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Tame Your Curls: Your Go-To Guide to Hair Plopping

Photo by Priscilla Whendy


It seems impossible to tame curly hair without spending hours in front of a mirror. When you start adding up the costs of styling products and tools, it can get overwhelming!

What if we told you that there’s a hands-off method for creating bouncy accordion curls? All you need is some freshly-washed hair, some leave-in conditioner, and a microfiber hair towel.

Welcome to the world of hair plopping.

You already have everything you need on hand, so what are you waiting for? Keep reading to learn how to plop your hair.

What is Hair Plopping?

Women of color have been hair plopping for decades. This curling method will give you gorgeous accordion curls without using any heat tools.

Note that this is for people with naturally curly hair. If you have straight hair, you’ll have to try another method.

Hair plopping works best for those whose hair falls at or below the shoulders. For those with shorter hair, you might accidentally create hair that sticks straight up.

Your hair will curl at the root because it’s drying on top our your head. Gravity isn’t weighing it down, so your curls will be tighter and more defined.

It’s important to use a microfiber towel or a t-shirt when hair plopping to prevent frizz. Traditional hair wrapping stretches out curls and the terry cloth creates frizz.

The wrap you choose will soak up moisture and excess conditioner, so the material you go with can make or break your plopped curls.

1. Start With Damp Hair

After a shower, blot your hair with a t-shirt or microfiber towel to remove excess moisture. Be sure to squeeze your hair dry instead of rubbing it with a towel to prevent frizz.

Make sure that your shampoo and conditioner are sulfate-free. Sulfates dry out the hair, causing dry, unmanageable curls.

If a product says “sulfate-free” on the front, double-check the ingredients on the back. Companies use “sulfate-free” when they’re referring to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, the harshest sulfate. They may sneak in others, so keep your guard up.

You should also avoid alcohols, silicons, waxes, and mineral oils. Alcohol will dry out the hair, and silicons, waxes, and mineral oils will cause build-up.

There are plenty of shampoos and conditioners for curly hair, so try some out and see what works best for you.

2. Moisturize

Then, apply your leave-in conditioner. Many curly-haired people have adopted the LOC method, which stands for leave-in, oil, cream. The layering of these products helps lock in moisture to keep your curls looking fabulous.

A water-based leave-in conditioner will provide moisture to your curls. Then, add oil to your hair to lock in the leave-in conditioner. The type of oil you use depends on how porous your hair is.

You’ll finish the LOC method with a butter-based cream. This will define and hold your curls, so don’t be afraid to play around with different creams to find your favorite.

If you decide to keep it simple and only use a leave-in conditioner, focus on the tips of your hair. Applying conditioner to your roots makes them look oily. Comb your hair out to distribute the conditioner evenly and work out tangles.

3. Wrap It Up

Lay a microfiber towel or t-shirt on a bed or table. If you’re using a t-shirt, lay the sleeves end toward you.

Facing the towel, flip your hair forward onto the towel. Make sure that your hair is lying in a pile under your head, not stretched out long. You want to make sure that your hair can coil naturally before being wrapped up.

Pull the top of the towel over your head so that the Turbie Twist logo is touching your neck. Take the tapered end (toward the front of your head) and tuck it into the elastic band at your neck, so your hair is sitting on top of your head in a towel turban.

Be careful not to catch your hair in the twist, however. Your hair should be piled on top of your head.

If you are using a t-shirt, fold the bottom of the shirt over your head in the same manner. Then, pull the sleeves in front of your face and wrap them around your head. Tie a knot with the sleeves at the back of your head to keep everything in place.

4. Let It Sit

Plop your hair for 10-20 minutes. After you remove the towel, you can either allow your hair to air-dry naturally or you can take a diffuser to it.

You can also plop your hair overnight so you can wake up to gorgeous coils. If you’re having trouble keeping the t-shirt in place, use a long-sleeved shirt so you can use the sleeves to tie it tight.

Tips and Troubleshooting

The thinner material, the better. The cloth is meant to keep the hair in place, not to whisk away moisture. That’s why microfiber towels work so well. Remember, curls love moisture!

To avoid a smashed look, allow the hair to fall onto the towel. Slowly drop your hair onto the towel so it coils naturally and won’t tangle.

If you wake up to some flat spots, there’s no need to worry! Just take a curling iron and bring those areas back to life.

Remember, this is a hands-off method! The more you play with your hair, especially while it’s still wet, the more you dimish the outcome.

Have Beautiful Curls With Minimal Effort

With this hands-off hair plopping method, you don’t have to spend hours worrying over your curls anymore.

Have you ever tried hair plopping? What’s your secret to maintaining your curls? Let us know in the comments below!

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