Stylist investigates the benefits of silk pillowcases on your skin and hair, and shares the very best ones to add to your bed.
You may have a curated skin care routine that you follow militantly or a lengthy hair care regime involving scalp treatments, hair masks and even a dose of luxurious oil every other week. The thing is, no matter how many steps you take or creams you apply, there’s one very simple antidote that helps skin and hair the most: sleep, of course. It’s the extended period of time where your body has a chance to recalibrate, when it can rebalance hydration levels and ward off inflammation, leaving skin glowier and hair healthier.
We know it’s the not-so-secret elixir to keeping our bodies in check, so it’s about time we took it more seriously. And one key part of that is upgrading what we rest our weary heads on. Don’t worry about excessive thread counts and instead turn your attention to the affordable luxury material that really does make a difference to skin and hair: silk.
Many dermatologists, facialists and trichologists all praise silk as the undisputed skin and scalp saviour. But why exactly? Well, there are numerous beauty benefits to be found in switching to a silk pillowcase.
Silk pillowcases: benefits for skin
It keeps skin cooler: While synthetic fibres trap heat, natural materials like silk are considered more breathable. “Silk is thought to keep skin cooler and reduce excessive sweating,” says Dr Emma Wedgeworth, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson. When our skin is kept at a colder temperature, it’s less prone to redness and inflammation. That’s exactly why treatments like cryotherapy are known for de-puffing and reducing redness.
It’s keeps skin care on our face: Whether you have a hefty or lightweight routine, no one wants their skincare to slip or rub off skin in the night. That means, the serums and moisturisers we apply pre-bedtime have a better chance of staying where they belong: on our faces. Silk is actually known for being less absorbent compared to synthetically-derived materials. According to silk brand, Slip, there’s 43% less friction than cotton pillowcases with a threadcount between 220-360. So, the moisture we apply to our face at night won’t rub off nearly as much.
It reduces skin creasing: We’ve all experienced the rude awakening of getting out of bed to discover a pillow crease mark has indented itself into our cheek. Silk, with its particularly smooth fibres, doesn’t tug or create friction, nor does it impress its texture onto the skin. In short, it’s a much more gentle fabric which makes it perfect for caring for the fragile skin on the face.
It’s hypo-allergenic: Our faces are on pillowcases for a huge chunk of the day — and if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, you’ll know the worry that can come with sleeping on your face. Silk is antibacterial and hypoallergenic, so there’s less of a chance your pillowcase will harbour harmful germs.
Silk pillowcases: benefits for hair
It retains moisture: “Silk pillowcases don’t steal your skin and your hair’s moisture while you sleep,” explains hair loss consultant, Simone Thomas. This is all thanks to its absorbency rate. According to Hellenic Silk Company, silk absorps 11% of moisture (from skin and hair) in normal conditions. Other synthetic fabrics usually have an absorption rate of 30%, meaning silk won’t zap as much moisture from your hair.
It reduces bed head: “The material is a lot less rough on the hair than regular pillowcases“ says Thomas. The main reason for this? Silk is an anti-static material. As a result, hair follicles aren’t as roughed up as we move around in our sleep. In testing conducted by silk brand, Slip, they found that their users experiences 43% less friction than cotton pillowcases.
It reduces breakage and thinning: “Our hair, skin and whole body is constantly moving and being aggravated when we sleep” says Thomas. “This amount of moving can cause the hair to break, create thinner hair, frizz, bed head and split ends.” The natural, smooth texture of silk prevents friction between the hair and the pillowcase.
The best silk pillow cases for hair and skin:
Best all-round silk pillowcase: Slip Pillowcase
When it comes to high quality silk, Slip knows a thing or two. Its specially formulated fabric was developed and refined over 10 years to reach the balance between thickness, shine, durability and softness, all the while using the highest fibre mulberry silk.
Best for curly hair: Only Curls Silk PillowcaseCurly hair often loses moisture and the cuticles can be easily roughened up with a standard pillow case. Curly hair brand, Only Curls’ pillowcase aims to help balance your hair’s moisture levels and minimise disruption to curl patterns.
Best budget silk pillowcase: Alaska Bear Silk Pillowcase
Favoured by Amazon users, Alaska Bear pillowcases are made of pure mulberry silk, come in a range of sizes and are a tad more purse-friendly.
Alaska Bear Silk Pillowcase, £22.99
Best pillowcases with a wider colour range: Lilysilk 19 Momme Housewife Silk Pillowcase
Accredited by the international textile and research institute, OEKO-TEX, Lilysilk’s pillowcases are proved to be safe and healthy for your skin.
Best semi-matte finish silk pillowcase: The Ethical Silk Company Oxford PillowcaseUniquely produced, The Ethical Silk Company’s pillowcases has a semi-matte lustre without compromising on the smooth feeling.
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