When looking for silk pillow cases, it’s difficult to say that there is such a thing as a bad silk pillowcase. Why? Because they are made from silk, the pillow cases are already head and shoulders above competing pillow cases due to the nature of the fabric. However, there are some things that the shopper new to the concept of sleeping on silk should be aware of.
So, without further ado, here are the top five things to look for in silk pillowcases or silk pillows:
1 – Mulberry Silk – Although the majority of silk in the world comes from silkworms fed mulberry leaves, some is made with other methods. Unfortunately this is a case of trying to fix something that is not broken. Mulberry leaves have been used for literally thousands of year to produce the finest, strongest, silkiest silk available. If you are looking to purchase silk pillow cases because you want something that will be kind to your face and your hair as you sleep, mulberry silk is the top choice. Make sure the manufacturer specifies this or it can be confirmed. If not, you may not end up being happy in the end.
2 – Charmeuse – This is a fancy sounding word that essentially describes the weaving method used to create the fabric. Charmeuse is a lightweight fabric that is woven with a satin weave. What that means is three or more threads pass over one thread in the weave, resulting in a much smoother and more comfortable fabric. Typically satin fabrics, including the charmeuse used in the best silk pillow cases, will have a lustrous and shiny appearance on the front while the back of the fabric will appear dull and somewhat coarser, although that is a relative term. Other weaving methods of silk are used, but they produce coarser fabrics that resemble less luxurious materials, like cotton. Just keep in mind that you will be looking for either satin or charmeuse silk when you begin your shopping.
3 – Momme – a word about momme – it is the unit used when describing the weight of silk thread. Raw silk has a momme of somewhere in the 30’s to 40’s. It is heavy, rough and has a “woolly” appearance. Okay for a rug, not so much for your pillow. What you are looking for is something in the upper teens to very low 20’s at the upper end. 16-19 momme weight is best and what better quality pillow cases will be made form. Many silk pillowcase manufacturers will not advertise the momme weight of their pillowcases. That’s fine and not something you need to worry about. Just keep in mind that if a company does mention the number, usually abbreviated by “mm” and it is much higher or lower than the 16-19 range, reconsider as it may be too lightweight and flimsy on the low end or too thick and rough on the high end.
4 – Thread Count – Although the phrase thread count gets thrown around a lot, as long as your silk pillow cases are above 400 or so, it doesn’t matter. Extremely high thread counts are often not reliable and might be better avoided unless the manufacturer clearly states the facts behind the number. Some manufacturers will twist 2 or 3 threads together to make one yarn, yet use the number of threads in the thread count. That means that a piece of fabric that has a thread count of 200 may be marketed as having a 400 or 600 thread count because there were 2 or 3 threads used when making the yarn. The result is something that should feel ultra smooth but does not.
5 – The Feel – Make sure you have the opportunity to feel the silk pillow cases before you buy them or are unable to return them. If they feel silky and smooth, then you will most likely be happy with them. If you touch them and you think for a half-second “That’s not as smooth as I thought it would be,” return them or just don’t buy them. You won’t be happy with them.
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If you keep these five things in mind, you will do very well in your search for silk pillow cases. Actually, you could honestly not worry about number 3, momme, and number 4, thread count. As long as the pillow cases are made from mulberry silk and a satin weave, and they feel like nothing you’ve ever felt before, you will be well on your way to finding the best silk pillow cases. Good luck!