Plopping Hair: Learn Everything About the Curly Girl’s Magic

Drying curly hair can be quite a task. A quick option is using heat tools that are not so safe for afro-textured hair. Among other options like wringing your hair in a towel, plopping your hair, and leaving it to air dry, the plopping hair method has proven to be the safest for curls.

If you have curly hair, your wash days are probably on your list of dreadful days. Curls are highly prone to frizz, and how they dry plays a part in getting frizzy hair with flyaways. The earlier you get your hair dry after washing it, the better for you.

So, maybe you have never heard of the hair plopping method or you haven’t learned so much about it yet. Ahead, this article details everything about the plopping hair method- what it is and how to do it.

What Is Plopping Hair?

Plopping is a hair styling technique that involves folding up your curls to get them to dry faster. It is also a heat-free styling method that relieves curly hair from the breakage heat tools cause. This hair drying and styling technique gathers your curls up into a mound atop your head.

This way, your hands can stay off the curls while they dry. Also, it is a way of keeping your curls frizz-free and giving them more definition. Moreover, the plopping method is a better option than towel drying your curls. The latter can ruin your curls and expose them to frizz, unlike plopping.

This hairstyling technique replaces a towel with a t-shirt. This is because towels will absorb moisture out of your curls (and leave them frizzy), and curls need moisture to keep looking their best.

Plopping is good for every hair type. If you have thick, long curls, here is a method to help you dry your hair quickly without any damage. In addition, people with fine, thin hair can also use scrunching to add more volume to their curls.

What Are the Benefits of Hair Plopping?

  • When you plop your hair, it gets dry in less time than it would if you were to leave it down
  • It’s a frizz-free hair drying method
  • Hair plopping is a heat-free styling method. Therefore, your hair doesn’t have to suffer breakage
  • When you plop hair with loose and fine textures, it adds more volume to the strands
  • A hair plop gives your curls more definition

Is Plopping Good for Natural Hair?

Yes, it is. Women with natural hair textures benefit greatly from plopping their hair. One of the many benefits of a hair plop is that it keeps natural curls intact. By folding up your hair into a plop, it keeps your curls in shape since they don’t he stretched out.

Additionally, this technique doesn’t use the cloth towels that roughen your hair cuticles. So, it keeps your cuticles smooth and protected from damages that can affect the overall appearance and texture of your hair.

Does Plopping Work on Straight Hair?

Yes, it does. You can give your straight hair a plop to add more definition to it. Moreover, plopping straight hair will give your strands more volume and texture. Folding your hair up into a messy bun underneath a t-shirt can be the trick you need to curl your straight hair.

In addition, it makes a good styling technique that adds a slight bend to your hair without using heat or too many products. Also, you don’t have to worry about frizzy hair or flyaways when getting curls with the hair plopping method.

How to Plop Hair

What you need: shampoo and conditioner, leave-in conditioner, two microfiber towels or long sleeves cotton shirts, wide-tooth comb, styling gel

Wash your hair

Plopping works with damp hair, so, hop into the shower and get your scalp and hair clean. Wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Rinse your hair with cold or lukewarm water. Make sure you rinse out the lather thoroughly.

Afterward, remove excess water from your hair. Do not wring out water with a cloth towel. You can either use one of the microfiber towels or old t-shirts to gently squeeze out water from your hair. You can also remove water by flipping your hair over and shaking out the excess water.

Apply styling products

Thereafter, apply a leave-in conditioner to soften and moisturize your hair. Also, apply the styling gel and use the wide-tooth comb to gently comb through. This will help to evenly distribute the product through your hair.

Plop your hair

Then, it’s time to plop your hair. Spread out the shirt on a flat surface. Flip your hair over and lower your curls onto the shirt. Make sure you gather all your hair together before you wrap. When you are sure all your hair is in a pile, pull the top of the shirt/towel over the nape of your neck.

If it’s a shirt, hold out the sleeves, pull them to the back of your head and make a knot to secure your hair. Then, tuck the loose ends of the shirt under the knot so the wrap doesn’t unravel. If it’s a towel, twist the ends of the towel into one, flip it over to the back, and tuck in the loose ends.

Leave hair to dry

After plopping, leave your hair to dry for 20-60 minutes. However, your hair may take longer to dry, depending on the type, texture, and porosity. Also, some people plop their hair overnight.

Untie the plop

When the time has elapsed or in the morning, carefully untie the plop to unravel new curls.

What Should You Do After Plopping Your Hair?

After plopping your hair, resist the urge to run a brush through your hair. Brushing your hair after getting your curls set will only straighten them out and expose them to frizz. After unraveling the new curls, use your fingers to release the curls.

You can also fluff them to make the curls fuller. Afterward, you can style your hair with curl styling products. But, you should remember that your products should be free of sulfates, parabens, and synthetic fragrance (these ingredients and curls do not get along).

SEE: How to Make Your Hair Curl Naturally Without Heat

What Are the Plopping Hair Mistakes?

1. Combing curls after hair plop

Do not comb your curls dry. After plopping, let your hair down to dry. Gently use your fingers to release them from the mound but do not comb or brush your hair afterward. This is why you should apply products to your hair when it is wet or moist.

However, if you must brush your curls, for instance, to detangle or distribute the product, use a Denman brush. This type of hairbrush carefully detangles your hair without pulling at the strands or stretching out the curls.

2. Washing your hair too often

Washing your hair too often is another mistake curly hair people make. Too frequent washing ruins curls because it exposes them to frequent rubbing to dry them and subsequent frizz.

You should wash your hair anytime you want to get a plop but remember that washing it frequently may not be a good idea for curly hair.

SEE: How Often Should You Wash Your Hair? A Complete Guide

3. Blow drying your hair after Plopping

After unraveling your curls, you should leave them to dry properly. Sometimes, you resort to a blow dryer to quickly dry your hair. However, this can be counterproductive because you opted for the hair plopping method to avoid heat tools.

But, if you are in a pinch, a hooded hairdryer is a better option. This type of dryer is less damaging because it diffuses heat and air rather than blasting heat directly to your hair as a blow dryer does. Moreover, blow-drying your hair after plopping will ruin your curls.

4. Using the wrong fabric

The ideal fabric for plopping hair is 100% cotton. It can either be a towel or an old t-shirt. This implies that you cannot use your bath towel to plop your hair. The texture of terry cloth towels leaves your hair frizzy because they absorb too much moisture from your hair.

Therefore, use a microfiber towel or a cotton shirt to plop your hair.

5. Not understanding your hair

Every hair care routine works differently for different hair types. You should know how fast your hair dries before you give it a plop. If your hair dries quickly, you don’t need to leave it to dry overnight. Otherwise, you’d plop your hair for too long. Also, not considering your hair porosity can make things go south.

SEE: How to Use Anti-Frizz Serum for Smooth and Shiny Hair

6. Not using styling products

Not applying styling products to your hair before you plop may not give you well-defined curls. These products are not just for the sake of it. Styling products help to retain moisture in your curls and keep them defined. So, do not downplay them and use them generously when next you’re plopping your hair.

7. Using heavy products

This mistake is common with people who have wavy hair. While curly hair types may fare well with heavy products like hair butter, these products will weigh down wavy hair. This will not give you your expected curl definition. In essence, if you have wavy hair, stick with lightweight products.

SEE: How to Take Care of Curly Hair- Avoid Bad Hair Days With These Easy Tips

Side Effects of Plopping Hair

  • Plopping can result in shrinkage, especially when you leave your hair folded up for too long
  • This method is not totally advisable for low porosity hair because this hair type takes longer periods to dry
  • Hair plop requires that you use a lot of products on your hair and this could result in a build-up on your scalp
  • Plopping your hair overnight can make your hair a breeding ground for fungus. Your hair stays wrapped for long hours and is not exposed to ventilation.


How often should you plop your hair?

To keep your curls looking smooth and shiny, you should plop your hair every time you wash it. Making a routine of plopping your hair will make your curls more defined and frizz-free. Moreover, it is a good way to get your hair dry quickly.

Can you brush your hair after plopping?

You shouldn’t brush your hair after you’ve plopped it. Brushing your hair afterward can pull at the curls and ruin them. Instead of brushing, add volume by using your fingers to fluff the curls. Thereafter, you can style your hair as you like.

Does plopping cause hair to shrink?

Yes, it does. One of the downsides of plopping your hair is shrinkage. Wrapping your locs together while wet and tieing them will eventually result in a loss of definition of your curls with shrunk hair. Also, you may have tangled curls.

Can you plop your hair for too long?

Yes, it is possible to plop your hair for too long. When you go overboard with plopping, it doesn’t cause any permanent hair damage but it can result in a reduced hair volume (shrinkage).


If your hair is wavy or curly, you should be doing the hair plopping method. This is the best way to keep your curls soft, frizz-free, and dry. Moreover, if you’re looking to add quick volume to your curls, you should plop your hair after washing. It is a quick way to style your hair.

Additionally, plopping hair is not only for those with curly or wavy hair, people with straight hair can also enjoy slightly curled hair without curling their hair with heat tools. The hair plopping method works the same for all hair types. Just make sure you’re doing it on wet hair.

Thanks for reading.

Read more related hair articles on Africana Fashion to keep your hair looking healthy and stylish.