There are so many pillowcase types on the market. So how on earth do you choose when you want to invest in a new one? This guide is here to give you some expert guidance when deciding which type of pillowcase to buy.

Here at Silk Pillowcase we know a thing or two about choosing what to rest your head on at night. After all, we’ve been sourcing the finest pillowcases in the world for a number of years now. So read on to find out all you should know about different kinds of pillowcase.

The factors to consider when picking out a new pillowcase include the fabric it’s made from, as well as the type of fastening. We’ll now take a look at each of those in turn. But first, here’s our quick-fire answer.

A silk pillowcase is the best type to buy. This fabric is natural, low in static, sustainable antibacterial, hypoallergenic, luxurious and kind to your hair and skin. It’s also surprisingly strong and long-lasting.

Pillowcase fabric - which is best?

You can buy pillowcases made from various man made and natural fabrics. The options include cotton, synthetics, silk, satin and bamboo. Which is the best choice when you want a new pillowcase?

is cotton the best pillowcase fabric


Cotton is probably the most popular choice for a pillowcase. It’s a fairly soft fabric, and if you buy pure cotton, it can be 100% natural. Cotton is affordable, sourced from plants and easy to source.

On the downside, cotton may crease easily. It’s also rougher on the skin than other natural fabrics like silk or bamboo, and causes friction that can adversely affect your hair. Cotton is also very absorbent, so products like night cream are easily rubbed off during the night.

Cotton pillowcase pros

  • Easy to find
  • Plant based
  • Affordable to buy
  • May be all natural

Cotton pillowcase cons

  • Causes friction
  • Creases easily
  • Absorbs night cream etc
  • Not as soft as silk or bamboo
Bamboo is a natural fabric for pillowcases


Bamboo is also natural, and is a more sustainable choice than cotton. Little water is required to grow bamboo, and the canes shoot up very quickly. Bamboo is softer to sleep on than cotton.

There are minuses as well as pluses, though. Bamboo requires a lot of processing to be made in fabric, as compared to cotton or silk. It’s also less sleek and smooth than silk.

Bamboo pillowcase pros

  • Vegan friendly 
  • A natural fabric
  • Highly sustainable
  • Relatively affordable

Bamboo pillowcase cons

  • Requires more processing
  • Not as smooth as silk
  • Can be harder to find
silk is the best choice for a pillowcase fabric


Silk is the number one choice for a pillowcase. Admittedly it’s also the most expensive, but you get a lot for your money when you buy a 22 momme mulberry silk pillowcase.

Silk is kinder to your skin, causing fewer pillow creases and wrinkles than cotton or bamboo. The surface is also much sleeker, resulting in less of the friction that can cause frizzy, flyaway, dry or damaged hair. Silk is naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic. It’s also far and away the most luxurious choice of all!

Silk pillowcase pros

  • Long-lasting
  • Utterly luxurious
  • Naturally sourced
  • Machine washable
  • Surprisingly strong
  • Incredibly sustainable
  • Kindest to skin and hair
  • Antibacterial & hypoallergenic

Silk pillowcase cons

  • Most expensive fabric
  • Not suitable for vegans
Synthetic fabric are uncomfortable to sleep on

Synthetics - including satin

Synthetic fabrics are a poor choice for a pillowcase. Such fabrics have no breathability, and can thus be hot and uncomfortable. Friction is also highest with man made materials.

So what about satin, which surely at least provides a smooth surface on which to sleep? Sleek, yes, but also high in static. If you want to wake with tangled hair and tired skin, then by all means do go for a synthetic pillowcase!

Synthetic or satin pillowcase pros

  • Cheap to buy
  • Can look good

Synthetic or satin pillowcase cons

  • Not natural
  • Zero breathability
  • Unpleasant to sleep on
  • Not an eco-conscious choice
  • Friction plays havoc with hair & skin
  • Static can cause small electric shocks

Pillowcase fastening - which is best?

So a silk pillowcase is the best choice, followed by bamboo, then cotton. Synthetic pillowcases are best avoided.

How about the way you secure it into place, then? Is an envelope-style pillowcase easiest, or is a zipper better? What about those that have tie fastenings? Let’s delve a little deeper into each option.


An envelope fastening is simple to put on, there’s no doubt about that. But it can also move easily as you turn over during the night, leaving an exposed section of pillow. The double layer of fabric at the overlap can also be uncomfortable.

Envelope pillowcase pros

  • Widely available
  • Simple to put on

Envelope pillowcase cons

  • Can easily slide out of place
  • Dual layer of fabric is uncomfortable
  • You may be paying for extra material
zipper fastening for a pillowcase

Zipper fastening

A zipper is the creme de la creme when it comes to pillowcases. It’s easy to secure your pillow inside - and it really will stay there, unlike with envelope-style or tie fastenings. This keeps all of your pillow clean, meaning it lasts for longer.

A zippered pillowcase looks smarter and tidier too. It’s as easy to take off as it is to put on, and looks incredibly sleek when placed on top of your bed.

Zippered pillowcase pros

  • Seamless look
  • Secure fastening
  • Protects your pillow
  • Complements silk perfectly
  • Less likely to wake you during the night

Zippered pillowcase cons

  • Can be more difficult to find
  • May be more expensive
tie pillowcase fastening

Tie fastening

Some pillowcases come with attached lengths of fabric for tying them together and into place. These can look nice - or rather messy, depending on your perspective.

But really. Who wants to sleep on top of a knot? Or walk up to find that it’s come undone during the night?

Tie fastening pillowcase pros

  • Easy to use
  • You might like the look

Tie fastening pillowcase cons

  • Knot may come undone
  • Part of pillow may be exposed
  • Uncomfortable if you roll onto the knot

Best type of pillowcase | Final thoughts

A zippered fastening is the best choice in terms of appearance, practicality, comfort, and protection.

Silk is the finest fabric, as it’s hypoallergenic, natural, antibacterial, sustainable, strong and long-lasting. It’s also the best choice for the condition of your skin and hair.  Ready to buy your pure silk, zip fastening pillowcase?

September 17, 2022 — Michelle Fletcher Smith