Let's talk pillow talk. No, not like that...let's literally talk about your pillow. More specifically, the pillowcase—and what it communicates to your curls. You may not think about it that much, but the kind of pillowcase you sleep on can have a major effect on your curls.
Cotton pillowcases, first of all, are nice and comfy. Nothing wrong with them—except that they're not the best for curls. Cotton is an absorbent fiber, so that means that it's absorbing moisture while you're sleeping on it...from your skin and hair (although that could be a benefit for those who drool profusely in their sleep). Cotton tells your hair, "Give me all your moisture! I'll trade you for tangles." As you probably know, curls need to get and keep as much moisture as possible to stay healthy and prevent frizz. So if your hair is a rat's nest when you wake up and you're sleeping on cotton, that could very well be the reason. In addition to its moisture-sucking properties, cotton's rougher texture also encourages friction—which is likely causing your curls to be drier than they otherwise would be, in turn causing tangles and damage that you don't want or need.
Now let's talk about satin. Satin, while it is silk-y, is not silk. What's the diff? Simply put, satin is man-made, while silk is not. (At least, not real silk.) While it is a synthetic fiber generally made from polyester, satin is definitely much better for your curls than cotton. Satin provides a nice slip for your hair and has a smooth texture that won't create friction or absorb that much-needed moisture. Satin tells your hair, "Your tresses will glide on my gentle, smooth surface—and you get to keep the moisture." If you decide you don't want to sleep on synthetic fibers, then you can always go for silk. Satin is less expensive than silk, which is something else to keep in mind!
Real silk is a fiber spun from the protein that silkworms produce when making a cocoon. Yep, that silk pillowcase started with a tiny little worm—which is why silk is so expensive. If you don't want to spend quite as much or the idea of sleeping on something made by worms gives you the heebie-jeebies, then satin will still work just fine. However, silk is like the Cadillac of pillowcases, the luxury fabric with all the bells and whistles. Silk tells your hair, "I'm the best you can get! You know you want to spoil those curls and lay them on my silky-smooth surface." If you try sleeping on silk for a few weeks, you will definitely see the biggest difference! And there are versions out there that won't break the bank, like these hand-painted silk pillowcases from our friends at Fox Run Studios.
Hopefully now you feel like you know a little more about cotton vs. satin vs. silk. Think about that tonight as you lay your curls down gently on the pillow. The material you sleep on will determine your bed-head tomorrow morning! Our advice? Save the cotton for the extra pillows, and get yourself one silk and one satin pillowcase so you can trade off. You can test the difference for yourself, and your curls will be easier to deal with in the mornings (not to mention in the shower)! Think of the money you'll save using less conditioner! After all, you're careful about what curl products you use, so why not be careful what material they lie on for several hours every single night?
Just in case you're still not convinced, there is an added bonus: silk or satin pillowcases won't give you those creases in your face like you get from a cotton pillowcase! Plus, silk is a good insulator, so it'll keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer. AND, silk is naturally hypoallergenic! Just a few more reasons to switch. Try it. You know you want to!