One of my favorite aspects of my passion for detailing is testing new products regularly. I routinely preach technique and practice over leaning on a product to achieve the results you are looking for (see the bottom of article for some of my favorite blog posts to improve technique). Once you are proficient though, who wouldn’t want to find the perfect line of products to produce the same or better results in less time? In the last several months P&S Bead Maker was widely reviewed in the detailing community. There has been a lot of buzz and I was anxious to get my hands on some. We have been using it regularly in our shop for the past several months so let’s get right into how it has been performing for us!
First things first, Bead Maker is a spray-able polymer sealant that can be used to top coat on waxed, sealed, or ceramic coated vehicles. It can also be used as a stand-alone protectant and as a drying aid. It performs its best when applied to a dry, freshly detailed, vehicle. When the panel is perfectly clean and dry, spray a fine mist of product to the panel and also to the first towel then begin to level and remove the product. If you are using Bead Maker as a standalone protectant, the first application should be more liberal and you will want to work the product in a little longer to ensure a solid base layer of product. I prefer to keep a second and third dry microfiber towel handy for removing the excess residue. Click here for my favorite LSP Towels. The product will cure during the next 8 hours, during which time you should not get the vehicle wet. When fully cured the gloss levels and slickness will be enhanced from initial application.
Over the course of the last several months using this product one thing is for certain, this is by far, the easiest to use last step product we have ever tested, bar none. It is that simple. When you level this product, it is simply effortless to perform the final wipe down and watch the remaining product flash to a brilliant, streak-less finish. This is far and away our favorite characteristic of the product. You can work your way around the car quickly and with confidence you are not leaving streaks or residue that will cure to an unsightly blemish. This is the major advantage this product holds over our favorite ceramic based top coats. With those products, they don’t buff away as easily, some are plain difficult and streaky, then if you miss product and don’t catch it in time, it may require a little more work than simply wiping it back up. Bead Maker flashes away so effortlessly we were simply floored. We can get around a car in 5-10 minutes easily adding a huge efficiency gain to our shop.
We all like products that are easy to use but how is the performance. Easy, the best slickness and gloss of any spray sealant we have ever used. It is a very satisfying application process as it begins to flash you start to feel the microfiber slide effortlessly and wipe across to reveal excellent gloss. Just wait for it to cure and you will see the full effect. Get the panel wet for the first time and you will experience very satisfying water behavior. Nice tight beads and great water shedding ability, it lives up to its name! On top of our own ceramic coated vehicles, we were seeing the product produce the same water behavior for several months. Is it going to last as long as some other spray on protectants on the market? My expectation in real world, daily driven, applications is no. However, in my mind, the ease of use means reapplication is not much of an event and can easily be added to the regular detailing routine.
So, I know many of you are asking yourselves, ‘Is he going to answer the real question here?’ and the answer is yes, of course. What does Bead Maker smell like? Well I am happy to report, Bead Maker has a nice subtle peach scent. Not the best smelling product on my list (No really, I have a list, new blog post in the works) but definitely not the worst (cough, Iron-X cough cough). Bead Maker adds a cherry on top with a very affordable price point. I am excited to add this to our go-to line-up and very happy Detailed Image has chosen to carry this and more of the P&S line.
As for the title question, is Bead Maker the best last step product ever? Well, of course, this will change given desired results and each given situation. My take is this, Bead Maker is an extremely easy to use, multi-month polymer sealant, with striking slickness and gloss. There are many other products out there I like very much that have some of these characteristics and some that last longer but at the end of the day, I find myself reaching for Bead Maker more often than not. Best last step product is a hefty title to defend, but I will plant my flag on the fact that Bead Maker is the best last step product for most people.
Must read Ask a Pro Blog Posts regarding technique: