What’s the difference between silk and satin pillowcases.
To start, you need to understand that this question is a little misleading. Silk is a fabric produced from the silk worm, whereas satin is a fabric weave. In truth, many different fabrics can use the satin weave, including silk. That being said, when people ask this question, what they often mean is: What is the difference between Silk Charmeuse Pillowcases and Polyester Satin (silk) Pillowcases? These are the two types of pillowcases you are most likely to come across, especially in reference to hair and skin care. It is safe to say that 99% of the satin products sold on the market at low prices are *not* made with silk, but instead are comprised of polyester.
So, what is the fundamental difference between silk and polyester? We believe the fundamental difference lies in the way these materials are produced. To start, it is helpful to understand the difference between polyester and natural silk as fabrics. Silk is a naturally made animal protein fiber, whereas polyester is an industrially produced fiber made from petroleum. As such, silk offers significantly better affinity to skin due to similar chemical composition. Each silk fiber is produced from 3-5 of these silk filaments which are subsequently spun together to produce silk fabric in an assortment of momme weights. Whereas the quality of satin (polyester) can vary from cheap to luxurious with the country of origin playing a large role in the quality of the product.
Silk is used by cosmetic surgeons and beauty salons around the world as THE material for facial beauty for its smoothness as well as the rich amount of nutrients contained in its fibers. The amino acids in silk fibers are essential to the human body and help replenish lost collagen in the skin, and the high moisture absorption rate of silk helps keep your skin at just the right humidity. The great insulation properties of silk help keep the temperature around your skin at an optimal level, providing not only comfort, but also the perfect environment for your skin to regenerate during sleep. Satin (polyester), while also smooth, pales in comparison in this regard – although it is also somewhat effective in reducing morning hair and sleep wrinkles.
A very different feel: Polyester silk and natural silk also have a very different feel against the skin. Satin (polyester) is slippery with a clearly distinct texture which you can feel. Natural silk in contrast is softer in feel and the Charmeuse weave affords a more subtle reduction in friction.
Benefits for your skin and hair: Both polyester satin silk pillowcases and natural silk pillowcases provide benefits to your skin and hair through reduced friction. This reduces split ends in your hair, pulling on your facial skin and both diminish crease wrinkles in the face. However, because silk is a natural protein, it also provides additional benefits. Silk pillowcases are often recommended by dermatologists to be beneficial to your skin and hair. Natural silk is a very good thermal insulator, helping you to stay cooler during the summer months and warmer during the winter months, which supports healthy skin. Last, silk is naturally hypoallergenic and is resistant to mold, mildew, fungus and dust mites.
Inexpensive vs. luxury: Perhaps the most obvious difference between polyester satin silk pillowcases and natural Charmeuse silk pillowcases is the cost. As a manmade fabric, polyester is easy to produce in large quantities from a relatively inexpensive source (Oil and recycled plastics) and as a result it is significantly less expensive. Silk on the other hand is a luxury product and is very expensive to produce, since supply is limited and the process to harvest and spin silk is complex and labor intensive. This is one of the reasons the silk trade has more in common with precious metals and gem stones (such as being sold by weight) then other fabrics on the market.
Care and maintenance: From a maintenance point of view, silk is a bit more difficult to wash due to it being more delicate and require more attention. However, as we mentioned silk is *hypoallergenic* and repels common household allergens including bacteria, mold, fungi, and dust mites alike, so you will most likely find less annoying substances on a silk sheet/pillowcase than a polyester one. If you are already suffering from allergies, the choice is really a no-brainer.
Hopefully this article has helped to shed some light on this often asked question about the differences between silk and (polyester) satin silk pillowcases. If you’re interested in investing a silk or satin (polyester) pillowcase, checkout out the links above or visit the hair section of our online beauty boutique. We are confident that you will be delighted by the luxury and comfort our pillowcases and will never want to go back to sleeping on plain old pillowcases again!