April 02, 2023 5 min read
If you’re looking to darken your leather goods, you’ll be happy to know that it can be a relatively easy and fast process. With some know-how, you can make your leather jacket, shoes, or furniture take on darker and earthier tones in no time.
On top of having a richer tone, darkening leather can also rehydrate it, protect it from wear, repair creases, enhance flexibility, and even make scratches (sort of) vanish. There are various oils and other wares that can make your leather shine like new.
At Andar, we’re passionate about leather care as we are full-grain leather, which is why we’ve devised this ultimate DIY guide on the many ways you can darken your leather right at home. Read along to learn the pros and cons of oils, dyes, and other tools, as well as how to apply them properly.
Before you can start the darkening process, it’s important that you take some precautions and prepare your leather item for the best results. Here’s our step-by-step guide:
Before we get into the specific oils that can darken leather, let’s go over how to apply these products to get the best results.
Many of these natural oils can help revitalize your leather, but only if applied with care. Otherwise, you might notice some adverse effects.
Here are some protips to consider:
When applied correctly, leather oils can work to darken and protect the material, enhance its flexibility, and repair damages like scratches or creases.
With that said, each oil has its own unique properties that make it better or worse for specific tasks.
There are a few solid plant-based oils that can work to darken your leather and protect it. These are vegan alternatives that are safe for pets.
Mink oil works for darkening leather while also acting as a leather conditioner, keeping it healthy, durable, and flexible. This is a popular choice for darkening leather boots or other outdoor leather goods, as it restores the natural oils in the leather and adds a layer of protection against the elements.
Mink oil is made from the natural oils present in hides, with added waxes for extra protection. It helps to soften your leather goods, making for a more comfortable wear. At the same time, you’ll have your desired darkness and a nice brilliant sheen to go with it.
After the oil has saturated your leather, take out your horsehair brush to buff out the leather and remove excess oils. Compared to a microfiber cloth, the fine hairs of this brush can be much more effective at getting into the creases and folds of your shoes, jacket, or other leather goods.
Neatsfoot oil is another popular choice for darkening leather. This is a natural oil made from the fats in cattle hooves, and it’s great at rehydrating and softening your leather.
However, it’s best to use neatsfoot oil sparingly, like shoe polish. Neatsfoot oil works best for quick fixes, like repairing creases, scuffs, or cracks. If you use too much of the oil or use it too often, its acidic qualities can start to deteriorate your leather.
Still, when used with discretion, neatsfoot oil can repair and waterproof your leather shoes, couches, and other goods, keeping them safe from the weather. As always, carefully buff your leather goods to ensure no globs of oil are left collecting in the cracks and folds.
Leather dyes are quite different from oils in that they’re alcohol-based rather than made from organic fats and oils. These can certainly change the color of your leather, but with some drawbacks. Since they’re alcohol-based, they can often dry out your leather over time.
Leather dyes can be applied much like the oils but typically require a few coats and work best on unfinished leather. It can be easy to apply an uneven coat if you’re not careful. Still, you can create some unique color changes with dyes.
We hope our ultimate guide on darkening leather has shown you some of the healthiest, most effective ways to darken your leather while keeping it flexible and strong.
Andar is the home of fine-quality, full-grain leather products made with durability in mind. We create wallets, cases, and bags with sophisticated designs that protect your goods with style.
Thanks for tuning in!