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The Peace Silk Pillowcase: Swahlee’s Cruelty-Free Silk Pillowcase

Peace Silk Pillowcase with lavender flowers on top.

New health and beauty trends seem to pop up every day. Some are helpful — avoiding processed foods for better skin, for instance — some are … unique — like letting giant snails make slime trails across your face in the name of beauty. 

You’ve probably heard about silk pillowcases but you might be wondering … are they worth it? Is this another trend that will become the holy grail of beauty for a month and then fade because it didn’t work? 

Silk pillowcases have many real benefits and this Journal will unpack them. 

Keep reading to learn why a Peace Silk Pillowcase might be the simple elevation your sleep and beauty routine needs.

Table of Contents

  • Are Silk Worms Killed to Make Silk?

  • What Is Peace Silk

  • Why Cruelty-Free Silk Matters

  • The Benefits of Silk

  • What Are the Benefits of Sleeping on a Silk Pillowcase? 

  • Sleeping on Silk Can be Great for Your Hair 

  • Are Silk Pillowcases Good for Curly Hair?  

  • Sleeping on Silk Can be Great for Your Skin

  • Founded in Nature for an Enduring Impact: How Swahlee Cares for People and the Planet 

Are Silk Worms Killed to Make Silk?

The conventional method of spinning silk is far from cruelty-free. Silk fiber, for thousands of years, has been extracted from the cocoon of the silkworm through less-than-humane methods. Some of these include:

  • Boiling the cocoon — with the living silkworm still inside — causing the fibers to begin unraveling. 

  • Steaming the cocoon and, incidentally, the worm, to release the fibers. 

  • Engaging the silkworm’s natural self-paralyzation mechanism prematurely to keep it from ever hatching. 

PETA estimates that at least 3,000 silkworms die to make one pound of silk. This means that billions, possibly even trillions, of silkworms die annually during silk production. 

In many cases, after laying the silkworm eggs, the mother is killed and crushed into small bits. It is then examined under a microscope to ensure that there are no diseases present to affect the quality of production. Males are used for breeding and, when they are no longer useful, are often simply left alive in baskets for the birds to eat. 

Thankfully, there is a solution for silk production that still creates high-quality silk without needless cruelty … peace silk. 

Click here to shop the Peace Silk Pillowcase

What Is Peace Silk

Based on the principle of ahimsa, peace silk is an alternative to conventional, cruel silk. 

The word “ahimsa” comes from Sanskrit roots and means “nonviolence” and encourages “respect for all living things”, something not found in the conventional silk trade. Peace silk — sometimes referred to as ahimsa — on the other hand, upholds this principle.

Peace silk has all the benefits of traditionally-made silk. It’s high-quality, beautiful, and incredibly soft. But this is where the similarities end. 

Unlike conventional silk, peace silk is ethical, sustainable, and cruelty-free. 

Why Cruelty-Free Silk Matters

Peace silk is made without animal cruelty. The cocoons are allowed to hatch on their own and are not harvested until the new silk moth is safely hatched. No silkworms are hurt in the process of making peace silk. From egg to moth, they are allowed to live out the natural course of their life, without being boiled to death or forced out of their cocoons. 

Cruelty-free silk matters. It is part of a more sustainable, kind future for the world. Yes, they may be “only worms” but silkworms have a nervous system and they feel pain. Cruelty-free silk production methods extract the silk without harm to the silkworm. 

Why Ethical Silk Matters

Silkworms aren’t the only beings harmed in conventional silk production. Silk factories are notorious for abusing their employees. Even worse? Silk factories often exploit children as forced, bonded laborers. 

Human Rights Watch released a report sharing the atrocities committed against children in these factories. Their research found that children as young as five years old were forced to work 12+ hour days, up to seven days a week, in damp, poorly lit silk factories. In many cases, these are “bonded children” meaning they are working to pay off a loan taken out by their family. They are not permitted to leave the factory until they have paid off the debt but they make so little money that it is unlikely most will ever be able to repay the loan. 

These children face unfathomable abuses. Those working to extract fibers are forced to place their hands in the boiling water, along with the cocoons, to begin unraveling them. Their hands become severely burned and blistered. They rarely receive appropriate medical care. 

These children breathe in the smoke and toxic fumes from the machinery, handle the dead silkworms — which can cause infections — and work with twisting threads that cut their fingers. These cuts easily become infected. 

Not only are the working conditions unsafe, but the children are also frequently beaten and verbally abused by those in power over them. These children are vulnerable and have no way of protecting themselves. 

When you make a conscious effort to only purchase ethical silk, you’re doing something far more than just choosing a different company. Your shift whispers that you will no longer stand for injustice against children. And as more and more people realize the harmful practices used by many silk factories, the whispers join together to become a loud cry that echoes for justice and safety for the children. 

Demand drives supply. The more a product is wanted, the more a producer will produce. But if there is no demand, a producer cannot produce that product and hope to remain functional for very long. Let’s end the demand for unsustainable, unethical silk. 

At Swahlee, people are our first and foremost priority. We source our peace silk from Cocccon, a sustainable, ethical producer of peace silk. Cocccon’s employees are adults — not children — who make a fair, living wage. The children of company employees aren’t working alongside their parents, they’re attending a school — at no cost — in a safe, quality school, thanks to Cocccon’s people-centered policies and practices. 

Swahlee Peace Silk Pillowcase is more than just a pillowcase; it’s a high-quality addition to your sleep routine that empowers artisans and women in Northeast India. 

Model wearing Coral Pink Rest Collection holding the Peace Silk Pillowcase

The Benefits of Silk

As the strongest natural fiber, silk has countless benefits and features you might not know about. 

Here are some of the most unique and beneficial features of silk: 

  • Silk is incredibly durable — it’s wrinkle and tear-resistant. 

  • Silk dries very quickly. 

  • Thanks to its protein structure, silk is the most hypoallergenic fabric, meaning it is the least likely to trigger allergies. 

  • Silk is antimicrobial — meaning it hinders the growth of bacteria.

  • Silk is a natural temperature regulator. It helps you keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 

  • Silk is often used in surgical sutures as it is easier to work with than other non-absorbent sutures. 

  • Although not as common, silk has been used to make parachutes.  

What Are the Benefits of Sleeping on a Silk Pillowcase? 

With so many natural benefits of silk, it should be no surprise that sleeping on a silk pillowcase has multiple benefits as well. Silk has several unique properties that make it an ideal choice for better skin and hair. 

Cotton, one of the most popular pillowcase materials, has some great benefits — it’s breathable, soft, and natural. Sleeping in cotton sleepwear — like our 100% cotton women’s loungewear, the Rest Collection — is a great option. Sleeping on cotton — especially as a pillowcase — is not a great option. 

Sleeping on Silk Can be Great for Your Hair 

Few things are worse than waking up with a frizzy, tangled mess of split ends and rats' nests. 

Pillowcases are often made out of cotton or polyester. These fabrics are notorious for encouraging friction and frizz, thanks to your natural movements while you sleep. While the fabric may feel soft to your skin, on a microscopic level, it is rough and abrasive on your skin and hair. 

Silk is different. It is soft through and through. Instead of pulling and tangling your hair, silk lets your locks simply glide across your pillow as needed, reducing the amount of frizz you wake up with — and the amount of time you spend detangling that one spot. 

Unlike cotton, silk is naturally non-absorbent. This is good for two reasons:

  1. Your pillowcase won’t absorb moisture and bacteria floating around your room. 

  2. Your head gets to keep its essential oils and moisture while still allowing your scalp to breathe. 

Your scalp naturally produces oil to keep your hair healthy and shiny. If your pillowcase absorbs this oil, you might find yourself with dandruff and lackluster, dull hair. 

Are Silk Pillowcases Good for Curly Hair?  

Silk is an excellent choice for curly hair. Curls get dry easier, so the non-absorbent surface of the silk is key. Overnight, curls can lose some of their shape and become frizzy. Since silk eliminates friction and doesn’t catch your hair, frizz and tangles have less opportunity to form.  

Sleeping on Silk Can be Great for Your Skin

Your hair isn’t the only part of you that can benefit from sleeping on silk. 

Silk is incredible for your skin! 

Again, the non-absorbent properties shine here because your face needs moisture and, when you sleep on a cotton or other material suitcase, you lose a good bit of that natural moisture. 

Say goodbye to sleep marks — your silk pillowcase is far less likely to leave creases on your face after a particularly good night of sleep. Silk can also help reduce wrinkles and reduce acne. 

Since the surface of silk is smooth and non-abrasive, it won’t aggravate your skin while you sleep, as cotton can. 

Model wearing Coral Pink Rest Collection holding the Peace Silk Pillowcase above her head.

Founded in Nature for an Enduring Impact: How Swahlee Cares for People and the Planet 

Ethical, sustainable silk shouldn’t be the luxury of the silk industry; it should be the standard. No matter what the benefits of silk might be, if they are achieved through the exploitation of children and animals, they simply aren’t worth it. 

At Swahlee, people always, always come first. Even if that means slower production. Even if that means sourcing the harder-to-find, more expensive material. All people, at every level of production, deserve to be treated with dignity, honor, equality, and kindness. 

We source every material from ethical, sustainable producers. Each employee in our company …

  • Earns a living wage,

  • Has paid holidays and vacation time,

  • Works in a safe, clean, environment,

  • Is treated with dignity and respect, no matter what, and;

  • Has reasonable work hours that allow them to pursue hobbies and studies outside of work.

Our silk pillowcases are made from 100% organic, sustainable, ethical silk by fairly-compensated, healthy, free seamstresses. With a Swahlee Peace Silk Pillowcase, you can drift peacefully off to dreamland, knowing that your purchase has positively impacted the life of a young woman in India. 

Click here to shop the Peace Silk Pillowcase

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