WTH is hair plopping?

If you’ve spent enough time in the curly world, you know that there are trends everywhere, and you may feel like you need a dictionary to keep up. The terms get more fun each time, and are constantly evolving. 

But there’s one hair technique that has taken the curly world by storm and has become a staple in most styling, and that’s hair plopping. Once a simple verb, now a method used everywhere - and taken on several forms! 

If you’ve somehow missed it, we’ve got you covered (and suggest you give the method a try!). Curly hair plopping is an amazing way to encourage your curls, helping them keep their definition and moisture all at once. The basic method involves applying your stylers then flipping your hair, wrapping it up vertically, and then going about your business for at least 15 minutes until the curls have set. It gives you time to do your makeup, call your mom, whatever it is you need all while your curls set perfectly into place. 

It was originally popularized by influencers and trailblazers like @hif3licia, @naturallycurly and @curlypenny, and is everywhere now. But the thing is - plopping isn’t just plopping anymore. There are several, shall we say interesting, takes on the styling methods. Today we’re breaking each one of them down 

Plopping in a t-shirt 

A huge benefit of plopping in a t-shirt is that cotton is fast at absorbing water from our hair. If you’ve got hair that’s well hydrated, and you don’t want to invest in anything fancy, this is your method. But if you’re someone who generally struggles with moisture retention, we’d advise the next option.


If you’re ready to take on this method grab a t-shirt (or a long sleeved t-shirt):

  1. Style your curls as you regularly do, and scrunch upwards for definition and to get some moisture out. 
  2. Lay your cotton t-shirt on a flat surface - a countertop, floor, or bed will work. The neckline of the shirt should be closest to your body.
  3. Flip your styled locks onto the shirt. 
  4. Tie the sleeves in a knot along the base of your neck.
  5. Flip the bottom half of the shirt over your hair, tucking any loose ends into the knotted part of the t-shirt. Tighten any places where it feels loose.

Plopping in a towel 

As we discussed in our last blog, microfiber towels are god’s gift to curly haired humans. The synthetic fiber of microfiber has naturally moisture wicking properties, which allows your hair to dry without taking out too much necessary moisture for your hair’s shine. Plus the fibers are super gentle, which means they help preserve your curl pattern.


Here’s how to do it:
  1. To plop with a microfiber towel, style your curls as you regularly do, then lay your microfiber towel on a flat surface horizontally.
  2. Flip your styled locks on to the center of the towel. 
  3. Pull the top edge of the towel towards the base of your neck and the bottom edge of the towel towards your forehead.
  4. Grab the excess material on the left and right ride and hold it against your ears (as if you were making towel pigtails).
  5. To secure, begin twisting your towel pigtail, tightening with each twist. Tie the twists together in either the front or back of your head. 
  6. Let sit for as long as desired, then finish by air drying or diffusing. 

(Begins at 6:50)

Plopping with a shower cap otherwise known as the ‘wet plop’

Plopping with a shower cap is an incredible way to get the benefits of this method and not have to look any further than things you have in your bathroom. It also gives the extra benefit of keeping products away from sensitive skin, thus helping to avoid any bacne. 

To plop using a shower cap:

  1. Style your curls as you normally do. 
  2. Flip your hair upside down and gather your curls gently into a shower cap, starting at the ends and slowly lifting them until the band sits around your temple.
  3. Let your curls sit for 5-10 minutes before diffusing or air drying.  

Plopping with a pasta strainer

This one might seem crazy, but it gives lots of amazing people including influencer @holycurlriri great results (if you don’t believe us, check youtube). Here, you’re both plopping and diffusing, for a kitchen friendly and beautiful curl hack! The only trade off of this method aside from feeling like rigatoni is that you’ll be going more for definition rather than volume. 

To do this:

  1. Cup your wet curls in the strainer, and lift your ends up to the roots. 
  2. Turn your blow dryer on and blow air on the strainer/your beautiful curls. 
  3.  Move from section to section, turning your dryer on and off as you go. Also make sure to keep an eye on the heat setting of your blow dryer, so that you don’t melt or overheat the strainer. 


Net plopping 

Net plopping has recently gained traction with influencers like @hif3licia and @curlypenny. This one might take some practice, but when our favorite curlfriends swear by it, we listen! Net plopping is an amazing method, because if you have longer curls, it allows you to completely aerate them while getting the same compression benefits of plopping. Plus, you’ll have that same brilliant pasta strainer hack - but no diffuser is required! 

Here’s how to net plop:

  1. Style your hair as you normally do, making sure to scrunch out any excess moisture. 
  2. Stretch a fishnet stocking on top of your bed, and carefully drop your curls into the top opening (aka where your bum usually sits within stockings). 
  3. Wrap around the ‘legs’ of the stocking to secure your curls in place. 
  4. Diffuse section by section. 
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