Why You Should Ditch Your Cotton Pillowcase
Fun Fact: According to MSN, we spend about 26 years of our lives sleeping. Maybe that’s why beauty bloggers, fashion editors, dermatologists, and hair stylists everywhere are talking about better alternatives to commonly used cotton pillowcases for the health and appearance of hair and skin.
Do you wake up to find hair strands on your pillow, or loose a glob of hair in your morning shower? If so, your hair may be snagging and breaking throughout the night. Under a microscope, cotton fibers looks like flat, twisted, ribbon-like tubes with a granular surface. This twisted granular composition creates a rough texture which causes friction; and the higher the thread count, the higher the density, creating even more potential for friction resulting in weakened hair, breakage, and split ends.
Friction can be tough on your skin too. Forensic Medicine and Anatomy Research published a study in 2015 observing various wrinkles created during sleep including crow's feet, fine lines, lines around the mouth, and flattening of the forehead. In 2016, Oxford University also reported that when people sleep on their sides or their stomachs, the forces applied to the face on the pillow can result in the development of “sleep wrinkles” over time.
In addition, cotton is an absorbent material so when you sleep on cotton pillowcases, moisture is pulled from your hair and skin, making them dry and more prone to damage over time. This also means the nourishing products you put on your hair and face likely end up on your pillow - so much for that split end mender and lavish eye cream you finally decided to spend a little extra money on.
So, you’re ready to ditch your cotton pillowcase, now what?
While there are some extreme options (Forensic Medicine and Anatomy Research also took their study a step further and designed an alternative pillow that suspends the user’s head while they sleep - See Figure 2), most of us are less interested in Cirque du Soleil-like sleeping contraptions and more interested in simple changes we can make, like switching out our old pillowcases for better friction-free and moisture retaining options.
Because of its source, silk can be a more expensive option however, this 100% pure mulberry, hypoallergenic pillowcase is reasonably priced and well reviewed.
The experts at Good Housekeeping Magazine labeled this 30 momme 100% long strand, grade 6A pure mulberry silk pillowcase a "Winner" and "All-Star Standout".
Option 2: Bambo
In traditional bedding, the woven threads are often shorter than the entire length of the sheet which means the manufacturer overlaps the ends of each thread to create the illusion of one long strand stretching across the length of the fabric. As a result, the thread ends are often left loose throughout the sheet, creating the potential for friction.
Premium bamboo bedding only uses long-strand fibers so each thread end is securely anchored along the edges of the fabric. This means that even though bamboo can loosen over time, there aren’t any rough thread ends to irritate your hair and skin. Bamboo is also naturally antimicrobial and tends to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter, so make sure to choose a 100% Viscose from Bamboo Pillowcase.
Option 3: Satin
It’s important to understand satin is not a raw material. Instead it is a type of weave constructed by using different filament fibers like rayon, nylon and polyester. Because Satin has fewer interlaces, it has a smooth, glossy surface (and was a historically sought after fabric for upholstery). When purchasing a satin pillowcase, it’s important to know which fibers were used in the weave, especially if you have sensitivities to certain materials.
This satin pillowcase is 55% Tencel and 45% Polyester. Tencel is much better at balancing moisture than cotton, and polyester is less absorbent than cotton, and more stain resistant too.
Now you are informed and equipped with resources, but if you decide you still don’t want to part with your cotton pillowcase consider the alternative of wrapping your hair in a silk scarf like this one while sleeping.