I prefer the look of a quality wax job over a ceramic finish. Yes, ceramics are tough, durable, and mostly maintenance free. But like ceramics, a quality wax is just as hydrophobic, dirt repellent, and spot proof.
Step 1: Wash/dry/clay bar the whole thing.
Step 2: I use a hydrophobic polymer wax as a base coat. In this specific case, I used Meguiar's Tech Wax 2.0. I apply it per the direction to each section using very small, tight concentric circles (50 cent piece sized). Covering the whole car with this base coat and the subsequent removal takes about 2 hours. I use only elbow grease... no orbitals. Once complete with the entire car, wait an hour.
Step 3: Repeat step 2. Once complete, this will serve as the car's base coat with a nice, thick stacked layer of hydrophobic polymer wax.
Step 4: Stack 2 LIGHT coats of a high gloss wax. In this case, I used Chemical Guys Butter Wax. This will add a lot of depth to the shine and give it a velvet feel that is smudge, fingerprint, and contaminant resistant.
Step 5 (optional): For an even deeper shine (as shown in the photos below), you can add a surface polish like Showtime Shine to amp up the gloss for a week or so for shows, car meets, etc.
Lastly, once Steps 1-4 are complete, you only need to perform a light maintenance coat once every 6 months or so to maintain the looks. It's a lot of work, but the materials needed for this cost less than $75. The difference in the look between this and a top quality ceramic coat are night and day. Whichever you prefer is up to your preference.
Ceramics add a glass-like finish topcoat which adds a high gloss shine, but it is a surface sparkle. A deep wax job has a lot of depth and accentuates the curves of a vehicle.It too is glossy, but it has a richer tone to the finish than what you'll find with a ceramic coating.
Of course, a quality ceramic coat will be maintenance free for 3-5 years... but it comes at a cost of $1,200 - $3,000 or more depending on just how much of the car gets coated and with what.
My Hellcat's Hellraisin paint is waxed. The satin painted hood/top/trunk deck is cleaned, clayed, and treated with Dr. Beasley's Matte Paint Treatment (ceramic). Caring for satin paint is no joke, so you can't go wrong with sealing it with a good ceramic treatment.
The satin wheels are treated with Chemical Guys Jet Seal Matte. I have tried all sorts of sealants, cleaners, and polishes on matte wheels. Aside from professional ceramic treatments, none of them worked to repel or seal the wheel from brake dust buildup... until I tried the Jet Seal. I have had this on these for over a month and, even when caked up and mostly brown from brake dust, a simple shot with an air hose blows all the brake dust off. Jet Seal is a polymer coating that behaves similarly to ceramics (and lasts 6 months to a year, if you believe their packaging). The enormous upside though is that a bottle of this stuff only costs $12 and there's enough to do your wheels at least 100 times.
***All images below are no filter, taken at noon on a bright, sunny day day.