Silk vs. Satin Pillowcases: Which Are Better for Curly Hair?

Hey there, Curly Top. This blog is for you.

Whether you love your curls, or just "live" with them, your curly hair requires special care. "Bed head" is your natural waking state. There's no such thing as "running a brush" through your hair and neatening things up (ha!). Your vanity is packed with hair care products: creams, potions, leave-in conditioners and hair serums. You check the humidity levels outside before you even think about using a blow dryer or flat iron. And if you want bangs? Well, proceed with extreme caution.

We see you, curly girls (and guys). Quite a few of us on the Mulberry Park Silks design team have naturally curly hair. And we've got great news: you can help condition, control, and protect your wayward curls while you sleep by choosing the proper pillowcase. Read on to learn why your pillowcase can make a huge difference. We'll be comparing silk vs. satin pillowcases; talking about the benefits of each; and explaining why choosing a silk pillowcase over satin or cotton is a smart move for your curly hair.

Women with curly hair looking at the ocean

How is your curly hair different?

We know, you could probably write your own book on this topic. But understanding the special structure of curly hair goes a long way toward figuring out how best to care for it. A (curly haired) scientist at Northwestern University breaks it down, saying that curly hair is different in both the shape of the follicle (oval, vs. the round shape of straight hair) and the way it embeds into the scalp (at an angle) which makes it much more difficult for curly hair to stay moisturized despite the natural oils in the scalp. This is why curly hair is dryer and more prone to frizz and breakage. The shaft of curly hair (the part growing on our heads) also bonds more tightly to other hair, which adds to the curl.

Knowing that curly hair is dryer and more prone to frizz and breakage, keeping it well-conditioned and hydrated should be your top goal. And to make that happen, there's one thing you should definitely do: stop sleeping on a cotton pillowcase. There are two important reasons for this:

  • Cotton is naturally absorbent, and can pull moisture from your hair (and skin!) while you sleep. This means that your cotton pillowcase is actually working against you as a "reverse conditioner" that dries out your already delicate curls.
  • Cotton is a plant-based fabric. Even the finest cotton pillowcase has tiny fibers that can pull and tear at your hair while you sleep. This adds to hair breakage and frizzy hair.

It's time to move on from your regular pillowcase and switch to something that's better for your hair. You can learn more about cotton vs. silk pillowcases here.

Collage of curly haired women silk pillowcase

Why sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase?

It comes down to one word: friction. A pure mulberry silk pillowcase and even most polyester satin pillowcases (made from petroleum-based chemicals) minimize or even eliminate friction. This protects hair from being pulled, tugged, and tangled during the night. Unfortunately, there is some confusion in the marketplace between pure silk pillowcases and their (man-made) counterparts that are often sold as "satin weave" or "silk satin."

Silk and satin are definitely NOT the same thing. While a satin weave pillowcase can minimize friction (and that's a good thing!) there are many benefits to real silk pillowcases that satin pillowcases just can't deliver. If you want the best for your hair, choose a pure mulberry silk pillowcase.

Why a pure silk pillowcase is better than a satin pillowcase

At Mulberry Park Silks, a big part of our mission is educating clients about all the wonderful health and beauty benefits of silk (particularly as compared to satin, which is often confused for silk, or represented as silk by unscrupulous retailers). Silk and satin are very different, and only a pure mulberry silk delivers the full benefits that your curly hair needs.

  • Silk is a natural fiber, not man-made like satin.
  • Along with being friction free, pure silk fiber is protein-based (just like hair!) and contains proteins and amino acids that work to condition and moisturize your hair while you sleep. In fact, many salon-quality hair care products and treatments are made with silk protein.
  • Silk is breathable, and naturally temperature regulating. It wicks away moisture and naturally regulates body temperature to keep you comfortable (note: this is a huge benefit to silk sheets, which are great for year-round sleep).
  • Silk is hypoallergenic and naturally resistant to dust and mites, making it perfect for hair and sensitive skin!

Best of all, a pure silk pillowcase need not break the bank! At Mulberry Park Silks, we offer silk pillowcases in a range of momme weights (the silk version of thread count) and prices. Check out our blog on what to look out for when buying a silk pillowcase and be a savvy silk shopper.

How to Care for Your Silk Pillowcase

Taking proper care of your natural silk pillowcase means it will take care of you -- and your precious curls -- for a long time! And it's easy to do. Our silk fabric can be laundered by hand or machine washed in a silk-only load on a gentle cycle. We do recommend putting your pillowcase inside a mesh laundry bag to protect it from snags, and using a detergent specially formulated for silk, like this one from Heritage Park Laundry Essentials. Your silk pillowcase should be hung to dry away from direct sunlight; it will be ready to place back on your pillow in a couple of hours or less. We don't generally recommend ironing your silk pillowcase, as it can easily be smoothed out by hand and any wrinkles will release on their own in a day or two.

Why Choose A Mulberry Park Silks Pillowcase

Choosing a pillowcase from Mulberry Park Silks is a wonderful investment in your hair, skin, and overall health. We founded this company with the mission of bringing the finest silk bedding and accessories to the market at fair prices. We are very proud to have done just that, and can confidently say that our products are of superior quality and a wonderful value.

We use the helpful acronym "CHARMS" to explain why our silk is the finest in the marketplace:

Ch - Charmeuse weave. Charmeuse is a style of weaving silk threads into a specific pattern to create a smooth luster on one side of the fabric and a matte finish on the reverse.
A - Grade 6A silk is the highest quality. All Mulberry Park Silks are made of Grade 6A silk.
R - Real 100 percent pure mulberry silk. All our products are made with pure mulberry silk which is finer, smoother, and more consistently colored than other silk.
M - Momme weight of 19, 22, and 30. This is a measure of weight, similar to thread count.
S - Safe for people and the environment as certified by OEKO-TEX®. Although silk is "natural," we've taken the extra step to independently certify that our silk contains no harmful dyes or toxins.

When you purchase a silk pillowcase from Mulberry Park Silks, you are buying the finest quality silk from a family-owned business proudly headquartered in Branford, Connecticut, USA. We stand behind our products, and are here to help and answer your questions.

Mulberry Park: Accessible and Affordable Luxury Silk

We founded Mulberry Park with one simple mission: to design the highest quality silk items in the market and offer them at an affordable price. And we've done just that, with a full range of silk products made from 100% pure mulberry long strand silk fabric. The silk fabric used for our silk sheets and silk pillowcases has also been OEKO-TEX® Certified (Standard 100) to be free of chemicals.

Visit us online or call us at (800) 860-1924 to learn more about our silk sheets, silk pillowcases, duvet covers and shams, and real silk accessories including sleep masks, travel pillows, and silk hair scrunchies.