What is the difference between pearl & metallic paint?

Written by becky martinez | 13/05/2017
What is the difference between pearl & metallic paint?
Metallic paints are often applied to sports cars. (sports car image by Jake Hellbach from Fotolia.com)

Metallic and pearl paints are commonly used in the auto industry. Both offer brilliance to the vehicle being coloured. Major differences lie in materials used to make the paints and their final finishes.


Miniature slivers of reflective substance, usually aluminium, are added to metallic paints. Tiny flecks of mica, a man-made substance that glows much like an innate pearl, are added to pearl paints.


Materials in metallic paints reflect light, giving the object painted an even, glittery appearance. Mica in pearl paints refracts light, creating a colour-shifting effect in the object coloured.


Metallic paint finishes are considered racy and are most often used on sports cars. Pearl paint finishes are deemed soft and are more commonly found on family or corporate vehicles.

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