Hi, You Should Try the Plopping Hair Method (Here’s How to Do It)

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When it comes to washing your hair, the hardest part comes after rinsing out the shampoo and conditioner. Heck, the drying process itself can feel like an all-day event. But what if we told you that there’s a technique that could potentially cut your drying time by half? Meet the plopping hair method: A technique that’s been around forever, but you may have overlooked. Here’s everything you need to know about plopping and how to do it at home.

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hair plopping cat
Design Art By Kaitlyn Collins

So, What Does ‘plopping Your Hair’ Mean?

The plopping hair method involves gathering all your waves or coils at the top of your head and wrapping them up to keep your curl pattern intact while your hair dries. Not only does plopping cut down on drying time but it also requires no heat (so you can goodbye to breakage). And since you’re not relying on your handy diffuser to get the job done, the end results are smoother and more defined than before.

As for the silly sounding name, it’s actually a bit of onomatopoeia. Listen carefully when you go to try this technique. Notice how your wet hair “plops” when you lay it down against your head?

How do you plop hair?

Thankfully, you’ll only need one thing: something to wrap your hair with. We recommend a microfiber towel (especially ones made for plopping hair). But, if you don’t have one lying around, you can use an old T-shirt instead (preferably 100 percent cotton and large enough to wrap with). Both options are super absorbent and gentler on your curls than a regular towel. Now that you have the key product, you can follow this easy guide to plopping.

Step 1: Apply your favorite styling products (i.e., leave-in conditioner, curl cream, oil, etc.) to prep your hair.

hair ploppng step 1
Design Art By Kaitlyn Collins

Step 2: Next, lay your towel (or T-shirt) on a flat surface. If you’re using a shirt, you want the neck hole facing you.

hair ploppng step 2
Design Art By Kaitlyn Collins

Step 3: Bend your head down, flip your hair over and ‘plop’ it in the middle of your towel or shirt. Make sure your hair is gathered in the dead center of it before proceeding to the next step.

hair ploppng step 3
Design Art By Kaitlyn Collins

Step 4: Now comes the fun part, which is wrapping your hair.

  • If it’s a T-shirt: Grab the bottom of the shirt and lay it over your head so it touches the nape of your neck. Then, begin twisting the sleeves around your hair and tie it up on top of your head to secure everything together.
  • If it’s a microfiber towel: Follow the same steps as the T-shirt, but instead of wrapping the sleeves around your hair, twist the sides of the towel before tying them together on top of your head. Tuck any excess fabric underneath or, if you have a lot of extra material, wrap it towards the front for an even more secure wrap.
hair ploppng step 4
Design Art By Kaitlyn Collins

Step 5: Finally, lift your head up and pat yourself on the back for successfully plopping your hair for the first time.

How long do you plop your hair?

Honestly, it’s up to you. You can leave your hair plopped while you’re busying yourself around the house for 10 to 20 minutes. Or, you could play another episode of Virgin River and keep it on for 30 to 60 minutes. Heck, you can even leave it overnight, while you get your beauty rest.

It all depends on your hair type, texture and length. With a few trials, you’ll find a rhythm that works best for your hair. (And of course, if your hair is still damp post plop, you can let it air-dry or use your diffuser on just those areas.)

Is plopping actually good for your hair?

Yes! Many wavy, curly and coily gals can benefit from plopping their hair. While twisting your hair up in a regular towel might be fine on straight strands, it can stretch out curls and rough up the cuticle, leaving them frizzy and more prone to breakage.

Plopping keeps your curl pattern in place, while bringing the volume, shine and definition you’re looking for once your hair has dried. It does this by lifting your roots and drying your hair from the top rather than weighing it down.

Can the plopping hair method be done on all hair types?

Yes, but people with waves and looser curls (2A to 3B) will benefit the most from plopping. For those with tighter curls and coils (3C to 4C), it will dry your hair effectively, but can also lead to shrinkage, a loss of definition and tangles. However, you can still benefit from this technique by taking an extra step and braiding or twisting your hair before wrapping it up.

Dread drying your hair? Consider plopping it instead for the bouncy, hydrated curls you’ve been searching for without ever having to pick up a diffuser.

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...