What Is the Difference Between Pearl & Metallic Paint?

by Becky Martinez
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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 colored. Major differences lie in materials used to make the paints and their final finishes.


Miniature slivers of reflective substance, usually aluminum, 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 color-shifting effect in the object colored.


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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