a primer for silica based nano coatings. Essence Plus was released a year later at SEMA in 2016, and based on the name you might assume it is an improvement to the original CarPro Essence… this is not the case. Essence Plus is an entirely different product all together.
Note: Please do not use CarPro Essence Plus as a primer/prep for a nano coating. That is not its intended use and may have adverse effects on the performance and durability of the nano coating. Use CarPro Essence for coating prep.
The CarPro Essence Plus is a non-abrasive solution that will help you repair fine swirls in a damaged ceramic coating, while simultaneously increasing gloss, hydrophobic properties, and cleansing the surface beneath! In the past, if you had swirls, scratches, water marks, or simply did not take care of your coating, your only option was to remove it and re-coat the car to get it back to looking it’s best. With Essence Plus, you can now repair and restore the coating without having to remove whatever coating may be left on the surface. The unique formula is the key and it is packed with SiO2, ceramic coat repair agents, high gloss quartz resins, and hydrophobic nano particles.
There was a lot of information in that paragraph, so let’s dissect that product description a bit and talk about what Essence Plus was made to do.
As stated above, Essence Plus is a non-abrasive product that is designed to help “repair fine swirls”. If you can read between the lines, you may have been able to interpret that “repair” means this product is made to temporarily fill in, hide, or mask minor imperfections rather than truly remove them as we would with an abrasive polish. I like to think of it as a modern version of a glaze.
Now you might be thinking… “Wait a second, did he just say it hides the defects rather than actually corrects them?… Doesn’t this go against everything we believe in?”
Not at all. Products with fillers do have a place in the detailing world. In this instance, Essence Plus was made to be used on top of a vehicle that has previously been protected with a nano coating (it can also be used on non-coated cars as well). As you may know, paint coatings are exceptionally thin, so if any sort of abrasive polish is used on a coated surface there is a risk that the coating layer will be compromised, and a new layer will then need to be applied. It is certainly true that every coated vehicle will need to be polished and re-coated eventually, but if you are not ready to tackle that project yet, a glaze-like product, such as Essence Plus, may be a suitable solution.
I decided to put Essence Plus to work on a car I had just purchased. The vehicle that is certainly in need of a proper paint correction, but I wanted to do an extreme test of the filling abilities of Essence Plus before I got around to any correction work. This amount of damage is certainly beyond the scope of “repairing fine swirls”, but as you can see, Essence Plus did successfully cover up some of the damage.
For this test, I used a Rupes LHR15, but Essence Plus can also be applied by hand. Instructions for both application methods are listed below.
- Wash, decontaminate and rinse thoroughly.
- Dry vehicle and wipe down with CarPro Eraser for clean oil free surface
Via Dual Action Polisher:
- Prime CarPro Gloss pad with Essence PLUS
- Apply with no pressure in multiple overlapping passes on speed 1-3 across 24″ x 24″ (60cm x 60cm) section
- Wipe off with microfiber towel
- Clean pad with brush and apply 4 pea size drops
- Move to next section and repeat steps 2 through 4
- Affix CarPro Gloss Pad to CarPro hand applicator strap tool
- Apply Essence PLUS to the CarPro Gloss pad
- Without pressure, apply in overlapping figure eight motions across 24″ sq. ~ 36″ sq. (60cm x 60cm ~ 90cm x 90cm) section.
- Allow to dry to a slight haze and wipe off with microfiber towel
- Move to next section and repeat steps 2 through 4
The instructions on the Detailed Image product page did not state how long to wait before wiping Essence Plus, however the bottle indicates the product should dry to a haze within minutes and that it should be removed immediately. I had discussed this process with other professional detailers who have used the product, and it was recommended to me to let the product sit on the surface for quite a while rather than removing it immediately, so I left the residue on the surface for 30 minutes before removing. After 30 minutes, the removal was effortless. It was incredibly easy to wipe away, much like Essence or Reflect, for those who have used those fantastic products from CarPro. With this in mind, I would imagine you could apply the product to most of, if not all of, a vehicle before wiping it off.
Resistance to Dirt and Spotting
After 7 days and around 900 miles of driving, the car had developed a nice layer of road grime over the majority of the painted surfaces. Upon closer examination of the hood, I noticed something very cool…
As you can see, the passenger side of the panel that has Essence Plus on it is way cleaner than the driver side that is bare. Essence Plus provided a significant amount of protection that helped keep the surface much, much cleaner than the unprotected side. This is a major advantage of applying any type of quality protection to your vehicle. It will look better for longer and it is easier to clean.
Hydrophobic Properties- Water Beading and Sheeting
Approximately a week after I had applied Essence Plus, I was ready to give the car a proper wash. The vehicle was washed with Optimum Car Wash using a foam canon and my favorite ReThickulous Wash Mitt. After rinsing away the suds, I took a look at the hydrophobic characteristics of Essence Plus.
It is very easy to see that Essence Plus is considerably more hydrophobic than bare paint. Due to the higher surface tension, the water begins to bead up rather than cling to the surface. This means your wash mitt will glide over the surface easier, dirt is more easily removed from the surface, and drying is easier because water will slide off of the panel.
While it is certainly better than nothing, the water beading did not live up to my current standards for a freshly applied product. I was hoping for tall, round beads with minimal surface contact that would effortlessly roll off of the surface. Instead, the beads were flat and irregular. Sheeting performance was adequate, but there was certainly room for improvement. Based on this, I would have to recommend topping Essence Plus with a product such as CarPro Reload to improve the hydrophobic performance if desired.
Honestly, I am sort of torn with this product. I understand the idea, and it did certainly help enhance this neglected paint without being invasive, so I assume that it would work nicely on better kept paint. While Essence Plus was certainly easy to use, it required much more time and effort than something like CarPro Reload, yet it produced similar results in my opinion. In my experiences, spray products like CarPro Reload are able to enhance paint by providing some light filling/defect hiding, increasing gloss, and adding excellent hydrophobic properties. They can do all of this without the need for a buffer and in much less time. Just spray on, wipe off, and you’re done. Perhaps I am lazy, but I always like to use products that get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to me Essence Plus did not produce far superior results that would have warranted the additional time to apply it.
I intend to do some more experimenting with Essence Plus when I find some vehicles that may be a more suitable candidate, and I will certainly let you know if my results are any different.