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How the founder of SLIP pillowcases is making it possible to soothe skin, reduce fine lines, and and tame frizzy hair — all while you sleep.
Written By ALINA GONZALEZ
In a new series, VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers for their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit. Here, we talk to Fiona Stewart, the founder of SLIP.
The first thing you need to know about a SLIP silk pillowcase is that it’s a beauty product, not a bedding product. And it’s divine. As with many luxury hero products, there is quite a backstory.
Fiona Stewart, who cofounded the company with her husband, Justin Dubois, was a longtime sufferer of painfully sensitive skin caused by cystic acne. Her dermatologist told her that sleeping on a silk pillowcase would be far more gentle on her skin and hair than traditional cotton or linen cases. Sleeping on silk has been “a longstanding beauty secret among grandmothers who used to sleep on silk scarves,” says Stewart.
And while today you can pretty much find anything on Amazon, locating a silk pillowcase in 2003 proved to be impossible. “I tried everywhere to find one back then, and I couldn’t,” she says. Desperate for relief when her skin worsened, she ended up buying a roll of silk from the fabric store and wrapping it around her pillow. “I couldn’t sew,” she laughs. Necessity is the mother of invention.
The switch to silk made a huge difference, almost immediately. Where Stewart used to have deep sleep creases that burrowed in overnight and took hours to go away, she was now waking up sans wrinkles. Her dry, itchy skin (the result of acne medication) was much less irritated in the morning. And her hair was smooth and frizz-free. See you later, bedhead. Realizing the opportunity in the marketplace, Stewart and her husband collaborated on a small test run for friends and family, and the rest is history.
You’d be surprised how fired up Stewart can get someone about silk pillowcases. While speaking with the entrepreneur, who lives in Australia, I grew anxious because I wasn’t yet sleeping on silk. I was eager to swap out my entire bedding set, duvet included (because what about your body skin?), just to reap the skin and hair benefits. “Dermatologists say they can instantly tell what side of your face you sleep on because of the way cotton pillowcases crease the skin over time,” she says. “When you wake up with the same sleep creases in the same place every day, they end up getting ironed into your skin as wrinkles,” she says. Her use of ironed sends a shiver down my spine—I can practically feel my face folding as we speak.
If you’re going to spend money on serums, creams, and sunscreen to protect your skin, it’s almost silly not to switch to silk, too. Luckily, there’s SLIP for that, and you can bet I made the switch shortly after our call ended.
What is the atmosphere of your bedroom?
Minimalist and calm. Very white with white orchids.
Please describe your bed and your favorite thing about it.
California king, so the whole tribe can fit. My favorite thing about it is my SLIP pillowcase—obviously!
What time do you wake up?
5 a.m. I am an early riser. I always have been, and I love it.
Do you set an alarm?
It’s important to delegate. We have a 2-year-old. That’s his job.
How many hours of sleep do you require?
I am happy if I get seven.
Any bedside beauty essentials?
A SLIP sleep mask, of course. And we are developing and trialing a beauty sleep mist. I am loving it, and I’m sleeping better.
Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?
I am a double espresso at 5 a.m. kind of gal. Then I have breakfast with the family later.
Do you work out in the a.m.?
Ideally, yes. Realistically, not so much.
What is your morning skincare regimen?
If I can get my Clarisonic away from our toddler, Remy (he tries to clean the shower with it!), I use that first. Then I use a Dr. Gross skin serum and face cream, and then apply my makeup. I’m keen to try a ZIIP.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
What business do you conduct before 10:00 a.m.?
I focus on our international business first thing in the morning.
What time do you head to your office?
I feel like my iPhone is my office, and I am always there!