Alright, here goes. Before I start, I should say that I've no doubt one could obtain an even shinier result with other buffing methods. Those would however take a lot more time and effort. The moist cotton ball method (MCBM) is, in my eyes, a great way of getting a reasonable mirror shine with a minimum of effort. What you need:
* Cotton balls. Preferably the type that comes in one big roll. Pads will work too, but are more difficult to work with. * Shoe wax. I use Kiwi, mostly because it's cheap, it works and is readily available. I have no idea if this method works with shoe cream. * Leather shoes! What you don't need:
* Expensive brushes, made from the finest hair taken from tender shetland ponies. (Sorry, I had to!)
With a bit of practice, the MCBM should get you shiny shoes in about five minutes, give or take depending on the type of shoe and shoe size. OK, let's do this. Step by step guide (8 steps): 1. Grab a cotton ball, make it a reasonably large size. 2. Soak it in cold water (just hold it under the tap for a a few seconds). Squeeze it tightly, several times, until the cotton is more moist than wet. 3. Untangle the cotton ball. It'll be scrunched up into a really tight ball.
Try to get it back to the shape it had before soaking. (wow, I really need to get that wall painted one of these days...) 4. Grip it in a way the feels comfortable. I either make a ball out of it and grip it, or wrap it around two fingers like in the picture.
It really doesn't matter how you grip it though, as long as it feels comfortable and you're able to do quick motions back and forth without dropping it. 5. Dab it in your wax of choice
(I only use wax, I have no idea if this method works with cream). You'll need to dab the cotton ball in the wax again several times throughout of course. You shouldn't need to use a lot of wax though. You'll get a feeling for how much you need to apply when you've done it a few times. 6. Polish the entire shoe, using circular motions.
Make sure you rub it in properly. The shoe shouldn't look entirely dulled after this. It should be somewhat shiny, like in this picture: (6.5. At this point you could let the shoe sit for a few hours, or perhaps until the next morning, to let the wax set. I've read some people claim that this makes it shinier. I've never bothered with this, but it might be worth trying. Remember to do 1.-3. again if you decide to wait a while, dry cotton balls won't get you anywhere.) 7. Either grab a new cotton ball and repeat 1.-3. or just flip the one you're using to the clean side (my preferred method, less waste).
In the picture, I've folded it into a ball with the clean side out, just to show a different way of holding it. 8. Buff! Quick motions back and forth until the shoe looks nice and shiny!
Finished result: (I didn't polish the part under or around the laces)
Good luck! Feel free to direct your flamethrowers towards me if you have any problems with the MCBM. I've been hanging around the Internet so long my skin is basically made of asbestos. Let me know if you think this guide is any good, maybe I should put it in a new thread? Edit: Guide is a bit excessive in some parts (even patronizing, not my intention!), but making something easy look complicated is always fun.