Calling all curlies: are you plopping?

If you're blessed with curls, “plopping” is the hot news of the day. We take a look at what it’s all about and how it can give you the best curls in town – smooth, defined and with some extra lift. 

Many of us curly tops find that our curls are smooth and nicely defined when they’re wet but often they become frizzy and poorly defined when dry. It seems that the all-important step most of us are ignoring is the one between wet and dry and that by simply adopting plopping, you can make every day a good hair day.

In essence, plopping (admittedly a slightly weird word to associate with hair) means adding your favourite styling product to wet hair, ‘dropping’ your hair into a t-shirt, wrapping it into a turban and giving it time.

There are different schools of thought on plopping durations - some people plop for 20-30 minutes, others wait two hours, and some let their hair dry overnight; we suggest you experiment to see what best suits your hair and lifestyle. 

Naturally Curly’s website provides a handy illustration of how to plop and what you need but here's an overview:

  1. Decide what to plop with. Luckily, plopping doesn’t equal shopping because it’s highly likely you already have what you need at home – styling products and a t-shirt or a microfibre towel. Ordinary towels aren’t suitable as they absorb a lot of moisture and moisture retention is what you need for lovely smooth, defined curls.

  1. After you’ve washed your hair, scrunch out excess water and apply your leave-in conditioner. Hairfix Silk + Reconditioning Masque is ideal, as is Keratin Smooth, Keratin Straight - don’t worry, it won’t act as a straightener in this scenario).

  1. Lay a T-shirt (long-sleeved works best) or a microfibre towel out on a chair, bed or other flat surface, with the sleeves end closest to you. 

  1. Bend forwards and flip your hair downwards, so that all of your hair is in the centre of the towel and on top of your head (a bit as though you're doing a handstand but no gymnastics required!)

  1. Take the flap of fabric that’s furthest away from you (the t-shirt hem), and pull it upwards towards the nape of your neck; then tie the long sleeves of the shirt (or extra fabric of your towel) behind your head in a knot. If you have extra material or used a long-sleeved shirt, wrap the extra length of the sleeves around to the front and tie the ends in a knot to make your turban more secure. 

Then what?

The t-shirt soaks up moisture from your hair without creating frizz, significantly cutting down your drying time. It will also help absorb any excess product, so you don’t end up with hard, crunchy curls.

For those with fine hair or looser waves, plopping can create lift at the roots because your hair is drying on top of your head rather than being weighed down.

If on some days your waves or curls tend to disappear or look limp, this will enhance your curl pattern by scrunching up the curls while they dry.

What our team says

“I’ve often noticed that if I wash my hair and leave it to mostly dry wrapped in a towel, I get a smoother result. Now that I’ve tried the t-shirt and official plopping, I get great curls and great root lift.” Jacquie (shoulder length, loose curls)