Silk vs. Satin Pillowcase - Which one should you be sleeping on?


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Though silk and satin tend to look similar, they are entirely different things. While silk is a fabric made from natural fibre, satin is a fabric weave made from a variety of synthetic materials

So if silk and satin are so different, why are we even asking you to choose between them? That’s because both of them feel luxurious and can be tough to tell apart for a layperson. Their paths most commonly cross in the pillowcase industry.

Silk vs satin difference

What is silk?

A well-known luxury fabric, silk is actually a byproduct of silkworms and moths. These insects spin silk to make their webs and cocoons. One single thread of silk requires the work of thousands of silkworms and moths. The mulberry silk moth is where most of our commercial silk comes from.

As to why silk exhibits multiple colours, it’s due to the triangular structure of the standard charmeuse weave of silk, which refracts light differently at different angles.

Silk lends a luxurious feel to pillowcases and that’s why they are one of the top fabric choices in the market.

What is satin?

Satin is a weaving method. It is neither a piece of fabric nor does it come from a natural source. Most satin pillowcases are made from synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon and rayon. However, some pillowcases make use of both the silk and satin, giving rise to a superior fabric called silk satin.

Generally speaking, satin lends both a dull and glossy side to the pillowcase, and is considered one of the best alternatives to an all-natural silk pillowcase.

So what’s the difference?

One of the major ways to tell silk and satin apart is the texture – silk is smooth and soft where satin is slightly rough. From the technical point of view, silk is a fabric while satin is a weave, and silk comes from nature while satin is manmade.

Pros & cons of silk and satin pillowcases

Both types of pillowcases offer great benefits and either choice will be a good addition to your bed. Still, let us lay their pros and cons, so you can make a definite choice.

silk fabric
Silk Fabric

Pros of silk

  • All-natural: Silk is an animal byproduct and does not use synthetic material of any kind. So if you are looking for a natural product, silk is a winner.
  • Breathable: Silk naturally moderates body temperature, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You will not feel smothered or uncomfortable while sleeping as the silk breathes and regulates your body temperature.
  • Hypoallergenic: Since silk is woven tightly, dust mites and other allergens cannot get through the weave easily. As a result, silk pillowcases tend to cause less irritation to a sleeper over time.
  • Good for skin: Silk is great for your skin and nighttime beauty regime. The amino acids found in silk provide additional collagen for your skin, which helps to reduce signs of ageing and keeps your skin supple. The cooling properties of silk help the skin regenerate furthermore. Lastly, while fabrics such as cotton draw moisture away from your skin at night, leaving it dry, silk is a gentle and hydrating fabric.
  • Good for hair: Silk is as much a blessing for your hair as it for your skin. The silk weave reduces frizz through the night, leaving your hair naturally softer and full of moisture.
  • Luxurious: Silk is used by top brands, hotels and spas around the world because of its luxurious feel. It’s for the same reason that people prefer silk pillowcases at home.

Cons of silk

  • Expensive than satin: Silk is costlier to produce because it requires the work of many silkworms.
  • High on maintenance: Those who like to wash pillowcases on a standard machine wash cycle, silk may not be the best option for you. Silk requires to be hand-washed or run under a delicate setting in the washer.

satin fabric
Satin Fabric

Pros of satin

  • Significantly cheaper: Since satin is manmade and requires much less labour to make, it’s drastically cheaper to produce and way more luxurious than the cotton pillowcase.
  • Easily available in store and online: As we told you, satin is cheaper and quicker to produce. Therefore, it is much more readily available than silk in the market.
  • Washer-friendly: While most silk pillowcases require hand-washing, satin polyester fabrics can be tossed in the washer on any setting.
  • Great for skin and hair: Similar to silk, satin pillowcases can do wonders to skin and hair. Although it does not have all the capabilities of silk, it does provide some moisture-wicking ability and keeps the skin looking younger.

Cons of satin

  • Not as smooth: While satin is the closest manmade alternative to silk, it doesn’t feel as soft as silk.
  • Not hypoallergenic: Satin does not have the same hypoallergenic properties of silk fibre and can, therefore, be less comfortable to sleep on. So find out the base fabric used in a satin weave to know if the material will be comfortable in bed.
  • Not as adaptable to temperature: Satin does not adapt to temperature changes as well as silk does, however, it’s better than other fabrics.

So which one should you buy?

While both silk and satin pillowcases are great sleeping options, silk has the upper hand.  It’s natural, hypoallergenic, great for skin and hair, and super luxe. However, if silk pillowcases are going to break your bank or if you are not picky about using an all-natural weave, satin is the second-best option.

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