How to Get the Most Out of Your Wavy Hair with Plopping

Megan Dominion

When drying our hair, any rubbing or squeezing motion is harsh on the hair cuticle and can cause frizz or even damage or breakage. In drying hair, a good rule to follow especially for wavy hair is to handle it as little and gently as possible. The best way to go about drying wavy hair is hair plopping, but have you ever wondered what is hair plopping? Read more below.

What is Plopping?

Plopping is a method of drying damp hair in a self-contained pile on top of your head with a cotton T-shirt, pillowcase, or microfiber towel, which helps to increase definition and reduce frizz. Hair plopping dries wavy hair without disturbing the natural hair pattern, resulting in frizz-free, smooth, and encouraging defined waves.

It should not be confused with the towel-and-twist technique, as hair plopping goes a step further by handling your waves with care to keep your strands moisturized and clumps formed, which is especially important if you have high or low porosity hair. The beauty of hair plopping is that it is a heat-free and minimally disruptive method of styling your natural waves.

Why Plopping is so popular?

Hair plopping is an excellent tool for girls with curls and natural waves since it preserves the curl pattern rather than stretching them out. Aside from reducing the possibility of damage, plopping gives more defined curls and waves with less frizz since the curls can rest and dry in their natural pattern without being weighed down by the water. Here are some of the benefits why hair plopping is good:

  • Reduces drying time;
  • No heat tools are required;
  • Gives more volume, definition, and clumps;
  • Reduces frizz and keeps split ends at bay;

Plopping upside down

Does Plopping Work in All Hair Types?

First and foremost, plopping works best for girls that have waves, curls, or coils, and if you have wavy, almost-curly hair, plopping can make those waves clump together for a more volumized and defined look. If you’ve got straight hair, there are other methods you can try to add fluff and volume. To see if it is worth plopping your hair, try experimenting to see how your hair reacts.

Plopping will not always work well on Type 4 hair or those with super-tight coils, since it will only tend to trap moisture and prolong the drying time while increasing the chances of tangles by requiring you to scrunch and flip your hair, as well as increase the risk of hygral fatigue. Overall, plopping appears to work best on 2c, 3a, and 3b hair types, but eveyone’s hair is unique and we definitely think its worth experimenting no matter what hair type you have!


What You Need for Plopping Wavy Hair

Before proceeding with the steps on how to plop wavy hair, it is best to have these things prepared. You’ll need the following items to plop your hair:

  • Leave-in conditioner for detangling
  • Wide tooth comb or Paddle Brush (optional)
  • Curl-defining hair products like a serum, gel, mousse or cream
  • T-shirt made of cotton or a microfiber towel
  • Diffuser (optional)

Guide to Plopping Wavy Hair

Are you ready to use the plopping hair technique to make some wavy hair magic? For defined and frizz-free waves, follow this simple guide below:

Step 1: Clean your hair

Successful hair plopping begins in the shower. To begin your hair plopping process, start with clean hair by using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.

While applying conditioner, comb through your hair with a wide-toothed comb, a paddle brush or your fingers. Remember to use lukewarm water since hot water can cause your hair to dry out. Then, prepare your plopping cloth, which should be a large cotton t-shirt, pillowcase, or microfiber towel.

Step 2: Apply Leave-In Conditioner

The next step is to gently squeeze any excess water from your waves with your hands or t-shirt. Then apply your favorite leave-in conditioner, hair oil, and / or curl cream to your hair, working it through with your fingers. You can use a paddle brush to encourage clumps if you’d like, then scrunch your hair in an upward motion to encourage your waves.

Step 3: Plopping Time

Now, it’s plopping time! First, lay out your t-shirt with the sleeves facing away from you on a flat surface. Then, flip your hair over and place your curls in the center of your t-shirt. Wrap the bottom of your shirt around the back of your head, followed by the top. Tie a knot on your forehead with the sleeves, and you’re done.


Step 4: Let It Sit

Since time is essential for hair plopping, it is best to leave your waves in place for at least 20 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the hair, plopping can take anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours, but you don’t want your hair to take too long to dry as you risk damaging it. Plopping can be a great overnight styling technique, also known as overnight hair plopping.

Also read: Can you sleep on wet hair?

Ready to Plop?

Everyone’s hair is unique, so it is recommended to experiment with different ways to plop hair that suit your natural texture. Making changes like the products you use in your hair care routine can have a significant impact on your style. If you despise drying your hair, consider plopping it for the bouncy, defined, and hydrated waves you have been looking for without ever picking up any styling tools.

Top Mistakes when Plopping Hair
Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.