Here is a (by no means comprehensive) list of Superfluous Beauty Items I own: two kinds of facial roller, a microneedling device, a scalp massager, a scalp mask, a handbag cuticle oil, a bedside table cuticle oil, a lip scrub, and yes, a silk pillowcase. All these products occupy a grey area where none of them is strictly essential, yet I wouldn’t want to live without them forever, either.
Personally, I think a lot of the value of a beauty product is derived from your likelihood of using it. A $150 facial serum is utterly worthless if it sits at the back of your bathroom cabinet, oxidizing and collecting dust because of some sort of "saving for later" mentality. Likewise, there’s no point spending a lot on face masks and leave-in hair conditioning treatments if you’re a wash-and-go girl. For me, there are certain products that exist in my routine because they give me pause to not talk (sheet masks), to not scroll through Instagram (an eye treatment), to not walk around my apartment, doing odd jobs (giving myself a pedicure) — that sort of thing. They calm my mind and give me time to unpack my thoughts without having to really engage with them. Some people have a similar experience when gaming, but what do I know. I still couldn’t tell you if the games console in my apartment is an Xbox or a PlayStation.
Silk pillowcases sit in this realm somewhat. They are definitely better for your hair than cotton ones, as celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan told me. "Silk pillowcases don’t pull and absorb moisture from the hair the way cotton pillowcases do. Because of this, the oils stay in your hair, resulting in healthier, smoother, shinier hair," she explained. I certainly get less bedhead these days, and my blow-dries last longer. Of course, many women with textured hair have been wearing silk hair wraps or bonnets at night for years, and this is exactly why — the silk traps those oils in your hair, preventing dehydration and frizz. Marjan says she even takes one with her when she travels.
As for skin? The jury’s out but it seems like silk is beneficial. Silk is hypoallergenic, and as esthetician and Mortar & Milk founder Pamela Marshall noted: "They definitely feel more luxurious so it may mean that you sleep better, and they can decrease the friction and creasing on the skin. If you’re someone with inflamed skin, then they may be a good option for your skin."
I find silk is much cooler on my skin which is delicious after a long day, and when you have a beautiful silk pillowcase, you’re more likely to keep it in good shape. I wash mine once a week by hand, which sounds arduous, but takes mere minutes.
I asked Marjan if she thought it was worth it, to which she replied: "Absolutely! It’s the most passive way to make a big impact on hair health." The passivity is part of the appeal: you literally just sleep on the thing and it makes your hair healthier. I have Slip pillowcases at home, and personally, I think they’re worth every penny (I also have a travel one and their eye mask, just to really bring home the beauty editor stereotype).
"Worth it" is a value judgement I can’t make for you. To me, it’s an investment in better sleep and less hairstyling, which I’m comfortable signing away the price of a nice meal for two for. I think it’s the sort of thing that once you try, you won't go back.
This story was originally published on Refinery29UK.
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