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Hair Plopping Technique 101: How to Plop Hair With a Shirt

Written by on August 21, 2020

Between chunky highlights, ditching foundation, and now hair plopping, quarantine has brought about several beauty trends no one saw coming (kind of like my newfound puzzles addiction). If you would’ve told me a year ago I’d spend the majority of 2020 at home, I would’ve predicted my most luscious hair days yet. With nowhere to go and plenty of time for cleansing, deep conditioning treatments, and hair masks, lockdown sounds like a recipe for dream curls. It turns out my predictions were wrong though, because getting through my tangles has proven harder than ever lately. I don’t know whether it’s due to split ends (like most, I haven’t had a haircut in a minute), but recently I’ve struggled to detangle my hair no matter how much conditioner I use, and thanks to extremely stubborn knots, I’ve been losing more hair in the detangling process. So when I heard curly girls on TikTok were raving about “hair plopping”—a styling technique that results in frizz-free, defined, hydrated curls—I was in. I thought finding a way to decrease frizz might mean less of a headache once wash day rolled around again.What is hair plopping?Hair plopping isn’t new—curly girls on YouTube have been demonstrating the styling technique for years, but its recent resurgence on TikTok has people rediscovering the benefits of the #PlopLife. Here’s how plopping works: First you apply your regular styling products to freshly washed, still damp hair, then you want to lay a microfiber towel—not a traditional one; this is key to minimize frizz—or an old t-shirt down on a flat surface. Then, and here’s where the name for the technique comes in, you want to bend over and plop your hair down into the towel or t-shirt. Next, you roll the fabric up around your head like a turban, and tuck it in the back so it stays put. Your curls are then “accordioned” on top of your head, so they’re scrunched down as they dry, resulting in more defined texture without the dreaded crunch of using too much gel and finger scrunching. It also allows the water in your hair to soak into the t-shirt or microfiber towel, avoiding damaging friction that traditional terrycloth towels can cause.My halo of frizz and I before wash day.
My damp hair plopped and rolled up into an old t-shirt.
How long does hair plopping take?You should leave your hair plopped for at least an hour, but I kept mine up for a little longer while I worked (the small wins of life in quarantine). Despite resembling the Pillsbury Dough Boy, I thought it looked kind of cute, and when I took it down, I could tell my curls had set in a more shapely texture than when I just let them air dry. What are the results of hair plopping?After you take your hair down, it probably won’t be completely dry, and it’s up to you whether you want to diffuse it or let the air do its thing. If you have time, you can optimize results with a great diffuser (I recommend the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer). Or, if you’re giving heat a break, just let your hair hang and go about your day. I ended up going with the latter, and by the next day, a lot of the frizz I’ve been dealing with had returned. The next day 
Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.As I perused through TikTok a bit more, it seemed like hair plopping might work best for looser curl patterns that aren’t as frizz-prone (2A to 3B)—but it’s still worth a try for tighter curls, too. My guess, though, is that the accordion effect really encourages wavy hair to texturize rather than fall flat, but I’m tempted to try this again with a diffuser in the future.Hair plopping works best when you’re armed with great in-shower products as well as styling formulas you love, so before you give it a go, shop my current must-haves for wash day, below.Bread Beauty Supply Wash-Day Essentials Kit for Curly & Textured HairBuy NowPattern Leave-In ConditionerBuy NowPattern Beauty Wide Tooth CombBuy NowDevaTowel Anit-Frizz Microfiber TowelBuy NowErin Parker is a commerce writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram at @erinhaveadream.Read More


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