Textile Terminology: A Guide to High-Performance Towels

We know the process of selecting high-quality towels is not always straightforward, particularly when you hear all the technical terms used to describe the softness, absorbency and durability of bath linens. Understanding the language of towels will help ensure that you get the look, feel and performance that you want.

The Truth about the Twist

Typically, yarn is twisted before it is woven into the towel in order to increase the strength of the fibers. By twisting the yarns, both short and long fibers can be used in production.

Standard Twist

Yarns made from short fibers, often referred to as short-staple cotton, are twisted and are notorious for becoming stiff and less absorbent over time.


By using long, strong, premium cotton fibers, such as Turkish cotton, the fibers don’t have to be twisted, but instead are put into a synthetic casing that dissolves when the yarn is dyed (all towels are dyed, even white ones!). Because there is no twist in the fibers, zero-twist towels have a larger surface area than standard twist towels, which increases their absorbency without adding bulk. It was with these factors in mind that we introduced our Izmir Collection with zero-twist, Turkish terry cotton.


To create a low twist, the yarn is twisted and then untwisted. Low-twist towels, like zero-twist, can only be made using strong, long-staple cotton fibers. De-twisting the fibers allows more air and space between the fibers for ultra-softness and absorbency. Our Riviera Collection is made from low-twist, 100% Turkish cotton finished with a minimalist hem for a clean and contemporary finish. Low-twist towels are often more durable than Zero-Twist towels when used over long periods of time, as the twist in the yarn helps further strengthen and protect the yarn.

The Fiber's Origin

After considering the twist, we’ve established that longer, stronger fibers result in towels that offer higher durability, a supreme softness and greater absorbency. While there are many other short-staple cottons on the market, let’s zero in on the two most common luxury, long-staple fibers on the market: Turkish cotton and Egyptian cotton.

Turkish Cotton

Turkish cotton, often grown in the Aegean Region, has long, strong and sleek fibers. The long fibers allow for fewer joints to occur when spinning the yarn resulting in stronger and smoother cotton threads. Turkish cotton’s smoothness and lack of texture does somewhat detract from the overall absorbency, however, it stands above the competition with its quick-drying properties.

Egyptian Cotton

Egyptian cotton has even longer and stronger fibers compared to Turkish cotton. Its fibers are often thicker and more textured to allow for added absorbency. However, research has shown that Egyptian cotton’s ultra absorbency can be too high for towels. Egyptian cotton towels absorb too much water and don't dry fast enough, causing them to remain wet long after use, giving rise to a musky smell.

The Weight of the Weave

Towels are measured in GSM: grams per square meter. This refers to the density of the fiber used to weave the towel. Generally the higher the gsm, the thicker the towel. However, similar to the misconceptions with thread count in bedding, a higher gsm does not always lead to a higher quality towel. First, you must also consider the type of fiber and the weave. An 800 gsm towel made from standard twisted, short-staple cotton may not offer the softness, absorbency and durability that you would experience in a 500 gsm, zero-twist towel made from long-staple Turkish cotton. Additionally, the thickness of the towel depends on the weave—a twisted towel may have a lower pile and higher feeling density than the equivalent zero-twist towel that will feel fluffier and plusher. So once again, like bedding, numbers are not the only metric for measuring quality.

Your Towel Style

Now for the fun part! With technical details behind us, when it comes to choosing the right towels for your bathroom, many of us are focused on curating the right look.

Izmir Collection

Ribbons Collection

Valencia Collection

A customer favorite, our Izmir Collection is made with a 550 gsm, zero-twist, Turkish cotton. Izmir towels are available in five classic colors—White, Ivory, Candlelight, Oyster and Sion—which were selected based on the most popular colors found in bathroom tiles and marble. These are finished with a tonal sateen piping for a timeless look and feel.

If you prefer towels with a bit more flare, we offer a variety of styles on our Izmir terry so you can truly design a unique look: Antalya offers a bound scallop finish; Bodrum has contrasting rounded piping; Ribbons features a pair of ribbons. And don’t forget our collection of laces—Doric, Morocco, Valencia and Wreath —which can all be added for a more refined, traditional finish.

Home Treasures Bath Linens

With a myriad of choices, we provide you the opportunity to create a space you daydream to return to each day. If you’re interested in updating your bathroom, we invite you to explore our extensive collection of towel options. And don’t forget, if you want to design something of your own, we’d be happy to customize something just for you and your preferences!