Satin vs. Silk Pillowcases: What Difference Does It Make On Skin And Hair?

satin vs. silk pillowcases
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Believe it or not, the quality of your pillowcase affects more than just your sleep. We know that when it comes to getting a good night’s rest, the material makes all the difference, but upgrading your pillowcase has also been shown to influence the condition of your hair and skin as well.

A case that’s too thick and absorbent can lock in sweat, oil, and bacteria, transferring it back onto your face and causing breakouts; a case that’s too rough will creates friction that can damage your strands. So, both silk or satin pillowcases are your best bet.

But what’s the difference, and which is best for your needs? Scroll on to learn more.

Satin vs. silk pillowcases: What’s the difference?

What exactly is silk?

Silk is natural protein fiber harvested by silkworms. These worms build elaborate cocoons out of the fine silk threads produced in their saliva, and it’s from those same threads that silk is created. Producers will expose these cocoons to the sun to kill the larvae before spinning the fibers into yarn.

What exactly is satin?

Satin refers to a weave rather than a separate fiber, which is something many people are unaware of. The fabric is created by weaving over and beneath a certain thread. Satin can be created from a variety of raw material, including nylon, rayon, polyester, wool, silk or a combination.

The difference between satin and silk

The most significant distinction is that silk is a natural fabric, whereas satin is manufactured mostly from synthetic materials. To differentiate between the two, you’ll notice that silk has a more shimmering appearance than satin, which has a shiny surface on the outside and a dull inner surface. Because of the extensive processing, silk is also far more expensive than satin. The more natural and less industrialized the silk process is, the more benefits it provides.

The advantages of using a silk pillowcase

  • It’s extremely soft and silky to sleep on.
  • The densely woven silk threads prevent the absorption of sweat and oil, also allowing your skincare to stay in place (rather than your pillowcase soaking up the products you applied).
  • Silk is naturally hypoallergenic, making it ideal for allergy sufferers and those who have sensitive skin.
  • It reduces friction on your hair, preventing breakage, frizz, and fallout.
  • It won’t crease skin, helping to prevent the onset of wrinkles and sagging.
  • It has inherent thermal regulating characteristics and is breathable, making it ideal for warm sleepers.

Top silk pillowcases to try:

slip silk pillowcase

Slip Silk Pillowcase ($89; sephora.com)

brooklinen silk pillowcase

Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Pillowcase ($59; brooklinen.com)

everly quinn silk pillowcase

Everly Quinn Silk Pillowcase ($53; wayfair.com)

The advantages of using a satin pillowcase

  • Satin is a low-cost alternative to silk at approximately one-third to half the cost.
  • Satin is more easily accessible; it’s easier to come by because it’s made of common materials like polyester.
  • It’s a lot easier to clean. Satin pillowcases can be washed in the same machine as the rest of your clothes while silk should not.
  • It has the potential to be softer. Satin tends to have a silkier feel than real silk. Therefore, you might prefer it over silk.
  • Though not as great as silk, satin is better than cotton pillowcases for reducing skin irritation.
  • Similar to silk, it reduces friction on your hair, preventing breakage, frizz, and fallout.
  • Many silk pillowcases are considered vegan or cruelty-free.

Top satin pillowcases to try:

kitsch satin pillowcase

Kitsch Satin Pillowcase ($19; sephora.com)

morning glamour satin pillowcase

Morning Glamour Satin Standard Pillowcases in White ($30 for 2; bedbathandbeyond.com)

night vegan satin pillowcase

Night Vegan Satin Pillowcase ($30-40; nordstrom.com)

The bottom line: satin vs. silk pillowcases for hair and skin

When it comes down to it, the pillowcase you choose is all about preference. If you are a rough sleeper or simply prefer the buttery-soft feel against your skin, then a silk pillowcase is probably for you. Whereas, if you are looking to reduce some of the friction on your skin and hair without the hefty price tag, then a satin pillowcase should work just fine. Or, you can always consider a satin silk pillowcase to combine the benefits of both.