What to do after plopping hair

Plopping hair is an art to master if you don’t want to commit to heat curlers anymore. It’s trendy and curly girl-approved. 

If done right, you’d have the curl definition, volume, and hydrated hair you crave with just a shirt or a towel. It’s certainly worth learning!

But every Tiktok and Youtube tutorial seems to end with someone’s gorgeous plopped hair with little detail on what to do next. 

You can rest easy! Today, you’d learn what to do after plopping hair and extra tips to keep your hair looking good all day.

How long should I leave my hair plopped for?

Frizz Isn't a new problem among curly-haired gals. 

Individuals with this hair type have a greater tendency to develop frizziness since moisture can’t travel down the hair shaft of curly hair as well as straight hair. 

Be that as it may, if you have damaged hair, you’d notice frizz as a consequence too. 

Dry hair ultimately leads to frizz. 

Unsurprisingly, habits that start in the shower, where hair is most vulnerable, make up most of the aggravating factors, e.g., overwashing, towel-drying, and blow-drying wet hair. 

Hence, plopping became a method of choice for those who want to minimize frizz and flyaways while ensuring their beautiful curls remain emphasized or, in the case of straight hair, creating volume. 

Plopping usually takes about 20-30 minutes. This is enough time to absorb excess moisture from wet hair through a microfiber towel or a shirt. 

However, please note that hair porosity is crucial in how quickly your hair dries. 

Porous hair dries quicker as it cannot absorb nor hold moisture. So if you have highly porous hair, you may cut down the plopping time. 

After shampooing and conditioning your hair, scrunch out excess water. Apply your favorite styler through every section of your hair from root to tip using your fingers. Use a long-sleeved shirt or microfiber towel and lay flat with sleeves towards you. Flip your hair over and lay it at the center of the shirt. Wrap the t-shirt towards you, and using the sleeves, secure your wrapped hair with a knot. 

That’s easy!

A t-shirt can efficiently absorb water, so plopping shortens drying time significantly compared to air-drying. 

Do not plop it for too long, or you’d create dry sections afterward. Every hair is different so take into account your hair history and type. 

You can also plop your hair overnight. While that may sound uncomfortable, overnight plopping can help those with longer drying times to reduce preparation time the morning after. 

Do you apply product after plopping?

Time’s out! Your plopping timer rings, and it’s time to unwrap the magic! 

Theoretically, you don’t need to do anything to your hair anymore. 

The more you touch it, the more you increase the likeliness of frizz and flyaways due to friction. 

At most, you can flip your after-plop hair over your head, scrunch it to get some volume and curls, then arrange which way to part your hair. 

Typical plopping requires you to put all styling products beforehand. These products can include leave-in conditioners, oils for hydration, curling creams, and gels for encouraging curls. 

You can use a lightweight product like mousse for straight-haired individuals who use plopping to create more body. 

Whether you apply your mousse before or after plopping depends on you!  Some even plop their hair without products and only layer them on afterward

Do not forget to work through sections until there’s good separation! You can mix and match whatever suits your hair’s needs and goals.

If your tips dry after plopping, you can add more products and scrunch them on your hair to add hydration and definition. 

Some of the products may stick to the fabric while plopping, so adding them after prevents frizzy ends. 

If your curls don’t seem to show, consider the quality of the products you use. You can also consult your hairstylist to assess your hair and recommend a product that can maximize curl definition. 

There’s no proper sequence of applying products. 

However, do note that most curling products tend to be better with damp hair. As such, you can “set” your curls better WHILE plopping, not after it. 

Should I diffuse my hair after plopping?

If you have curly hair, diffusers may seem like an everyday instrument you don’t skip using— not even with plopping. However, it might be entirely foreign and an unnecessary tool to a few. 

FYI, diffusing is NOT a must. 

You can air dry your hair after plopping and still be satisfied with how your curls look. 

But, a longer drying time can mean more frizz and may even stretch out your curl pattern and reduce volume. Hence, speeding it up with diffusers may be the key to retaining bouncy curls and waves.

If you plan on using a diffuser, do not put it in the highest heat setting. It will defeat all the hydrating prep you did on your hair! 

You can move your diffuser to different sections to avoid overheating one part of your hair. You can also try alternating between hot and cool settings to lessen the possibility of heat damage. 

Keep it between low to medium airflow; an airflow that’s too strong may introduce frizz. When diffusing, direct it towards your scalp and let the diffuser’s prongs lift your curls and let in the airflow.  

If you don’t like how your curls look, you can enhance the definition by plopping it loosely for 20 minutes after diffusing. Afterward, you can let it air dry. 

If the volume is your problem, you can blow dry your hair to the coolest setting after diffusing it to 80-90% dryness. 

Can I scrunch my hair after plopping?

Yes, you can!

Scrunching is an approved curly girl technique to reduce frizz and keep your curl pattern. You can scrunch using your hand or a diffuser for quick drying. 

Using your hands: 

After plopping your hair, detangling, and applying additional styling products (optional), scrunch your hair by cupping a section of your hair and squeezing it upwards. This tightens your curl pattern without resorting to heat. 

Do this repeatedly until you scrunched all of your hair and up to your roots. You may find the curls stretching out as your hair continues to dry, so scrunch your hair occasionally. 

A microfiber towel is also an option if you don’t want to use your hands. However, remember that not all microfibers are the same, and some rougher fabrics may encourage frizz rather than reduce it. 

Using a diffuser: 

Scrunch your hair using a diffuser only when it is 70% dry, and do not forget to use a heat protectant. 

To further add volume, diffuse your hair upside down. You can use your other hand to scrunch and then dry your roots completely with cool air with the diffuser. 

What to do after plopping hair overnight

To some, plopping overnight is a better solution to cutting the drying time the morning after. 

Again, this might only work for those who have difficulty drying their hair quickly, aka thick hair. 

If you have fine and thinner hair, 20 minutes will suffice. Even if you have thick ones, an hour max can do wonders already!

To protect your pillowcase from getting wet, lay a towel on your pillow to absorb extra moisture. Secure the edges so they don’t come undone when you sleep. 

Observe the state of your hair the morning after. 

If it is very dry, that should tell you that plopping overnight may not be necessary, and you can cut it down to an hour instead. Shake out your hair and let the curls fall naturally, then carefully separate any curls through your fingers. 

DO NOT USE A BRUSH, OR YOU MIGHT GET FRIZZY HAIR. 

If you find your hair tangled after plopping, it might be because it got too dry and moved around too much when sleeping. 

It might also be because you did not properly detangle or apply enough hydrating product before plopping. Otherwise, you may experience tangles, knots, and frizzy ends. 

If you end up with messy curls, gently detangle them with your fingers. Serums and oils do help only if your hair is fully dry. 

Tangles result from friction, especially between drier sections of your hair. Your products need to be of quality and applied at the correct timing, i.e., how wet your hair is. Plopping time also remains crucial in preventing tangled hair. 

Overnight plopping isn’t for everyone. 

Sporting wet hair overnight can cause dandruff, irritation, and yeast infection. It can even cause hygral fatigue from over-moisturizing, which leads to limp and mushy hair with no curl pattern. Yikes! 

Plopping may be simple, but it’s an experiment! You need to mind your goals and, most importantly, your hair history and type. 

Last Updated: January 14, 2023

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