Often used simultaneously, we try and get some clarity (pun intended) between these 2 correction agents!
Compounds are often used together with terms such as cutting. This gives us some detail into the nature of compounds relative to polishes. Compounds are more aggressive in nature relative to polishes. They are typically used to “cut-back” paint. Compounds make light work of visible light scratches and achieve correction at a significantly faster pace compared to polishes.
However, there is a downside to this. Compounds run a greater risk of going through your clear coat as a result. Additionally, depending on the paint of the car, some compounds in fact leave light marring which will need to be removed with a finer grade polish. PRODUCT: Menzerna FG400
Polishes typically follow up the more aggressive nature of compounds to bring out that shine and gloss due to the finer nature of the particulates used in polishes. Polishes are also a less invasive way of correcting paint. However, the downside to this is that polishes also take longer before they achieve that level of finish/correction that the user is after. PRODUCT: Menzerna 3500
Finally, a hybrid product. These are often known as one-step compounds. In reality, they are particulate diminishing compounds. The main drawcard for these products are that they offer an all-on-one correction product. The way they work is that the harsher larger particulates break down over time with heat and use as the polishing tool and compound interfaces with the vehicle. As the product breaks down over time, it forms a finer product which then overlays as a finishing step after correction has taken place. However the draw back with this hybrid is that the product can break down before full correction has taken place (ie. with deeper scratches). As a result, the user may still need to still go over the panel with a number of passes until the final finish is achieved. PRODUCT: Apex Customs Clarity Medium Polishing Compound