Plopping – /plo-pping/ (v.) – the saving grace of curly-haired girls worldwide; the art of masterfully taming the beast atop your head, SEE ALSO: magical, lifechanging.
Growing up, I was always jealous of girls with perfectly straight hair. Middle school swim class was my personal nightmare. I would shove my unruly locks into a swim cap to avoid the danger of getting my hair wet, constantly being gawked at by my straight-haired classmates who didn’t understand the struggle. They could get their hair wet and simply brush and go. This was not the case for me. I also brought an extra arsenal of hair products, just in case my swim cap failed me. Regardless, I always left swim class looking like a frizzy mess.
Throughout high school and now in college, I have learned to love and accept my curls. I now live by the motto, “The bigger the hair, the harder they stare.” My newfound outlook regarding my curls is largely due to my recently perfected, go-to hair routine: plopping. Plopping is not a new technique. It has been around for years, serving as a staple in curly-haired girls’ morning routines around the world. It works because it eliminates heat and friction during the drying process. Additionally, plopping allows you to style your locks sans heat and frizz. According to Wes Sharpton, resident hairstylist at New York City’s Hairstory salon, “The more that you touch your hair while it’s drying, the more it has a tendency to become frizzy – plopping is the perfect solution.”
When I was younger, I could never figure out how to properly plop. After years of damage and mistreatment of my curls, I have recently learned how to plop in order to get healthy, gorgeous looking curls.
Step 1 – Gather your plopping materials
A wide range of fabrics can be used for your plop. I prefer to use a large cotton t-shirt because I always have one lying around and the cotton helps to reduce frizz. Beauty blogger and celebrity hair stylist Lou Teasdale explains that towels made of terrycloth tend to disturb the hair cuticle, which is also why hair gets frizzy. Wrapping the hair in a cotton t-shirt helps in drying the curls without disturbing the cuticles. It also helps prevent the loss of moisture. You will also need a clip, hair tie, or scrunchie to secure your plop in place.
Step 2 – Prep the Plop
I like to plop overnight to give my curls enough time to dry, so this process for me starts the night before. I wash my hair and add my desired products immediately out of the shower.
Now for the plop. Lay your shirt down on a flat surface, sleeves facing you. Gather your hair and prepare to be amazed.
Step 3—Plop it Like it’s Hot
Flip your head upside down, bending at the waist. Lower your head down onto the shirt, allowing your hair to rest on the top of your head. This will allow the curls to fold like an accordion and essentially scrunch and curl themselves. With your hair in place, grab the collar of the shirt and lay it on your forehead. Holding this with one hand, take your other and fold down the other end of the shirt so it rests on the nape of you neck. Twist the sleeves and sides of the shirt tightly until the plop feels secure, then tie the two tails together. I like to secure it with a scrunchie just at the top of my neck.
Step 4 – Wait for the magic to happen
As I mentioned before, I like to plop overnight. However, some girls claim that overnight plopping leaves their curls flat and undefined. If this is the case, experiment with timing until you find a time that works best for your hair. In the meantime, you can do your makeup or pick out your outfit while waiting for your curls to dry.
Step 5 – Unplop and diffuse
After removing your plop, you may choose to let you beautiful curls airdry, or you can speed up the process with a diffuser. Using a diffuser with your blow dryer on the lowest heat and lowest setting will give you the bounciest, most voluminous curls.
Step 6 – Embrace your curls, girls!
Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t mastered the plop after just one try – it took me years to find a method that works with my hair. But once you get the hang of a technique that works for you, you’ll be a plop-dead diva. The results are truly magical and will leave you looking like a queen crowned in curls.