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Something Old Is New Again

I remember my grandmother sleeping on a silk pillowcase after having her hair freshly styled. It was just one of the things she did, like tucking a handkerchief in her sleeve each morning or pulling on a pair of cotton gloves to read the newspaper. 

Nowadays, it seems like everyone is touting the benefits of silk. Beauty editors and authors are detailing the benefits of silk to smooth skin and lustrous hair. The Team at Down Etc has known it all along. These benefits are why Down Etc created the Tiara Silks® Collection of silk pillowcases and the Spice Collection of polyester dupioni decorative aromatherapy pillows. The team agrees that silk is wonderful to sleep on and prescribed for people who care about their skin and hair. 

The Benefits of Sleeping on Silk

Only now do I realize my grandmother was on to something and I should have paid closer attention. Silk reduces friction, allowing skin and hair to glide across the pillowcase.

According to Good Housekeeping, a magazine my grandmother relied upon, silk’s smooth surface means less tugging on skin. As silk absorbs less moisture, it will not pull moisture from your skin while you sleep. This is good news during the dry winter months. With respect to hair, smooth silk pillowcases help maintain styles without mess or frizz for longer.

The Origin of Silk

Silk is a natural protein fiber produced by mulberry silkworms. Its origin is ancient and clouded in legend although it is believed to have begun in China before the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE when it was discovered the thread of the silkworm cocoon could be reeled off, spun, and woven. Eventually, the Byzantine emperor persuaded two Persian monks to smuggle silkworms from China to Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the hollows of their bamboo canes. These few hardy silkworms were the beginning of all the varieties that stocked and supplied European until the 19th century.

The Weave Matters

Silk can be woven in several ways, which changes the texture and feel. Down Etc’s Tiara Silks® are silk charmeuse. Very soft and lightweight, charmeuse can be woven from silk or polyester thread in a satin weave, which results in a shiny front side and a dull back side. Tiara Silks® pillowcases are made of whisper-soft silk charmeuse and bordered with a generous 2" flange. They come with a beautifully packaged organza sachet filled with premium aromatherapeutic lavender potpourri that tucks into a hidden pocket inside the pillowcase. The pillowcase folds neatly into a color coordinated cut velvet fabric bag.

Down Etc’s Spice Collection of Aromatherapy Pillows are woven from polyester in the silk dupioni style. Dupioni is a plain weave crisp type of silk fabric with a highly-lustrous surface similar to shantung, but slightly thicker, heavier, and with a nubby feel. Down Etc's Spice Collection features rectangular and square decorative pillows in removable poly dupioni covers. Preassembled with a feather and down pillow insert, they also come with a lavender sachet. A great accent for your couch, armchair, or bed, the beautiful color selection includes rich blues, greens, reds, and pinks. Simply remove the sachet and wash in the machine as these pillows are poly with the look of dupioni silk.

Washing Silk

Unlike polyester and other alternatives, silk takes a bit of care in laundering. Experts at MarthaStewart.com recommend testing silk items for color fastness in an inconspicuous area of the item before hand washing. If they retain their color, silk items should be hand washed one at a time in the sink for the best results. They should be placed in a basin with cool or cold water to which a gentle detergent is added. After a few minutes, drain the basin and rinse the items. Never wring or toss in the dryer. “To remove excess water, place the wet garment on a white cotton towel. Fold the towel over and gently blot. Then, using a padded hanger, hang the blouse or dress over the bathtub to drip dry. The drying process shouldn't take more than an hour. Warning: Don't hang silk items in the sun-this accelerates fading.”

Enjoy Giving the Luxury Gift of Silk this Valentine's Day (and Don’t Forget One for Yourself!)

Our new Tiara Silks® and Tiara Cottons™ are the perfect gift for loved ones. Each set includes a silk charmeuse pillowcase with a soothing lavender sachet packaged in a velvet bag with handle and sweet jewel pin. They are certain to bring smiles to you loved one and the best gift of all, a great night’s sleep!

Originally published January 23, 2021; Links updated July 31, 2022; Title updated January 14, 2023

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