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Silk pillowcases are having a moment, bolstered by claims they can help reduce wrinkles, acne and even frizziness in hair — all while giving you a better night’s sleep.
First, let’s parse fact from rumor. After several weeks of sleeping on a silk pillowcase and speaking with several experts about whether these added beauty benefits are real or just clever marketing myths, we can confirm that there is likely some truth to at least some of the claims. There is a study that links sleeping on silk to acne reduction, and according to the experts we consulted, since the fabric creates less friction than other fabrics like cotton, there’s anecdotal evidence that silk can benefit skin and hair. (You can read more from the skin and textile experts we consulted below.)
While we determined there is some truth to the beauty benefits and that they don’t entirely reside in dreamland, there’s no doubt that these ultra soft, smooth pillowcases are a wonder to lay your head upon. But which silk pillowcases are the best? To figure this out, we chose 13 top-rated silk pillowcases and put them to the test. We surveyed the initial look and feel of our facial skin and our hair after each sleep. We washed and dried each case, reapplied them to our pillows, then slept on them again. Six weeks of testing later (during which we slept on each pillowcase three nights total), we found three silk pillowcases that stood out:
Best silk pillowcase overall
Fishers Finery — made from the finest silk available — felt luxuriously silky, fit our pillows perfectly, offered beautiful nights of sleep and were easy to wash and dry both by hand and in the machine.
Best affordable silk pillowcase
The MYK Silk Natural Silk Pillowcase, featuring lovely silk on one side and white cotton on the other, offered a good fit, restful sleep and for about half the price of the Fishers Finery option — though it’s notably less luxurious-feeling.
Best luxury silk pillowcase
We couldn’t get enough sleeps on the Lunya Washable Silk Pillowcase. Also a silk on one side, cotton on the other option, Lunya’s silk surface case was the most lavish to the touch, and design details made it feel significantly elevated.
Our above and beyond winner is Fishers Finery’s 100% long-strand, luxurious mulberry silk and feels impossibly soft to the touch.
Fishers Finery cases are made from the finest silk out there. The cases are weighted at 25 momme count — a standard unit to measure the weight and quality of silk — which is at the upper end of the scale. They’re spun from 100% pure grade 6A Mulberry silk, which is believed to be smoother, stronger and more uniformly colored than other silks. (Read more about momme and silk grading below.)
We should note that while in general we experienced that sleeping on silk reduced frizziness and could understand how they might even help soften facial wrinkles, we couldn’t discern significant differences in these benefits from one brand to the next. That said, the first time we slept on Fishers Finery, it was almost like we didn’t notice the pillowcase — that’s how much it melded into our face, hair and sleep experience. The silk felt noticeably softer against the skin and hair compared to other pillowcases we tested.
Fishers Finery’s cases had the best fit for our pillows: well-fitting but slightly loose, so they’re easy to put on and pull off. There’s a cute envelope foldover closure that looks nice and makes the bed feel a bit neater than a loose, open pillowcase end.
We also found these easiest to wash and wear, so to speak. Like all of the brands we tested, these are both machine- and hand-washable, and after washing them by hand, we found they fit perfectly to our pillows and, bonus, these cases were the least wrinkly after being washed and squeezed out by hand — a plus if you’re someone who, like us, is never going to iron or steam a pillowcase. We also washed these, as well as the others we tested, in the machine on a delicate cycle, then hung them to dry — machine washing without hand-wringing led to fewer wrinkles once dry, for both these and the other pillowcases we tested.
These come in three sizes, standard, queen and king, and in 11 colors, more than most of the brands we tested. Fishers are priced solidly in the middle range of the brands we tested, and we found these to be an excellent mid-range pick, though one that doesn’t feel at all middle-of-the-road.
If you’re new to the silk pillowcase market and want an entry point that’s not overly expensive, this is an excellent starter choice that should last for years to come.
MYK Silk’s pillowcase is less luxurious than Fishers Finery’s lush Mulberry silk, but terrific in lots of ways, including its price point.
Made from 100% 19 momme mulberry silk — lower weight than Fishers Finery but still quite nice to the touch — and OEKO-TEX certified to standard 100 (this label indicates that every component of a product has been tested for harmful substances), these are very good pillowcases for the price. When we pulled them out of their unadorned packaging, they felt like bedding you’d find in the interiors department of a high-end store: soft silk on the face, cotton on the underside, which made them feel more sophisticated than bargain bedding. They’re also very soft and comfortable against the face, without being one of the overly slinky, slippery silk options.
MYK Silk’s cases fit our queen-size pillows more traditionally than most of the other brands we tested — snugly in both width and length. They have a zipper closure, which is a nice functional touch, but because the zipper’s opening and closing points are placed about an inch in from the actual end of the pillow, the opening of the case is a bit shorter than the length of the pillowcase. This meant that putting a fluffier down pillowcase with more volume into the pillowcase was slightly less facile than doing so with some of the looser, larger pillowcases. Once fitted to the pillow, though, MYK Silk’s looked nicely appointed on the bed.
These also provided an amazing sleep and, as noted above, like all the silk cases, they seemed to leave our hair feeling less bothered than standard pillowcases. They’re machine washable, or can be washed by hand and line dried (we did both, with good outcomes in terms of softness of the material) and are hypoallergenic, protecting against dust, allergens and toxins.
MYK Silk pillowcases are sold in three sizes (standard, queen, and king), and nine colors. For a third of the price, you’re giving up the most luxurious feeling pillowcase, but you’re getting lots of color options, and a fantastic night of sleep.
Delivered in a thin zippable pouch imprinted with the words “good in bed” (which can be saved to store the pillowcase when not in use), Lunya, a brand that makes beautiful silk sleepwear and other textiles, also makes superlative pillowcases.
Lunya’s hybrid silk pillowcase is 100% washable silk on the front and 100% woven cotton on the back, similar to the MYK Silk option above. But Lunya’s washable silk is a reminder of just how luxurious silk can feel. Like pressed velvet or some fabric in a different category of quality from cotton, the Lunya pillowcase was so soft and touchable it was downright evocative. Sleep felt so restful on Lunya’s silk we didn’t want to lift our heads out of bed. But once we did rise, we did seem to notice less frizz (compared to sleeping on other pillowcases in our testing pool), almost as if we’d slept in a shower cap or a towel.
Lunya’s pillowcases fit a bit more loosely than the others we tested, fitted in the width, but easy to slip on and off, and extra long in length. Though these are very good-quality silk, they really are washable. Throw them in the machine on cold, or wash them by hand with a little liquid detergent, then hang to dry (we did both — hand washing takes more time of course, but both cleaning methods resulted in good outcomes, with the machine washing leaving them less wrinkly after line-drying).
Lunya silk pillowcases only come in two sizes, standard queen and king, and in just one color, Tranquil White, which may be too limiting for some customers. That, plus the significantly higher price point over our two other winners, kept Lunya’s out of our top spot.
Still, the Lunya pillowcase was just downright dreamy, offering the best night’s sleep and some of the most noticeably positive effects on our hair, making them worth the upgrade.
There’s a lot to consider when buying silk pillowcases, from the type of silk and possible benefits to ease of care and price point. So we’ve compiled all our research to walk you through exactly what you need to know before you add to cart.
While there’s documented evidence that silk pillowcases might reduce acne, other skin benefits — such as reducing wrinkles — are mostly anecdotal. Dendy Engelman, M.D. cosmetic dermatologist with the NYC-based Shafer Clinic, said that no one should expect silk pillowcases to completely eliminate wrinkles, but adds that they can “help to slow down the formation of them,” especially “sleep wrinkles,” the lines some dermatologists believe develop from sleeping on your side or your stomach as your face scrunches into your pillow. “Silk creates fewer wrinkles and indentations on the skin as you sleep because it helps reduce strain or friction,” Engleman says.
Silk is also less absorbent than cotton, Engleman adds, so it doesn’t drink in our nighttime skin care products the way cotton can, which means night serums and moisturizers stay on the skin doing their work there, not on the pillowcase.
We did not see a noticeable short-term difference in the condition of our skin while sleeping on silk during our testing. That said, whereas the acne study we cited above lasted 12 weeks, our testing process lasted only six, took place during winter, when skin is more dry, and during a pandemic, when stress levels have been higher than normal. In other words, our first-hand experience wasn’t long enough for us to definitively assess the impact sleeping on silk has on skin. There could be long-term benefits to our facial skin that we’ll see accrue over a longer time, including that we are getting better nights of sleep sleeping on silk.
The decreased friction factor of silk is also thought to aid in managing frizzy hair. The smoother surface of silk can mean “less messing, fuzzing, split ends of your hair,” says textile expert Deborah Young. This benefit is more pronounced for those with thick and curly hair. Simply put, Young says, “less texture equals less bedhead.”
This tester, possessing said thick and curly hair, did notice right away a reduction in dryness and frizziness after just the first sleep on the first silk pillowcase. Those calming and non-irritating effects on hair continued with each of the subsequent silk pillowcases tested. Our hair seemed more supple and healthy during the many weeks of the testing process, though we didn’t find that one specific pillowcase brand was quantifiably better in its treatment of our hair.
In addition to the boosts silk can give your skin and your hair, the material also just feels good to sleep on, our experts said. “The first thing that people respond to is the luxurious hand, or feel of the fabric,” says Young. “Although silk is warm to wear, it has a cool hand, or touch. This means that although your silk pajamas will be wonderfully warm, as a pillow, the fabric will remain quite cool and soothing.” Silk is also often hypoallergenic, Young notes, making silk pillowcases a good option for those with allergies or skin sensitivities.
To those worried that silk may be too high maintenance as a bedding item, Young swears it’s worth it. “Silk can absolutely be machine washed – inside out, in a mesh lingerie bag, with a detergent formulated for silk on a delicate cleaning cycle and absolutely no bleach – ever!” Young advises washing separately, or as she prefers, by hand and in cold water, gently squeezed out in a rolled up towel, lay flat or hung to dry. We washed all of the cases we tested both by hand, then hung to dry, and by machine, on delicate, then hung to dry, with fine results from both processes. Though most of the care instructions for these pillowcases indicate that drying in a machine on low heat is OK, as an option to line drying, we adhered to our expert’s advice and only line-dried. Machine washing was less laborious than hand-washing, but took about the same time to complete.
If you’re shopping for silk pillowcases, Young advises, you’ll find the highest quality if you select real silk (which includes most of the pillowcases we tested, including our winners). Young notes though that some “silk” pillowcases are actually made of 100% polyester, which “could be a budget, but successful, alternative.” (A couple of the cases in our testing pool were polyester, a noticeable difference from real silk in terms of touch and quality, but still effective in terms of offering good, comfortable sleep and less flyaway hair.) Pure silk is perceived as more valuable and luxurious, Young says, but silk blends may be more affordable and still quite effective when it comes to pillowcases.
There’s also a range of types of silk you’ll hear about when shopping. Momme, as noted above, denotes the thickness and durability of the fabric, a higher momme being a heavier weight, Young explains. Mulberry silk comes from cultivated silkworms that eat only leaves from the mulberry tree. “There are other silks that are rougher and more cotton-like, but the shiny stuff is mulberry or cultivated silk,” Y
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