Cotton or Silk, Which is Better for Hair? - TELETIES

Cotton or Silk, Which is Better for Hair?

Both cotton and silk are used to create hair accessories from scrunchies to wraps, pillow cases, and more. But if you have dry, brittle, or hair typesthat make it prone to breakage, you’ll want to be careful. Cotton may have more variety when it comes to patterns and prints, but these come at a cost, friction.  And friction can lead to breaking strands of hair.

The studies comparing friction by fabrics go back to the 1960s like in this study by the Georgia Institute of Technology where they used both spider and silkworm silks.  And you’ll find countless beauty schools recommending silk over cotton like in this post from the Hollywood Institute and this guide to protecting your hair from breakage by the Ogle School.

The more friction you add to your daily and nightly routines, the more chances you’ll be ripping out or breaking strands of hair.  And this includes making sure you do not go to bed with wet hair.  One of the reasons is that water and liquids expand and contract the strands of your hair as they get wet and dry.

Hair is elastic by nature and can handle some of this stretching, but the tossing and turning at night may cause it to get stretched and pulled past its natural elasticity causing it to break.  The sleep foundation mentions this within this post.  And as both they and we have sourced from the American Academy of Dermatology Association, sleeping with wet hair could lead to fungus, bacteria, and other conditions that are bad for your scalp.  

When you combine wet hair and movement with a friction filled fabric like cotton, your chances for breakage also increase when compared to silk.  The same concept applies to the hair accessories you use. 

Silk scrunchies can slide into your hair and hold it with less friction than cotton. And that includes daily activities if you are using the scrunchie to hold your hair in place.

When you sleep or watch tv, your hair will be against a bed or your couch and exposed to friction. Silk allows your hair to slide more seamlessly.  This same concept applies to hair wraps.  Go for silk over cotton if you want to reduce friction as your hair will be rubbing against the fabric while you run errands, head to work, and do your daily routine.

Fun fact: Engineered silk can keep you cooler than cotton according to studies from universities like Stanford. This may make it more comfortable to wear in summer, or when you live in hot climates when you use a hair wrap or fabric for styling.

Cotton is more absorbent than silk, and that can absorb some of your hair products and moisture.  The Florida Academy mentions this, along with using a silk pillowcase over a cotton one.  But don’t count cotton out.

For shorter periods of time, and when your hair isn’t prone to breakage, cotton can come in more prints and patterns to match your style, and may be less expensive.  And cotton is normally easier to clean than silk, but modern silks can be engineered and be about as easy to keep fresh.

While both silk and cotton have benefits, if your hair is prone to breakage and healthy hair is important to you, go for silk hair accessories over cotton.  Silk has less friction than cotton according to the studies above, and that may help prevent breakage.  If you found this guide helpful, subscribe below for more just like it.

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