BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

Silk Is Here to Help Your Skin (and Hair, and Sleep…)

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The advice to sleep on a silk pillowcase has all the trappings of an old wives’ tale, a simple trick with claims that seem too good to be true: prevents wrinkles! Keeps bedhead at bay! Fights frizz! But silk is the rare exception that actually lives up to the hype.

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Both hair and skin experts recommend it, and several of Good Housekeeping’s editors now swear by resting their heads on the sleek fabric after seeing a difference firsthand. Ready for the breakdown? Below are just a handful of ways that silk can turn a regular night’s rest into literal beauty sleep.

Silk can help to prevent wrinkles

While the fabric shouldn’t replace wearing daily SPF or retinol cream, there is truth behind its skin-protecting powers. When you sleep on a traditional cotton pillowcase, for example, it can tug on and create friction with skin and potentially cause skin to crease. Research suggests that, over time, those creases could turn into full-blown wrinkles. “Because silk is so smooth, your face glides over it, reducing any tugging or friction,” says Devika Icecreamwala, M.D., a California-based dermatologist. “So, [silk] can be a great addition to your anti-wrinkle regimen.”

Not sure which brand to try? The internet seems to be obsessed with Blissy. Their silk offerings have racked up over 24,000 rave reviews in just about two years. They currently make three sizes of silk pillowcases (which come in a rainbow of colors), along with a whole host of other silk favorites, like eye masks and hair scrunchies. Plus, they have a few fun sleep extras, like a lavender and eucalyptus pillow spray.

Silk Pillowcase in Pink

Blissy blissy.com

$79.95

Silk is gentle on delicate skin around the eyes

Friction with sheets can be especially hard on skin around the eyes, which tends to be thinner and more vulnerable than other areas of the face, explains Dr. Icecreamwala. A silk eye mask can provide added protection, especially if you tend to flip from side to side a lot in the night. “And if you put on eye cream before bed, an eye mask helps keep it in place,” she says.

Silk helps skin stay hydrated

Dry skin needs all the help it can get to hang onto moisture — especially in the winter months when dry air is already working against you. Silk’s ultra-smooth, slippery surface means it is less likely to absorb moisture as your skin stays pressed up against it. Compare that to cotton, which is more porous and absorbent by nature and may actually pull hydration from your skin, according to Dr. Icecreamwala.

Silk can be less likely to irritate sensitive or acne-prone skin

If your face often gets red or inflamed or if you have eczema or severely dry skin on your body, any type of friction will exacerbate the problem, says Dr. Icecreamwala. Silk bedding — whether just a pillowcase or a full sheet set — allows skin to glide and slip gently across the fabric as you move, reducing the chance of irritation.

Friction can also trigger or make acne worse, so a silk pillowcase is a smart choice, as is a silk face mask. “Now that we’re all wearing masks, ‘maskne’ is a real issue for some people,” Dr. Icecreamwala says. “Silk is much more gentle against skin.” If you want or need the added protection of a surgical- or medical-type mask, she suggests wearing a silk one underneath.

Silk protects your hair’s health and style

“A lot of clients tell me their hair is dry and brittle, then I’ll find out they wear a cotton bandana or cotton scarf to bed,” says Annagjid “Kee” Taylor, a celebrity stylist and owner of Deeper Than Hair salon in Philadelphia. “You can really tell the difference in hair between who sleeps on or uses cotton versus silk because cotton dries out hair so much.”

Aside from not robbing hair of its moisture, silk also allows strands to slip and slide across your pillow (or under a scarf) friction-free, Taylor explains. That’s huge considering friction a one of the main sources of frizz. Hair that rubs against a rougher surface, like cotton, will cause the strands’ outer layers to fray. Moisture can then escape, hair will tangle more easily and light won’t reflect off strands as evenly, which reduces the hair’s luster.

If you want to keep a specific hairstyle fresh overnight, Taylor says you’ll want a silk scarf, which holds hair in place and keeps strands smooth. But if your goal is primarily to prevent frizz and ward off bedhead — and so speed up your morning styling routine — a silk pillowcase alone can do the job, she says.

Silk can contribute to “beauty sleep”

Poor sleep quality contributes to signs of skin aging, increases skin water loss and is associated with being less satisfied with your appearance, according to a study in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. Silk can help in a few different ways. First, few things feel as luxurious and indulgent as sleeping on silk — that can be mentally relaxing. Then, once you do fall asleep, silk can make tossing and turning slightly less disruptive, due to all that reduced friction between hair and skin.

Finally, silk is breathable and, according to Lexie Sachs, Associate Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab, silk fibers can help to regulate your temperature by wicking away moisture to keep you dry and cool. That’s important since body temperature naturally drops at night (which helps initiate and maintain sleep) and research shows if you get overheated, it can keep you from a deep sleep or otherwise disrupt your Zzs.

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