Skip to content.
The Comprehensive Guide to Plopping Curly Hair & Common Hair Plopping Mistakes
The Comprehensive Guide to Plopping Curly Hair & Common Hair Plopping Mistakes

The Comprehensive Guide to Plopping Curly Hair & Common Hair Plopping Mistakes

Table of Contents

    Plopping curly hair is a quick and easy method to define and enhance your curls. If plopping your curly hair is something you have been hesitant to try, we have broken down all the answers to any questions you may have about plopping curly hair, giving you the best of the best steps to getting your desired look.

    What is Plopping Curly Hair?

    Hair plopping is a drying technique that people with curly to coiled hair use to define their curls and absorb excess moisture whilst still maintaining their natural curl pattern. It can be done by using an old cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel as these are the most gentle on your curl pattern and won't cause breakage.

    The Benefits of Plopping Curly Hair

    Hair plopping gives a wide range of benefits for the curly hair community:

    1. Enhanced Curl Definition

    As your hair’s natural curl pattern can be disrupted if the right hair care routine isn't applied, equally there are steps you can take to encourage your curl's definition. By bundling your curls through plopping, your natural curl pattern is defined and frizz reduced.

    2. Reduced Frizz

    Plopping curly hair helps to reduce frizz as this technique offers the least amount of friction or disturbance to your curls, which is key in reducing frizz and keeping your curls well-maintained and hydrated.

    Bamboo Hair Towel

    3. Preserves Moisture

    By gently plopping curly hair and removing excess water, you do not strip your hair of all moisture compared to when you blow dry your hair. This technique helps keep your curls hydrated and intact.

    4. Minimised Heat Damage

    Although after plopping your hair you can finish your hair off with a diffuser or heat styling tool, this technique encourages air-drying and helps speed up the air drying process by the plopping cloth absorbing moisture. This is particularly helpful for those with fragile or fine hair as excessive heat exposure can cause curl pattern interruption or breakage.

    5. Time Saving

    Hair plopping after showering is a quick method that you can use to remove excess moisture from your hair. It is a great technique that doesn't require much time or effort and it is the most gentle drying method for your curls. Plus, you can go about your day as your hair dries.

    Step-by-Step Guide to Plopping Curly Hair

    1. Prepare Your Hair

    Begin by washing your hair as normal with shampoo and conditioner. You can also do the co-washing method instead which will further retain your curl's natural curl pattern.  For more tips and tricks to this method read up on our blog on co-washing.

    2. Choose Your Plopping Cloth

    It is best to use a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel over a bath towel as traditional towels can cause frizz and friction, resulting in breakage and disruption of your natural curl pattern. Alternatively, you can wrap your hair in a bamboo hair towel wrap, as they are highly absorbent and this reduces the chances of frizz.




    3. Apply a Curl Product

    Once your hair is clean and the plopping cloth is selected, gently remove excess water by scrunching your hair in an upward motion. On damp hair, apply your favourite curl-supporting product, such as a leave-in hair curl cream or a curly hair gel. This will help support your curls in retaining moisture and holding their shape.


    4. Plopping Technique

    Place your chosen plopping cloth on a flat surface and flip your head forward, lining the cloth up with the nape of your neck. From there, gently lower your hair onto the centre of the cloth and allow your hair to fall naturally in place. Fold up the microfiber towel or t-shirt in half, up to the nape of your neck. Then grab onto the corners, wrap your hair into a turban-like shape and tie the ends in a knot in the front of your head. You can tuck the sides back under themselves or secure the ends with clips if needed.

    5. Let Your Hair Plop

    As your hair’s excess moisture is being absorbed, feel free to go about your day as needed. This process generally takes 20-30 minutes depending on your hair's porosity levels, thickness and curl pattern.

    6. Break Up Your Curls

    Once sufficient time has passed, gently remove your hair from the plopping cloth and break up your curls using either your fingers or a wide-toothed comb. You can finish your curls off with a hydrating curl spray to further set your curls.


    Curly Hair Products

    Common Mistakes with Hair Plopping

    Although hair plopping is a relatively easy hair care routine, here are the common mistakes people make with hair plopping:

    Using the Wrong Material

    Traditional bath towels can cause your hair cuticles to be disrupted by causing unnecessary friction and damage. This leads to frizz and breakage which can cause irreversible damage to your curls. Instead, opt for a microfiber towel, soft cotton T-shirt or bamboo hair wrap.


    When it comes to hair plopping, too much of a good thing can cause moisture stress. If you leave your hair wrapped for too long it can cause too much moisture to be absorbed and dry your hair out. That is why it is not recommended to wrap your hair overnight unless you are doing a deep conditioning treatment such as a coconut oil hair mask.

    Tight Wrapping

    Tightly wrapping your hair can cause your natural curl pattern to be kinked and disrupted. Instead, you want the hair wrap to be secure yet loose enough to give your curls room to breathe and preserve your curl pattern.

    Skipping Product Application

    Applying curly hair products such as a cream, gel or leave-in conditioner can do wonders for your curls. Skipping this step could lead to your hair overdrying in the plopping technique and end up with your curls looking frizzy rather than well-defined and hydrated.

    FAQs about Plopping Curly Hair

    How often should I plop my curly hair?

    You can plop your curly hair after every wash or before you style your hair. If you do it before styling your hair, make sure to wet your hair so it is damp before applying curly hair products and wrapping it up.

    When is the best time to plop curly hair?

    It is best to plop your hair right after washing your hair and applying curly hair products. This will encourage your natural curl pattern to set in this shape while the products help to hold it in place.

    How long should I plop my hair for?

    This is largely dependent on how your hair responds to the hair-plopping technique and how quickly it dries. It is always best practice to experiment with different timings that work for you, however, generally 20 to 30 minutes is sufficient to get the desired results.

    Can I plop my hair overnight?

    Unless you are doing a deep conditioning treatment, it is not recommended to leave your hair wrapped overnight. That is because sleeping on it can cause unnecessary friction and lead to breakage. For best results, wash your hair in the morning or with sufficient time before bed for it to dry fully.

    Should I plop my hair with a towel or t-shirt?

    Either or! As long as the towel is made of bamboo or microfiber materials, they will be gentle on your curls and give you the best results. However, a cotton t-shirt may be easier to tie to your head so play around with what you have at home and find what works best for you.


    Read more

    Please check out the rest of my blog posts for hair advice and more!

    Tash's Blog
    What Is Hair Slugging And Does It Really Work?

    Hair slugging is an effective way of making sure your hair gets all the moisture and protection it needs.

    Read the article
    What is Hair Porosity?

    Questions have been flooding in! And honestly, they’re super valid.

    Read the article
    Tash's Blog