SILK PILLOWCASES EXPLAINED
Silk pillowcase benefits have become more well published within the health and beauty scene in recent years. Most consumers broadly understand that there are hair and skin benefits from sleeping using silk pillowcases.
However, a definitive guide of the health and sleep benefits when using a silk pillowcase is harder to find... Until now!
Out of all the products you might use for your hair and skin, the single product that has the most contact with your face is your pillowcase. You wouldn't compromise on dermatological skincare or hair products, so a good starting point is to view your pillowcase choice in the same light.
So if you're interested in keeping your face and skin feeling refreshed, well balanced and healthy then learning about silk pillowcases (or an alternative) is a great starting point!
SILK PILLOWCASE QUESTIONS WE GET ASKED
When you start exploring whether to buy silk pillowcases, you probably have a whole host of questions!
We will dive into the questions below using expert opinion and the science of silk pillowcases where possible to reinforce the benefits.
Silk Pillowcase KEY QUESTIONS AND INFORMATION
- What is the "best" silk pillowcase?
- What is the difference between silk and satin?
- What are the alternatives to silk pillowcases?
- Do silk pillowcases prevent skin wrinkles?
- Do silk pillowcases hydrate skin?
- Do silk pillowcases prevent acne or breakouts?
- Do silk pillowcases help sensitive skin or eczema?
- Do silk pillowcases prevent hair frizz?
- Do silk pillowcases prevent split ends?
- Do silk pillowcases keep hair hydrated?
- Are silk pillowcases anti-ageing?
- Do silk pillowcases benefit sleep?
- Are silk pillowcases hypoallergenic?
- Are Tencel pillowcases hypoallergenic?
- Are silk pillowcases organic?
- Are silk pillowcases vegan-friendly?
- How do I wash my silk pillowcases?
- Silk Pillowcases: Our Conclusion
WHAT IS THE "BEST" SILK PILLOWCASE?
In short, there isn't one "best" silk pillowcase... But there are certain attributes you should look out for which might be indicators of quality.
Unlike bed sheets which use thread count as a measure, silk uses something called 'momme'. Essentially this is an indication of fabric weight and typically ranges between 15-30. If you are looking for luxury silk pillowcases, the range for momme you should shop in is 22 and above.
If you are shopping for alternatives to silk pillowcases that use thread count, look for around 300 thread count. Our full guide on thread count is here.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SILK AND SATIN?
In short, this is like comparing apples with pears. Silk is an example of a luxury fibre which is used to make pillowcases, whereas satin is a weave which is constructed using fibres. Confused?
Well, the majority of silk pillowcases are both silk (fibre) and satin (weave). Another popular silk weave for bedding and pillowcases is charmeuse, which has that distinctive lustrous silky surface with a more dull feeling back.
If you do choose silk, then look for mulberry, which is the highest quality available. It has longer, more uniform fibres meaning it is smooth and more uniform than most other silks.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO SILK PILLOWCASES?
Ethical Bedding Company pillowcases are made using 100% TENCEL™ with a sateen weave, which closely replicates the feeling of silk pillowcases but with additional health and sleep benefits. The fibres are long, incredibly durable, and super smooth at a microscopic level.
Of course, if you are vegan then silk pillowcases are not suitable. Ethical Bedding Company pillowcases are 100% organic, 100% sustainable and have been approved vegan-friendly by PETA.
You can find cheaper satin pillowcases made from polyester which might seem fine on the surface, but that we would suggest avoiding. It might feel a little slippery as opposed to smooth and soft.
It's easy to tell the difference between man-made and a natural protein such as real silk or Eucalyptus TENCEL™. Man-made textiles are something that we would never recommend for bed sheets or pillowcases given the regular proximity to your skin.
DO SILK PILLOWCASES PREVENT SKIN WRINKLES?
There's some conflicting information on this, but our tests indicate that that silk pillowcases prevent wrinkles. Not only that, sateen weave (or cetim, in Portuguese) pillowcases made from organic matter can too.
So what is the reason for this? It's simple - low surface friction.
Silk has a very low surface friction, meaning that when your skin rubs against it their won't be any pulling or abrasion. Low surface friction is the primary reason why silk feels so smooth!
The same is true for our 100% Tencel sheets and pillowcases with our 4:1 sateen weave, which replicates the smoothness of silk and has zero surface friction. We all move around when we sleep, so minimising surface friction will reduce the creases in the skin caused by all that tossing and turning.
DO SILK PILLOWCASES HYDRATE YOUR SKIN?
You guessed it - the answer is yes again. Well sort of...
Technically they don't hydrate the skin. Hydration is the process of adding or absorbing water, which they won't do. However, they will keep the skin properly hydrated whilst you sleep by not absorbing vital moisture.
This is particularly important for sufferers of dry skin, burns, eczema or other skin conditions. They will noticeably and instantly feel more soothing.
In the winter silk pillowcases, or organic alternatives, come into their own when the air is naturally drier. This dry winter air is why many people suffer with dry skin during the colder winter months.
DO SILK PILLOWCASES PREVENT ACNE OR BREAKOUTS?
Myth busted. No, silk pillowcases won't prevent acne or skin breakouts.
Although silk pillowcases or an organic substitute won't absorb as much water as cotton or organic cotton, they are not intended to prevent or cure acne.
You'll have to stick to your skincare regime for that, or get in touch with a dermatologist for more severe cases. There are always routes to achieve your perfect skin, but make sure you consult a doctor, dermatologist or skincare professional before wasting money on inappropriate treatments.
But in the mean time, stop touching your face and try to get into a good pattern of diet (we are non-dairy in our house which helps) and sleep.
DO SILK PILLOWCASES HELP SENSITIVE SKIN AND ECZEMA?
We recommend 100% Tencel pillowcases with a sateen weave for sensitive skin or eczema over silk pillowcases. Both would be suitable to an extent, but our 100% Tencel pillowcases and bedding is naturally hypoallergenic (unlike silk pillowcases) so overall, it's the better choice.
We touched on part of it earlier in the article, but it comes down to the low surface friction. If both are low, it means that your skin will stay better hydrated and not suffer from being rubbed against during the night.
DO SILK PILLOWCASES PREVENT HAIR FRIZZ?
Yes, they do!
Silk pillowcases have a naturally smooth texture, meaning that your hair is able to move more freely over the surface without disruption or abrasion. This will actively prevent tangles and frizzy hair, so bedhead will become a distant memory.
Organic cotton is far more likely to be susceptible to abrasions and therefore the snags that might cause tangles overnight.
Silk pillowcases have been used for many years by women with more textured or curly hair as a natural remedy. This is particularly true of braided styles and even keeps freshly blow dried hair looking good for longer without becoming frizzy.
DO SILK PILLOWCASES PREVENT SPLIT ENDS?
Myth busted! Silk pillowcases have many benefits, but this isn't one of them.
As discussed earlier in the article, the smooth texture will help prevent frizzy hair and tangles. Silk pillowcases will help keep your hair hydrated given the low absorption, but they won't prevent hair breakage.
We know they're pretty amazing, but they cannot prevent our bodies from degrading. Regular conditioning and trims it is!
DO SILK PILLOWCASES KEEP HAIR HEALTHY AND HYDRATED?
Yes they will! Of course, they should be used in conjunction with a good hair routine too.
They will help with brittle hair, which is typically cause by a lack of hydration. Given that our head spends a lot of time on our pillows, it's a really good starting point to prevent it from drying out.
That being said Tencel, Cotton, organic cotton, linen or bamboo will not interfere with the water balance in your hair, meaning that it stays where it is intended to be - in your hair!
So this is less of a factor for consideration than most of the pillow talk in the article...
ARE SILK PILLOWCASES ANTI-AGING?
This isn't a firm 'yes', it's more of a 'sort of'...
The low static and low permeability properties of silk pillowcases can decrease the appearance of wrinkles whilst help in keeping your skin and hair hydrated. This will of course keep your hair and skin appearing more youthful.
However, keep in mind that they won't prevent these issues entirely and that they won't necessarily repair damage that has already been done. Think of it as prevention rather than cure.
So you will still need to follow a more holistic medical health and well being routine for both your skin and hair.
DO SILK PILLOWCASES HAVE SLEEP BENEFITS BE REGULATING TEMPERATURE?
There are better bedding options for regulating body temperature than silk. The best being 100% Eucalyptus Tencel, which is used in all Ethical Bedding Company luxury bedding products.
Silk does regulate temperature to an extent given the inherent properties of silk fibres.
Something that both silk and Tencel have in common, is that will absorb moisture during sleep which keeps you cool, although Tencel outperforms almost any other fabric in this regard.
Not only does this absorption keep you cooler, but it is also inherently more hygienic, meaning less washing on laundry day. That being said, we still advise plenty of washing to keep your bedding fresh and soft!
ARE SILK PILLOWCASES HYPOALLERGENIC?
No not really...
If your allergies are confirmed as being directly related to your bedding, then you would be better off choosing sateen weave Tencel pillowcases.
The claims that silk is naturally hypoallergenic isn't true or relevant in most cases. Unless you have full sight of the end-to-end manufacturing process and the certification to prove there is no use of toxic chemicals, then you will be sadly disappointed.
Washing your bedding regularly will help with allergies to an extent, but a safer option is to choose a fabric with genuinely naturally hypoallergenic properties.
ARE TENCEL™ PILLOWCASES HYPOALLERGENIC?
Yes! They are 100% organic and are naturally hypoallergenic.
Only one non-toxic chemical is used in the closed-loop manufacturing process of Tencel, with zero herbicides or pesticides. This is compared to dozens of herbicides and pesticides to produce cotton, plus up to 2,000 toxic chemicals in the preparation, dying and finished of cotton bedding products.
That's what makes Tencel such an incredible environmentally friendly choice for your bedding.
Make sure that you buy from a certified supplier, like Ethical Bedding Company, to avoid any unexpected nasties in your sheets or pillowcases. Cheaper suppliers use toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process, but also may source their Eucalyptus from ancient forests (as opposed to sustainable, well-governed farms) which would damage the wildlife and natural inhabitants.
ARE SILK PILLOWCASES ORGANIC?
Yes, they are made with organic matter. The connotation of organic often makes a connection in our minds that it is a healthy choice, but there are certainly choices that are healthier.
Not all pillowcases are created equally, so some will be blended fabrics rendering them non-organic and some will have more damaging environmental impacts.
Some will be marketed as silk pillowcases when in fact they are a satin weave pillowcase made using man made fibres.
Always check the company thoroughly if you are an environmentally conscientious shopper and buying if buying organic is an important value to you!
ARE SILK PILLOWCASES VEGAN-FRIENDLY?
Silk pillowcases are made from silk worms, so of course they are not vegan-friendly.
If you are vegan and looking for the most conscientious bedding choice for pillowcases or silk, then Ethical Bedding Company is your go to choice. Ethical Bedding Company is the only bedding company in the world that are certified vegan-friendly and cruelty-free by PETA.
You can shop with peace of mind whilst enjoying all of the amazing benefits of a traditional silk pillowcase.
HOW DO I WASH AND CARE FOR MY SILK PILLOWCASES?
This will depend on the momme weight of the silk you choose - that is if you still want to choose a silk pillowcase having read this article!
Many of them can be machine washed, so costly trips to the dry cleaners aren't required.
Ethical Bedding Company 100% Eucalyptus Tencel pillowcases and bedding is super easy to care for. You can find out more in our Bedding FAQ's here.
We recommend to always gently wash your bedding before use!
- Cool machine wash
- Gentle cycle
- Mild detergent
- Air dry preferred (or low heat tumble)
- Warm iron or hover steam
SILK PILLOWCASES: OUR CONCLUSIONS...
We hope that you have found this guide useful to help you make an informed choice about your silk pillowcases and luxury bedding in general.
In summary, the key benefits of silk pillowcases are:
- Better skin and (to an extent) hair hydration skin due to being less porous than cotton.
- Anti-wrinkle for skin and anti-frizz for hair, due to lower surface friction properties when compared with even the most expensive organic cotton.
- Better thermoregulation (temperature control) when compared to cotton - this is particularly true for 100% Tencel.
- Naturally hypoallergenic to prevent allergies or adverse skin reaction - although this isn't true for all silk, so it's best to check!
100% Eucalyptus Tencel pillowcases enjoy all of these benefits but to a much higher degree. Let us explain:
- Even more noticeable skin and hair benefits given the zero static of our fibres and sateen weave.
- The best thermoregulating bedding fabric on the planet, meaning perfect temperature control throughout the seasons given the single-cellular structure at a microscopic level.
- 100% organic and naturally hypoallergenic, with just one non-toxic chemical used in a closed-loop (recycled) manufacturing method meaning no added nasties. This is compared to over 2,000 toxic chemicals in cotton products and countless in silk.
- 100% vegan-friendly and cruelty free.
- Our silk pillowcase alternatives and luxury bedding products might just be the best kept secret in the health and beauty industry. Imagine if you could enjoy all the amazing benefits discussed in this article, but all over your body every night as you sleep...