I'm still not clear on the brushes. If I understand correctly, brushing is to remove the excessive polish/cream. So does this mean I need a separate brush for just dusting before/after wearing when I'm not polishing? That way I don't get any loose/leftover polish or cream on the shoe.
That sounds like overkill to me. I use one brush for black, one for brown / cherry / burgundy and one for tan shoes.
I use a piece of old undershirt (or even underwear) to add cream to the shoe. For areas hard to reach, I use an old toothbrush.