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An Interesting Addition: Silk Cocoons

Recently I was shopping silk for my family, and since I used to work with Lilysilk I was receiving a lot of promotional emails about them. One of the more interesting items I saw was something they called “Beauty Cocoons”.

Now, being a man, I didn’t really care much for beauty aside from the occasional Vaseline smearing on my face when I’m heading out in winter, but somehow these caught my attention. I was thinking of getting some for my girlfriend before I discovered, to my pleasant surprise, that Lilysilk included a sample of 10 cocoons in the pillowcase bundle I got from them. Free stuff is always welcome.

Now, my girlfriend was out of town and curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to give the cocoons a try (hey, gotta be the gentleman and taste the poison right). So I did what I was instructed. After soaking the cocoons in lukewarm water for about a minute, the initially hard cocoons became soft. I then tried wrapping one around my finger and messaged my face with it

Well, to be honest with you, I really didn’t feel that much of a difference, which I suppose is to be expected. My girlfriend just scoffed when she heard I was expecting difference with a single use. Anyways, she’s really into this kind of stuff and spends a royalty on beauty products regularly, so naturally she went on to try the rest of the cocoons and went on further to buy another 200 after a week’s usage. According to her, the cocoons were able to remove stuff that even her deep cleaning facial cleaners could not, blackheads and all and I believe her she does look more refreshed after she started using these cocoons.

I’ll ask her to post something afterwards regarding her experience with these cocoons. First-person account count for more than my bystander experience after all, and in the meanwhile I’m going to do a bit of research on these cocoons and why they work.


So with that taken care off, lets take some time to talk a bit more about silk cocoons which, my girlfriend Jan had been using consistently for the past 2 weeks. I gotta say Im starting to notice a difference too, her face is definitely smoother to the touch and when she smiles her face simply beams. I guess the cocoons are doing its work.

So why does it work? Well, to be honest with you, there are no definitive conclusions since the cocoons, while ancient, is so little known in the West that big industry names have not bothered to do research into it, save for a few select studies here and there. Good thing though, is that I understand Chinese and Japanese, which are the two biggest markets for silk cocoons, and here are some things I found out:

1. Silk cocoon works a bit differently from silk facial masks.

The facial masks focuses on two specialties of silk moisture preservation and nutritional nourishment, which is why users of silk facial masks report tender and plumper skins. The cocoons, however, due to their natural and unprocessed state, contains a much higher percentage of sericin, a.k.a. silk glue. Sericin, while slightly irritating in large quantities, is the perfect beauty compound:
It is adhesive. The glue part of sericin makes it a great agent in taking off any hard-to-remove dead skin as well as dirt hidden deep within the pores in your skin. Perfect if your face is prone to blackheads and pimples.
It replenishes collagen. This is currently being researched into, but there is a clearly positive correlation between contact with sericin and improved collagen regeneration. For those of you who dont know what collagen is its what keeps your facial skin (and really, skin all over your body) elastic.
It repels all kinds of harmful bacteria. Sericin not only glues the cocoon together, but also acts as a protective layer that keeps harmful bacteria away from the pupa inside. Likewise, massaging with silk cocoons would help you dispose harmful bacteria on your face.
It is natural. Sericin is a naturally occurring protein produced by silk worms, and contains the 18 kinds of amino acids a human body requires for proper functioning. It is completely natural and has been proven to be harmless to human skin in small quantities.

Here is an article from the Daily Mail for those wanting real scientific proof that the cocoons work:

so if you feel that there are things (dirt/blackheads/oil) clogging up your pores, silk cocoons work amazingly well. According to Jan it was better than the many brands of deep facial cleaners she used before.

2. Silk cocoons are *really* big in Japan and China.

Its one of the most common household facial cleaning tools in Japan, thanks to TV endorsements by some of the most famous cosmeticians and beauty therapists. (If you know Japanese I can give you some names and you can research into it yourself.) These cocoons go back a few centuries, however, all the way back to feudal times when the most famous Oirans or more commonly known as Geishas of the ancient capital Kyoto used them exclusively for facial cleaning. There is, in fact, a book on this topic called Japanese Women Dont Get Old or Fat by Naomi Moriyama (I know the title sounds very offputting, but it was a fun read).

A research into Chinese history reveals more amazing facts compared to the Japanese, the ancient Chinese, who mastered the production of silk over 2000 years ago all the way back in the Han dynasty, started to use silk cocoons as beauty products as early as the first century! Unfortunately, silk had always been a priviledge available to the aristocrat and literati classes exclusively in ancient China, which is probably why that it was not as widespread as Japan in terms of use. It was mentioned, however, in many different ancient Chinese medical works spanning over 10 centuries, the most famous being Ben Cao Gang Mu about 500 years ago, and most of the books noted its healing properties on coarse skin. Crazy huh?

Anyways, thats all Im going to say about silk cocoons for now. Its fun to dig deeper around such an item that is seemingly insignificant and find so much history and modern research around it; however, beauty products really arent my thing. Next time Im going to go back to actual silk stay tuned!

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