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Silk pillowcases are only for the rich and famous, right? Not so fast. You may conjure up images of Elizabeth Taylor and her perfect skin, but in reality, there are a lot of benefits for using a silk pillowcase. If you’re still sleeping on cotton, our findings might change your mind once and for all.

We’ve answered some questions you may have about why the heck you should change your pillowcase in the first place. Plus, if we do convince you, we’ve got a few pillowcases to get you started. Let’s get you on that rich and famous list, or at least, sleeping like one.

What’s So Great About Silk?

Aside from the fact that it feels fantastic? We know. It’s not enough that it’s soft, but let’s start there. Soft pillowcases are infinitely more comfortable. You may think your cotton pillowcase is soft, but it doesn’t have anything on a good silk one.

Silk has been revered for thousands of years. In some parts of the world, it was used as a currency. It was China’s most closely guarded secret for around 2000 years until trade spread to the west and eventually to European markets. Silk production involves carefully unwinding the cocoon of the silkworm to reveal the delicate threads. The temperature and diet of the worms are vital to producing these cocoons. Otherwise, you end up with lower quality silk.

Today, cocoons are carefully taken care of to make sure the silk reaches its optimal state. We may not be swirling individual cocoons in little glasses anymore, but silk is still a complicated process. We’ve gotten better at the method of extracting silk, but it’s still challenging to work with and difficult to sew.

Legend says it was discovered by the wife of a Chinese emperor who was taking tea under a mulberry tree. A cocoon fell into her tea, and she watched it unravel.

We don’t know that that’s precisely how silk was discovered, but we do know that it has some excellent health benefits. If you choose to switch from simple cotton to silk pillowcases, here are a few things that might benefit you.

Hypoallergenic

Silk fibers have a natural resistance to common allergens like dust mites. Cotton doesn’t. If you aren’t religious about washing your pillowcases, you may regret that. It’s going to help your allergies by creating a barrier between your face and any possible allergens directly in your pillow as well.

Silk is also naturally odorless. If strong odors tend to bother you or you have respiratory allergies, silk can reduce the amount of odor coming from your pillowcase. You might get some relief.

Cooling

Silk tends to stay cooler than cotton as well. It’s very breathable, wicking heat away from your head and face so that your pillow can return to ambient room temperature more quickly. It naturally remains slightly warmer during the winter months when you have your room climate warmer as well.

If you already use a pillow that’s cooling, silk only helps with this.  It allows air to pass through to the pillow underneath and the surface remains at ambient room temperature for longer.

Protects Hair And Skin

Silk is a similar type of fiber as your hair. As you move around in the night, you’re less likely to wake up with frizzy hair because the fibers won’t rub against your hair shafts all night long.

It’s also better for your skin. Cotton is really absorbent, so it picks up moisture from your face all night where it can sit and gather dirt and bacteria. With silk, the moisture and oil stay on your face where it belongs.

That doesn’t mean silk will completely stop your breakouts, but if you have trouble remembering to change to a clean pillowcase every night, it may help.

What Should I Get?

Not all silk is created equally. Mulberry silk is one of the best out there because it’s the strongest and most durable. There are other types of silk, but this particular variety is usually pesticide free. You want something gentle and soft next to your face, so this type of silk is ideal. You can get other types of silk that will work and may be cheaper but check here first if you can.

The momme of the silk is a unite of measurement. You want a momme of between 16 and 19 at least because otherwise, you won’t have a very durable material. You don’t want tearing six months into your pillowcase’s life.

The thread count is also important. Thread count should be above 400 ideally so that you have a good feeling to it and there isn’t much fiber visible. Be careful that the manufacturer isn’t twisting two or three threads together and counting that in the final thread count because it might not be a soft as it could be.

Choose a charmeuse weave. It produces an ultra-soft, shiny material that’s slippery enough to benefit your hair. It’s polished and has a crepe-like bottom. This style of weave is preferable to many other types of silk weave and is usually the best feeling one.

Pay attention to the stitching on the case. Poorly placed stitching can be uncomfortable to sleep on. You should see even stitches with no puckering in the fabric. The line should be nearly invisible. The style of pillowcase cuff is up to you, but the stitching should be consistent.

If it’s possible to feel the pillowcase before you buy it, or at least feel comparable momme and thread count pillowcases, that can give you a good idea of what to expect from your pillowcase. You want something soft, but durable. It shouldn’t have any thread inconsistencies, and it should be soft to the touch.

Typically, as long as something is Mulberry silk, you should be fine. True Mulberry silk carries a quality that should transfer the benefit of silk to your sleeping situation.

The List

Now for the good stuff.

Alaska Bear Natural Silk Pillow Case – Our Top Pick

Alaska Bear’s silk pillowcase is 100% Mulberry silk, the top of the line. It’s very soft and naturally hypoallergenic with smooth fibers that prevent frizzy hair and dry skin.

It claims to help ease the wrinkles that come from sleeping with your face smashed into the pillow at night. While the evidence is still out that silk pillowcases can help prevent wrinkles, we will attest that we wake up with a lot less swelling in our face because the fibers don’t constantly rub against our skin.

It’s naturally very cool. If you sleep with a pillow intended to help with temperature regulation, the silk fiber is a complement to cooling materials such as gel. The hidden zipper prevents scratches during the night but keeps the pillowcase in place.

Alaska Bear is OEKO TEX Standard 100 certified. This certification is for materials that stay close to the skin such as underwear and t-shirts. It’s clean, doesn’t use pesticides, and it’s chemical free.

Each set is handmade by a trained tailor, so the stitching is superb. It’s nearly invisible with clean even lines and no puckering. You don’t end up with any raw edges or odd strings.

You can’t machine wash silk without ruining the fibers, so the company recommends hand washing with a gentle cleanser and hanging it to dry. You shouldn’t wring or twist so that you don’t accidentally stretch the fibers. Instead. Gently roll it into a towel to soak up any excess water and lay flat to dry. Try to avoid ironing the pillowcase since silk is highly susceptible to heat damage.

You have a few days if you decide to return it, but you can’t use the pillowcase beforehand. The company will cover shipping if something arrives to you damaged.

Mulberry Park Silks – Runner-Up

Mulberry Park Silks produces a line of materials intended to help you sleep. Their pure silk pillowcase is made with 100% Mulberry silk. It’s 19 momme and 600 thread count.

It’s naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to mold. It comes in a few neutral colors that are naturally died. No chemicals or pesticides.

It’s OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified to be free of chemicals, pesticides, and anything that could be harmful to your skin. The same standards apply to textiles we wear close to our bodies such as baby onesies or underwear. It’s a rigorous standard for textile.

They also have a charmeuse and cotton blend if you prefer having a clear top and bottom to your pillowcase. Most of their pillowcases are all silk, however, and use the same charmeuse weaving pattern to produce very soft silk.

The stitching is excellent even though they aren’t made by hand. It has an envelope style closure to prevent the case from slipping off. It’s natural temperature controlled as well.

One upside to Mulberry Park is that you can machine wash the pillowcase on gentle cycle in cold water. Ideally. You’d hand wash it, but you certainly don’t have to. If you must iron it, use a cooler setting, so you don’t damage the fibers. Otherwise, let wrinkles fall out naturally.

Mulberry Park allows you to return the pillowcase any time before 15 days of your purchase date if you change your mind. You can’t sleep on it, but if you get the pillowcase and it doesn’t feel like you thought it would, you can return it. They’ll cover shipping if something is damaged.

Honorable Mentions

If you fit into one of these categories, you may consider an alternative to our two favorites above. We won’t get our feelings hurt. Promise.

Dry Bar – Best For Hair

Dry Bar’s pillowcase uses natural silk to prevent the hair from rubbing and creating friction during the night.

Remember when your grandmother visited the salon weekly to have her hair set? She’d come home and sleep on satin to keep it from messing up until the next week. This is the equivalent of that process.

Instead of satin, soft silk fibers prevent your blowout from attracting frizz. Hair shafts glide over the threads during the night, and your blowout has a few more days to last. It’s supposed to help prevent breakage and won’t strip the hair of natural moisture.

The company recommends using dry shampoo in between washing your hair to give it full effect. In fact, they make a whole line of products meant to work in conjunction with your pillowcase to improve the texture of your hair.

The pillow case fits a standard pillowcase and you need to hand wash it to prevent stripping the silk of its smooth texture. It’s intended to fit very snugly, so if your pillow is extra thick, you may have a hard time getting it to stay on.

You’ll need to check the seller for warranty and returns information. Make sure you don’t use the pillowcase if you intend to return it.

Fisher’s Finery 25mm – Best Budget Option

Fisher’s Finery is 100% Mulberry silk. It’s on the higher end of the momme scale at 25, but they do sell a 19 momme version if you like the feel of that better. It received the Good Housekeeping seal of approval recently.

It’s excellent at wicking moisture and heat but won’t dry your skin or your hair out too much. The fibers are strong and durable. It’s about half to 30% the cost of the pillows we’ve listed so far.

It uses an envelope flap to keep the case in place, and the stitching is even and secure. It has no puckering or stray threads. It comes in both king and queen sizes. It should prevent your hair from getting frizzy and your skin from drying out in the night.

It’s naturally odorless and hypoallergenic. Silk should also help keep you cooler at night, especially if you use a temperature regulating pillow. It’s machine washable, but you need to lay it flat to dry. The company recommends that you hand wash it just to be safe.

If you do decide to machine wash it, make sure you use the gentlest setting on cold. Use a gentle cleanser as well. If you choose to iron it, use a cool setting, so you don’t damage the fibers with excessive heat.

Check with the seller for warranty information and for returns. If you decide to return the pillowcase, make sure that you haven’t used it or washed it. If you have, it’s ineligible. You also have about 14 days to return it, so keep an eye on the date.

MYK – Best For Active Sleepers

If you move around a lot, an all silk option may be difficult to keep on your bed. To keep it from slipping off, the MYK has silk on the top, and the underneath has cotton. The cotton helps keep your pillow on the bed while the silk gives you all the benefits.

The top of the pillow is 19 momme, just the right measurements for a soft silk pillow. It’s naturally hygienic and dust mite resistant. This should help your allergies. It’s OEKO-TEX certified, which means it’s held to the same standard as materials we wear close to our bodies such as underwear and baby clothing.

Even though it has cotton on the underside, you should still take care when washing. The company recommends hand washing to preserve the fibers of the silk fully. You can also clean the pillowcase on the gentlest setting in cold water. You shouldn’t dry your pillowcase although you can get the process started using just the plain air setting on your dryer.

One downside is that the cotton-backed option is commonly available in a travel size. Make sure you get the one fitted for standard pillows if you don’t want a smaller pillow. Otherwise, you might be in for a surprise when your pillow case doesn’t fit the standard pillow that you have.

Final Thoughts

Silk pillowcases fall in and out of trends, but they are a very comfortable alternative to cotton. If you have trouble with dry skin and frizzy hair, you might try silk for less friction. It may also help prevent things like acne or wrinkles by removing less moisture from your skin. If your moisture doesn’t get sucked into the pillow, it’s less likely to mold or grow bacteria. Better sleep environment all around.

The primary requirement for silk pillows is that you have to be ok with washing the pillowcase by hand to preserve the delicate fibers. If you’re more the kind that cleans all your clothes and linens together for ease, a silk pillowcase may be more trouble than it’s worth for you.

If you can manage it, you might be really pleased with how the silk feels to you. If it offers benefits such as healthier skin and hair, more relaxed sleeping, and better comfort, it might be worth it to hand wash, right? We recommend giving it a try to see if it truly gives you a better night’s sleep.

Tim

Remember how your parents told you that you were going to sleep your life away? Well that would be perfectly fine with Tim. He's been in search of the most comfortable nights sleep for years and shares his findings with any willing ear.

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