Silk vs. Satin Pillowcases


Silk vs. Satin Pillowcases

silk vs satin pillowcases

What’s the difference between silk and satin pillowcases.

Often we get asked: What is the difference between silk pillowcases 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 on the internet, especially in reference to hair and skin care.

Natural vs. Manmade: To start, it is helpful to understand the difference between polyester and natural silk as fabrics. Satin silk from polyester is a manmade fabric produced from polymers. This satin silk from polyester is essentially a fabric created from oil and has the same chemical composition as plastic bottles. Silk, in contrast, is spun from the natural silk protein filament produced by the silk worm when forming its cocoon. 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.

A very different feel: Polyester silk and natural silk also have a very different feel against the skin. Polyester silk satin 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 dermitologists to be benefical 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’s generally cheap. 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.

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 pair of silk pillowcases, checkout our links below. We are confident that you will be pleasantly surprised by the luxury and comfort our pillowcases provide and you will never go back to sleeping on plain old pillowcases again.


8 thoughts on “Silk vs. Satin Pillowcases

  1. Ella Howell says:

    I own two pillow cases that I found in thrift store many years ago. there is no tag inside to tell me the contents. I love these pillow cases and use them all the time and have for many years now. I wish I knew what they were so I could buy more. I don’t know if they are silk or something else. I have tried buying others thinking i was getting maybe the same but one wrinkled so badly that you had absolute choice but to iron and use spray starch on it. The others came close and didn’t wrinkle and they were slick and smooth but none feels like my original that I talk about in the beginning, they are softer than anything I have ever felt ever and you can wash them stomp them anything and they remain smooth and never a wrinkle ever, not sure if this information helps but if you have any clue what i might could buy that would be like my first ones I would thank you so much.

    • garyg says:

      Hello Ella. It’s very likely you had a silk pillowcase. Silk comes in a number of different weaves and weights. Most likely you had a pillowcase made with charmeuse Silk. Look for something with a weight of 19mm or more. As with most any fabric, there are different qualities of silk as well, but charemuse silk pillowcases are what your looking for.

  2. Laure says:

    I must say that is the most confusing article ever. In trying to ascertain the difference between polyester vs silk, ( understanding that satin is a weave) it still calls it both. So it is very unclear.
    They are called, “polyester satin silk” either it is silk, from a silkworm, or polyester, man made. Which?
    “Hopefully this article has helped to shed some light on this often asked question about the differences between silk and (polyester) satin silk pillowcases” see what I mean?

    • garyg says:

      Hello Laure, It is in fact confusing because some brands in the textile industry purposefully mislabel these products in order to sell or pass off a polyester product as silk. While it is possible to get a satin silk product that is made from actual silk, many products labeled satin silk are in fact not silk at all, but polyester. You need to pay close attention to the actual textile used in the product, often in the fine print or on the tag. One rule of thumb is if the pillowcase is less then $20. Most true silk pillowcases will cost $20 or more.

  3. Paull Storm says:

    When it comes to comparing Silk (natural) and Satin (artificial) which is actually the softest and smoothest (of the same weight)? Has any actual scientific study been done to determine this? That is the two materials are presented to subjects without their prior knowledge of which is which to get an objective assessment. The problem is that the moment you tell someone it is silk and natural they automatically subjective assume it will be softer and smoother compared to the man made satin.

    • garyg says:

      I’m not aware of any blind study, but there is a clear difference between silk and polyester, especially as it relates to its inherent properties when it is against the skin. And while “softness” is subjective, most folks who try silk pillowcases are pretty amazed how soft they are. Also, keep in mind that silk can be purchases in both charmeuse and satin weaves. One way to generally know if a pillowcase is not made of silk is if it costs less then $20.

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