Shoes should be polished and conditioned weekly, or at least a couple times each month. For men that wear a pair only once or twice a month, that means after every wearing.
Polishing shoes is a relatively mindless task that takes about fifteen minutes for a pair. And since each pair should be resting for about half the time it takes to do the polishing, it is more effective to do two pair at a time instead of one. That means something more than an hour for a week's shoes. Clark Gable, the former king of Hollywood, used to shine his on Saturday mornings.
Home polishing should begin with a good brushing followed by an application of a conditioner like Saphir Renovateur, part of what is probably the best line of shoe care products in the world (that's a can of Saphir wax on the workbench of Dimitri Gomez, the great Parisian bespoke cordwainer, in the photo). Let those shoes sit for a couple minutes while you condition the other pair and then brush them both briskly once again.
Post conditioning, apply the appropriate color cream to the shoes. It is not necessary that the colors are an exact match. Creams (and waxes) that are darker than the shoe will over time create an antique effect while lighter colors will preserve the original finish. But one coat of a reasonably similar color rarely makes a visible difference.
Apply cream to your alternate pair for a couple of minutes while the layer on the first pair hazes over. Then, return to the first pair with your horsehair brush and brush along the sides and across the top of each shoe. Once you have brushed, apply another coat of cream and again allow it to haze over while you brush the other shoes.
Now apply a coat of wax polish (this is the stuff that imparts the shine), and do the same to the alternate pair while the first sits. Then brush again.
Finally, apply one more coat of conditioner and allow each pair to dry while you brush the other. Buff each with a cloth and you have conditioned and polished two pairs of shoes.
Look for Saphir shoe care products at the ASW store whenever the steamship finally arrives.