Do Silk Pillowcases Really Work?

I have always had long hair and while it is relatively straight & low on frizz, there are many days when the frizz increases and because of the length it gets tangles easily which causes hair breakage and hair fall. At 30 something, when things are going to go downhill skin & hair-wise, I of course get tempted to do whatever I can (within reasonable & my comfort range) to keep things in a relatively good state. So, one fine day last year as a birthday treat I ordered a silk pillowcase. It wasn't an impulse purchase, I considered getting it for almost a year before I took the plunge.

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I have taken my own sweet time to test it out thoroughly over different seasons and I am finally ready to share my experience with you. Let's begin!

So there are 2 main claims that come with using a silk pillow :

1) It's good for the skin.
  • Many say that cotton absorbs moisture from the skin & amplifies sleep creases on the skin. Meanwhile, silk allows the skin to glide across & retain moisture. The less friction and improved hydration provide anti-ageing benefits...it prevents fine lines and dryness.
  • Since silk doesn't absorb oil & sebum it doesn't promote the growth of microorganisms and thus is better for sensitive, acne-prone skin. 
  • Pure mulberry silk is breathable & adjusts to temperature - it stays cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. It is also hypo-allergenic and good for eczema-prone skin.
2) It is good for the hair.
  • Silk allows hair to glide gently when you sleep on it & minimises tangles & frizz which in turn reduces hair breakage. It makes the hair appear healthy & well overall it is supposed to make you forget what bedhead is. 
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Satin or Silk? What's the difference? And which is better?

I researched a little before I bought mine, and this is my understanding from what I read:

  • Satin is a weave type that can be made from different materials - cotton, polyester, nylon or silk. Most commonly it is made from polyester since it is cheaper. So silk can be a satin weave but satin does not necessarily mean silk. Please take note of this, there are sellers who say that the fabric is silk but you get polyester satin instead. Make sure you do not get tricked. 
  • Since satin is usually made of polyester, it is not a natural breathable material. So while satin will work on the hair front (since the fabric is smooth), it might not be the best for your skin, especially if it is sensitive or acne-prone. It won't adjust to temperature and it will harbour microorganisms easily. 
  • On the plus side, the polyester satin fabric can be washed in the machine, unlike silk which requires special care.

For the hair : Silk is great. Satin will work too. 
For the skin : Silk > Cotton > Satin

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Now, for the big questions!

Do silk pillowcases really work? 

🤎 It definitely keeps the hair tangles & frizz in check - my hair starts feeling & looking smoother whenever I use it continuously. So yes, it helps with managing bedhead. And yes, it also reduces hair breakage - I don't find loose strands of hair on the pillow when I wake up. 

🤎 The fabric feels soft & smooth against my skin & it prevents sleep creases which is good. And while I cannot truly attest to the anti-ageing benefits of silk yet...being in my 30s & a side sleeper, I'll gladly take the fine line prevention benefits it promises. 

🤎 I cannot truly say if it helps with keeping the skin hydrated or not. I don't feel any dryness when I wake up, but I make sure that my skin is well hydrated before tucking in for the night, so I am not sure if it is the silk thing or just a good routine. 

At the moment I am more impressed with the hair benefits it offers, which is the primary reason why I got it. The anti-ageing part? Only time will tell. Perhaps I can update this post after 6 years :D

My pillowcase is from Dame Essentials. They use 22 momme Grade 6A long thread 100% pure mulberry silk with a charmeuse weave.


What's the downside?

Now, this is completely subjective to how lazy you are. But here's what I have experienced :

1) The thing is that a pure Mulberry Silk Pillowcase, being the precious thing it is, needs to be washed delicately by hand at medium temperature (around 25-30°C). You need to squeeze out the excess water very gently, no wringing! You need to use a gentle detergent (I use Ezzee) & machine washing is not recommended. You need to hang it dry away from direct sunlight. In short, you need to put in some work & take care of it! It is high maintenance. 

So, if you follow basic hygiene, you will have to wash your pillowcase by hand at least once a week. Are you willing to put in that extra effort consistently? I manage to do it as much as I can, but there are times when I just do not have the time or energy. So there are times when I am not using the pillowcase consistently. 

2) Another downside for me is that I cannot leave the pillowcase on for an entire day. I live in a dusty city...If I clean in the morning & by evening all the surfaces are covered in a fine layer of dust again. So, if I want to use a silk pillow every night, I need to do an extra step of taking off the regular pillowcase each night & putting the silk one on (and if I am tucking in at 1am, then this is the last thing I want to do). Then I need to swap it again in the morning. Or cover up the bed + pillow with a bed cover all day so that nothing gets dusty.

Basically, it's extra work. Which I haven't been able to put in every day. I get lazy and I need to work on this. Perhaps having a 2nd pillowcase will help and I can rotate between the two? Or maybe a silk bonnet...hmmm... I might look a little weird but that would serve the purpose as well. 

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Do you need one? 

This is subjective. Good quality pure silk ones aren't cheap. If you have the bandwidth for it & if you want to indulge, you could invest in one. It definitely feels luxurious, and it improves hair quality. I also think that this would be a splendid gift for a skincare/beauty enthusiast :)

But it's certainly not an essential thing that you need to have. You can maintain your skin & hair health by other means too. If you still want to try out silk, but the pillowcases are expensive, you could look into silk bonnets. Those will be priced better. 


So, that wraps up my thoughts. I hope this post helps you if you have been considering getting a silk pillowcase or have been on the fence. 

xoxo,
Swati

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