Choosing a Satin vs. Silk Pillowcase - Everything You Need to Know - Turbie Twist

Choosing a Satin vs. Silk Pillowcase - Everything You Need to Know

We help illuminate some of the differences between satin versus a silk pillowcase. Read now to explore the differences and determine which is better for you.



Hold up, satin and silk aren’t just different words for the same, soft, supple, luxurious looking and feeling material? Believe it or not, no; despite their similar textures and appearances, they’re more like fraternal than identical twins. 

It was once news to us, too, so totally cool if it’s news to you; because the best part is that both fabrics make for great pillowcase choices for your hair health and sleep hygiene. 

Clearly you came to the right place to stop losing sleep over trying to find out what makes one fabric right for you over the other. 

Choosing a satin or silk pillowcase is all about personal preference; and if you’re anything like us, you want to be as informed as possible, especially when it comes to how you spend your money and TREAT YOURSELF. 

With that, let’s dive deep to unravel the nature, origin, and physics of silk, satin, and some look-a-likes you’re going to want to steer clear of to maintain your mane to the best of every hair-conscious woman’s abilities!


Silk? Good. Satin? Good. Cotton? Oh no, no, no.

Screeech! Ladies, let’s slam the brakes on cotton pillowcases. They’re the absolute worst for your hair, especially if it’s thick or curly. 

The water-wicking properties which make cotton so wonderful for hair towels work against you when put into pillowcase form. No matter how high the thread count, a cotton pillowcase + eight hours of sleep = frizzy, tangled locks. Enter satin and silk! 

Both fabrics offer a smooth, slick surface, much gentler on your hair. With satin and silk pillowcases:

  • Your hair MAINTAINS far more MOISTURE. Unlike cotton, satin and silk pillowcases don’t slurp all the water from your hair. (Which explains why you don’t see any satin or silk hair towels on the market!)
  • LESS FRICTION between your hair and the pillowcase. You want your hair moving seamlessly with you as you toss and turn across your satin or silk pillowcase. A cotton pillowcase can be as damaging to your hair as a bath towel.
  • CLEANER HAIR, CLEARER SKIN. Unlike cotton, satin and silk don’t soak up oils, product, or anything else you don’t want coating your hair or causing a breakout on that gorgeous face of yours.

Clearly there’s a bounty of must-have benefits when choosing a satin or silk pillowcase.  Now let’s give each their time in the spotlight, getting a closer look at what defines these two wonderful options.


What Actually Is Silk?

Silk is a natural protein fiber produced by a few dozen types of insects around the world. Eek! From creepy crawly to classy and sleek. Yet, despite the variety of nature’s silk makers, traditionally, only silkworm silk has ever been harvested for textiles. 

It was first developed in ancient China — circa 2969 BC — and remained a vigilantly guarded trade secret for another 1,600 years, when the Europeans finally got into the game. By the Middle Ages, however, it was a trade secret no more, one of the most sought-after fabrics in existence. 

From the moment it was fist woven all those thousands of years ago, silk has been associated with luxury, even royalty. To this day, real silk demands a high price point. Like cotton, interestingly enough, weaving silk into textiles requires effort and skill. 

But beware — also like cotton, sometimes manufacturers will mix other fabric types with the silk fibers to reduce the price but maintain the texture of the material. This blend can effect the absorbency, hypo-allergenic properties, and frictionless benefits which make silk an ideal pillowcase.


Now Do Satin—

Satin vs Silk, we’re back at it again! Pillowcases which exhibit a glossy surface and the sleekness of silk – but aren’t silk – are known collectively as satin. Satin is technically a type of weaving rather than a type of fabric. 

Although satin was traditionally made from silk, today it’s not uncommon to find satins made from a variety of synthetic fibers including polyester, rayon, acetate, and cotton. 

This is not to be confused with the above warning against silk blended with other rougher, more absorbent fabrics. 

The ability to create satin from synthetic fabrics means that it’s often much more flexible and supple than real silk. This makes it an attractive material for things like lingerie because of the way it drapes the figure. 

Most importantly, as a pillowcase, satin is much more likely to move seamlessly with you, frictionless, allowing for a restful, even decadent sleep.


Beware Sateen

Despite the similarities between the words, sateen is not the same thing as satin. While it is created from a weave related to the satin weave, sateen is usually woven using cotton, whereas satin is often created with a blend of silk and synthetic fiber. 

Sateen is incredibly common in the world of bed linens, giving a smooth-adjacent feel without the high-thread-count-cotton price tag. Because of this, sateen retains the water-wicking properties of cotton and, thus, can damage your hair. Don’t be fooled! Avoid Sateen.


Satin Over Silk: The Advantages

Satin: the opulence of silk without the price tag! When it comes to your hair, satin produces the same desirable effects plus other advantages which make it convenient. Many people prefer satin to silk, because:

  • Low price point! If anything deserves an exclamation point, it’s this. Satin typically costs a third to half of the price of silk.
  • More readily available. Since satin is created from common materials like polyester, it’s much easier to find.
  • Easier to clean. You can throw a satin pillowcase into the wash with the rest of your laundry, not so much with silk.
  • It can feel softer. You may actually prefer the feel of satin over silk, because it tends to feel silkier than real silk! (That too deserves an exclamation point.)

Satin is the way to go when you crave the advantages of silk at a moderate price point, made possible by the modern mastery of synthetic fiber, today.


Silk Over Satin: The Advantages

The above points stand, but silk still deserves its shout outs. Silk and satin are both great choices for pillowcases, but some people remain fans of silk because:

  • It breathes. No turning your pillow over again and again to find that cool spot. Keeping your head comfortable and your hair unruffled. 
  • It’s hypoallergenic. Silk is naturally resistant to fungus, mold, mites, and allergens.
  • Free of synthetic fibers. Silk is a naturally occurring fiber, sometimes even organic!
  • Great for acne. It’s no miracle cure, but as we mentioned above, a silk pillowcase  won’t absorb oils and product from your skin and hair, then transferring that back onto your face all night long.


Sleep Well With A Satin Pillowcase Of Your Own

How you feeling? Certain about the bounty of benefits offered by a satin pillowcase vs a silk pillowcase? Yeah you are!

Both fabrics have their unique advantages. Both are excellent choices for keeping your hair in pristine condition all through the night. 

Now say goodbye to bad hair days, hello to luxurious sleeps! Get a satin pillowcase with a hair towel to ensure your 24/7 gorgeous hair!