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How Silk Pillows Help You Get Silky Hair

We weigh in the practice of sleeping on a silk pillow case to figure whether its benefits are a myth or fact.

Shweta Vepa Vyas

In his book, Why We Sleep, author Matthew Walker equates sleep to a superpower. While we know that a good night’s sleep is imperative for the body’s rest and repair, did you know that it also impacts hair? In addition to how many hours, what also matters is the quality of sleep which includes the surface that you’re sleeping on. And this is where silk pillows come in.

Silk pillows gained favour with fashionable women between the 1950s and the 1970s. In 2022, these have made a comeback. So, is this practice rooted in fact or is it a passing fad? Read on to find out.

Why opt for silk pillows?

The first question that comes to mind is why silk at all? Dr Madhuri Agarwal, dermatologist and founder, Yavana Aesthetics Clinic explains that the preference of silk over other fabrics is because it does not have a static quality. “Silk keeps moisture locked into your skin and will help your skin stay more hydrated than cotton pillows as silk is a soft material, and causes less friction between the skin and the pillow fabric. There is less wrinkling of the face especially when you have a habit of sleeping with your face on the pillow.” She also points out that using a silk pillowcase can actually reduce breakouts because silk picks up lesser pore-clogging bacteria. “Silk pillows are particularly beneficial for dry and frizzy hair as silk retains moisture, thus cutting out frizz. Silk accessories will have similar benefits,” she adds.

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Silk for styling

Hinshara Habeeb & Yuba Khan, co-founders, Manetain believe silk pillowcases are in fact essential for hair health and go a long way in keeping your tresses manageable. “From the point of view of styling, your blow dry will last longer if you use silk pillows when you sleep. Due to lesser static, there's lesser friction, breakage, damage and split ends. Your hair will not look unkempt when you wake up,” Last but not the least, they point out that mulberry silk controls body heat and temperature to ensure that you have a comfortable night's sleep.

Anshita Mehrotra, founder, Fix My Curls additionally adds that these pillows are particularly beneficial for curly hair: "One of the greatest advantages of using a silk pillowcase is that it keeps your hair from tangling, making it softer and simpler to comb and style when you wake up. This helps curly hair because it prevents it from getting further knotted."

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The ideal silk pillow routine to follow

If you are introducing a silk pillow into your routine, Mehrotra also recommends silk scrunchies instead of standard elastics on hair. "This is especially true during the summer months when you virtually always tie your hair up. Your hair might be broken, damaged and kinked or dented by using thin elastics, which are often difficult to remove. Frizz and split ends caused by these elastics can significantly degrade the health and look of your hair." When it comes to caring for silk accessories, they ideally should be handwashed or machine-washed in a mesh-bag with cold water on a gentle cycle. Also, they should never be put in the drier or bleached as it will damage the natural fibres.

Supplement with healthy hair habits

Just like good health, great hair is the sum total of healthy hair habits. Only using a silk pillow does not guarantee healthy hair. Mehrotra, recommends using a hair mask on a weekly basis, more so if you have curly, frizzy or damaged hair. "Hair masks repair bonds, help with split ends, frizz and general clumping of hair. In case, you have dry and brittle curls, deep conditioning will aid in fixing the situation." She also recommends an apple cider vinegar rinse once in two weeks. Here's what you need to do: Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 200 ml of water and rinse it out using a sulphate-free shampoo. This will balance the pH levels of your scalp.

Apart from these, Mehrotra leaves us with some other general guidelines that will ensure that your hair is, well, silky smooth:

  • If you have curly hair, brush it while you condition it to make detangling easier.
  • Frequent washing strips the hair of its natural oils. Opt for gentle cleansing with a sulphate-free moisturising shampoo.  
  • Using your towel to roll wet hair into a turban can cause damage or frizz. Instead, use a microfibre towel or an old cotton t-shirt as an alternative. 
Photo: Dame Essentials; Shutterstock
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