See your reflection in your wingtips with this strategy from a former cadet

Wrap a piece of old T-shirt around your index finger and dip it in water, which will help spread the wax (A). Swipe it across some polish and then rub in a circular motion, moving from toe to heel (B). If the polish is too thick, add more water. Repeat the process at least twice. The first layer will look shiny, but not perfect, with some dimpling or lines on the surface. The second coat should buff these imperfections. Use less polish with each layer, continuing until the shoe shines.