IN THE LAB 26.05.2023
luxurious silk



We all spend so much time working to maintain healthy and luscious locks, investing $$ into our haircare routines and seeking out the best products. However, we often overlook a hidden culprit that can undermine hair health - our choice of pillowcases. We spend about a third of our lives sleeping so that incremental pillow friction can add up and take a toll. At Helix Hair Labs we want to help you work smarter, not harder, on hair so let’s dive into the effects of cotton and explore some alternatives to help prevent breakage and damage. 

Cotton: Great for some things, not for hair 

Cotton pillows, although soft and comfortable, can spell trouble for your hair. The natural fibers of cotton possess inherent properties that contribute to hair breakage and damage. Cotton fibers have a high absorption rate, meaning they absorb the natural oils from your hair, leaving it dry and brittle. Cotton also fails to retain moisture, so once it saps your hair the natural oils are gone. It’s just dry hair rubbing on a dry pillow. Additionally, the rough surface of cotton can cause friction as you toss and turn during sleep, leading to hair breakage.

Understanding the hair structure 

To comprehend the damaging effects of cotton pillowcases, it's crucial to understand the structure of our hair. Each strand consists of three layers—the cuticle, cortex and medulla. The cuticle, the outermost layer, acts as a protective barrier, shielding the inner layers from external stressors. The rough texture of cotton can disrupt the delicate cuticle layer, leading to hair breakage and split ends.

Alternatives for hair-friendly sleep 

To safeguard your hair from damage caused by cotton pillowcases, it's time to explore alternative options that prioritize hair health:


Silk offers a luxurious and gentle sleeping surface for your hair. Unlike cotton, silk fabric reduces friction, allowing your hair to glide smoothly across the surface. This minimizes breakage and tangling, preserving the integrity of your locks. Silk is also touted for it antibacterial properties, although there is no clinical evidence that silk pillowcases stay cleaner.


Satin, another excellent choice, shares many benefits with silk. Satin is a synthetic material known for its smooth texture. It helps reduce friction and prevents hair breakage, making it an affordable alternative to silk.


While silk is moisture-wicking, the nature of the fabric means it is much smoother on the hair. Satin is non-absorbent so it may actually help preserve the moisture in hair and skin.

Additional tips for hair protection

While choosing the right pillow is crucial, incorporating other hair care practices can further fortify your efforts in preventing hair damage:


1. Gentle Hair Ties: Avoid using tight hair ties or elastic bands that can cause hair breakage. Opt for scrunchies or silk/satin hair ties that are gentler on your strands or Helix Hair Labs Silk SlipTie.


2. Nighttime Hair Routine: Implement a nightly haircare routine that involves gentle detangling, moisturizing and protecting your hair before sleep. Applying a leave-in conditioner or hair oil can help lock in moisture and shield your hair from friction.


3. Protective Hairstyles: Consider wearing protective hairstyles, such as braids or buns, before sleeping. These styles help minimize hair movement and friction, reducing the risk of breakage. Of course, wrapping your hair up in Helix Hair Labs Sleep Sleeve can help cut down on friction and preserve your style.

In our quest for beautiful hair, it's essential to consider all aspects of our daily routines. Making a couple updates at bedtime can help you multitask your way to your healthiest hair yet - all while you catch some zzzs.