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Saphir Presidential Shine

The Saphir "Presidential Shine" is a thorough shoeshine regimen that we recommend two to three times a year. With it, you completely strip off old finishes, thereby removing all waxes (natural or unnatural) and dirt that may have accumulated through wear. This prepares the leather to receive deep and total nourishment from Saphir's Medaille d'Or shoe polishes and completely rebuilds the protective wax finish. This is the most thorough shine -- think of it as "spring cleaning" -- and will completely renew the finish and patina of your shoes.

We also recommend this as the first shine for anyone transitioning to an all-Saphir shoeshine routine. It is important that the silicones and resins of cheap polishes be removed to allow the nutrients in Saphir polish to penetrate and to prevent the leather from suffocating (which can cause the leather to crack).

Total Time: approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour

Process Overview:

  1. Saphir Reno'Mat Leather Cleaner

    A powerful cleaner that effectively removes silicone, resin, and dirt buildup from smooth leather, preparing it to receive total and deep nourishment.

  2. Saphir Medaille d'Or Dubbin Graisse

    Containing 15% natural animal oils, Dubbin Graisse provides deep, penetrating nourishment to leather that is essential to prevent cracking caused by dryness and to maintain softness and flexibility. Allow two days for the nutrients to be fully absorbed before applying additional polish.

  3. Saphir Medaille d'Or Renovateur

    This mink-oil based cleaner and conditioner contains no waxes and provides essential nourishment to smooth leathers.

  4. Saphir Medaille d'Or Pommadier Cream Polish

    Saphir’s MDO Cream Polish contains both a high concentration of nutrients, pigments, and waxes. It is best used to build the base of any finish. As part of the Presidential Shine, we recommend applying at least three successive coats to build up the base finish.

  5. Saphir Medaille d'Or Pate de Lux Wax Polish

    Saphir’s MDO Wax Polish provides the final coats of wax to bring up a high-gloss shine and to further protect and waterproof the leather. We always recommend using the wax polish as the last step of any shoeshine regimen.

  1. Saphir Reno'Mat Leather Cleaner

    Saphir’s Reno’Mat is a powerful cleaner for smooth leathers that removes all accumulated buildup of silicone, resins, and dirt, thereby restoring smooth leather to its natural state. By removing any silicone from lesser-quality polishes and accumulated dirt, you prepare your shoes to receive deep, penetrating nourishment from Saphir’s Medaille d’Or products. This is an essential step to be performed two to three times a year.

    Note: Renomat will completely remove all layers of polish, fully exposing the original leather. On high-quality leathers, the original finish should remain unaltered. However, on some more delicate or cheap finishes, it is possible to completely remove the original finish of the shoes. We always recommend first testing the Reno'Mat on a small, hidden portion of your shoe first. If you have any doubts, either skip this step or substitute Saphir Nettoyant Cleaning Soap. it is essential the at the protective layer of wax (the “finish”) be restored properly.

    Step 1: Gently brush your shoes with a horsehair brush to remove anything on the surface.

    Step 2: Using a cotton chamois, apply the RENOMAT as shown. Then, work the RENOMAT into the leather in small, circular motions, focusing on small areas of the shoe. Since you are removing all prior polish and dirt, rub liberally, reapplying RENOMAT as needed. Two to three passes should be sufficient to remove any prior buildup of waxes. The purpose here is not to remove the finish of the leather.

    Step 3: Once you have worked all the way around the shoe and touched up any spots that require particular attention, wipe off any residual Reno'Mat using a damp cloth. Allow the shoe to dry.

  2. Saphir Medaille d'Or Dubbin Graisse

    Saphir’s Medaille d’Or Graisse – or Dubbin – is a traditional grease containing 15% natural animal oil. It provides powerful, deep nourishment to smooth leathers that is essential to prevent cracking caused by dryness. It’s special formula allows it to penetrate deep into the leather, producing an almost immediate difference in softness, flexibility, and nourishment. We recommend it as part of a semi-annual regimen because of how saturating the Dubbin can be, one must allow two days for the leather to fully absorb the nutrients before a polish can be applied.

    The most important areas requiring Grassie are the vamp and sides, as illustrated in the below illustration. The Graisse should be applied lightly to the blue area and more-lightly to the grey area; less is more. Apply the Graisse with a cotton chamois in small, circular motions. You will notice the leather darken almost immediately as it becomes saturated with the nutrients of the Graisse. This is normal.

    IMPORTANT: Less is more with the Dubbin.
    If you apply too much, it can take up to a week for one's shoes to dry.
    Apply very lightly until you gain a feel for the product.

    Once completed, allow the leather to fully absorb the nutrients for two days. Because the leather is fully saturated when the Grassie is first applied, it will not take a polish until it dries. It is important to note the Graisse will neither change the color of your shoes nor leave a greasy finish. Once dried, your leather will be fully re-nourished and ready to take normal shoe polish.

  3. Saphir Medaille d'Or Renovatur

    Sahpir’s Medaille d’Or Renovateur is arguably the company’s best-known and most-popular product. This mink-oil based cleaner and conditioner contains no waxes and penetrates deep into leather pours to both clean and condition. Here, we use it as the base before applying pigmented polish.

    The Renovateur is a tremendously versatile product. We recommend it be used regularly, either as the base of a polishing regimen, or alone between polishing to provide nourishment to leather.

    Step 1: Gently brush the shoes with a horsehair brush to remove anything from the surface.

    Step 2: Using a cotton chamois, apply a light coat of the Saphir Renovateur (less is more - consider daubing it out of the lid to help control the quantity) in small, circular motions. Massage the Renovateur into the leather. Apply to small sections at a time.

    Step 3: After allowing the Renovateur to dry for approximately three minutes, gently buff with a horsehair brush to remove any buildup from the surface.

  4. Saphir Medaille d'Or Pommadier Cream Polish

    Saphir’s Medaille d’Or Pommadier Cream Polish contains a high concentration of nutrients (for general leather health and to prevent cracking), pigments (to reestablish the color saturation of the finish), and waxes (to provide a protective layer). After stripping the previous finish with RENOMAT, we recommend applying three successive coats to rebuild the protective wax finish. After using the RENOMAT, one coat is insufficient and will leave the leather vulnerable.

    Step 1: Test a small area of a hidden portion of the shoe to determine which color is best. Below, you can see me testing both the Light Brown #03 and Medium Brown #37 polishes. I decided to use the Medium Brown #37.

    Note: if you were ever to apply a polish that is too dark and leaves an undesirable finish, the RENOMAT can be effectively used to remove it.

    Step 2: Using a cotton chamois, apply a light coat of the Saphir Pommadier Cream (less is more - consider daubing it out of the lid to help control the quantity) in small, circular motions. Apply to small sections at a time until the entire shoe is covered.

    Step 3: After allowing the polish to dry for approximately three minutes, gently buff with a horsehair brush to remove any surface buildup. To help control the shoe, it might be helpful to place the shoe in your lap, using the Shoeshine Matt to help protect your clothing.

    Step 4: Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until three to four coats of wax have been applied.

    Note: The thick finish will also allow the patina your shoes to be easily restored by simply rebuffing instead of re-polishing. You will find that the quality of the Saphir MDO polish is very resilient and quite robust. It is important that an adequately thick finish be built up after having used the RENOMAT. On more routine polishing, one coat of Cream Polish and one coat of Wax Polish should be sufficient.

  5. Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Lux Wax Polish

    As the last step, Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Lux Wax Polish provides the final coat of wax to bring up a high-gloss shine and to water proof the shoes. By now, we have build up the finish with three to five layers of cream and wax polish, thereby providing a generous protective finish against scuffs and water.

    Step 1: Using a cotton chamois, apply a light coat of the Saphir Pate de Lux Wax Polish (less is more - consider daubing it out of the lid to help control the quantity) in small, circular motions. Apply to small sections at a time until the entire shoe is covered.

    Step 2: After allowing the polish to dry for approximately three minutes, gently buff with a horsehair brush to remove any surface buildup. To help control the shoe, it might be helpful to place the shoe in your lap, using the Shoeshine Matt to help protect your clothing.

    Step 3: Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until two to three coats of wax polish have been applied.

    Step 4: To bring up a high gloss shine, apply an additional coat of Pate de Lux Wax Polish with a little bit of water. Here, I have added a little water to the lid of the wax polishing tin. Alternatively, you can use one of our 3 oz spray bottles. Traditionally, this treatment is reserved exclusively for the toe box (foremost portion of the shoe).

    Step 5: Using one of our 3 oz Spray Bottles, spray a clean cotton chamois (one or two sprays should be plenty) so that it is slightly damp (not wet). Use a clean cotton chamois reserved exclusively for buffing. Fold it in half so that one side is reserved for black / darker shoes and the other for brown / lighter shoes. Securing your shoes in your lap, buff the toebox. The heat generated from the friction helps "glass" the wax polish, thereby creating the high-gloss shine that people are sure to notice. Repeat using with a second or third coat, if necessary.

This Presidential Shine regimen will completely renew your shoes, removing any old polish and reestablishing a protective wax coat with sufficient thickness to last months. The multiple wax layers from the cream and wax polishes creates a thick finish that allows the patina to easily be restored by buffing with a cotton chamois or, even better, a Lambswool Shoeshine Mitt. In addition to producing a beautiful, deep patina, the layers of wax protect the leather from the elements and scuffing.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email Kirby Allison at kirbya [at] hangerproject [dot com].

Presidential Shine FAQ

Q: "With dubbin, do I need to buff it off after two days of drying, or should I immediately apply Renovateur? Also, if I follow your Presidential Shoe Shine, do I need to buff the Reno’Mat off before applying dubbin?"

I would lightly wipe the Saphir Reno'Mat off with a slightly damp chamois. Our spray bottle is perfect to make sure you do not wet it too much – just one spray should deliver sufficient water. The purpose is to only wipe off any residual – not to dampen the shoe. Leather should still be dry when done.

As for the Saphir Dubbin – it would probably be most prudent to lightly buff off any extra off with a brush 5 to 10 minutes after first applying. Then allow the shoe to completely absorb the dubbin over a few days until dry (until the natural color of the leather has returned). You will get a feel for this after doing it once or twice. Remember, less is more with the Dubbin.

Then, after it's dry, there should not be anything to brush off. Just directly apply the Renovateur as normal and resume where you left off with the Presidential Shine!

 
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