Hair plopping mistakes

By: | Last Updated: May 9, 2023

Need help with defining your curls? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

If you haven’t heard, plopping is a heatless styling method for curly girlies out there. But what exactly is this technique?

Read along as we learn how to plop and how it works. Now let’s begin!

What does plopping your hair mean?

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Plopping the hair means drying it with a wrapping technique. It boosts hair definition and reduces frizz with a cotton t-shirt or towel mounted on your head.

So how to plop hair?

Before we delve into that, let’s first prepare our hair plopping products — a leave-in conditioner, diffuser, hair tie, and a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt. 

Once ready, you’re now prepared to plop

Start by washing your hair first. Make sure you’re using a non-sulfate shampoo and conditioner. Sulfates dry out the hair, resulting in unmanageable curls. 

Next, wipe away the extra moisture by squeezing your hair with a t-shirt or towel.

Squeeze, don’t rub! Otherwise, you’ll end up with frizz. 

Then, apply a leave-in conditioner to lock in moisture, keeping the hair hydrated. 

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If you are using a t-shirt, lay it on a flat surface, positioning the sleeve end towards you. Then flip your hair forward onto it. The bottom of the shirt must touch the nape of your neck. Make sure your hair is curled up beneath your head and naturally coils before wrapping. 

Then, make a knot out of your shirt sleeves behind your head. Tuck in any protruding ends and tighten them. Plop for 10-20 minutes, then diffuse or air dry.

If you’re using a towel, lay it lengthwise and flip your hair forward onto it. Make sure your hair-plopping towel is made of microfiber, as this dries the hair without taking too much moisture. 

Now, lift the long side and place it over your head to wrap the towel around the nape of your neck. The other long side should be rolled up so it covers your forehead. 

Next, hold the towel’s front and back sides and twist it until you form two pigtails at the ears and secure them with hair ties. 

For a stronger hold, take the twisted ends and knot them together around the nape of the neck or on top of the head. Plop the hair for 20 minutes, then diffuse or air dry. 

Should hair be soaking wet when plopping?

Nope! Hairstylists suggest that hair should only be slightly moist, not soaking wet.

Is plopping bad for your hair?

Well, not really. 

The good of hair plopping outweighs the bad since it reduces drying time, adds definition, and eliminates frizz and split ends. Also, it doesn’t cause heat damage compared to traditional hair dryers. 

The only downside of plopping is that hair products may get to your hair roots, making it oily and dirty.

The Curly Girl Method ruined my hair!

Ever heard of Curly Girl Method (CGM)? If not, then I got you covered! 

This popular curl technique excludes sulfates, shampoo, silicones, heat, and brushes in your hair care regimen to prevent dryness and excessive build-up.  

CGM is a game-changer for most curlies out there. But this method may not work for everyone.  

Some curls simply don’t respond well to this method. If you notice hair damage, stop CGM immediately. 

After all, you can still experiment with other methods. If shampoo or sulfates work for you, use them instead! 

Wavy hair plopping technique

Plopping doesn’t only work on curly hair; it works on wavy hair too! It’s an excellent hair technique as it doesn’t stretch out your waves, keeping them intact and well-defined. 

Simply follow the procedure of plopping curly hair. And for the last step, spray some hairspray to keep your waves in place. 

Can you plop for too long?

It depends. 

Hair experts suggest that the ideal plopping time varies according to your hair’s drying time. 

The thicker and more porous the hair, the longer it dries. Hence, plopping thick or highly porous hair takes a little longer.

However, experts also warn against plopping for too long as this may mess up the curl pattern. It may also cause frizz and dryness.  

Do you plop hair until dry?

Nope! Plopping hair until it’s fully dry makes post-styling more difficult and may cause frizz. 

Is it OK to plop hair overnight?

Yes! But first, observe how your hair responds to being slept on while it’s damp. 

If it dries quickly, plopping overnight may not be your best option. However, if drying takes time, leaving it overnight is fine. 

8 Common Hair Plopping Mistakes

Since we already know how to plop hair, let’s now look into common plopping mistakes

For your guidance, here are 8 plopping mistakes you must avoid: 

1. Using sulfate shampoo

Avoid sulfate shampoos at all costs, as this eliminates the hair’s natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle.  

Not to mention, natural oils already struggle to penetrate the hair shaft in curly hair. 

2. Touching the curls

After washing and before plopping, refrain from touching your hair. Instead, turn your hair upside down and shake it to remove excess water. 

3. Combing the hair

Combing your hair is a bad idea before and after plopping your hair. Doing this disturbs your curl pattern, making it difficult for your coils to maintain structure.

4. Using a regular towel or t-shirt

Using a regular towel or t-shirt causes friction, making hair dry and prone to breakage. So use a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt instead, as these are gentler to the hair. 

5. Using a non-flat surface

A flat surface is a must when plopping, as this helps place your curls onto the towel or t-shirt. 

A bed or a countertop will do! 

6. Knotting the shirt or towel too tight

Snugging it too tight crushes your locks into the roots, thereby eliminating volume. So make sure it’s an ideal fit, one that is not too tight and not too loose. 

7. Incorrect hair positioning

Wrong positioning stretches out the curls. 

The correct way is by placing your hair on top of your head. Do this by flipping your head upside down and then pushing your head forward onto the t-shirt or towel.

8. Putting hair products on the roots

Avoid applying hair products directly to the roots, making hair appear lifeless and heavy. So as much as possible, use a few inches from the roots, working your way to the ends.

The takeaway

The benefits of plopping are undeniably impressive. 

With a towel or shirt, you’re one step closer to achieving lovely waves and curls. How cool and simple is that? Not to mention, it’s time-efficient too! 

However, be mindful of the common plopping mistakes. Otherwise, you might end up with frizz and breakage. 

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and plop! 

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