What is the purpose of wax application after chalk painting?

Chalk painting looks so easy and fun! I am planning to give a fresh look to some older pieces of furniture by applying chalk paint. I’ve seen DYI videos that waxing adds to the distressed look. How does this differ from just sanding the piece to create the same look? If I don’t wax the piece do I need to use a top coat to protect the paint? Thank you!

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