The process of finding the perfect curly hairstyling routine can be full of trial and error. While it’s true that each curly hair type has general products, tools and techniques that tend to work well for people who fall into each respective category, it’s also true that each curly-haired person has their own unique styling routine based on what works best for them. Tried and true styling favorites for people with curly hair include using a diffuser to dry their spirals without frizz and using a leave-in curl cream to help define curl shape when leaving them to dry naturally. Switching either of these for a “plop” session might be the best decision. Here’s why.
What Does Plopping Mean?
A hair plop or the action of plopping the hair refers to a technique loved by curly queens and natural hair lovers alike. A curly hair plop is an action that involves wrapping clean, wet curls in a dry t-shirt or special towel to hold the curls’ shape in place as they begin the drying process. When a curl-defining cream or other professional hair care products for curly hair are applied before a plop, it can be even more effective.
The hair plop process is rather straightforward, but it requires a few non-negotiable elements. Most importantly, achieving a great hair plop requires a top-notch plopping device in the form of a cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel. These fabrics leave little room for substitution because the overall goal of plopping is not to dry the hair but rather to keep the hair damp and maintain a coiled curl position as the hair begins to dry, making it a game-changer in any curl care routine.
Tips for a Top-Notch Curl Plop
1. Prep and Prime
No curly hair care routine would be complete without the inclusion of a hair care product (or a few!) specifically designed for curly hair. For wet curls, in particular, a styling cream or curl-defining spray can make all the difference in the finished look because it works to define curls, tame frizz and create a sleek look as the curls dry. If curls are in need of an extra boost of nourishment before a plop, add in a professional hair serum before or after the curl styling products.
2. Get a Fabulous Fold
Wrapping, folding and tucking a great hair plop is an art form. It’s all about pressing the curls towards the head in a perfectly coiled form while wrapping the fabric around the head tightly and making sure it stays put. To get the perfect plop, start by lightly squeezing excess moisture from the hair after using a professional shampoo and conditioner. Proceed by applying leave-in products, oil or serum and curl creams to the hair.
To apply the hair plop, flatten a t-shirt or microfiber towel on a smooth surface. If using a t-shirt to plop the hair, make sure to keep the sleeves closest to the head. Finish strong by moving the head downwards toward the fabric, folding the far end over the top of the head and wrapping the closer end (or the end where the t-shirt sleeves are) around the head. Secure any loose fabric by tucking it under the bottom of the hair wrap. A snug and secure plop ensures even drying time across all sections of the hair and optimum curl definition!
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3. Wait a Minute
Depending on the average drying time, most people leave their plops in place for at least 10 to 20 minutes. Leaving the plop in place for a few minutes (or more) offers an array of benefits like softer post-styling curls, added moisture and shine, a bouncier curl shape and more. Some pro ploppers even leave their hair wrapped up overnight! If there’s no time for that, just be sure to allow some of the hair’s moisture to be absorbed before using a diffuser to finish up the drying process.
4. Post Plop Styling
After the curls have been taken out of their plop and dried, it’s time to style the hair and finish off the look. For a simple and chic curly look, choose from the different forms of texture hair products like sprays, pomades and more. These will give the hair a natural-looking touch of dimension and definition. For a more bold look that showcases freshly plopped curls, go for a bit of texture wax or styling pomade to make the look last all day long!