Hair plopping is all the rage because it can produce glorious results.
In a way it’s like scrunching. Accordioned into a tee or microfiber towel your curls are kept snug and compact as they dry.
When done you’re left with clumped curls, soft definition, maybe better volumized roots. With cuticles that are smooth. Which is prefect for minimizing frizz.
That’s some of what curly hair plopping can do for you. If you’re new to this click that link. Our article can get you up to speed on how this method can keep your curls spiraling under control.
Great as this technique is it’s not without pitfalls best avoided.
We’ve identified nine common mistakes made. Because as they say forewarned is forearmed. So here you go.
Is There A Best Way To Plop Curly Hair?
Well, if not best, there is at least a better one to know.
MISTAKE#1: Don’t just flop your hair onto the towel or tee shirt any ole way.
You want to accordion, or fold, it onto the fabric. This helps to avoid stretching out the curls or causing some to go all wonky on you.
Tip: Plopping adds the benefit of trapped heat. Ever think of that? The trapped heat can cause your cuticles to expand. Making them more receptive to any hydrating products you’ve added.
By the way, do you know what to do after plopping? Our article offers guidance that can make a big difference.
Can You Plop With A Microfiber Towel?
Absolutely. That or an old t-shirt. Just make sure you follow this advice.
MISTAKE#2: Not laying out your towel on a flat surface.
While some use their toilet (seat down natch) I’d say the bed or a counter top would be better.
You want a surface that makes it easy to grab the edges of the towel or tshirt. That makes it easier to wrap things up.
Does Plopping Flatten Curls?
It may if you do this.
MISTAKE#3: Cinching the towel too snugly.
This can crush your curls into your roots. Which won’t do much for volume around the crown. Or the definition of the curls so smashed.
That said, some prefer a tighter plop. Feeling that gives them better water absorption. Which I realize is contrary to what others do in an effort to get more volume around the crown.
Compromise? Find the happy medium for how snug you cinch the towel. One that doesn’t leave you with crushed curls yet keeps them positioned on top of your head.
Is Plopping Good For Curly Hair?
It can be if you don’t do this.
MISTAKE#4: Wrapping your hair in terry cloth towels.
Curls can be fragile.
Which is why most, but not all, curly girls know terry cloth is out.
Actually it’s a big no no. That’s because terry cloth is made up of loops that just love to snag and ruffle the cuticles. Which is the last thing those with hair prone to frizz need.
But going the next step beyond microfiber is a flat weave cotton towel like those from Hair Repear. Just saying.
Tip: Ideally you’re looking for a flat weave cotton towel. One that super soft, super comfortable and super absorbent.
Any Unexpected Hair Plopping Tips?
Sometimes it’s the little things, isn’t it?
MISTAKE#5: If weighed down roots are an issue it might be where you’re knotting the shirt or towel.
Tying things off in the back tends to flatten out the roots.
Here’s why. If you tie the back you’re putting a lot of pressure on your curls. That defeats the purpose. That inhibits volume. Crushes it actually. Which is the last thing you want to do if you’re going for volume.
So you’re probably better off knotting your t-shirt in the front. Across your forehead and below the hairline.
Can You Plop Your Hair For Too Long?
MISTAKE#6: Going for 100% dry when plopping.
You may not agree but you’re better off going for like 90% dry. Or something in that range. And then diffusing or air drying from there.
Reason being 100% dry can do weird things to your hair that you’d rather not do. (See the next one for an example of what can happen.)
Going for still slightly damp means you can diffuse or use a pick or clips to lift the roots off your hair as it air dries completely.
Tip: While it’s often good to apply products on soaking wet hair it’s seldom good to blow dry soaking wet hair.
How Long Should You Plop Curly Hair?
Good question. And kind of related to mistake number six.
MISTAKE#7 Not experimenting to find the ideal length of time to plop.
If you have thicker hair it may take longer since there could be more water to absorb. Think 20-30 minutes or so?
That or the porosity of your curls affects how much time is needed.
But it would be kinda shocking if for most 10 to 15 minutes or so isn’t about just right. Especially if you’re in the apply products while damp camp.
So do test and find out the ideal time to plop for your mane.
Another reason why how long matters? Emily over at wavyhaircare.com maintains staying plopped up too long can mess up the hair on the back of your head.
Maybe not for curlies as much. But if you are dealing with waves maybe so.
The reason is your strands in the back can dry directed upwards. That can make for hair back there that’s like totally whacked out. Or a curl catastrophe that’s extra challenging to get looking curly fabulous.
Tip: If you suffer from a timing experiment gone awry, no worries. Just rewet your curls and try again.
Should You Plop Your Hair Everyday?
MISTAKE#8: Daily plopping opens the door to potential undesireables calling your scalp home.
So it’s best to avoid doing this every day. Although if you aren’t washing your curls daily (and you aren’t are you?) you won’t have to worry about that anyway.
How about a better way to think about it? You might be safe if you plop ‘after every single wash’ provided you don’t wash every day.
Tip: Be prepared to adjust your styling routine as your hair gets healthier, grows longer or you cut it shorter.
Do You Plop Before Or After Applying Gel, Mouse And Other Styling Products?
All the above?
MISTAKE#9: Layering on products at the wrong time.
As you know many curly hair styling products are water activated. Which means it is probably best to apply them before the plop.
But like every curly hair rule there may be an exception or two. Like if you have fine hair you may find applying yours on damp hair avoids weighing your hair down.
And before you ask does plopping remove product, yes, it can. Which is why some add it after as one of the steps they do after they remove the towel. Which you may or may not need to do.
Here’s the thing. As I’ve mentioned before to find your best curly hair styling routine you have to be willing to experiment. And continue to do so until you figure out what your hair loves most.
Given all that mistake will happen. Hopefully now you’ll at least be able to avoid these.
Oh and we’ve got a post that’s like a master class on how to apply curly hair products. Might be just the thing if you are unsure how exactly to use styling cream and gel.
Feel ideas like these would leave you with a head full of spiraled glory? In that case you might want to follow our Curls Gone Wild Pinterest board. It’s chock full of industrial sized tips and tricks to make your life with curls easier.