Taking a closer look to the build and materials of your pillows may give you some help when choosing one type or another.
The regular pillow
The pillow covering is going to be build first. It may be made of some thick, sturdy cotton or cotton-polyester fabric, but you may find other options too.
A cotton pillow is going to be a safe choice for many, even though it may not be the most breathable option out there. It’s easy to clean and to take care of, just keep in mind to wash it cold when in need.
You may want to go with a thick cotton pillow for a buckwheat pillow as it’s thick and rugged enough to take the weight of the buckwheat hulls and the intense use that buckwheat hulls may provide.
Cotton blend is also a regular option and it may impress many as it’s more breathable than cotton and doesn’t stain as much as a cotton pillow. It may come with memory foam or shredded memory foam filling, offering good comfort.
The cheapest option for a regular pillow would be one with a cotton blend sham and polyester filling. Even though it may serve you well for a while, don’t expect much of it. You get what you payed for.
What about bamboo pillows?
Bamboo pillows come in fact with bamboo cover and bamboo isn’t used as a filling for pillows. So when you’re getting a bamboo pillow, you’re getting in fact one that has a cover made of bamboo, and not the filling.
The market is full of pillows advertised as bamboo pillows when in fact they’re not bamboo at all (not their filling, anyway).
The other side of bamboo pillows
Bamboo pillows contain minimal bamboo, in most situations. They contain, however, memory foam which we all know it’s not quite the healthiest option that also traps your body heat, leaving you with an uncomfortable sleep.
You may also get the shredded memory foam option that comes encased within a cover that contains a bamboo-derived material, aka “viscose rayon”. The rayon is in fact removed from bamboo.
The viscose process, a common process that turns bamboo into rayon, requires spinning bamboo fiber in carbon disulfide, which is toxic and linked to developmental effects and even cancer.
Let’s not forget the part about the processes that produces rayon, which isn’t quite eco-friendly. The recovery of carbon disulfide is 50% in most factories, so you need to wonder where the other 50% is going.
Don’t fall for the “hypoallergenic” label either. There are no standards for manufacturers to use the term “hypoallergenic” for describing any of their products. Any company may very well label its product as hypoallergenic, without even testing it.
The good parts about the bamboo pillows
As far as we know, bamboo pillows may reduce back or neck pain. They may also alleviate pain but comfort is quite a personal matter so what works for you, may not work for others too.