I heard all the hype on Natural Hair Nation (YouTube) about natural haired people using silk pillowcases in lieu of bonnets and scarves. Like, really? Were they better? Is it like sleeping on cotton? Will my hair be protected like I have on a bonnet/scarf? This sounded edgy… Even a little dangerous. The first videos and articles I came across were of naturals of the longer haired variety who literally couldn’t fit all their hair inside a bonnet and opted for this alternative. I don’t think I met that prerequisite, but I had to see what it was all about and ordered me one! I decided on an ivory 100% charmeuse silk variety (ivory because I’m leery of dye). It came and it was so soft and silky! I was excited to use it.
Thinking back, I can count on one hand how many times (IN LIFE) I’ve slept without a scarf. I’ve stayed up for hours looking for it if it were lost. I’ve even come home super late (not being in my right mind) and still had enough sense to wrap my hair up… Yes, it was that serious. The times I have slipped up was either because; 1. I slept somewhere I didn’t plan on sleeping, or 2. I couldn’t find it and I was going to be getting my hair done in the morning anyway. In either case, I grinned and beared even though I found it super uncomfortable to sleep without it. My scarf was my security blanket.
I washed the pillowcase and did a fresh wash and go the morning before I slept on the pillowcase for the first time. In testing the silk pillowcase, I wanted to see if; 1. it stripped moisture from my hair, 2. the previous day’s wash and go was salvageable, like could be when using a bonnet, and 3. it was comfortable to sleep on.
I went to bed and when I woke up the next morning, I had bedhead as I usual but a little more so. My hair was more free to move and it had spread in various places revealing my scalp, instead of my hair being flatten on itself like when it’s contained in a bonnet. There was no matting though. I attribute that to my hair being able to slide back and forth on the pillowcase as I moved during the night instead of bunching. After retreating from bed, I was able to refreshed my hair with my spray-bottle-o-water as usual. The curls sprung back to life around the exposed scalp area with no problems. I got good second day hair and my hair dried soft. I don’t use a moisturizer when refreshing my WNGs so, to me, that meant I kept the moisture I had from the day before and that the pillowcase didn’t strip my hair of the moisture. I was very pleased!
On the comfort tip, it was so-so. On the one hand, the silkiness next to my skin felt like heaven! It was very nice to snuggle up to. I’ve read that others thought that it felt hot during the night and some even sweated, but I didn’t have that issue at all! Actually, it thought it stayed rather cool… like the other side of the pillow
<<see what I did there? I made a funny! Everytime I changed positions I was greeted by a chill that you just can’t buy in Florida. Very nice.
On the other hand, laying on it, I felt err… naked. It was generally uncomfortable not having anything on my head. The habit and the feel of having something on my hair at night (for DECADES!) I don’t think can be shaking in one night. Every now and then during the night, I actually woke up looking for my bonnet thinking it had slipped off. Weird, right?
I slept on it for about 3 days and, to my surprise, I did become slightly more comfortable sleeping without the bonnet and aside from the discomfort of being naked-headed, I was happy I had bought the silk pillowcase. It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror and examined my face that I noticed I was starting to breaking out! There weren’t pimples, but these heat bump looking things I get when my face isn’t exfoliated often enough. I have severely oily skin so good skin care is a must. I know I hadn’t been slipping on thoroughly cleaning/exfoliating as usual and the only thing changed and had contact with my face was the pillowcase!
Thinking about it, it made perfect sense. Silk pillowcases works so well for the hair because it doesn’t wick away moisture; the weave of silk just can’t absorb it. Here’s an excerpt of a great visual about how silk behaves against moisture from EboniCurls (heck, watch the whole thing! Great info on satin vs silk). And as you can see, any deposit of oil/water/conditioner/whatever from the hair (however little) sits on the surface. Over time, the silk will start having that translucent look to it we’ve all seen with old silk scarves. Yea so… My face was laying all up on that pillow with the oil residue and I broke out. Gross!
In conclusion, this pillowcase is a no-go for me. I need the oil wicking properties of cotton to keep my skin clear. I have nothing bad to say about the silk pillow concerning the hair, it held up nicely to the hype when it comes to retaining moisture and such and I can definitely see how other naturals love it, but me and my oil-sensitive skin Can.Not. I don’t know what I will use if I ever outgrew my bonnet.
Back to the drawing board. Maybe pineapple and a regular scarf? Or a mushawa sleeve? Is that what it’s called?
What do you do to protect your long hair at night?