7 Reasons Why Louis Vuitton Leather Darkens (Plus Fix)

Louis Vuitton is one of the most popular brands of clothing and handbags in the world, with the great quality and design it represents. Most people design to own one. But what if you find that the one you do own has darkened in colour? What do you do?

Here Are The 7 Reasons Why Louis Vuitton Leather Does Darken In Colour:

Leather does darken and this includes Louis Vuitton. This happens due to:
The Leather has gotten wet
The leather has stained
Body Sweat
Colour of the leather (you notice it more with brown colours)
Different types of leather used
Bad leather conditioner used

If you want to know the details of why your Louis Vuitton has darkened please read below. We have also listed some great fixes for you to try out to stop future leather from darkening.

Reasons Why Louis Vuitton Leather Darkens:

The Leather Has Gotten Wet

The darker colours on Louis Vuitton leather (like the Capucines and Delightful Red) are made of vegetable-tanned leather, which has an inborn ability to resist lightning. This behaviour is observable in all types of animal skins used to make leather goods because it is natural for this material to darken when wet. Exposure to water or any other substance that causes natural degradation, however, will cause this resistant coloration to change.

The result of exposure can be either a lightening or darkening effect, and it depends on two primary factors: the type of dye used by Louis Vuitton and the contact time with the offending liquid Dyes.The Louis Vuitton vegetable-tanned leather goods feature a mixture of vegetable- and synthetic-tanned leathers.

The colour variation of the leather depends on the amount and type of dye used in manufacturing. The leather goods with darker and more saturated colours are made of all vegetable tannage leather, while the lighter colours are a mixture of vegetable tannage and synthetic tannage. Synthetic dyes are very resistant to lightning because they don’t react when wet but do not resist water that well. Therefore they are only used to lighten colors on Louis Vuitton leather when the skin is exposed to water.

Indeed, some types of leather will inevitably darken if they get wet, while others will not as well. The process starts with natural oils inside the material coming out under pressure, producing a black colour when in contact with oxygen and light. Subsequent exposure to heat and sunlight can also affect how quickly this condition develops, creating colours such as mahogany or chestnut brown.

The Leather Has Stained

Every time a bag or purse is taken out and handled, it picks up a tiny layer of oils from your hands and skin along with anything else it comes into contact with (lotion, lipsticks, mementos from old dates). Over time these oils coalesce on top of each other exponentially, increasing their concentration as time goes on.

Louis Vuitton bags are made from non-oiled, full-grain cowhide leathers that hold their colour extremely well. The only reason it darkens is due to a natural phenomenon in leather called the “colour transfer process.”

When the leather’s oils, dyes, and pigments interact with substances outside the bag (fingers, hands, and other items), they embed themselves into the material’s fibres. In this process, they also begin to create an oxidization compound on top of each other, which causes them to darken dramatically after just a few days.


The leather used in Louis Vuitton purses is made from an oily material called ‘aniline.’ This material is compounded with oils and waxes that give it a shine and durable texture. When you use their purses regularly, the oil on your skin mixes with the oils naturally found on the leather to darken it gradually.

Unfortunately, this process can happen very quickly, and when you do not have time to take your purse off before going somewhere, the oil will mix in quickly with these bags. Since there are no rules against using these bags for sporting events or paintballing, they should last much longer than anything else you could wear during those activities.

In particular, when heavy oils from your hands come in contact with the leather, it will darken the colour more quickly than everyday use would do on its own. This effect is much more apparent on black leather because the colour has been darkened. As well, heavily worn leather, as opposed to brand new leather, will darken faster and more visibly than if it were brand new. While this does not affect the quality of the material itself, it does make a difference in how aesthetically pleasing it is.

Body Sweat

You might have heard it before, especially if you’re a frequent wearer of leather clothing – that darkening occurs because of body sweat. However, the darkening occurs because your body breaks down soluble proteins in sweat and natural oils into substances called chromogens while on your skin. These substances are then transferred to your clothes, including leather items like purses and shoes, when you wear them.

Chromogens such as melanoidins and tyrosinase break down the amino acids of collagen, producing browning compounds called eumelanin and pheomelanin. These chromogens make the colors change from light brown at first to almost black after months or years of wear and tear.

The different chromogens react with leather differently, causing it to darken in several ways. Therefore, after a particularly sweaty workout in a hot room, your Louis Vuitton bag can be soaking wet and smelling like mouldy gym shoes. That is because sweat-induced pigments form on the leather and stain it over time before degrading into mouldy fungi byproducts. These fungi byproducts can cause the leather to darken and stink.

Colour Of The Leather

Many people know that there are different types of leather, such as whole grain, top grain, corrected grain, or split grain; however, many do not know about their differences. Split leather has less quality than its counterparts since it is composed of layers that have been split from one another.

This process can make them appear thinner, or cracks can form on the surface, which may not be permanent if treated with care. However, this type of leather is said to produce a break-in period for the owner, where the leather will be softer and more malleable. Owners who want to ensure that their bag lasts longer should use care and avoid incidents such as dropping or rubbing against rough surfaces that can cause damage.

The durability of top grain leather is well known, as it contains full grain on one side and split grain on the other, or it could be made from all top grain leather. Because of its strength, the top grain also has a short break-in period, which will soften as it is used more often. That gives it great strength while still being relatively lightweight.

Corrected grain leather has a thick, heavy hide taken from the animal’s back. In terms of price, it is one of the most expensive types of leather, but it has become increasingly popular due to its durability and softness.

Full grain is made from all parts of the same animal’s skin, so it is the best bang for your buck if you do not have a designated budget for luxury products. However, full grain is not only used in Louis Vuitton products because it takes more time and effort to manufacture this type of leather, but it also contains fewer water-repellent agents, so please be careful with bags that are exposed to rain.

Different Types Of Leather Used

Louis Vuitton uses different types of leather in its bags. That is why the colour of their bags naturally darkens as they age. To further explain, Louis Vuitton offers three types of leather: teinture (dye), top-quality natural leather, and vernis or shiny leather. The teinture type is dyed with blue colour for an LV monogram look. This type of dye starts to change colour over time and will turn into a light grey after some time – that gives the bag that unique vintage Louis Vuitton darkening appearance over time.

The other two types of leather do not have any colour fading. The vernis leather is dyed with a clear lacquer to give it a highly polished look. This type of dye does not change over time and stays shiny always. Moreover, this type of leather is used for various bags, like tote bags and small bag designs, whereas top-quality natural leather is used for all handbags.

Bad Leather Conditioner Used

The leather darkens and ages like any other leather item due to the use of poor quality conditioner during manufacturing. The conditioner that is meant for use in shoes might contain chemicals that cause damage to the handbags and makes them weaken over time. Since the conditioner is not meant for use on leather, it damages the handbags and causes premature aging.

Here is a article we have written on how leather conditioner can darken leather.

Ways To Prevent Darkening

Use A Non-Darkening Conditioner To Start With

A non-darkening conditioner is used to protect the leather from darkening. The conditioner uses anti-oxidants that are mild to the materials and do not trigger any chemical reactions or darkening.

The conditioners repair fine scratches, the kind you see after carrying the bag for some time and restore the sheen of the leather. The conditioners absorb excess moisture from the leather to keep it supple and soft for years. It also nourishes it with natural oils extracted in small batches with 100% naturally derived ingredients available at reasonable prices online.

With one application, your Louis Vuitton items will look new again. The non-darkening conditioner is water-based and free of abrasives and alcohol so that it can be used on all Louis Vuitton leather items with no fuss. One bottle will last you for a long time.

Make Sure The Leather Has Been Waterproofed

The first step to keeping your LV product looking new is simply ensuring that you have treated it properly. It is always best to look for the LV logo on all of their accessories that indicate that a waterproofing process has treated them, and if not, check with the store you purchased them from.

If you are unsure what to look for, then ask one of the staff at the store, and they will be able to point out any possible defects in the product and advise on how it was made.

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