A Guide to Skincare, Pillowcases & Preventing Stains

A Guide to Skincare, Pillowcases & Preventing Stains

2024 Jun 20th

When it comes to achieving flawless, radiant skin, it's no secret that your skincare routines and sleep regime can be a total game-changer. But have you ever considered how those complexion-boosting creams and serums interact with your pillowcase?

Turns out, those nighttime treatments can lead to pillowcase staining, fading, and even skin damage if you don’t know the science behind these ingredients and your bedding. So to help you avoid any surprises and ensure you’re waking up to skin and linens that look their absolute best, keep reading for a rundown on how to maximize your beauty sleep while protecting your pillowcases.

A person applies skincare to their face in front of a round mirror, wearing a pink plush robe and silk headband.

Your Skincare Success Depends On Your Pillowcase

Before we dive deep, you should know that what you sleep on affects how well your skincare routine works…and you don't want to spend a fortune on formulas that get sucked up by your bedding!

For this reason, it’s best to avoid plain cotton pillowcases. Cotton is highly absorbent, meaning it soaks up moisture from your skin, including natural oils and any skincare products you’ve applied before bed. This lowers the effectiveness of your treatments and leads to dryness, irritation, and even acne breakouts — since cotton can harbor bacteria, dust mites, and other allergens more easily.

The texture of pure cotton also creates friction, which may speed up the formation of wrinkles and fine lines over time as your skin is pulled during sleep. If you’re a cotton connoisseur, try our Eucalyptus Luxe line, for bedding a smooth and skin-friendly blend of cotton (35%) and TENCEL™ Lyocell (65%).

A bed with crisp white BeechBliss sheets and two pillows dressed with our Eucalyptus Luxe TENCEL™ Lyocell pillowcases in Ash.

Another choice that may help to enhance your skin's overall appearance is our BeechBliss line. Crafted from 100% TENCEL™ Modal, this fabric is known for its silk-like luster, offering an experience close to pure silk for beautifying your sleep. However, be aware that modal can stain easily, so we suggest opting for lighter colours that are more forgiving to bleaching and oil-based stains. In addition to the tips shared in this blog post, frequent washing can help reduce staining.

Silk Pillowcases: Skincare’s Secret Weapon

Silk pillowcases, on the other hand, are the premier choice for beauty rest. A luxurious staple for anyone caring about their skin (and hair) health, these headrests contain countless complexion-boosting qualities:

  • Hydrating: silk’s smooth, tight fibers don’t absorb moisture or oils, keeping your skin hydrated & allowing active ingredients to do their job
  • Anti-Creasing: silk’s frictionless surface kees premature aging, creasing, and “sleep wrinkles” at bay
  • Anti-Aging: silk’s natural cellular albumen speeds up cell turnover for a more youthful glow
  • Antibacterial: Silk repels bacteria and fungi and is ideal for those with sensitivities

And that’s only skimming the surface! Check out our 8 Features and Benefits of Silk blog to get a full understanding of how this skincare superstar helps you get the most out of your nighttime beauty rituals.

Now, let’s get the skinny on common skincare ingredients and how they play out on your pillows.

A person lies down hugging one of our Mulberry Silk Pillowcases in Blush, wearing an eye mask in the same fabric and colour.s

Skincare Ingredients & Pillowcase Guide

Chemical Exfoliants

By and large, products that contain any ingredients that accelerate skin cell turnover have the potential to stain and discolour your bedding. So, consider applying the following actives at least 20-30 minutes prior to hitting the hay:

Retinol / Retinoids

Despite being a fantastic ingredient for those treating acne, sun damage, scarring, and signs of aging, retinol-based products (such as Retin-A) are known to stain pillowcases.

This is especially true if the retinol is delivered via an oil-based cream or serum, as the oil alone can leave behind a mark. Learn how to remove oil stains from bedding here.


While it may vary by formula, products containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) — such as Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid — and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs)— like Salicylic Acid — have been known to cause discolouration.

So again, make sure to factor in time for your products to absorb first. You might also want to wash off the treatment completely depending on your sensitivity to exfoliants and skincare goals.

Benzoyl Peroxide

As well-loved as this ingredient is for fighting acne, benzoyl peroxide is also well-known for causing discolouration thanks to its bleaching effect on fabrics.

If you frequently use BP-containing skincare, you may want to consider switching to an all-white sheet set. Feel free to browse our skin-soothing sheeting options by colour using the filter option on the side menu.

Vitamin C

Serums containing the skin-friendly antioxidant known as Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, have been praised for treating hyperpigmentation and all over brightening the face. Unfortunately, this superstar ingredient can also stain your sheets yellow due to its tendency to oxidize.

Take care to apply any serums in the AM, or wait half an hour before heading to bed.

Hyaluronic Acid

A skin-plumping crowd pleaser, hyaluronic acid (HA) is unlikely to cause issues as it’s a clear water-based substance that quickly absorbs into the skin and contains no harsh chemicals.


Known for improving skin texture and keeping acne at bay, this water-soluble form of Vitamin B3 is generally considered safe for fabrics.

Keep in mind that it’s possible for other ingredients — such as emulsifiers, dyes, or fragrances — to cause issues for your bedding ( check out this skincare ingredient decoding tool).

A small glass bottle containing skincare rests on a soft white background, with two of our 100% Mulberry Silk pillowcases in White overlaying the image.

The following tips are general guidelines to help you navigate those unknowns when it comes to skincare:

General Skincare & Pillowcase Tips

Wait 20 minutes Before Sleeping

After applying any product, wait 20-30 minutes before laying your face down on your pillow. This allows the active ingredients to do their work and absorb into your skin rather than a surface.

Patch Test Your Products

If you’re really concerned, you could always patch test your products on a section of your pillowcase to see how it holds up. Dab a very small amount on an inconspicuous area, such as an interior envelope flap and wait a few hours to check for discolouration or stains.

Wash Your Pillows & Pillowcases Regularly

Maintaining your pillow and pillowcases by washing them routinely can help reduce the buildup of residual products over time.

Make sure to refer to their specific care instructions — and check out our Laundering & Fabric Care guide and this post explaining how to wash your pillows perfectly for more tips.

Use a Pillow Protector

For best-in-class pillow care, use a pillow protector. These soft, easy-to-wash layers add an extra buffer between your skincare ingredients and pillow for even more peace of mind.

Recycle & Earn 

If it's time to say goodbye to well-loved pillowcases or sheets, we have a great solution. Send them to be recycled and earn credits towards new ones, with our ReHome take-back program

A person rests in bed surrounded with our Mulberry Silk bedding, donning our Silk Moon accessories.

We hope this guide has helped you upgrade your skincare and pillowcase game. Be sure to check out our Silk Shop for plenty of skin-friendly sleep accessories. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more tips on achieving beauty rest success!

My Offers
My Offers