I Tried Sleeping on a Silk Pillowcase to Fix My Hair

Maybe cotton is not the fabric of our lives

02.09.17
Silk Pillowcase Test Haley Man Repeller-5 v.2

When my sister told me silk pillowcases were healthier for hair than cotton ones, my ears perked up through the tangly mop atop my head. I was intrigued, as sleeping happens to be the majority of my hair care routine.

I’ve always had a lot of hair. When I was little, the women at Supercuts used to call everyone over to give it a feel. “This is crazy,” they’d all marvel. “Where is it all coming from!?” (There’s more than meets the eye.) I’ve been apologizing to hair stylists for over a decade for requiring more time and product than their respective schedules and inventories could handle. They’re always asking assistants to get more foil (again) or apologizing to the next client.

When I put my hair in a ponytail, it sticks straight out of my head like a tree trunk; I break hair ties constantly. It requires nearly a palmful of shampoo to wash and over 12 hours to air dry. It’s also fairly coarse and prone to knotting. It took me years of blow-drying and straightening (oh, the hours) before I settled on bi-annual keratin treatments and a beauty strategy that essentially starts and ends with sleeping. It’s all I can handle.

Here is my routine in full:

1. I wash my hair at night a couple times a week with New Wash (that’s it — no conditioner), preferably before 9 p.m. so that it’s mostly dry by the time I get to work the next day. Then I sleep on it.
2. Most mornings, I add Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil to the ends to make it feel piece-y.
3. On days two/three/four, I utilize B&B Pret-a-Powder dry shampoo.

The products are all orange by chance.

Silk Pillowcase Test Haley Day 1 Silk Man Repeller-5

I’m lucky that I aesthetically prefer messy, unkempt hair — I’d be in real trouble if I died for Blake Lively’s situation — but I do sometimes worry that mine’s so sloppy it calls my hygiene into question or just generally looks gross. Here it is, freshly clean, after sleeping on a cotton pillowcase:

Silk Pillowcase Test Haley Man Repeller-6 v.2

And behind the scenes…

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Looks a bit frazzled. This is typical and begs the Q: Is cotton for suckers? What about those cotton commercials featuring a shiny-haired Zooey Deschanel on a bike? Was it all a lie?

It was time to investigate.

First, I procured a silk pillowcase by Slip. According to its website, Slip is the answer to “a secret that hairdressers and movie stars have known for decades.” (DECADES!) “Cotton grabs your hair and twists it at the root throughout the night, damaging hair and causing bed-head in the morning…Cotton [also] draws moisture from your hair, drying it out,” Slip says. I also got a NIGHT Pillow, which is made of 95% Mulberry silk. Mulberry silk, has “never before been used in bedding and is sourced from couture wedding gown suppliers” (excusez-moi?) and acts as a “delicate treatment to your hair fibers” to avoid “stripping of essential oils and breakage.”

I promptly placed them side-by-side on my bed, felt rich and then told my roommates and cat to steer clear (some of whom listened). I then proceeded to sleep like I imagine Angelina Jolie sleeps. And the next morning? Krista (our photographer) gasped when she saw me. GASPED! Granted, she’s really dramatic and tells everyone they look good all the time and thus is not to be trusted, so thank G for photographic evidence. Here’s how my hair looked after sleeping on a silk pillowcase:

Silk Pillowcase Test Haley Nahman Man Repeller-1

And the back of the bus:

Silk Pillowcase Test Haley Nahman Man Repeller-3

It’s a big difference, right?

silk pillowcase test side by side haley man repeller v.4

(Lucky for our imagery team, I basically wear pajama tops to work — very on-brand for this piece.)

Not kidding though: My hair is visibly smoother and shinier, feels softer and is waving more evenly. It almost looks like I blow dried it, or at least ran a straightener through it for a sec. It’s kind of unreal! The silk pillowcase rumors are true; it’s not just a marketing ploy.

For the messy-haired among us: Maybe give it a try.

Photos by Krista Anna Lewis.

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