I Snoozed on a Collagen-Embedded Pillowcase Because…Beauty Sleep

Photo: Getty Images/Caiaimage Paul Bradbury
I've been sleeping on a collagen-infused pillowcase for the past week. No, this isn't some bizarro rendition of Sleeping Beauty—these pillowcases do exist and they're here to literally make sure you're getting, well...beauty sleep.

The brain child of the brand Buki, collagen-embedded clothing and pillowcases are meant all meant to infuse collagen peptides into your body "making it feel softer and plumper in less than a minute," the company says. Pillow cases aren't alone: They similarly can do this via turtlenecks, shirts, a hoodie, scarves, and a pillow cover, which contain marine-sourced collagen powder that lives within a fiber that's one component of the collagen fabric.

Your brain may be going a mile a minute with questions—and I don't blame you, but if you'll remember back a few years, the collagen-pillowcase isn't alone. Lotion jeans were a thing for a while, promising to help hydrate skin with built-in moisturizer and so were silver-inlaid towels, which aimed to help deal with acne-provoking bacteria. Needless to say, as soon as I received an email about the skin-boosting fabric, I was interested...if a bit skeptical. First of all, collagen is notoriously complicated when it comes to penetrating your skin. Some derms say your complexion can't absorb it topically since the molecules are too large, so to reap the benefits of the skin-boosting protein via fabric seems to be a reach.

"The collagen peptides in the pillow cover can soften and hydrate your skin while you sleep," says Joey Rodolfo, Buki's co-founder. "[They're] actually in the fabric fiber so it's never going away. The magic lies in the sustainably sourced marine collagen which is infused into the cellulose fabric fiber—it softens and hydrates your skin."

"The collagen peptides in the pillow cover can soften and hydrate your skin while you sleep." —Joey Rodolfo, Buki co-founder

But how long does a girl have to sleep on a collagen-infused pillowcase in order to get plumper skin? Apparently not a terribly long time: “Most people experience the skin softening benefits in less than a minute," says Stacy Bennett, the brand's other co-founder. "We have an in-store experience where customers put the collagen fabric on their hand while we tell them about this revolutionary fabric, and after about a minute we have them remove the fabric. Seeing the look on their face when they can both see and feel that their skin looks and feels softer is magic.” And while this does raise an eyebrow to me, considering that moisture-packed face wipes are a thing now, I'll buy it.

Upon procuring one of these pillowcases myself, I rushed through my nighttime routine in order to hit the hay that night (more so than usual). I put the collagen fiber pillow cover over my pillow—which, by the way, is only one-sided and not an entire case—and eagerly rest my cheek to it. Tossing and turning may disturb my partner, sure, but this time my strategy is to encourage and even embrace the practice (you know, for even plumpness on both cheeks). I'll admit upon first touch that the case is uber-soft, so at the very least I'm getting a comfy sleep from it.

When I wake up, I peer into the mirror not expecting any difference in my skin, and while nothing noticeable has happened, my skin feels a bit softer than usual. I ask a dermatologist if I'm supposed to see any effects from getting collagen via fiber that's been pressed against my cheek all night.  “I suppose if you don’t like using skin care and hope to gain a little benefit for your skin when sleeping, this pillowcase may put a little moisture in your skin," says Purvisha Patel, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. "However, collagen is produced under the surface of the skin, so putting collagen on top would only hydrate, and only on the side you sleep on. I’ve never had luck sleeping on both sides of my face as well as my forehead. It may be better for face sleepers, but sleeping on your face in itself increases wrinkles because of gravity."

All fair points. I will say that my acne-prone skin hasn't broken out since using the pillowcase, and it did seem pretty well hydrated come morning. If you choose to go the collagen-embedded pillow case route, Dr. Patel has a few words of wisdom. First up: Don't wash your face in the morning or "everything will get washed away," she says. Next up: Think about what's already in your regimen, because it should be super minimal to reap the most benefits. "If you're on a skin-care regimen and then use the pillowcase, the actives in the case will not be able to get on the skin." All in all? I think this is something along the lines of a silk pillowcase, which can certainly help your complexion, but likely won't do anything noticeable or drastic...at least not overnight.

Oh, and here's when to take collagen supplements for your skin. And these are the overall health benefits of collagen.

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