We all know we need our beauty sleep, but do we need a special beauty pillow to help turn back the clock while in bed, too?
If you’re wondering what I’m on about, I’m talking about the belief that it’s not just the hours of shut-eye that affect how your face looks. Squash your face against a cotton pillowcase all night and it not only etches wrinkles more deeply into your face, it also draws moisture from your skin into the bargain.
This is why bedding boffins have come up with a new generation of pillows that promise to combat the signs of ageing as we sleep. But which are the best?
NO-SMUDGE SKINCARE SOLUTION
Save My Face Le Grande Pillowette, from £75, savemyface.co.uk
Alice Hart-Davis shared her experience of sleeping with the latest anti-aging pillows. She says Save My Face Le Grande Pillowette (pictured) was difficult to get comfortable when sleeping on her side
Best for: Back sleepers
What is it? The Save My Face pillow promises to help prevent wrinkling, aid cosmetic surgery recovery and enhance the effects of expensive anti-ageing facial creams and serums — largely thanks to its odd shape. It has ‘a crescent-shaped design to support the head and elevate the face’.
The point is that it tucks neatly under your neck if you want to sleep on your back, then when you turn to your side, the curved arms support the edges of your face while your cheeks and eyes — and the skin on them that would get squashed — hovers over the gap. This also prevents serums from being rubbed off.
You can get shaped pillowcases in silk and satin as well as cotton. And there is a mini version for travel, or if you want to experiment with the concept.
What’s it like? Odd, but I really like it. I was given one by a Danish spa last year and have become attached to it. It is the right height to tuck comfortably behind my head so I can go to sleep on my back, but it is harder to get comfortable when I turn to the side, and I often end up flinging it off the bed at 3am and reaching for my trusty Hungarian goose-down pillow from John Lewis.
Verdict: 4/5 Intriguing, but not the perfect answer for me.
SILK SAVIOUR FOR HAIR
Silkskin Beauty Silk Pillowcase, £69, silkskin.co.uk
Alice says she loves Silkskin Beauty Silk Pillowcase (pictured) but fears ruining its delicate fibres in the family laundry
Best for: Dry hair and skin
What is it? A pure white silk pillowcase, smooth but not shiny, which is designed to maintain moisture levels in skin and hair while you sleep — the smooth silk means less friction.
What’s it like? I do love a silk pillowcase. It feels like the ultimate beauty indulgence and is wonderfully smooth and cool against my face. But I fear for this beautiful, delicate thing. I know what has happened to every other silk pillowcase I have owned over the years. One day, despite my best efforts to protect it from the whirling morass of the family laundry, it will end up in a hot wash and then in the tumble dryer, which will wreck its delicate fibres. But in the meantime, I love it.
Verdict: 3/5 Fabulous but not robust.
A-LIST NECK SUPPORT
Nurse Jamie Beauty Bear Age Defy Pillow, £56, cultbeauty.co.uk
Alice says Nurse Jamie Beauty Bear Age Defy Pillow (pictured) felt uncomfortable to sleep on
Best for: Heavy sleepers
What is it? A very strange thing. One end has U-shaped arms designed to cradle the face and neck, while the solid stem attached to these arms is what you rest your head on. The result is a pillow that offers exceptional neck support, cradling your face and neck to minimise fine lines.
Nurse Jamie is Jamie Sherrill, a skincare expert who’s worked with LA’s fussiest, including the Kardashians. Which is probably why her pillow comes in leopard-print satin.
What’s it like? Alas, despite its gorgeous looks, the Beauty Bear and I are not destined to be friends. The stem you rest your head on, is too high for my neck, which ends up cranked uncomfortably upwards. I manage to go to sleep on it lying on my back, but when I turn sideways, I have to lift my neck at a strange angle. And when I turn restlessly to the other side, I have to turn the whole pillow over to get the curved bit under my cheekbone. By 4am, I have given up, flung it crossly on the floor and reached for my usual pillow.
Verdict: 2/5 Gorgeous but unmanageable, unless your neck happens to fit it.
HI-TECH COPPER CURE
Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillow Case, £50, current body.com
Alice was most impressed by Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillow Case (pictured) for its ease to wash and sound science
Best for: Those with no time to hand wash pillows.
What is it? A light-brown, slightly shiny pillowcase whose fibres are embedded with copper ions, which help the skin’s natural self-renewal mechanism. Really? Yes, really — the fabric is clinically proven to reduce wrinkles if used continuously for four weeks.
What’s it like? Absolutely lovely. The fabric feels silky and luxurious under my face, and the knowledge that it is good for my skin is reassuring. I cram my favourite pillow inside the pillowcase, pummel the stuffing about for maximum comfort, and sleep like a baby. Even better, it washes like a dream and can withstand the rough and tumble of a laundry cycle. Those copper ions have been shown to remain effective for 100 machine washes.
Verdict: 5/5 I love it, particularly since the science behind it is sound.
MAGIC MEMORY FOAM
YourFace Pillow, £64.99 for standard size, amazon.co.uk
Alice says YourFace Pillow (pictured) was superbly comfortable but caused her to snore
Best for: Non-snorers.
What is it? This pillow, designed by a former acne sufferer, is made from high-grade memory foam which moulds to the contours of the head and neck. Side supports stop the user from rolling during the night so your face doesn’t touch the pillow.
What’s it like? Of all the pillows, this is the one I was most dreading testing. After years trying to discipline myself to sleep on my back, the ideal position to avoid wrinkles, I still can’t do it for a whole night, so the idea of being on my back all night wasn’t thrilling, and the side supports look as if they will trap my head.
But it is superbly comfortable. I sink into it and drop off. Half-way through the night, I can more or less turn to the side, though this does mean smushing my face into the pillow.
Verdict: 4/5 I think I could get used to it but my husband isn’t keen because he tells me this one makes me snore like a train.