Protecting a new staircase - varnish?

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Afternoon!

I've recently installed a new pine staircase in my house, I need to protect them now from scuffs etc. from daily use, any recommendations what I should use? I'd like to keep as close as possible to its current colour which I quite like, and I'm not much of a fan of glossy finishes. There's a bewildering array of varnishes, oils and waxes that I can't get my head around, I'd really appreciate any help!

Thanks
 
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As above or just another off the shelve satin clear varnish, I hear bees wax is effective also but im unsure
 
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Don't you risk breaking a leg slipping on a varnished staircase.?
 
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I'm carpeting the steps, but the stringers, newels etc wil be exposed, and I'd like to have the option to go bare wood steps in the future too. Those suggestions are great tho, thanks for the tips!
 

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