Silk v. Satin: The Showdown! 🥊

If you struggle with dry hair, breakage, frizz or a sensitive scalp, chances are you’ve been recommended a silk or satin product. Be it a hair wrap, scrunchie or pillowcase, it can often be hard to choose between silk or satin. Both feel luxurious, look shiny and are soft to the touch. But the thing is, there are differences, especially when it comes to your hair. That’s why, in this blog, we dive into all things silk versus satin. 

First off, let’s start with the technical difference. Silk is a natural fabric made from the fibres of silkworms. Silk can be woven in many different ways including satin, charmeuse and twill. 

Satin, on the other hand, is not a fabric itself but a type of weave. It can be spun with man-made and natural materials, including polyester, nylon, cotton and, of course, silk. These differences in fibres means that silk and non-silk satin don’t have the same smoothness, moisture retention or breathability. So what does that mean for your hair? Let's break it down. 

First, smoothness and friction

Silk has a smoother and more slippery surface compared to non-silk satin. And that’s not just in touch and feel! Scientists studying silk have found that it is silk’s natural protein, called Fibroin, which gives it its soft, lightweight and smooth properties. This smoothness helps reduce friction between your hair and the fabric, minimising breakage, and frizz. Satin, especially when made from polyester or nylon, can still feel relatively smooth but generally has a higher friction level.

Second, locking-in moisture

Silk has moisture-wicking properties.2 Without getting too graphic, this means that silk wicks away any sweat and helps your hair retain its natural hydration and moisture levels. This is particularly beneficial if you're struggling with dry or brittle hair. It also means if you use hydrating products, they actually stay in your hair instead of seeping into your pillow (cry!).  Non-silk satin does not have these same moisture-wicking properties. However, satin does still help to minimise moisture loss compared to other fabrics such as cotton.

Third, breathability

Silk is known for its high breathability, allowing air to move freely and helping regulate your body temperature when it’s hot or cold outside. This has numerous benefits for your hair, especially as we go into summer. Silk’s breathability prevents excess moisture from building up, for instance from sweat or oiliness, which can lead to dandruff and scalp irritation. If sleeping with wet hair (not good we know!) silk's breathability helps protect our hair from friction and breakage while it dries. When it comes to breathability, satin made with synthetic fibres is significantly less breathable. While satin with polyester in it may be smooth, its synthetic nature means it can induce sweating. It’s virtually like sleeping with a plastic bag over your head - we don’t advise it! 

Now what?

The very same qualities that make silk so good for our hair and skin can make it difficult to work with. We all know that natural silk is expensive, and its supreme smoothness and low friction mean that sewing silk is often tricky and time consuming (it’s super slippery!). 

That’s why silk is an expensive fabric for brands to use. Unfortunately, that’s also why some brands will use the ‘satin’ label to obscure the fact that a product is not silk. Any brand producing silk-based products, like us, will say it loud and proud! The key is to always make sure you know exactly what you’re buying. That way you can also experience the ultimate and transformative benefits from investing in natural silk! 





(1) InStyle (2022) Silk vs. Satin Pillowcase. Available at:,pillow%20cases%2C%22%20Onuoha%20says.

(2) Babu, K.M. (2015) Chapter 3 - Natural Textile Fibres: Animal and Silk Fibres, Editor(s): Rose Sinclair, In Woodhead Publishing Series in Textiles, Textiles and Fashion, Woodhead Publishing, Pages 57-78, Available at:

(3) Vogue (2017) 5 reasons why sleeping on silk can transform your skin and hair. Available at: 

1 comment

  • Maureen Stephens

    I received one of your products as a gift and absolutely love it xxx

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