First things first: this isn’t the question you should be asking.
Or at least, this isn’t the question you think you should be asking. Silk and satin are words we think we’re familiar with when we talk about fabric. But there is a common misconception about what silk and satin actually are.
Silk fabric is made from a natural fibre produced from silkworms, popularly mulberry silk. High-quality silk is a fabric that has been manufactured for thousands of years and has maintained its reputation as a symbol of luxury. Most high-quality silk products are made with silk fibres woven in a specific way – with a charmeuse weave.
Satin, on the other hand, is a type of fabric weave. It produces a lustrous sheen on one side of the fabric commonly associated with the term satin. However, “satin” can actually be made using a variety of fabrics including polyester and even silk. Polyester satin or satin fabric with polyester blends are a dime a dozen in most stores and are usually what we mean when we talk about a satin fabric.
So, what are we really asking when we pose the question, “Silk or satin?”
For the common shopper out there, what they mean is this – Pure silk charmeuse fabric or polyester satin fabric?
Let’s look at the different points of comparison:
Is it natural or manmade? Technology has made it much easier for us to manufacture our own materials, including fabrics. Polyester is one of the results of man’s ingenuity in the textile industry. Silk, on the other hand, is protein spun from silkworms on mulberry trees. This makes silk a natural fibre – the strongest and smoothest known to man.
Softness and Beauty Benefits
When you feel a polyester satin fabric, it has a distinctly slippery feel under your fingertips. But while it is slippery, it isn’t necessarily soft. Pure silk fabric – because it is made from a natural protein – provides both a smooth and soft feel that man-made textiles just have not been able to replicate.
Silk reduces friction on our skin so there is comparatively less chafing, dryness, and redness when our bodies come in contact with it. And since pure silk is made from natural silk fibres, the protein filaments make it hypoallergenic and great for sensitive skin. This plays a big part when we look at the type of fabric used in products that come in contact with the most noticeable skin on our bodies – our faces.
So for the shopper out there thinking of trading out your cotton pillowcases for something new, silk provides a list of skincare and hair benefits that you might want to check out.
Seems like a strange point of comparison but is an important part of selecting a fabric. While neither is a particularly heavy fabric, polyester satin weaves don’t adapt to environments the way silk does.
Silk is a naturally temperature-regulating fabric that makes it breathable so it’s never too hot or too cold in any situation.
Polyester is synthetic and therefore easier to produce in large quantities. As long as the right steps in production processes are followed, polyester satin can be manufactured and more easily incorporated into daily products, making this fabric inexpensive. You'll be able to find a lot of affordable options for polyester satin products on the market, no problem!
Depending on what you use the fabric for, it’s important to consider what it can do for you and how much you’re willing to spend on it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your needs as a shopper.
If you’re comparing charmeuse silk pillowcases vs polyester satin pillowcases, we recommend going for silk. It may cost a bit more, but investing in natural silk for a good night’s sleep is important for several reasons. If you’re thinking of getting one for yourself, take a look at the