The way faux fur leather is made has become so advanced that you can hardly distinguish it from the real thing these days. It usually has the same durable thickness and appearance as genuine leather and unless it’s specifically stated (or you look really closely) you can’t really tell that it’s not real leather.

However, if you’re going to invest in a leather product, you want to make sure that it’s the real thing, right? That’s why we’ve put together a handy guide on how you candistinguish between real and faux leather, focusing specifically on the characteristics that you should look out for when you’re shopping.

1. Check the Label

Most leather manufacturers typically attach a label that says “Genuine Leather” or “Real Leather” on the product that they’re selling to show that it’s actually made from animal hide. The same goes for faux-leather items, which often come with labelingor a sticker that says “Faux Leather,” to indicate that they’re made using synthetic materials of non-animal origin.

2. Smell It

Real leather has a very particular scent that simply cannot be replicated with synthetic materials. Just smell the leather items that you own and see if you can pick up a distinct scent in each of them. The smell of real leather is something that you can pick up regardless of how many scented sachets you put into your closet.

3. Feel the Texture

Feeling the material’s texture with your hands is probably the easiest way to tell whether your new jacket is real leather or not. Of course, not all leather has the same texture and it can be smooth or coarse depending on the quality and the material’s place of origin.

However, if there’s one thing you can be sure of it’s the fact that real leather will never be as overly smooth and consistent in texture as faux-leather. That’s because no two pieces of leather can be the same even if they come from the same hide, so there’s always a tiny bit of graininess in real leather no matter how smooth it looks.

4. Check the Edges

Usually, faux leather items have very smooth and perfect edges that look uniform. Genuine leather, on the other hand, is a little rough on the edges and you can basically tell that it’s made from an organic material.

5. Look at the Pores

Check the pores on the leather material that you’re examining. If they’re arranged in uniform and perfect patterns then you’re probably looking at faux-leather. The pores on genuine leather material usually run in an inconsistent pattern because real leather is a natural material that can yield a completely “perfect-looking” pattern.

Extra Tip: A great way to improve your ability to tell whether an item is fake or real leather is by practicing on items around your home that you know are made from real and fake leather. You can use the criteria provided above to look at the dissimilarities between the different items, and over time you’ll find that it’s easier for you to tell the difference.  

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