As detailed in our Introducing Shoe Shine Sundays blog, begin the process by cleaning and conditioning your leather with Saphir Renovateur to remove any debris or light stains. Follow with a single, thin coat of Saphir Cream Polish (minding the color) and gently buff. Lastly, apply a normal, medium coat of Saphir Wax Polish, enough to completely fill in the pores of the skin. This will provide the flat surface that will look like glass and give rise to a mirror finish.
Once your shoes are cleaned, polished and buffed with a coat of wax, the secret to generating a flawless mirror shine is in the diligent application of many small layers of wax. This will help further smooth the surface of the leather, filling the pores, to create the necessary smooth surface required to create a mirror shine.
The trick is to apply a very small amount of wax polish (tiny, tiny, tiny) with about one drop of water, massaging it into the leather in circular motions with a cotton chamois until it disappears.
When you come to the end of a dab of wax, exhale warmly into the leather. Adjust your cloth slightly and finish off the remaining wax by swirling a little longer before you go for another drop of water.
This process should be repeated until your shoes reflect a mirror finish. If this is your first time, it may take more than fifty applications, but be comforted by the fact that the more often you shine, the easier it gets to accomplish brilliant results. In order to create a mirror finish, you actually do not buff the toe box with a horsehair brush – this would disrupt the smooth finish. Instead, only a cotton chamois is used to apply the wax and polish it up.
A few things to avoid:
- Too much water. Make sure you are matching each tiny dab of solid wax with only a single drop of water.
- Too much pressure. As the shine appears, you’ll need less and less pressure.
- Not enough coats. A shoe that has never been properly polished will have a pitted surface and will require many small applications of wax to level out into a mirror finish. A perfect mirror finish is very time consuming to achieve.
- Not enough light. Polish in natural light to reveal the growing shine.
We’re working on a more in-depth version on how to achieve a Mirror Finish for our Shoecare Guide.