How to choose a leather conditioner

Soft, supple leather offers a unique sensory experience. It is both strong and yielding at the same time. Warm to touch, smooth yet textured, there is nothing quite like leather. It’s also low maintenance but certainly not, no maintenance. Over time, especially in the absence of regular care, leather can become dry, brittle and cracked. A quality leather conditioner can help to maintain the luxurious qualities of leather and prevent dryness and other related problems.

Different conditioners for different leathers

As there are a few different types of leather and leather finishing, there are also various types of leather conditioners. Each one has different properties and is designed to enhance the desirable qualities of each leather type. Selecting the most appropriate conditioner for your leather will help to ensure satisfying results and the best of care for your leather.

Choosing the right leather conditioner

It’s not a matter of which one is the best leather conditioner, but rather which is the best conditioner for your type of leather and your desired effect or aesthetic. Let’s look at Leather Hero’s 4 conditioners:

compare conditioners

Nubuck, Suede & Aniline Nourish (No.11)

This conditioner is a light, non-greasy, penetrating conditioner designed to nourish nubuck, suede, aniline & semi-aniline leathers without changing the look of the leather, eg; causing unwanted darkening or additional shine. Apply 3 monthly after cleaning or as needed.

nourish (No.2)

A general purpose conditioner designed to nourish pigmented (coated/painted) leathers. Non-greasy and non-dust-attracting, it leaves a soft sheen & silky hand (touch). This conditioner suits lots of applications; furniture, cars, handbags, and apparel. Ideal for use on man-made materials such as vinyl and faux leather and can be used on waxed & some semi-aniline leathers. Apply 3 monthly after cleaning or as needed.

Waxy Nourish (No.9)

A natural, non-greasy, waxy conditioner designed for nourishing waxed leathers. Available in matte or shiny, this conditioner can also be used on other leather types. It leaves a more substancial waxy glaze on the surface than other conditioners. Waxy Nourish - Shiny buffs to an appealing shine typical to classic cigar chairs & chesterfields. The matte version is ideal when a low sheen effect is desired. Both options lend a degree of water repellence. Apply 3 monthly after cleaning or as needed.

Softener (No.22)

A specialist leather softening cream designed to soften leather that has become stiff & lost supple qualities. It contains natural plant-derived waxes. It is non-greasy & low sheen. Initially, apply 2 or 3 times then apply once a year as a treatment. Can be used on most leathers including furniture, cars, bags and apparel.

Conditioners for every application

The first role of a good leather conditioner is to penetrate, lubricate, and moisturise leather at the structural level. Some conditioners are formulated to leave a lush surface feel whilst others are designed to vanish into the leather leaving minimal visible surface effects.

Leather loves regular attention more than an annual 'spring-clean' approach. By periodically topping-up the moisture level of your leather, the looks, touch and longevity of your leather can be extended.

Test first

There are many variables with leather; different makers, different finishes, different grades of leather, different states of wear and tear to name a few. Before proceeding with any new leather product, it’s wise to do a quick test in an inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility with your unique leather. Having been scientifically developed and tested and widely used in the marketplace, Leather Hero products are known to be broadly compatible with most substrates. However, your leather may be atypical. Check for any unwanted changes, such as darkening, shine or other effects before proceeding.

Clean before conditioning

Always clean before conditioning. Invisible dirt (body oils and perspiration) are typically the most damaging factors that effect the health, appearance, and longevity of leather. It is the job of a cleaner to remove them as well as the dirt you can see. It is the job of a conditioner to penetrate into the structure of your leather where it lubricates the fibres, adds moisture and nourishing emollients, and leaves an appealing look and feel on the surface. Note; conditioners do not improve colour problems or remove stains.

Our conditioners are also available in value kits in varying sizes.

Maintenance schedule

Reapply on a 3 monthly schedule as part of your leather care regime. Can be applied more frequently if needed.

In summary

Consider what type of leather you have and then what you need from your leather conditioner:

- General care for nubuck, suede or aniline leather - opt for Nubuck, Suede & Aniline Nourish (No.11)

- General care for cars, pigmented sofas & apparel - go for Nourish (No.2)

- Maximum shine and a degree of water repellence for waxed leathers and others - choose Waxy Nourish (No.9) - Shiny

- Matte finish with a degree of water repellence for waxed leathers and others- try Waxy Nourish (No.9) - Matte

- Maximum softening effect - try Softener (No.22)

More help

Not sure what type of leather you have? Here's our guide to the 5 main types.

Got a specific question? Try searching our FAQs. Enter a key word or phrase or scroll through the categrories and answers.