How to ‘plop’ your hair for smooth no-heat curls

If you’re a curly-haired human, listen up – because hair plopping is something you need to know about. 

How often do you plop? If you’ve got curly hair, the answer should be ‘after every single wash’. Confused? Let us explain. Hair plopping (despite its odd name) is actually a common technique used to help dry curly hair – no heat required. 

While the name might throw you off at first, if you’ve got curly hair you’re probably already familiar with the technique. If not, here’s how to plop your hair (because trust us, it makes all the difference…)

What is hair plopping?

Hair plopping is a technique used to dry the hair in a gentle way that doesn’t disrupt the curl pattern and aims to reduce frizz.

‘Those with finer, wavier loose curls who need help when it comes to gaining curl definition can benefit from hair plopping,” says owner of O So Curly, Shannon Fitzsimmons.

“It’s ideal for those that may struggle to achieve full bouncy curls and instead experience limp elongated curls when styling their hair,” adds Fola, curly hair expert and The Curl Coach.

How to plop your hair 

To plop your hair, you’ll need a few things:

  • A good, detangling leave-in conditioner
  • A curl-defining hair product (this could be a serum, gel or cream)
  • A cotton T-shirt or microfiber towel
  • A diffuser (optional)

First, apply your leave-in conditioner and styling cream on wet, freshly washed hair. To minimise frizz forming, it’s a good idea to apply these products in the shower, whilst your hair is still soaking wet – this way, your hair doesn’t get the chance to start air drying without any additional help.

Next, lay your head forward onto a cotton T-shirt or microfiber towel (this is where the ‘plopping’ part comes into play) and carefully wrap the excess fabric around your hairline – leaving your hair nestled on top of your head.

“Be careful to not touch your curls or the T-shirt/towel too much whilst your hair is drying,” advises Fitzsimmons. “As you want to avoid disrupting the curl pattern.”

Finally, leave your hair for 20-30 minutes before unravelling and letting your hair dry naturally. At this point you can finish off drying your hair with a diffuser, or simply leave your hair to air dry as it is. 

Why should you use a T-shirt for hair plopping?

There’s a good reason for why plopping requires the use of a microfiber towel or cotton T-shirt. They’re both really absorbent fabrics that will help to dry your hair quickly, without adding excess friction against the hair shaft(caused by large fibres found in your everyday towel) that can then result in a disrupted curl pattern. 

The best curly-girl products for hair plopping

  • Kitsch Microfiber Hair Towel

    Not only does this hair towel speed up drying time, the microfibre material leaves hair feeling softer and smoother.

    Kitsch Microfiber Hair Towel, £15.50

    Buy Now

  • Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In Conditioner

    “Go for something that is water-based and hydrating to moisturise your curls,” says Fola. We recommend Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Leave-In Conditioner, £10.99.

    buy now

  • Bouclème Curl Defining Gel

    This cult product defines curls without leaving them feeling hard or sticky. It also contains aloe vera leaf, pomegranate and linseed to leave hair soft and bouncy.

    Bouclème Curl Defining Gel, £15

    buy now

  • Tresemme 2200 5543U Diffuser Hair Dryer

    While it’s an optional step, using a hair diffuser can help to deliver bouncier, shinier curls.

    Tresemme 2200 5543U Diffuser Hair Dryer, £23.49

    buy now

Main image: Getty

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