As the name suggests, the main function of shoe polishes is to make shoes look good. There are 2 broad categories of shoe polishes: cream polishes and wax polishes.
The primary function of wax polishes is to add shine to your shoes to create a refined look, as well as fill in minor scuff marks. Wax polishes are usually composed of a high amount of hard waxes with light pigmentation. The hard waxes allow the polish to form a hard, relatively thick structures that can fill in scuff marks and scratches so that they blend into the shoe. Working this hard wax layer into a smooth, reflective surface gives the shoe a glossy look. A good wax polish like the Saphir Pate de Luxe uses natural waxes such as beeswax and Carnauba wax instead of synthetic waxes that could damage leather.
In addition to shining your shoes, wax polishes also give significant water-resistance to your shoe, helping you avoid significant water damage if you spill drinks onto your shoe or get caught in the rain.
How to use the Saphir Pate de Luxe and Mirror Gloss
- Remove your shoelaces and clean your shoe with a horsehair brush. Be sure to remove any flaking wax. It is a good idea to remove the topmost, dirt-caked layers with a little Saddle Soap before adding new wax polish for a cleaner shine.
- Pick up some polish with a horsehair dauber brush. A dauber brush prevents your hands from getting stained by the polish, which can be hard to get off. It is very important to use separate dauber brushes for each colour of polish. Sharing a common brush between black and brown polishes, for example, will cause black streaks to appear on your brown shoes.
- Using quick circles, spread the wax over your shoe leather quickly, using the bristles to work the polish into corners and welts. Spread this evenly, picking up more polish as required until the entire shoe is covered.
- Let the polish sit on the shoe for a few hours. It should form a matte layer over the leather as it dries.
- Brush the shoe with broad quick strokes using a horsehair buffing brush to get rid of this matte layer and bring a refined sheen to your shoes. This buffing slightly heats up the superficial wax layers, allowing you to smoothen it and form a high-gloss shine called a “brush shine”. A brush shine is similar to the original sheen of the leather shoes when you bought them.
- Fill in scuff marks with wax polish by using a dry cotton rag to pick up some polish and applying it into the scuff until it levels with the rest of the shoe. Allow this thick application to dry for at least a few hours before buffing it with a horsehair brush. Repeat until the scuff mark is no longer noticeable.
How to use get a mirror shine with Saphir Mirror Gloss
Saphir Mirror Gloss is a specialty wax formulated just for creating the sleekest mirror shines. Compared to regular waxes, the Mirror Gloss is extremely hard. This makes it possible to create thicker, smoother wax layers that fill in the naturally uneven surface of your leather to create that clear, mirror-like effect.
- Remove your shoelaces and clean your shoe with a horsehair brush. For the clearest shine, we recommend removing all existing polish and dirt with a leather stripper like Saphir Reno’mat, which dissolves existing polish for an easy wipe. As leather strippers are rather drying, remember to follow up with a thorough conditioning!
- Pick up a generous amount of polish with a horsehair dauber brush. You will be be trying to apply a thick foundation layer of wax to fill in the natural pores of leather until they become level.
- Using quick circles, spread the wax over the desired area quickly.
- Let the polish sit on the shoe for a few hours. When building a mirror shine, it is important to let the previous layer dry completely before adding on more wax! This is because you want to build a thick layer of wax on top of the leather. By applying additional wax before the previous application has completely dried, the solvent in the new wax will simply dissolve the previous layer so that you are working with a huge lump of semi-solid wax.
- In order to make sure the pores are completely filled, repeat steps 2-4 for 3 to 4 more generous layers.
- After these pores are completely covered with wax, you’ll want to polish the wax layer into a smooth layer that reflects light using the subsequent steps.
- Wrap a cotton rag tightly around your finger. Put a drop of water on your fingertip, then pick up a tiny amount of Saphir Mirror Gloss on your fingertip.
- Using small, light, and quick circular motions, apply this wax onto the toecaps of your shoe. There are 2 important things to take note of here: 1) Only apply wax to the hard portion of the toecap and never over any creases. Areas that can bend will crack the wax layer when you walk. 3) Use an extremely light touch, just grazing the surface of the shoe. The flesh of your fingers should not be depressed.
What you are doing is dissolving just a little of the thick base layers of wax you have built with the solvent in the small amount of Mirror Gloss on your rag, then working this into smooth layers as the solvent dries and the wax hardens.
- As you are doing this, you may notice that the polish surface turns dull, ruining the slight shine of your base wax coats! Ironically, this is actually a sign that you are close to achieving a shine!
- Continue with the circular motions until this dull finish turns into a bright, shiny gloss. As the wax dries and hardens, you might find there is too much friction to carry on smooth circular motions with a light touch. When this happens, simply add a drop of water onto the wax layer to provide slight lubrication.
- At this stage, you should have something resembling a mirror shine, though the reflections may not be as sharp as desired. Simply repeat steps 7-10 until the desired clarity is achieved. It is extremely important to let the previous layer sit for an hour or even more before adding new layers.
FAQs about the Saphir Pate de Luxe & Mirror Gloss
How often should I use the Saphir Pate de Luxe or Mirror Gloss?
If you are relying on them for water resistance, you should apply a layer of wax polish about once a week.
Does the colour of the Saphir Pate de Luxe I use have to match my shoe colour exactly?
The colour of the wax polish does not have to match your shoes exactly. This is especially so because wax polishes are not heavily pigmented and cannot change the colour of your shoes very significantly. Some shoe artisans like to give their shoes a patina e.g brown shoes with a dark brown gradient on the toecaps, and several layers of black wax polish has to be used before this can be achieved.
You could also share a neutral wax among several pairs of shoes with different colours. However, you shouldn’t use a neutral wax for filling scuff marks on dark shoes. Because it is unpigmented, the wax filling will look different from the rest of your shoe.
What if I accidentally used the wrong colour of wax polish?
Remove the wax easily with a leather stripper like Saphir Reno’mat, which dissolves all polish layers on top of the leather for an easy wipe.