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How To Plop Curly Hair: A Complete Guide to Curly Hair Plopping

How To Plop Curly Hair: A Complete Guide to Curly Hair Plopping

Move over hair straighteners – your time in the sun is done (for now). Natural curls are the hottest hairstyle on the block, with today’s curly and wavy babes turning away from time-consuming straightening and embracing their corkscrews, ringlets and coils in all their glory. And it’s partly thanks to a TikTok-approved drying technique called plopping, yes plopping. 

If you’re blessed with curls but have never heard of hair plopping, you’ve been missing out on some of the best hair days of your life! A method of heat-free hair drying that tames frizz and flyaways, hair plopping is an easy, breezy way to enhance your unique curl pattern. And the good news is it’s just as effective on fine, frizzy-prone strands as it is on thick, luscious locks!

While it can take a little bit of practice to get right at first, once you’ve gotten the hang of plopping you’ll never turn back. So, to discover exactly what hair plopping is, why it’s beneficial and a step-by-step guide to doing it right, read on!

What Is Hair Plopping?

Hair plopping is a simple technique that uses a cotton or microfibre towel, t-shirt, pillowcase or something similar to dry wet curls in a self-contained mound on top of the head. Helping to increase the definition of your curls while also cutting down on frizz, it’s a smarter alternative to wrapping your hair in a towel at the end of a shower.

As everyone with curls knows, the twisted-towel method is simply a no-go. Why? Well, when you twist your curls in a towel, they get stretched out from the twisting motion and frizzy from the fabric of your bog-standard bath towel. With hair plopping, on the other hand, your wet curls stay compact and scrunched on the top of your head. This keeps your roots nice and volumised, your curls clumped together and your hair cuticle silky smooth.


The Benefits of Plopping Curly Hair

While hair plopping has been around for years, until recently people with curly hair have had very little guidance in the mainstream media on how to make their curls look luxurious and voluminous after a wash. Now, with the abundance of hair products formulated specifically for curly hair and hair plopping taking over social media, curls have never looked better.

What makes plopping curly hair such a popular hair-drying hack? Well, for starters, curls and waves are very easily weighed down by non-optimal drying methods. The weight of water and hair products naturally pull curl patterns down before hair has a chance to dry. This results in waves or curls that are loose, stretched and kind of ‘meh’. Hair plopping is so great because it actively works against this, giving curl patterns a fighting chance to come out the other side of the drying process intact.

What’s more, curly hair plopping cuts your post-shower maintenance work in half. Usually, once you’ve finished washing and conditioning your hair, you’ll add a leave-in texturising product and scrunch your curls to encourage the curl pattern to become more compact. Plopping is essentially doing a lot of the scrunching for you because it presses your hair to your head and keeps it there for an extended period of time, resulting in better definition and volume.

Lastly, hair-plopping curly hair can significantly speed up your hair’s drying time, especially if you frequently let your curls air dry. Plopping takes away a lot of the excess moisture that you would want to be absorbed before drying, without causing frizz. Plus, it absorbs any excess product if you’re a bit heavy-handed with your application.


How to Plop Hair – Step By Step 

What You'll Need:

  • A microfibre towel, cotton T-shirt, or a T-shirt towel
  • Your favourite styling products for your curl pattern

Step 1: Wash, Dry and Apply

Once you’re done washing your hair, scrunch out the excess water and apply your favourite leave-in conditioner and curling products. Our tip? Double down on the frizz-fighting action with a few drops of our Like A Virgin Miracle Hair Elixir

Step 2: Use a Towel or T-Shirt

Lay your towel (make sure it’s microfibre!) or t-shirt out on your bathroom counter or chair.

Step 3: Place Your Hair in the Towel

Bending at the waist, flip your hair forward so that all of your hair is in the centre of the towel and on top of your head.

Step 4: Tie the Towel

Take a flap of fabric that is behind your head and flip it over your neck. Tie the excess fabric (or sleeves if you’re using a t-shirt) behind your head and secure it with a knot. If you have extra material, wrap the extra length around to the front and tie the ends in a knot. 




How to plop your hair! Even if your hair is only slightly wavy, this works well✨ #ploppingtutorial #hairtok #wavyhair #hairstyle #haircareroutine #fyp

♬ original sound - carneyval


Hair Plopping FAQs

How Long Should You Keep Your Hair Plopped?

Ideally, you should leave your hair plopped for at least an hour for it to work its magic. Then you’re free to air dry or diffuse your hair. However, many people keep their hair plopped for way longer than that. Some even rock the plop overnight to ensure they wake up with beautifully defined and bouncy curls. With zero, zip, zilch frizz.

Should I Use a Towel or a T-Shirt?

A t-shirt and towel are equally effective for hair plopping – just make sure you stick with a 100% cotton tee or a microfibre towel. That means regular bath towels are off limits. Why? The weave and texture of regular terry cloth towels are a total tress trap. It’s super easy for individual strands of hair to get caught, causing them to separate and create frizz. 

Microfibre and cotton towels and shirts, on the other hand, are made with smaller, smoother fibres that are gentler on hair. So, reach for either when it’s time for you to plop!

Can I Plop Straight Hair? 

While plopping is often associated with enhancing waves and curls, it can still work wonders for straight hair, too! Although it might not create dramatic waves as it does for our curly-haired sisters, plopping can still help straight hair dry more evenly, reduce frizz, and add a touch of natural texture. 

So, if you're looking for a fuss-free way to enhance your straight locks and achieve a sleek, polished look, don't be afraid to give plopping a go. You might just be pleasantly surprised!

Can I Plop Wavy Hair? 

Absolutely! Plopping is like a match made in hair heaven for our wavy-haired queens. If you're rocking those beautiful waves, plopping can be a game-changer for enhancing and defining them.

Can I Plop Natural Hair (3c-4c)? 

3C to 4C hair refers to different curl patterns within the natural hair typing system:

  • 3C hair: tight curls with an S pattern.
  • 4A hair: tightly coiled curls with a visible S pattern.
  • 4B hair: less defined curls, more like a tight coil or zig-zag shape.
  • 4C hair: tightly coiled or zig-zag pattern with minimal curl definition.

Plopping might not be the most effective technique for tight, coily curls. Instead, you may want to explore other styling methods specifically tailored for tight curls, like finger coiling, twist-outs, or bantu knots. These techniques are better suited for enhancing and defining the natural beauty of your tight curls. 

Remember, every curl pattern is unique, so it's all about finding what works best for you and your gorgeous coils!

How Often Can I Plop My Hair?

It's generally recommended to plop your hair no more than a few times a week (as often as you wash your hair) to give your locks a break and let them breathe. Experiment and see what works best for you.

The Best Products for Plopping

Hair plopping is a great method for taming and styling your curly hair, so we highly recommend you try it your next wash day. Just remember that the products you use are just as important as the method itself – and our That’s a Wrap Bundle can help you get the curls of your dreams! With a microfibre towel, detangling brush and the iconic Like A Virgin Coconut & Fig Hair Masque, the kit contains everything you need for killer curls. Check out the bundle, smoothing hair serum and all of Coco & Eve’s products, today!


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Written By: Pip Jarvis 

Edited by: Vidhya


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15 May, 2023

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