Does it seem like no matter how much product you apply to your skin and hair that it’s still dry? Have you invested hundreds, even thousands in an extensive nighttime skincare routine just to wake up with a dull complexion? The problem may not actually be your products, and it may not even be your skin or hair type. If after all that effort and time you then proceed to lay down to sleep on cotton pillowcases or sheets, you may be literally negating any effort prior.
That’s why you should consider incorporating silk into your nightly routine. There’s long been this mystique about the magical fabric, its soft feel, its high-shine luster, and its often lofty price tag. Think about it, even the name has a luxurious appeal. Studies show that silk was discovered more than 3000 years BC in ancient China. The material was long a sign of social status, with Europe gradually beginning production of its own hundreds of years later. Since then, the valuable material has been used in clothing, bedding, and now, for beauty purposes.
But first, it’s important to establish the differences between cotton and silk. Aside from the staunch divide in production value, while silk is a gentle fiber, cotton is a plant. That said, the nature of cotton is to be inherently absorbent. And while that factor probably hasn’t been at the front of mind as you hunt for bedding, it should be. Because cotton is more porous, it has the capacity to ultimately drain the skin of its nutrients. Imagine this, you apply all of your nighttime skincare routines, layering on serums, moisturizers, and emollient eye creams, just to lay down on a fabric that can and probably will snatch much of that product away. Enter silk, however, which is far less harsh on the skin and ultimately doesn’t “tug” away at the surface. Especially during the winter months, these more gentle fabrics are incredibly beneficial to the skin when it comes to retaining moisture. But silk isn’t just a must for those with extensive skincare routines. Even if you’re more of a product minimalist, sleeping on silk can help your skin better cling to its natural oils. But now, silk is actually being formulated into skincare products themselves. Blended with the intention of better hydrating the skin, the two key proteins, sericin and fibroin, play a role in moisturizing and protecting skin. However, even if you use products like these, laying on cotton immediately following can be counterproductive.
The same applies to hair, which is also more inclined to breakage and drying upon excessive use of cotton. For decades, women of color, most notably Black women specifically, have been utilizing silk bonnets and pillowcases to keep their hair intact and hydrated given the dryer nature of their texture. Now, as the influx of emphasis on such increases, brands are expanding their selections with pillowcases, headwraps, and ponytail holders made of silk with the intention of lessening the negative impact on hair.
And while scientists and experts alike agree that more research on the benefits of silk in beauty is needed, there’s no denying that if moisture is what you’re after the fabric is a must. Sweet dreams.