Silk and Satin, what are the differences?

Differences between silk and satin

Many people confuse silk and satin, but did you know that satin is not actually a fabric but a weave? In order to avoid confusion and to help you choose the right material, we explain the differences between these two terms.

The silk

Silk is a natural fiber obtained from the cocoons of silkworms. The fabric made from this material is naturally soft and shiny.

Silk cocoons

There are different types of silk such as chiffon, crepe, organza, brocade, silk satin, etc...

To know everything about silk, you can consult our buying guides. History, manufacturing and benefits, we tell you everything about this noble and natural fiber


The satin

Satin is not a fabric but a weaving technique. Also, to speak only of satin does not really make sense. Indeed, it would be appropriate to name the fiber used: silk satin, the most luxurious, cotton satin, linen, wool, polyester or mixed satin.

To understand the resemblance between silk and polyester satin, for example, a simple textile course is necessary. We call "weave" the tangle of threads (warp and weft for the connoisseurs) that form the fabric. There are 3 main weaves:
- the Canvas or Taffeta
- Twill or Twill
- Satin

Taffeta, twill and satin

Comparing the weaves, we can see that for satin, there are fewer thread crossings. On the upper side, the fabric will be smoother and will reflect the light better. The reverse side will be matt.

It is therefore this weaving that will give a shiny side to the material. In the case of silk satin, the shine will be even more important than for a cotton or polyester satin because of the nature of the fiber.

The satin that is most often found on the market and that we tend to compare to silk is mainly polyester satin. Less expensive, but also much less quality.

Silk VS Satin Comparison

Why choose silk over satin (polyester)?

Silk is a natural material

Polyester is a synthetic material made from a chemical fiber derived from oil.
Silk is a natural fiber of animal origin obtained by weaving silk threads from the cocoon of the mulberry bombyx caterpillar.

Silk is healthier

Unlike satin, silk is naturally hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial.

Silk preserves your skin and hair

Thanks to the numerous amino acids that compose it and that the human body easily assimilates, silk nourishes and maintains the hydration of your skin and your hair. It reduces the folds of the sleep having thus an anti-ageing effect. It does not absorb creams and allows you to fully enjoy the benefits of your evening beauty routine.
Your hair will no longer be frizzy, it will be less brittle and more silky.

Silk protect your skin and your hair

Silk is comfortable

Silk, in addition to its incomparable touch, is thermoregulatory and does not absorb moisture. This means that in the summer, it will help you cool down while in the winter, it will keep the heat in to keep you warm. There are also silk accessories for winter sports, such as balaclavas and gloves, to wear alone or under your gear.

How to tell silk from polyester satin?

The best test to determine if you are dealing with real silk is the fire test:

- Real natural silk burns more slowly and has an odor similar to that of burned hair. If you remove the silk from the flame, the burning stops and the material becomes brittle.

- Polyester satin, on the other hand, will smell like burnt plastic and produce black smoke. Unlike real silk, when you remove the polyester from the fire, it will continue to burn.

Silk test with fire

Our advice

Beware of scams

Many sellers take advantage of the confusion to sell polyester satin by indicating that it is silk. Polyester satin costs much less because it is easier to produce and uses inexpensive, low-quality resources. The price of silk is justified in large part by the more complex production process, including the management of silkworm farms and the weaving of the resulting fiber. The making of the silk is very meticulous and requires a skilled workforce. We therefore advise you to beware of offers that are too tempting.

Silk or polyester satin pillowcase?

If you think you will get the same benefits as with silk pillowcases by buying a cheaper satin pillowcase, you will be disappointed. Indeed, polyester satin is sweaty and electrostatic. The opposite of silk, which keeps your skin moisturized and prevents your hair from standing up in the morning.

What about cotton sateen?

More qualitative and healthier than polyester satin, cotton satin is more affordable than silk, but it does not have the same beneficial properties:

- Cotton bedding dries out your skin and hair by absorbing sebum, the oily substance essential for your health and beauty. Your epidermis becomes more fragile to external aggressions and your hair is drier and more brittle.

- Cotton bedding retains impurities that can cause irritation and skin problems.

- Cotton bed linen does not have the thermoregulatory properties of silk. The comfort of sleep will therefore be less.

Maison de la Soie, the most beautiful silk at best price

At Maison de la Soie, our goal is to allow as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of silk. Our prices are among the lowest on the market and our products have one of the best quality/price ratios.

By choosing a Maison de la Soie pillowcase or bed linen, you are assured of :

- quality silk products thanks to the requirement of a French brand established since 2009 in the southwest

- silk products at attractive prices thanks to our direct distribution system which limits intermediaries