What Causes Leather to Darken?
Lots of my customers are surprised when I tell them that leather darkens with age. It’s one of the things I love most about leather. The leather develops this gorgeous finish over time. It’s called a patina. It develops thanks to the sun, it's age, your natural body oils, and dirt. Leather wears the story of its age, and environment.
How Do I Speed Up the Patina?
You can darken your leather by setting in out in the sun. Some leather studios will tan their leather on the roof of their building for days at a time. It’s important to remember that tanning your leather is just like tanning at the beach. All the parts of your leather that are not exposed to the sun will not be tanned. You can also oil your leather to speed up the patina. If you oil your leather it will darken immediately, especially if it’s untreated nude leather. Age, and frequency of use are what will have the biggest impact on the colour of your leather. The more you use your leather likely it is to be exposed to the sun, absorb the oils from your body, and pick up dirt, helping develop that gorgeous patina.
How Do I Slow Down the Patina?
While there’s no way you can stop your leather from developing a patina, there are some things that you can do to slow it down. You can treat your leather with a shoe spray that has UV protection (be sure to test it on an inconspicuous area first). Treating your leather with a UV spray will not only help protect it from the sun, but will also help protect it from dirt and oil. Dirt and oil on your leather aren’t a bad thing, but they are what helps it develop a beautiful patina.
This is an example of how my own personal cell phone pouch has aged over the years. The two pouches on the left are brand new, and just over a month old. The pouch on the right is over two years old, and has darkened significantly.