Can Pillowcases Improve Skin & Hair? I Tested Three To Find Out
Whenever I hear someone talking about getting some 'beauty sleep,' it usually elicits one big giant eye roll from me. I'm all for catching some extra Z's, but is there any truth to waking up looking brighter and more refreshed overnight? Can your pillowcases really improve things like skin and hair? Never one to shy away from a good excuse to hit to hay, I requested and received three different pillowcases to test for one week each — and report back to you with my findings.
Why does it matter what you're sleeping on every night? Well, according to MSN, you will spend about 26 years of your life sleeping. That's 26 years grinding your hair and face up against a scratchy pillowcase — or, gliding it across a more silky fabric. From beauty bloggers to fashion editors, people are singing the praises of silk pillowcases for hair and skin. Why? Supposedly, sleeping on silk works wonders for hair and skin because the fabric comes from animals, and its amino acids are more friendly to human skin than traditional alternatives. (Aka, the right pillowcase could set you up for less frizz, less sheet prints on your face, and a significantly faster morning routine.)
But while I was on this silk kick for smoother, calmer hair and skin, I figured it'd be worth it to dive a little deeper into the beauty rest pillowcase scene. My research turned up a pillowcase claiming to clear up complexions — an essential oil-infused bamboo fabric made expressly for the purpose of clearer, brighter skin. In the interest of all things beauty sleep, I figured I'd give it a whirl. Ahead, three 'beauty rest' pillowcases that might make all the difference in your beauty routine come sunrise.
Fishers Finery 100 Percent Pure Silk Case, 25mm
When I first unwrapped the Fishers Finery case they sent me, I really couldn't stop running my fingers across it. The silky smooth fabric was immediately cool to the touch, and its 25mm fabric means it's essentially 900 thread count, which Fishers Finery says is 30 percent more than the average silk pillowcase. The oversized envelope opening (no zipper) means that if you're a violent flips-to-the-cold-side pillowcase sleeper, you might have to break that habit, but being able to machine wash it (on cold) keeps things convenient.
Hair: My hair and I hail from Florida, so we're all too familiar with the frizzy halo effect a good dose of humidity can inspire. But after a few nights sleeping on this insanely silky pillowcase, I found myself waking up with way less fuzz to tame in the morning. My hair felt like it was finally staying hydrated throughout the entire night, like I was giving my conditioner a chance to really work instead of losing moisture as I slept.
I'm also a night showerer, and I'm pretty bad about passing out after a long day with still-wet hair. But when I did this with the Fishers Finery case, I woke up with soft, actually-manageable hair, and everything from my roots to my tips looked a little smoother overall the next day.
Skin: I didn't really appreciate sleeping on a temperature-regulating pillowcase until I experienced a summer in New York City. With the temperatures steadily climbing, my window AC unit is working hard, but every little bit of cooling comfort helps. My skin felt cool and refreshed, like the fabric was slightly chilled, and I could tell the moisture-wicking properties of the pure silk case were doing exactly what they said they would. Aside from an incredibly refreshing sleep and cooling sensation on my cheeks, once I woke up, my skin felt significantly less dehydrated. (I am the worst at getting my eight daily cups, so this is saying something.)
What did this equate to? My moisturizer absorbed faster, and makeup felt like it glided on a little easier. I didn't notice a drastic change aside from more hydrated skin, but the cooling sensation alone while sleeping was 100 percent worth the switch from my scratchy cotton case.
LilySilk 100 Percent Mulberry Case, 19mm
At a slightly lower price point than other silk pillowcase options, I was curious to see if the 19mm LilySilk case's effects on my hair and skin would be just as noticeable. Fresh out of the packaging, I saw this case had a hidden zipper up the side, which meant a secure fit for my pillow and less pillow-shifting happening while I slept. Only one side of the case is covered in silk, while the other is 100 percent cotton. It's still soft and breathable, but if you flip your pillow mid-slumber, you're missing out on the silk treatment while you sleep. You'll also need to make time for hand washing when it comes to refreshing the pillowcase every week.
Hair: After a week of letting the LilySilk case do its thing, I was surprised to find my hair being way more agreeable after my nightly slumber. Frizz was under control and wave definition was intact, though my ends were still looking a little dry. Still, having my hair be receptive to styling products and require significantly less amounts of them (aka, just a little styling cream at the tips and no spritz of hairspray to hold down fly-aways) was a big time saver in the morning.
Skin: My favorite part of sleeping on the LilySilk case was the cooling sensation against my cheek as I slept. Its slippery surface took a bit to get used to, but I could definitely feel the different in texture (a bit rougher), when comparing this 19mm case to the 25mm one I tried earlier. I still woke up with much less dryness in my face, and (bonus!) not a pillow print in sight.
Nufabrx Pillowcase for Blemish Prone Skin
I'm not even going to hold back here: This antimicrobial hypoallergenic Nufabrx pillowcase was absolutely incredible. While it's crafted from bamboo fiber instead of silk, it's pumped full of fragrant and skin-nourishing essential oils like calming lavender, soothing and acne-treating tea tree oil, wintergreen oil, and even lemon balm. The idea is to have an aromatherapeutic sleep that heals troubled skin overnight, and because of this case, I pretty much drifted off to bed on a cloud of calm.
The actual softness of the fabric is of course apples and oranges when compared to silk pillowcases, but its sturdy bamboo fiber fabric still felt just as cool as I nodded off. You'll want to machine wash the case weekly on cold, then replace within four to six months to ensure the essential oils are still intact.
Hair: While I noticed no dramatic texture change in my hair by the end of my Nufabrx week, I definitely loved waking up with a minty essential oil fragrance lingering on my hair each day. The first night the aromatherapeutic effects seemed the headiest — whether that's because my body quickly adapted to sleeping alongside indulgent aromas or the fragrances lost that much strength in one 24-hour window, it's hard to say. Still, I have a sensitive nose and pretty bad allergies, and I absolutely loved how peaceful this pillowcase's aromas were as they were released.
Skin: This pillowcase was meant for helping heal acne-prone skin, thanks to the tea tree oil worked into the fabric. Not only did I wake up feeling a new elasticity and hydration in my skin, but one of my coworkers actually complimented my skin's clarity on the third day. I definitely saw a decrease in angry breakouts during my weeklong experiment with the Nufabrx case, and any lingering spots from the week before seemed to heal and fade with a little more speed than usual.
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