Have you ever gone to sleep with perfect ringlet curls, only to wake up in the morning with them lackluster, and with minimal definition? Although there could be many factors (humidity, tossing and turning, damp hair) into why your curls decided to disown you, a main cause could be your pillowcase.
Did you know that the friction caused by moving in the night against your pillowcase can drastically alter and damage your curl pattern? It tends to mess with hair follicles and take out the moisture—creating lackluster curls. So should you invest in a new pillowcase? Silk or satin? (Because fingers crossed you don’t have a cotton pillowcase). And what is the main difference?
The benefits of silk
Silk, first developed in ancient China around 1100 B.C, is a natural protein fiber produced by silkworms. It’s a breathable fabric that allows circulation and prevents the trapping of oil and bacteria on the pillow, which is beneficial for the skin and complexion.
The fabric doesn’t absorb oils and products from your skin and hair, therefore it won’t transfer any of that onto your face, which would lead to breakouts. It also helps minimize friction between the hair fibers that can cause split ends, frizz, tangles, and knots. Silk pillowcases lack friction and won’t rough up hair cuticles—meaning less chances of breakage.
The difference with satin
Satin, on the other hand, is made from many materials, like polyester, rayon, and cotton, and “is technically a type of weaving, rather than a type of fabric.” Satin will move with the hair while sleeping, reducing the friction between the hair fiber and the pillowcase.
Like silk, satin is hypoallergenic, less absorbent, and breathable, which allows your hair to retain more moisture while you sleep. Comparatively, with a cotton pillowcase, natural oils are absorbed, which can leave the hair dry and brittle.
How to choose
Both silk and satin are breathable, soft, hypoallergenic, and less absorbent. They are both great for hair health. Between silk and satin, the biggest difference is cost, with silk pillowcases costing anywhere from $30-$90, and satin, $8-$20.
Silk can be slightly better, as it has a bit more slip, but satin is a budget-friendly alternative that has similar benefits. Essentially, silk is more luxurious, raising the price, while satin is often blended with other fabrics, making it less expensive.
Satin pillowcases are easier to clean because they are made with synthetic materials and can be washed in a washing machine. Keep in mind that silk pillowcases require specialized care (laundry bag and a specific delicate cycle) to maintain them. So, if laundry options are important to you, go with satin.