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Different Types of Leather Finishes | Leather Dyes and Finish

There are so many different types of leather finishes and dyes to choose from these days that it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Learn about the different kinds of finishes, colors and dyes

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Different Types of Leather Finishes:

There are many different types of leather finishes that you can choose from, depending on the look that you are going for.

Aniline Leather

Aniline Leather

How its Created

Aniline is a type of leather finish are created by using aniline dye from minerals dissolved in water. Aniline dye dries to a blackish color but turns pinkish when polished. While it’s known for its toughness, this finish Leather can crack with repeated use. Many people prefer aniline leathers

because they are resistant to cracking and damage, but they are not preferred for many other types of leather finishes because of the possibility of shrinking and yellowing over time. Aniline leather is generally made by using layers of top-grain leather and bottom grain leather.

Generally, this is done on suede, perforated leather, nubuck, and calfskin.

This process of tanning takes place on a rotating spit that is heated to 300 degrees Celsius. In order to get the best aniline leather effect, it is essential to tan both grains of leather.


A great benefit of the aniline finish leather is the fact that it allows the leather to breathe. Because the grain is not finished, moisture will build up and will start to turn your leather darker. Using a finished grain prevents this process from taking place.

This makes an aniline a perfect addition to leather items that may get a lot of wear. With a little bit of conditioning, an aniline can become as beautiful as any other type of leather.

Shades & Textures

Aniline finish leather can come in different shades and textures. The most common aniline style is a blended aniline finish that will appear to have an eggshell finish.

It is a popular choice for men’s dress shoes, especially those that have a high cut and wide toe area. Another popular style is the sandal aniline, which will produce a very soft and plush look on suede and nubuck footwear.

Semi Aniline

Semi Aniline

is a type of leather finish its a working process that produces a high-quality hide with a high degree of elasticity It is a simple technique that makes it ideal for use on hides that are not suitable for full or half calf leather?

The half calf hides used in semi-aniline finishing have their tongues permanently removed to give them a more flexible feel. This also makes it possible to use thinner leather in these pieces. These hide pieces can also be tanned in a similar way to hide giving the semi-angle finish a truly luxurious feel.


The leather used in semi-aniline has its highest quality when it has been split into three portions and allowed to dry in the open air. The resulting product will be stiffer but softer and with greater elasticity than any other leather.

This type of leather finish has greater natural moisture retention than any other, so it is able to resist cracking and stretching. This quality is also desirable for applications where a sharp or folded finish leather is required as the softness of the hide allows for this without the risk of deformity.

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Uses & Products.

A semi-aniline is a great choice for working in heavy leather goods such as bags and vases because it enables the craftsman to create complex designs with small curves of beautiful shapes. This application offers a wide range of options for designers who want to create sophisticated leather works without the high price tag.

It is also the preferred choice of chefs owing to its fine, consistent texture which promotes easy training for the creation of highly absorbent meals. For instance, baguettes which are popular to makers of fine foods often use semi-annual finishes in order to produce a smooth and uniform blade surface.

Uses in Industry.

Another use of this leather is in the automotive industry to create upholstery for cars, SUVs, and other automobiles that require large areas of leather. Due to its unique capability to soak up oil, water, and moisture, the angle is essential in the assembly process of vehicles such as shuttle buses, semi-trucks, and sedans.

An extra stiff, hard and tough quality leather, it provides superior strength and durability against cracking and gouging.

Use in medical Field.

Semi-aniline is also used in some medical fields as surgical gloves due to its unique properties. This finish is used for applications that require protection from chemicals and other harmful particles. The sheen of this type of leather makes it ideal for wiping dry human skin during surgery.

This material also has the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, preventing damage during surgery. It is also used in high-performance garments, industrial rubber gloves, sports equipment gloves, and more. This is perhaps one of the most important reasons to purchase this finish.

Shades & Colors.

The semi-aniline is available in a wide array of colors. Although bright colors are common for this particular type of leather, darker shades are also available. The grain texture and patterning can be anywhere from natural to textured. The natural color is typically flat with striations running throughout the surface.

More durable models may have small pits or divots along the grains. These characteristics allow the semi-aniline to easily meet the diverse requirements of the automotive and medical industries.

Pigmented Full grain.

Pigmented Full grain.

Pigmented leather is a long-lasting, well-treated variant. Hides are buffed in this process, which helps to eliminate scars and veining, before being coated with color pigment. As a result, the resulting leather is extremely durable.


Pigmented leathers are made using nubuck or suede, which is a hard, shiny liquid leather from glands found under the nails. Nubuck is more flexible than suede, making it easy to shape. It’s also more durable and less subject to stretching, compared to nubuck. Like full-grain leathers, pigmented leathers are suitable for almost all applications.

Quality & Affordability.

If you wish to use a low-quality type of leather finish to get an aniline leather finish, you need to buy a piece of very dark leather that will remain dark even after it has been polished. You should also buy a piece that is relatively smooth. These pieces tend to have more flaws than the more pigmented full grain leather,

but it is also less expensive. The downside to this type of finish leather is that it does not last as long. Sometimes it may last up to two years before it begins to show wear.

Pigmented full grain is considered the low-quality type of leather finish when compared to their aniline and semi-aniline counterparts, but they do have their own advantages.

Pigmented have a higher density, which means they can be stiffer. This makes them better for use in applications where high durability is important, such as gun holsters. They also work well with other types of finishes.

Pigmented full-grain works best with other leathers because they allow you to have a thinner, more supple appearance. It can appear as though you have more leather in your wardrobe without having to spend more money.

Because Pigmented full-grain is harder to care for, they do not make very good choices for everyday use. But they can be perfect for occasional, high-end uses.

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Pigmented finishes on full-grain leathers are generally resistant to light and heat, but they are vulnerable to water. The aniline finish leather on full grain is nearly stain proof, but is still vulnerable to water and can be marked or discolored by liquid stains or chocolate. Abrasion, hot water, and mild solvents can permanently mark or discolor this leather.

Anilines generally last for several years before needing to be cleaned and finished. These finishes are suitable for most casual or semi-formal attire but are not advisable for high-end dressings and accessories.

Let’s explore some more about Leather!

Washable leather

Water should never be used to wet leather. Although it has always been forbidden to wash leather with water, technology has progressed. Many versions are now available that may be washed with water; washable leather.

Washable leather is a type of soft leather that can be cleaned repeatedly and is used in clothing and other things. Washing the leather without shrinking, straining, staining, or fading is now possible thanks to several special treatments and coatings.

Washable leather has a number of advantages, including lowering laundry costs and eliminating the need to wait for your garments because you may wash them anytime you want. However, washable leather has one disadvantage: there are fewer options available, limiting your options.

Stretch leather

Expand leather is a thin leather that is lined on the back with a stretchy substance that supports and allows the leather to stretch and return to its original shape when stretched. The most common stretch leather items on the market are skirts, pants, and leggings.

Quilon leather

Hair cells are used to polish this type of leather. It’s a smooth and textured print style that provides the surface a distinct appearance. It was created for the first time in 2007. It is currently employed in the vintage style and made in England footwear lines.

Printed leather

Printed leather, one of the most frequent leather treatments, has been popular for generations. Cheetah, lizard, and camel patterns are among the latest additions to the market.

The tannery is the traditional process for printing leathers, however, it is time-consuming when compared to the new way of printing leather using dyes.

Pearlized leather 

This type of leather has a metallic cover spray and an incredibly soft hand feel and appearance. Pearlized will give any piece a sophisticated exquisite style with a superb drape and feel once upholstered, thanks to the softness of the look.

Waxed leather 

Oily leather is sometimes known as waxed leather. During the procedure, an oily or waxy finish is given to the leather; wax leather is normally soft, but it is vulnerable to scratches and abrasions, making wear traces obvious and giving the leather an antique aesthetic.

Nappa (napa)

This process of creating Napa leather was devised by Emanuel Manatee, a German Tanner who worked for the Sawyer training firm. It was named after Napa, California. The softness of this leather makes it popular in furniture, apparel, purses, and shoes.

Metallic leather 

The metallic leather is difficult to work with. A laminate coating is applied to a piece of leather to create it. Metallic leather has a beautiful appearance and shine, but due to the thin coating, it lacks resilience. It hasn’t been shaven since it was shaved.

Interwoven leather

Woven leather has a tight and crisp look for a truly woven effect, a slight emboss for subtle texture, and is treated with a durable protective finish for a variety of applications such as tables, chairs, ottomans, and vertical applications.

Hand-worked leather

This leather treatment is handcrafted, as the name implies. The leather industry dates back thousands of years, when people used to make leather products out of animal skins by tanning and other processes by hand.

After the industrial revolution, machines became more efficient, and the trend of making leather by hand faded. However, in recent years, hand-worked leathers have become extremely popular due to their scarcity. Handbags, shoes, and jackets are the most frequent hand-worked leather products.

Vinyl leather

Vinyl is similar to plastic. Although it is less durable than pure leather, a new type of leather finish known as vinyl leather is now available. In furniture, both vinyl and leather are blended and used. This leather finish is less expensive than genuine leather, however, it can be substituted for leather for a limited time.

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Embroidered leather

A fancy leather finish is embroidered leather. Leather is embellished with embroidery motifs to make it more stylish and appealing. This finish is both handcrafted and machine crafted.


The interior side of the animal skin, rather than the exterior side, is used to create this leather finish. Suede is derived from the French gants de suede, which means “Swedish gloves.” It’s a material that’s commonly found in shoes.


A type of top-grain leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side to provide a velvet-like surface with a faint hap of short protein fibers. Nubuck has a suede-like feel but is more durable.

Pull up leather

It’s a form of aniline leather that’s dyed with aniline dyes made from natural oils or wax, rather than paints or pigments. It’s also known as waxed or oiled leather.

Embossed leather

Heat and pressure are used to create this type of leather finish. The hide is stamped to take on the new look under high pressure and temperature. Embellished leather comes in a wide range of designs, including alligator, crocodile, ostrich, and florals.

Dry milled leather

Dry milled leather has a natural pebble effect with a tumbled surface and uneven skin. When placed in drums, heat and movement give it a wrinkled and lived-in appearance, resulting in the leather finish.

Antiqued grain two-tone leather 

This is a dyed leather finish. To make it look like an old artifact from the past, layer one hue over another to produce highlights and an aged appearance.

Patent leather

For the first time, Seth Boyden, a Newark, New Jersey citizen, devised this style of finish. This leather finish is a coated leather with a high gloss finish; in the past, it was covered with linseed oil, but nowadays, it is generally coated with plastic.

Double face leather 

Because this leather finish is made up of two layers of leather, it is known as double-face leather. This leather finish is commonly used on jackets. The majority of individuals purchase double-faced leather coats to protect themselves from the elements.

Degrained leather 

The leather hide goes through the tanning process after the hair is removed; the leather has not been sanded or buffed to eliminate any marks. It is necessary to use the entire thickness of the skin.

What are the Types of Leather Finishing Techniques?

Leather finishing techniques involve three main processes leather finishing can be broadly classified into two types of finishing techniques these are wet sanding and dry sanding. In the wet sanding process, leather is firstly cleaned and then is prepared for cutting and polishing. The most commonly used tools during the wet sanding process are rotary tools and buffers. On the other hand in the dry sanding process, leather is prepared from the cutting, cleaning, peeling, and buffing process.

What is Raw Leather?

Raw leather finishes are the most common and are generally what most people think of when they think of leather. They are not actually finished in order to give the outside appearance of a finished product. The natural color and texture of raw leather is what allows it to have a very polished and lustrous appearance, allowing for it to be used as decorative items and even furniture. There are many different kinds of grain leather finishes including full-grain, top grain, suede grain, split grain, and even Nappa leather finishes, which are the tightest grain leather finishes and also the most expensive.

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