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Image / Beauty

Silky hair, longer blowdries, no sleep creases and better performing skincare: why you need a silk pillowcase

by Holly O'Neill
01st Nov 2019

IMAGE junior beauty editor Holly O’Neill is extraordinarily attached to her silk pillowcase. Here, she speaks to Eva Power, founder of The Ethical Silk Company, to try and convince you on why you need one too.

At night, I roll around in bed like I’ve been possessed. The result is a slightly squished cheek and morning hair that sticks up at every angle that I can’t get a brush through. That was, until I received my first silk pillowcase from Slip. I have the dusty pink one. It’s a bit porny looking on the bed, but it also comes in black, white and marble if dusty pink porn pillowcases don’t really appeal to you. I now own two porny pink Slip pillowcases, a Slip silk eyemask (€140 for both) and a beautiful white pillowcase from The Ethical Silk Company, for when I don’t feel like sleeping on a porn set.

If I was to make up a list of what I have learned over the years as a beauty editor, ‘buy a silk pillowcase’ would be high up on the list. No matter how much I flip around like The Exorcist in bed, my hair is silky in the morning. Blowdries last longer. All my night creams and serums and masks actually stay on my face. And when you’re hot in bed, your silk pillowcase is always cool. I have become so dependent on my silk pillowcases that I take one with me when I travel.

Here, Eva Power, the founder of The Ethical Silk Company tells me why she set up her businesses, why your pillowcase probably isn’t doing you any favours and why you’ll never go back to cotton once you’ve tried silk.

Why did you set up The Ethical Silk Co?

Growing up, my Mum alway slept with a silk scarf on her pillow as she found it so good for her skin and hair. My grandmother used to wear a silk scarf around her hair while in the house and this was passed on to my Mum and then onto me. The idea to start The Ethical Silk Co began as a side project really as silk pillowcases weren’t widely available in 2009. Initially, I thought it would be a part-time project to run alongside my other work but as customers returned and the business grew it’s taken over as my sole business.

What problems do ordinary pillowcases cause?

Cotton absorbs moisture away from your skin and hair. If you put on a night cream, it will ultimately be absorbed into a cotton pillowcase without having the chance to work its magic on your skin.

What are the benefits of a silk pillowcase?

The science behind silk being anti-ageing is that it is a natural protein fibre containing amino acids that speed up cell metabolism so your skin cells rejuvenate quicker and sleep creases on your face are minimised. Sleeping on silk helps your skin and hair maintain a proper moisture balance by not absorbing moisture from it. Silk does not conduct static electricity and so reduces hair breakage and the dreaded bedhead. It also helps your hair maintain a blow-dry for longer. By far the nicest quality I find is the temperature regulating qualities silk has. Our body temperatures tend to fluctuate at night and silk is warming in cold weather and cooling in hot weather. Silk is also hypoallergenic and does not attract dust mites making it an ideal fabric to sleep on.

When silk pillowcase shopping, what should we look out for? 

Silk quality is measured in momme weight and anything above 18 is ideal for a silk pillowcase. We prefer to keep our pillowcases their natural ivory colour to avoid the use of dyes or bleach to colour or whiten them so bear in mind, any coloured silk pillowcase you buy will have been dyed.

How often should we wash our silk pillowcase? How do we wash it?

It really varies from person to person but I would suggest approximately every 7-10 days. Machine wash on delicate/silk cycle using a mild detergent that is silk or wool safe such as Ecover delicate. Silk doesn’t like alkaline so soaking in soapy water is not good for it. Adding a bit of vinegar to the wash helps balance the alkaline soap. Line dry or roll in a towel to dry until it is damp. Ironing from damp gives the nicest finish and as silk dries so quickly it dries through the ironing and is then back on your bed that night. Silk maintains its qualities regardless of ironing but it is so much nicer when you do take the time to iron it. Look after your silk and it will look after you as once you start sleeping on silk you there’s no going back.

Photography by Jen Atkin.

Read more: How to body brush and why you should be doing it

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