Cotton: is a natural fiber. It is very hydrophilic, means it attracts water easily. It absorbs 25% of it weight in water before being saturated. Cotton is much more absorbent than many other fabrics because of its molecular structure. The arrangement of the molecules in cotton creates an abundance of places for water to be attracted to. Cotton is used for a variety of apparel including shirts, underwear etc because of it's absorbent qualities and is also used for making scarves and bandana but it is not a good choice for sleep scarves.
Raw silk: (made primarily by silk worms) is a premium fabric. Raw silk is 100% natural silk fiber. It has been around for centuries and is very expensive. As far as absorbency: It absorbs moisture up to 10-11% of its weight in water before being saturated. Silk will shrink from 4-8% when washed. Silk is a very good choice for hair scarves. Habotai (Ha-bo-toy) Japanese word meaning "soft as down" is a plain weave lightweight silk often used for lining, lingerie, scarves or blouses.
Nylon: is a man-made fiber that was made to replace silk. Nylon was used for making women’s stockings in the 1940's. It resembles silk chemically and has similar properties and feel. It absorbs 10% of its weight in water before being saturated. Also, textile makers add water repellent chemicals to nylon so that water drops will run off rather than be absorbed. Based on these qualities nylon like silk is a good choice for hair scarves.
Polyester is a man-made fiber and is non-absorbent, resists stains and washes well. Synthetic fabrics in general, have fewer places for water molecules to bond to; therefore even though other fabrics like cotton will attract and hold some water, polyester fibers do not have the capacity to absorb water. Polyester can be blended with natural fibers. Polyester satin is less expensive than silk and is easy care; it washes easily by machine. Because of it non-aborsobent properties, it's a good choice for scarves it will not wick moisture from hair.
Satin is not a fiber but rather cloth that is woven with a method that produces the distinctive shiny, silkiness we know as satin. Satin can be woven with silk, man-made fibers such as polyester, nylon, natural/synthetic blends, or cotton (called sateen). Shine from satin is derived through the method the fibers or threads are woven. Scarves are usually made with charmuese satin because it is a lighter weight satin weave. Heavy weight satins are often use in bridal or evening wear and usually have a shiny front and has a crepe back look and feel.
Tricot is a closely knitted cloth that can be made with natural or synthetic fibers or fiber blends such as silk, nylon, cotton, polyester. It is smooth on one side and has a slight texture on the other. Tricot is a sturdy yet soft material. It is typically used for women's undergargments and nightgowns as well as for lining bra. Tricot undergarments are especially helpful, since they do allow the body to breathe.