Many products tout the wrinkle-preventing, anti-aging, blow-out-prolonging benefits of silk, but are they worth all the hype?
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Woman in Bed Wearing Silk Eye Mask
Credit: Courtesy of Slip

Silk, a material long associated with luxury, has reached peak popularity among celebs and hairstylists alike-specifically in the form of silk pillowcases. "Healthy, shiny hair is definitely in, and sleeping on silk is one of the easiest ways to make an impact on your hair health," says celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan. "Friction from cotton can disrupt the cuticle layer, leading to frizz, breakage, sleep crease, and dry strands. Silk doesn't absorb or pull moisture from your skin the way traditional cotton pillowcases do, leaving hair hydrated and frizz-free."

You'll also be able to prolong the life of a fresh blowout, Marjan says, because silk allows the layer of hair cuticles to lay flat, leaving strands smoother and silkier. (She also recommends using silk scrunchies, as they won't pull and snag your hair like conventional rubber bands do.) But the wrinkle-preventing, anti-aging benefits that have been associated with silk are less clear, says Dr. Y Claire Chang, MD, dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City.

"Sources claim that cotton or polyester pillowcases are harsh on the skin, causing tugging, stretching, scratching, and rubbing that will increase wrinkles over time," Chang says. "They also state that cotton's absorptive material soaks moisture from skin, leaving it dry and dehydrated in the morning. It's suggested that silk allows the skin to glide gently across the skin, allowing better sleep, and slowing visible signs of aging. It also helps that silk feels luxurious and chic."

Chang says there isn't solid evidence showing that sleeping on cotton pillowcases age the skin. "We know that repetitive facial expressions, motions, and compression can cause creases in the skin that can become more permanent over time," she says. "Silk may or may not prevent this." According to Chang, your sleeping position is more important than pillowcase material when it comes to preventing wrinkles. "I recommend sleeping on your back, if possible, to prevent compression to one side of the face."

But it's true that cotton material is absorptive, Chang says, and may pull moisture from the skin while you're sleeping. (As to whether cotton will absorb skincare products you've put on that evening, well, that just depends upon how quickly and how well they soak into your skin.) She also says silk is a great option for people with sensitive skin. "It's a hypoallergenic material and is great for patients with frequent contact allergies or sensitivities," Chang says. "Silk allergies are very rare."

Thinking of making the switch? Marjan likes The Hollywood Silk Solution because silk is on only one side of the pillowcase, which means it won't slide around the bed. (And as those of us who've used silk pillowcases can attest, this is important!) And as for scrunchies: Whether you're wearing them to bed or sporting them as a throwback '90s trend, you can be certain they'll be much gentler on your locks. Try Slip Large Slipsilk Scrunchies and Slip Silk Pillowcase.


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