Hair Plopping: The Foolproof Curly Girl Method for Defined Curls

All Things Hair | 07 March 2019
hair plopping technique

Plop, lock and roll! 

When it comes to getting the best curls of your life—besides styling —there are a number of curl-defining techniques that you can try. For one, we have the super cute pineapple hair method which can also be worn as a hairstyle, the diffusing technique and hair plopping. Sure, there are many others, but the latter—a simple hair drying routine that leaves you with defined and frizz-free curls is definitely a game changer for many curlfriends out there.

The technique is not challenging at all, but it’s definitely better for those who have some time to spare since it involves drying your hair with a towel for a full day or even overnight. (Editor’s note: use a micro-fiber towel or an old cotton t-shirt to prevent breakage.) Also, hair plopping may not work for every curl type out there. Thicker hair textures (and even shorter hair lengths) may experience curls that stay up after the drying process (trust us, we tested it). So, if the hair plopping technique doesn’t work for you, fret not, you’re not the only one. Try a few others until you find the drying method that works for your hair type.

Hair Plopping: How to Towel-Dry Curls for Definition

hair plopping apply water
Apply your styler after washing your hair.

Step 1: After washing your hair, apply your leave-in conditioner and/or styler whether it be a mousse (we like the Bed Head by TIGI Foxy Curls Mousse) or gel (editor’s pick: TRESemmé Flawless Curls Defining Gel ) throughout the lengths of your hair.


Step 2: Lay a T-shirt or microfiber towel on a flat surface. Bend your head forward—so your curls are cascading along the front of your face—and lower your curls over the towel or shirt. Keep lowering your curls until your crown touches the surface.

hair plopping curly hair
Tie a microfiber towel up into a turban then hair plop and chill!

Step 3: While your head is down, tie your t-shirt or microfiber towel into a turban to secure it in place. You can dry your hair overnight or wait a few hours until your hair is completely dry before removing your turban.

Step 4: Release and style your hair the way you prefer. If parts of your hair are still damp, use a dry towel to soak up the excess moisture or diffuse your hair.

Hair Plopping with a T-shirt vs. a Towel

Believe it or not, the secret to creating frizz-free curls lies in a humble cotton T-shirt. One of the main reasons your locks can look less defined is because the surface of the hair has been disturbed. This creates texture and gives hair a frizzy appearance.

To minimize the risk of disturbing the hair cuticles, use a soft cotton T-shirt or microfiber towel to wrap your curls in. As cotton is woven tightly and has a softer surface texture, it will be gentle on the coil, leaving your hair looking sleek.

Towels have a sturdier structure and can be used for this technique, but we recommend ladies with dry hair go the T-shirt/microfiber towel route instead.

Hair plopping less static = more defined curls
Less static = more defined curls.

Should You Try Hair Plopping for Volume?

Thin or limp-haired ladies, listen up: not only could plopping hair leave the curls more manageable, it also helps create volume. Air drying loose hair can create static (remember, static = frizz) as the curls move against each other. It can also leave your overall style looking flat as the weight of wet hair can pull the roots down against your head.

Hair plopping, however, can add lasting volume to your tresses as it keeps the curls compact. By securing your hair on top of your head, your curls will dry tight and lifted at the root, helping them look fuller.

Plus, this method will help enhance and define your curl pattern. So, you can always scrunch your coils with a little TRESemmé Flawless Curls Extra Hold Mousse to give them a boost.


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