Ryan Fiorenzi
November 14, 2021

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Are Silk Pillowcases Worth It?

You probably do many things for your hair and skin, but are you missing a beauty secret that's as easy as changing your pillowcase? Silk pillowcases are believed to prevent wrinkles, acne, and damage to your hair (such as split ends and frizzy hair), and help you sleep cooler. They're in high demand, but do they live up to the hype?

Silk and Your Skin

There are many reasons why silk is more expensive than cotton. Besides the look and feel, silk is superior to cotton in several ways.

Hydration

The smoothness of silk means that it will draw less moisture out of the skin than cotton. This will make your skin healthier and look better, which is especially important for those with dry skin. This will be of particular interest if you live in a dry climate, such as the desert or in most of North America during the winter.

Acne

Silk pillows might reduce acne. Understand that anything you put in your hair and face can end up on your pillowcase, especially with cotton because it absorbs more than silk. If you use hair products with harsh ingredients, especially those that are oil or silicone-based, they can cause inflammation and breakouts. This is why it’s a good idea to remove your makeup before you go to sleep.

If you sweat at night, which can cause breakouts, silk will be a better option, as it's more cooling than cotton.

Wrinkles

There haven't been any studies on silk preventing wrinkles, though it's probable that it does. Because silk is smooth, it creates less friction with your skin, which could make a difference in the long term.

We get "crush wrinkles" by pressing our face into the pillow when sleeping on our face or side. Sleeping on your back may be beneficial because there's no friction between your skin and the pillow.

Silk and Your Hair

Because silk absorbs less moisture than cotton, silk pillowcases will keep your hair more hydrated, and therefore healthier. Your hair will be less frizzy and have fewer split ends. This is especially helpful for those with dandruff or a dry scalp.

Some wear a silk cap when they sleep for these reasons, but the cap can slip off. A silk pillowcase will solve this problem and is simpler to use.

Temperature Regulation

Silk adjusts to your body temperature, so it can reduce your sweating while you sleep. Staying cool is an important part of good sleep. If you’re sweating when you sleep, you’re probably not getting restful sleep. If so, try dropping the temperature, using fewer blankets and clothes, and if none of these things work, look into a cooling mattress.

What is Momme?

When you look at cotton sheets and pillowcases, the higher the thread count, the higher the quality of the material. With silk, the highest quality pillowcases are 100% Mulberry silk. And silk is measured by the weight of the weave, or momme, which should range from 19 to 30.

Silk vs Satin

Silk is a protein fiber produced by silkworms (and 17 other types of insects) that’s expensive because it’s not easy to turn it into fabric. Be careful as some manufacturers will mix in other materials with silk to reduce the cost.

Satin is a type of weave rather than a fabric. Satin used to be made from silk, but now it’s made from a variety of fibers including silk, polyester, acetate, rayon, and cotton. It tends to have a smooth side and a dull side. Satin tends to be more flexible and supple than silk, though silk is still the best for your hair and skin. But if you’re trying to save money, satin will give you some of the benefits of silk, but not all of the cost.

Besides saving money, satin is also easier to clean, easier to find, and is sometimes softer.

The Truth About Sateen

If you’re looking for the benefits of silk, sateen isn’t a good choice. Sateen is a fabric weave similar to satin, but the fibers are usually made of cotton. Sateen may seem smooth, but cotton will absorb moisture from your skin and hair, and therefore won’t prevent wrinkles, acne, or dry and damaged hair like silk can.

The Best Silk Pillowcases

We’ve invested many hours of research into finding the best silk pillowcases.  We've found that some of the more expensive pillowcases ($80 and up) aren't necessarily better than their cheaper competitors. Surprisingly, some of the cheaper pillowcases are of higher quality.

Best Value

  • 100% mulberry silk.
  • Both sides are 25 momme.
  • Available in 5 colors: champagne, dark gray, nature black, peacock blue, and white.
  • Color resistant to fading.
  • Hidden zipper.
  • Available in standard, queen, and king size.

Best Budget

  • 100% mulberry grade 6A fiber.
  • 22 momme.
  • Satin weave.
  • Concealed zipper.
  • Available in 11 colors.
  • Standard, queen, king, as well as queen plus silk sleep mask.

Best Luxury

  • 100% long-strand silk.
  • 30 momme.
  • Grade 6A silk on both sides.
  • Hidden zipper.
  • Available in beige, ivory white, navy blue, pink, and silver gray.
  • Standard, queen, and king sizes available.

FAQs

According to the Spruce, the best way to clean your silk pillowcase is:

  • Hand wash or in the washer on the gentle cycle.
  • Use cold water.
  • Put the silk in a mesh laundry bag to prevent it from being damaged by zippers or anything else in the machine.
  • If hand washing, don't twist it. Silk is strong when dry but weak when wet.
  • Use a gentle detergent, such as a wool wash.
  • If there's a stain, pretreat with a dab of detergent and let it sit for 15 minutes before washing.
  • You can add distilled white vinegar to the water to remove any soapy residue. You can add 1/2 cup to a full cup to the fabric softener dispenser, depending on the size of the load.
  • Hang dry on a drying rack.
  • Don't use chlorine bleach.
  • Don't use stain removers.
  • Don't put it in a hot dryer.