The Difference Between Satin And Silk: Pillows, Sheets, And More!

Satin and silk both seem very similar in texture and appearance but there are some key differences that many people are unaware of. Choosing one over the other may be confusing. After all, does it make any difference? In this article, we will take a closer look at the difference between satin and silk and which one you should choose.

difference between satin and silk

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The main difference between satin and silk is the process in which it is made. Satin is a weave rather than a fabric itself whereas silk is a natural textile. Both have advantages and disadvantages but those who have sensitive skin may prefer to opt for genuine silk.

What Is Silk?

Silk is a protein fiber produced by mainly silkworms and other types of insects as a material for their cocoons.

Silk is considered to be the strongest natural textile and certainly one of the most popular choices.

One way to tell if a product is made from silk is the natural shiny appearance; it will reflect the light. It will also feel soft and smooth and many people will claim that it does not crease as easily as cotton and other fabrics.

Silk is commonly used in pillowcases, nightgowns, blouses, and even curtains and other accessories around the home.

It’s a breathable fabric, which is one of the main reasons why people opt for silk over other fabrics.

Cotton pillowcases, for example, are known to be a bad choice for curly or textured hair. This is due to the way it causes friction, dryness, and brittle strands.

Choosing silk or satin would be the preferred option to maintain healthier, shiny hair.

What Is Satin?

Satin is made from a weaving technique and is often comprised of a mix of synthetic and natural fibers.

Mainly polyester and nylon, but sometimes silk is used. This type of weaving creates a glossy appearance that is soft to the touch, while the back remains dull.

Satin is used in a range of products, from evening gowns and wedding dresses to underwear and pillowcases.

Also Read: What Happens If You Don’t Wash Out Keratin After A Treatment

What Is The Difference Between Satin And Silk?

satin vs silk

The one major difference between satin and silk is that satin is made from natural textiles while silk is a weave and often comprised of synthetic materials.

However, that does not mean that satin isn’t a good choice.

Let’s take a look at the main differences between satin and silk and how you can decide which one is right for you and your hair.

Advantages Of Satin Over Silk

An Affordable Option

Satin is a fraction of the price of genuine silk, which makes it a preferred choice for those on a budget.

For example, this YANIBEST Satin Sleep Cap is a fraction of the cost of a silk cap and provides just as good protection against knots and tangles while sleeping.

A satin sleep cap is an excellent way to combat frizz and tangles and can be used to protect curls while sleeping.

While there are some key differences between the two, many people believe them to look fairly similar in texture and appearance.

This means opting for satin could be a good choice for you, as you will still reap the benefits.

Unlike cotton, satin pillowcases and bedsheets will allow your hair and skin to breathe. This will result in less frizz upon waking up and less hair breakage long-term.

Silky Smooth

Satin may be a more affordable option, but that does not mean that you have to sacrifice quality.

Satin is actually very smooth and soft to the touch; it may at times be softer than silk. It will feel soft and lightweight on the skin, unlike heavier fabrics.

This makes it a good choice for bedsheets, pyjamas, and pillowcases.

Readily Available

As satin can often be produced from synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester, it is far more accessible than silk.

You can find it on many places online and in a variety of shops. This makes it a convenient choice.

Keeps You Cool

Compared to cotton and other fabrics, satin keeps you cool and dry during the summer when temperatures are high.

Sleeping on satin sheets during the warmer months is a good choice to regulate body temperature and reduce sweating.

Take for example these beautiful sheets from Viceroy. They are gentle for your skin and can improve sleep quality and leave you more refreshed the following day.

Switching to satin pillows may also decrease the chances of oily hair caused by excessive sweating throughout the night.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why Buckwheat Is Amazing For Your Hair

Disadvantages Of Satin

Difficult To Clean

Some sheets and pillow cases can simply be put in the washing machine and washed at a normal temperature.

Some satin sheets and pillow cases require you to either wash at a cool temperature and dry on a gentle setting or hand washed and left to air dry.

Naturally, this makes the process longer and does require more effort on your part.

However, for some people, this may not be an issue. It’s worth considering before making the purchase.

Easily Snags

Satin is a difficult material to work with and the fine weave is a skill that can take years to master.

If a mistake is made during the process, it will be very noticeable. As it’s a very delicate fabric, it is prone to snags and this can ruin the quality.

Can Cause Skin Irritation

As satin is mostly made from synthetic materials it could potentially cause a problem in those with skin sensitivities.

Polyester, for example, is known to cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

When choosing a pillow case or bed sheets you will want to ensure that it’s comfortable enough to sleep on every night.

If you are prone to sensitivities to non-natural products then you may want to steer clear of satin that is made from synthetic materials. 

Advantages Of Silk Over Satin

Strong And Long-Lasting

Silk is an incredibly strong fabric that will withstand day to day wear and movement during the night.

Of course, there are different types of silk. Spider Silk is spun by spiders, and as you know, spiders are known for their strength and using this to catch their prey.

In fact, there are lots of studies at how spiders silk is stronger than steel. So while the initial purchase may seem expensive, your silk products will likely last for a very long time without any damage.

Natural Fabric

The main difference between satin and silk is that silk is completely natural. It is hypoallergenic, so unlike satin, it’s less likely to cause a skin reaction.

This is a huge benefit to anyone who has skin sensitivities. In one way, this makes it more of an environmentally friendly option as it’s produced using only natural materials.

Incredibly Soft

Some people claim that they can tell the difference between satin and silk simply by resting their head on a silk pillow case.

Take for instance this silk pillow from ZIMASILK. It is made from 100% Mulberry Silk and with over 23k reviews on Amazon, you can’t really go wrong.

Supposedly, silk is meant to feel softer and more comfortable to sleep on than satin. It also retains moisture and prevents sweating, in the same way that satin does.

Improves Hair Quality

Another huge benefit to silk is the way it naturally keeps your hair free of tangles, sweat, and knots during the night.

Other fabrics can cause friction which leads to frizz and dryness the following morning.

This can be a major problem with people who have naturally curly hair. Silk is soft and highly breathable so you won’t overheat in the night or experience any of the above symptoms.

If you are looking for better hair quality, then silk may be the best option.

It Can Improve Skin

Switching to silk sheets and pillow cases can improve the appearance of your skin.

This could be due to the temperature regulation, as acne can often be caused by clogged pores due to sweating. One simple swap can make a huge difference to your complexion.

Satin may have skin benefits as it also keeps you cool through the night. However, the synthetic materials could further irritate your skin.

The best method of confirming this is to test it for yourself.

Also Read: Growing Out Curly Hair FAST (7 Easy Hacks)

Disadvantages Of Silk

More Expensive

Naturally, silk is more expensive. And that is a key difference between satin and silk. If you are on a tight budget, then purchasing silk pillows and bedsheets might not be an option.

It can also be harder to find genuine silk online and in shops as many companies may market it as genuine silk when it is in fact not genuine.

Make sure that you do your research and read carefully to ensure you are getting the best quality.

Just like satin, silk is also difficult to clean. As it’s a delicate fabric, it’s not recommended that you put it in the washing machine with your other clothes and fabrics.

Difficult To Clean

It’s recommended that you wash on a cool setting and air dry. To get any creases out of the fabric you will have to use a steam iron on a low setting.

Many people prefer to send to a dry cleaner to ensure that their silk maintains the best quality.

If you choose this option, it can become most costly.

Ethical Concerns

Some people show concern over how silk is produced. It is believed that non-organic silk is made through an unethical process that involves harming or killing silkworms.

Organic cotton, on the other hand, is supposedly vegan and cruelty free. If this is any concern, it’s recommended that you do your own research to gather your own thoughts before purchasing.

Satin and Silk Products

There are lots of products on the market that will be a great replacement to cotton, which is known to cause frizz and breakage. Both satin and silk are excellent alternatives!

Let’s take a look at our favorite products.


  • 100% mulberry silk

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Prevents knots and tangles

  • Premium satin 

  • Adjustable and stretchable

  • Helps reduce frizz

  • Soft and easy to wash 

  • 7 Piece set

  • Machine Washable

  • Keeps body cool and comfortable

  • Natural and pure silk

  • 4 pcs set

ZIMASILK Mulberry Silk Pillowcase

This 100% mulberry silk pillowcase is natural, hypoallergenic, and kind to sensitive skin. It has a convenient zipper to prevent the pillow from moving.

This fabric is breathable, soft, and will keep you feeling comfortable and cool throughout the night.

While it may be expensive, it’s likely to be long-lasting. Many people report that sleeping on a genuine silk pillow such as this one results in fewer tangles, frizz, and hair breakage.

YANIBEST Satin Sleep Cap

The YANIBEST satin sleep cap is a great choice if you are looking for a simple fix to your frizzy hair.

It’s affordable and it means you could choose to keep your current bed sheets and pillow cases. It’s adjustable, breathable, and it should stay put throughout the night.

What’s more is that you can also wear it when exercising, shopping, or at any time when you need to keep your hair away from your face.

It’s ideal for the warmer months as it prevents excessive sweating, which can often lead to scalp acne and oily roots.

The downside is there has been some reports of dye release so you may choose to opt for a lighter color.

This is something to weigh up if you value your sheets or pillow cases.

Viceroy Satin Bed Sheets

For a more affordable option, the Viceroy bedding satin bed sheets will feel soft and smooth on the skin.

They are made from 100% polyester rather than a blend of fabrics.

This product could be a great choice for people with curly hair as it is made to reduce frizz, minimize breakage, and control sweating.

It can also promote a better, healthier sleep routine.

Lilysilk Silk White Sheets

Lilysilk has a range of bed sheets with matching pillowcases that are made from 100% pure silk. If you are looking for a natural product that will not irritate your hair or skin, then this may be the answer.

Unlike with some types of synthetic satin, these sheets and pillowcases will stay put throughout the night. They are highly breathable and soft to the touch.

The downside is that they are quite expensive, especially when compared with satin.

This is largely due to the fact that genuine silk is much harder to produce. Some people will see this as a good investment as genuine silk will be highly durable.

Now that we have discussed the difference between satin and silk, what is the preferred option?

To put it simply, there is no right choice. It really depends on your own preference, budget, and whether you have known skin sensitivities.

I do hope that you now fully understand the differences between satin and silk so that you can make an informed decision of what is right for you.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Coralle Skye

Coralle is an experienced beauty writer with a passion for wellness, women’s health, and sustainability.