Can Black Leather Patina? (Here’s 6 Reasons Why)

can black leather patina

The patina of leather is a natural process that happens over time. But do black leather in particular patina? In this article, I’m going to discuss if black leather patina and the factors that cause this to happen.

So can black leather patina? Black leather will patina and its patina will generally be a lot more pronounced when compared to other light-colored leather goods. However, the quality of patina you will get, how long it will take to appear, and its specific characteristics will all depend on certain factors like the type of black leather, and where it’s sourced.

To learn the details about this topic, keep reading this article.

Factors That Cause Black Leather To Patina

1. Natural Leather

First of all, one of the very first things that could help determine if your black leather would patina is if it is natural and not artificial. Generally, all-natural leather items will generally patina regardless of their color.

However, the degree and visibility of the patina that is going to be formed on the surface of the leather will be based on other factors which I will discuss later on below.

Meaning if you have a piece of leather item that is black but made of synthetic leather, then chances are your leather may never patina.

2. Type Of Black Leather

One of the very first things that can determine if your black leather could patina is due to the type of black leather you have. Black leathers that are processed with chemicals are unlikely to patina meaning they will not darken due to oxidation.

These types of black leathers may have a different texture than natural ones do and the general processes they go through makes them less prone to patina.

This is to say that if you have a black leather jacket, shoes, belts, bags, etc, that has been chemically tanned will not patina as much as black leather that has been tanned using vegetable oils with no added chemicals is going to develop patina.

3. Waterproofed Black Leather

Black leather that’s been treated for water resistance won’t be able to patina over time but there could still be a very thin layer of patina that may not be very distinctive.

Waterproofing means that the leather will not soak up water and this is an anti-patina agent. Although you may have some patina, it won’t be as pronounced in waterproofed black leather because of this protective layer on top of the material.

However, if there’s enough extreme exposure to rain, snow, and other elements that promote the appearance of patina, then these coats could eventually start to develop true signs of patina.

This will usually entail darker lines running through the leather item from prolonged contact with moisture – a sign that they’re going back down into their natural state where oils can penetrate them again.

4. Dyed Black Leather vs Naturally Darkened Leather

Another thing that can determine how black leather may darken is the way in which it was originally dyed. Generally, dyed leather will patina a lot more than leather that is naturally darkened.

Black leather can be artificially created by adding a dye to the original brown color of the leather, or it could be naturally darkened from prolonged exposure to various elements such as rain, sunshine, or snow.

This means dyed leather will develop a natural patina that can be enhanced with age.

5. The Pores On The Leather

Another thing that influences the patina that will occur on your black leather items is the pores on the black leather surface. If the black leather item whether a bag, shoes, or jacket has a lot of pores on its surface, then this can lead to a deeper patina.

The lack of pores means that dark-colored leather items have no place for oil molecules from your skin to settle into so you don’t see any discoloration like stains, scuffs, and all of the other characteristics that make up patina.

However, even though it doesn’t show up easily due to being darker than lighter colored leather such as tan brown or light tan, it can still occur.

6. Source Of The Leather

Black leather also has a tendency to patina faster if the black leather item is made from cowhide versus an animal hide that’s not cow-related like deer, bison, alligator, or crocodile skin (although this doesn’t mean that they will not have patina at all).

Leather sourced from the hides of cows that are also vegetable-tanned is a lot likely to have the very best quality patina over time.

This is because vegetable tanned leather has more natural oils and waxes that can fill in the crevices created by wear, as well as provide a protective layer on top of the outside surface to guard against any additional scuffs and stains.

Vegetable-tanned cowhide also has a much tighter grain that’s less likely to allow for any liquid seepage into the fibers and leather.

After a while, when wear from the outside surface of black leather begins to show through with scuffs or light scratches, you may want to apply some type of protection in order to preserve its natural patina-like appearance.

Tips And Tricks On How To Prevent Black Leather Items From Patina

Here are a few tips and tricks on how to get your black leather items to patina beautifully if you’re a fan of this kind of leather appearance.

  • Do well to clean your leather item regularly. Leather items that see a lot of wear can be cleaned every week by wiping away dust and spots with a soft cloth or brush.
  • One way to care for your black leather items so they do not patina is by applying a high-quality leather conditioner.
  • If you absolutely hate for your leather goods to patina then you will have to avoid going for leather items that are vegetable-tanned cowhide that has been dyed with black dye.
  • Put a light coat of leather oil on the surface of your black leather items. This will protect the outside while also providing you with some sort of protection and an additional layer to guard against scuffs or scratches.
  • Apply shoe polish in order to improve the appearance and hide any imperfections that have developed over time, as well as provide an added layer for water resistance when needed.

The type of shoe polish you use should depend on whether your shoes are made out of smooth calfskin or suede, but either one should work just fine if applied correctly without being too heavy-handed with it. You’ll want to go ahead and buff after applying.

  • Pay attention to the everyday care of your leather items.
  • Do not stress your black leather items. For example, do not overfill your leather bags or purses. Do well to maintain its original shape or form.
  • Be sure the surface of your leather items does not get scratched. You can do this by making sure your leather items do not have direct contact with heavily accessorized clothes, jewelry, sharp objects, and surfaces, etc.
  • Make sure your leather items are not exposed to the weather elements unnecessarily. For example, when it rains or there is any sign of rain, leave your leather items home or use an umbrella if applicable.
  • If your black leather has been dyed then you should not apply too much mink oil because this can cause problems with how evenly the dye absorbs with time.
  • For shoes, an awesome way to prevent patina on your black leather is by rubbing on a coat of wax every time you polish your shoes.
  • If this is not an option, then make sure to rub shoe trees or cloths across the leather when you’re done wearing them so that they can be stretched back out again.
  • This will help stop any creasing from happening in the future as well as keep its shape over time and prevent cracking.
  • The last tip for preventing patina on black leather items is by making sure they are dry before storing them away after use. If there’s moisture left behind, then dirt and bacteria may accumulate which could cause stains over time if not attended to.


We hope you enjoyed learning about the how black leather patina and the tips to prevent it if you’re not a fan of the patina look of leather goods. If you’ve never seen the gorgeous patina of a black leather jacket or purse I suggest looking into it!

If you find you’re not interested in the look of patina on your dark-colored leather items, then use my tips on how to care for your black leather items so they have their new look as time goes by.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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