I Slept on a Satin Pillowcase for Better Skin and Hair—Here’s What Happened
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A pillowcase for my skin and hair
Self-care is a way to feel better, and taking consistent care of my hair and skin is part of that process.
I take my skin care and hair care routines pretty seriously. I’ve spoken with a dermatologist about anti-aging products and religiously apply them twice a day. I’ve also spent more money than I want to think about on hair masks and oils to keep my locks shiny between salon visits.
But that’s no surprise. I spend much of my time researching health, wellness, and beauty products that aim to make me look and feel better and, sometimes, just get through the day in one piece. Some of the stuff I’ve purchased wasn’t worth my disposable income. (I’m looking at you, overpriced sunscreen that left a noticeable white cast on my face.)
When I read that celebrities and beauty influencers were swapping their cotton pillowcases for luxe silk versions, I scoffed. But then I started to research the beauty and health benefits of sleeping on a silk pillowcase.
I found an affordable satin version (less than $20!) that delivers similar results to silk pillowcases, which can cost $100 or more.
Here’s what happened when I slept on a Kitsch satin pillowcase for a year.
What are the benefits of a silk pillowcase?
I’ve slept on cotton or flannel pillowcases my whole life without thinking too much about the material. The aesthetics had mattered more to me than the fabric, so I’d choose pillowcases based on color and possibly thread count.
I was very wrong.
On average, a person sleeps about eight hours a night. That means I’ll sleep about 230,000 hours in my lifetime. I’ll spend one-third of my life with my head pressed against a pillowcase. So, yes, the fabric matters.
For generations, African American women have used satin scarves to wrap and protect their hair at night. The wisdom extends to silk pillowcases, with celebrities like Cindy Crawford and Victoria Beckham jumping on the trend.
The reason everyone loves these cotton alternatives? There are some notable skin and health benefits of silk pillowcases.
Doesn’t absorb oil
“Sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase can provide users with many benefits compared to cotton pillowcases,” says Annie Gonzalez, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami. “Unlike cotton, silk and satin pillowcases do not absorb moisture and keep cool and dry all night long. Thus, skin and hair are kept hydrated.”
Since cotton absorbs moisture, it draws hydrating face oils (and my pricey face cream) away from my face while I sleep.
“Silk and satin are also extremely smooth materials that stop the friction between skin/hair and the pillow,” says Dr. Gonzalez. “So when a person tosses and turns at night, the hair and skin do not get caught on the silk, as it would cotton, and lead to knotting, frizz, fine lines, and wrinkles.”
Sleeping on a silk pillowcase may help prevent fine lines over time thanks to this reduced friction. It’ll also help you avoid those unattractive pillow creases you encounter from sleeping on cotton.
The material can also prevent bedhead and flyaways. If you pay to get your hair professionally blown out, or you do it yourself, silk pillowcases extend the length of your picture-perfect hairstyle.
Satin vs. silk pillowcase: What’s the difference?
Silk pillowcases feel amazing and, well, silky. The hair and skin benefits are noticeable.
True silk pillowcases start at around $100, and they’re not meant to last longer than a year or two. That price point was out of my budget.
Good news: satin pillowcases are an affordable and effective alternative to silk.
“Since silk pillowcases are especially expensive, it may be worth trying a satin pillowcase and determining if you see any improvements. Then you can purchase a silk pillowcase if you desire,” says Dr. Gonzalez.
The two fabrics look and feel very similar.
“The difference is that silk is a natural fabric made from the cocoons of silkworms, while satin is created by weaving together synthetic fibers, like polyester,” Dr. Gonzalez says.
How to wash a satin pillowcase
Silk and satin pillowcases should be washed pretty regularly with gentle laundry detergent, like The Laundress’ Delicate Wash, to remove hair and skin oils and bacteria. I try to wash or change my satin pillowcases every time I wash my hair.
In a catch-22, you need to wash your pillowcase often to keep it clean, but regular washings will decrease the life span of your silk or satin pillowcases. The solution: wash them with care.
Cassandra Thurswell, founder and CEO of Kitsch, one of the best-selling satin pillowcase lines, recommends washing satin pillowcases by closing the zipper, washing on the delicate cycle (or hand washing), and hanging the pillowcase to dry.
From personal experience, I would recommend putting your satin pillowcase in a lingerie bag (like one of Bagail’s mesh laundry bags) to protect it. I learned that the hard way after the delicate fabric got caught and frayed in my washing machine‘s agitator. Ugh.
Satin pillowcase benefits and downsides
Satin pillowcases have a lot more pros than cons. Here’s what I like and dislike about buying and using my satin pillowcase:
- Getting results takes no work. I get better hair and prevent wrinkles just by going to sleep
- They’re way more affordable than silk pillowcases.
- I immediately noticed smoother hair and fewer morning tangles.
- Satin pillowcases feel nice on the skin and don’t absorb as much moisture.
- They’re vegan and cruelty free.
- Kitsch satin pillowcases come in lots of pretty colors and patterns.
- They don’t last as long as cotton pillowcases, and the fabric will start to fray.
- They’re more expensive than some cotton pillowcases.
- They have to be washed delicately and hung to dry.
Did a satin pillowcase deliver beauty results?
I love my satin pillowcase so much that I recently packed it with me when I visited a friend’s house for the weekend.
Sleeping on a satin pillowcase is an effortless way to prevent flyaways, broken hair, and fine lines. Plus, the satin feels cool and comfy against my face.
Next, learn the nighttime habits that are ruining your hair.