Hair Plopping: How To Plop Your Hair, Benefits, How Long?

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hair plopping

Traditionally, achieving super-defined curls involved using heated rollers, curling tongs, or straighteners which damage the hair when used too frequently.

What if I told you that there is a method of achieving picture-perfect curls without using heat?

This is where hair plopping comes in.

Many people assume that if you have curly hair, your curls will naturally bounce and have that ‘perfect’ definition.

This is far from the truth.

The reality is that a lot of people struggle with frizz, and flyaways.

What is Hair Plopping?

Hair plopping is a safe technique for drying curly hair and defining the curls. It results in voluminous, frizz-free natural looking curls.

This method involves gathering the hair at the top of the head and wrapping it around using a t-shirt or a microfiber towel.

Hair plopping is curly girl method approved and was born from one of the Naturally Curly forums.

This technique works like magic on your curls giving them the perfect shape and definition.

For this method to work well, use a soft fabric, such as a microfiber towel, cotton t-shirt, or hydrophilic cloth. 

Avoid using a normal towel as it absorbs moisture which is very important for the curls to pop.

How to Plop Your Hair (A Step by Step guide)

Step 1: Wash & drain excess water

First, your hair should be washed properly before you start the plopping technique.

Use a gentle moisturizing shampoo and then proceed to condition.

In order to open up the cuticles and to retain the natural oils on your scalp, use lukewarm water.

As you wash, gently massage the shampoo through the scalp.

When done, scrunch out the excess water. This helps define the curls.

 Step 2: Apply a leave-in conditioner

The next step involves applying a leave-in conditioner.

You can use the LOC method or the LCO method to keep your hair properly moisturized. These methods entail applying a leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream in a systematic order.

If you are not using the LOC/LCO method, proceed to apply your styling products starting from the roots down to the ends of your hair.

Ensure the hair soaks up enough product as plopping works effectively on wet hair.

Step 3: Lay a cotton t-shirt/microfiber towel on a flat surface

Lay your cotton t-shirt/microfiber towel on a flat surface such as a bathroom counter with the sleeves facing you.

Normal towels tend to be too rough enhancing frizz on your curly hair.

Cotton on the other hand is smoother and gentler for your curls.

Step 4: Gather your hair

Gather your hair into the plopping cloth (t-shirt or towel) by flipping it upside down and concentrating it on the center of your plopping cloth.

Ensure all the hair gets into the cloth.

Step 5: Wrap the hair

Proceed to wrap the plopping cloth around the hair.

Using the sleeves of the T-shirt, tie them in a knot in front of your head. You will create a cute turban on your head.

Step 6: Tie up loose ends

Ensure all loose ends are all tied up. You can do this by tucking any loose ends in the knot you created in Step 5.

This makes your turban more secure.

Step 7: Wait for the curls to set

The final step is the easiest as you only wait for your beautiful curls to pop.

How long you wait entirely depends on you.

You can go about your daily routine or simply sleep overnight as the curls set in.

It may take a few trials to come up with the perfect dry time for your hair.

When you finally unwrap your hair, you will be surprised with gorgeous, beautiful, and bouncy curls that are free from frizz.

How to Plop Hair (Video Tutorial)

For those who prefer visual instructions, we recommend this video by the Glam Belle.

Benefits of Plopping Hair 

1. Naturally defines curls

The greatest benefit to plopping hair is that it results in super-defined curls without using heat or other damaging styling techniques.

This method naturally preserves and enhances the curl pattern with minimal effort.

2. Speeds up drying time

Hair plopping is great because it speeds up your hair’s drying time, especially if you frequently let your curls air dry and gives them life as they remain intact throughout the whole process.

The plop cloth works miracles to absorb any excess water without causing frizz.

It absorbs any excess product if you applied too much product to your hair.

3. Reduces post-shower maintenance work

Plopping cuts your post-shower maintenance work in half.

It essentially does a lot of the scrunching for you because it presses your hair to your head and keeps it there for a while, resulting in better definition and volume.

4. Keeps the hair heat safe

with this technique, you don’t have to use heat styling tools like hair dryers thus keeping your hair heat safe.

This prevents split ends.

5. Adds volume to the hair

Plopping can add hair volume at the roots because your hair dries on top of your head instead of hanging down.

How Long to Plop Hair?

Some people plop their hair for 20 minutes, others for 1 hour, and some even have the plop overnight to ensure they wake up with beautifully defined and bouncy curls to start their day.

How long it takes hugely dependent on your hair type, porosity, length, and lifestyle.

It might take a little trial and error to find what best works for you. You should leave your hair plopped enough for it to work its magic then you’re free to air dry or diffuse your hair.


For quick reference, here is a summary of the steps on how to plop hair:

  1. Wash & drain excess water
  2. Apply a leave-in conditioner
  3. Lay a cotton t-shirt/microfiber towel on a flat surface
  4. Gather your hair
  5. Wrap the hair
  6. Tie up loose ends
  7. Wait for the curls to set

As we’ve seen, plopping hair is a safe hair drying method that protects the natural curl pattern.

And the best thing about this technique is that it is easy and effective.

If this is a method that sounds interesting, why don’t you give it a try during your next wash day?

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