Silk has an association with it that conjures images of luxury and refinement such as the famous 1961 photoshoot of Marilyn Monroe draped in nothing but white silk sheets. Whether you’re a loyal user of silk products or have only recently delved into the world of silk, there is always more to learn about this special material and how it can be used in your everyday life and not solely on special occasions in the form of an expensive gown or blouse.
The Origins of Silk
The material of silk has its roots in ancient Chinese culture as early as 4000 BC and it usually denoted a certain level of social class.Silk became so ubiquitous in the ancient world that the Silk Road was developed by the Han dynasty in 130 BC to facilitate silk trade between the Middle East and Europe, and even today silk continues to be a heavily sought after commodity across various cultures and societies.
The Pros of Silk
The luxurious reputation of silk is rightfully earned, and its benefits are many. Perhaps the most obvious one is its soft and, well, silky texture. The material is lightweight and has a great texture when placed against the skin, hence why it was reserved for royalty in antiquity. Silks is also a natural fiber which appeals to material purists and eco-conscious consumers alike.
The natural material is also one of the strongest of its kind making silk extremely durable. It is not prone to fraying, even after continual use for years upon years. The natural construction of the fabric also lends itself to being incredibly thermoregulatory. The benefits of this are twofold as it allows you to cool down in the summer months due to its breathable nature, but it is also insulative enough to keep you warm in the winter making it especially useful for bedding.
The benefits of silk are not limited to being purely practical either as it provides aesthetic benefits to both your surroundings and your physical benefits. Silk’s sheen is easy on the eye and it is naturally wrinkle-free which keeps your surroundings looking polished and stylized when used as a duvet or in pillow cases. Silk also provides benefits to the skin and hair.
In regards to the skin, silk helps in preventing wrinkles and promotes hydration. The smooth texture of silk causes less friction than an ordinary cotton pillow case would, which can help in preventing stress on the skin and effectively prevent wrinkle-causing creasing. Silk also helps maintain your skin’s moisture as the material itself absorbs less moisture and helps you maintain your skin’s moisture levels even in the colder winter months. The smooth texture of silk also helps you maintain your hair’s luster and helps prevent breakage, frizz, and tangling overnight.
The Cons of Silk
Even silk is not without its drawbacks, though. The main dilemma when it comes to owning silk is caring for the material. For instance, silk is prone to shrinkage when washed which makes dry cleaning the best method to properly care for such an intricate material.
While dry cleaners are just about as ubiquitous as Starbucks and are not difficult to find in most towns, the cost of dry cleaning sheets and pillowcases can add up financially and in terms of time. For those with a typical 9-5 schedule, taking the time to take bedding to the dry cleaner can be difficult to fit into one’s schedule especially if there is not another set of bedding to use in the interim. Silk can also be prone to water stains which makes the process of dry cleaning all the more necessary.
One of the other primary concerns surrounding silk is its susceptibility to sun damage. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays can cause the fibers to weaken leading to ripping and color fading. Thankfully, this is primarily a concern for clothing as opposed to bedding as clothing is far more likely to see the light of day as opposed to a duvet that stays inside all day.
Silk is a material that has been highly coveted for centuries and continues to conjure images of luxury and prestige. While the cost of using silk materials is certainly more than using other fibers such as cotton or synthetic materials, the benefits are numerous and its longevity outlasts that of its competitors when cared for properly.
While not everyone may see the benefits of wearing silk clothing on a regular basis or investing in an entire bedding set made of silk, the benefits of silk can be enjoyed in smaller and more accessible ways such as silk hair ties, pillow cases, and even the brand new Nodpod weighted sleep mask in silk. Silk does not need to encompass every aspect of your life in order for you to reap its benefits.
Hair ties and pillow cases can help in preventing hair breakage and tangingling while the Nodpod can aid in maintaining your skin's moisture levels and prevent creasing while you sleep. Whether you consider yourself a silk connoisseur or are first venturing into using this fabric with a rich heritage, using it even on a small scale is enough to reap its benefits year round.