So I didn't realize that some bromeliads have a natural white substance on them until after I had wiped it down and done some research. 🤦🏻♀️The leaves look a little wonky (it's been 24 hours since the wipe down). Have I started the process of killing it unintentionally?
No, you have not killed it. That waxy cutting, the cuticle, is a protective coating, protecting the plant from loosing too much water through transpiration on hot sunny days. Depending on where you live the world this may never be a problem. If you live in a very northerly climate it may never encounter a day too hot for it to handle. If you live in a hot region of the world, like South Africa, India or even Arizona this maybe a problem.
To be on the safe side, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, keep your plant in a south window for the winter. Then move it to a east facing window in spring and summer. This should not be too much sun. Eventually your plant will grow new leaves replacing the ones that were damaged.
The cuticle also acts as a sun screen (in addition to limiting transpiration). Keep an eye on the plant for signs of excess sun exposure (bleaching or yellowing of the leaves).
Don't let the plant get too dry if you see signs of sunburn. As mentioned above, where you are on the globe will determine how much exposure risk you have.
The cuticle should come back for the most part over time.