Curly Hair Plopping – Why Should We Do It?

Plopping! A word that comes up a lot when you start looking into curly hair routines. The name is questionable but it’s too late to change it now..

Let’s take the Curly Girl Method as a starting point. Much of the guidance offered by this method relates to treating your hair with love and care. Curly hair can be delicate and is usually drier than straight hair. This means that it needs extra care – and this care will also pay off. It will show in your curl pattern. Curly hair can be subject to damage from unnecessary stress.

Stress can be caused by a variety of factors; using heated tools such as straighteners, blowdrying on a high heat, over-brushing, using products that contain drying alcohols and roughening the hair’s cuticle. 
The cuticle is the outer layer of the hair and damaging it can lead to dryness, brittle hair and split ends. Over time this damage can also lead to a loss of curl pattern. 

Here Come The T-shirts!

Regular towels are rough in texture – too rough for curly hair. Rubbing curly hair dry with a towel can lead to damage. A t-shirt (or a microfibre towel will also work) will cause less friction than a terry cloth towel but will still absorb excess moisture from your curls without causing damage. 

What Is A Plop?

plopping wet hair

In a nutshell, curly hair ‘plopping’ means placing wet hair into a t-shirt and then tying the t-shirt up so that it sits on your head. This aids the drying process. The t-shirt can then be left for as long as desired. Removing the t-shirt will reveal partially dried hair which you can then diffuse or air dry. 

More Advantages!

Plopping Reduces Frizz

The simple act of getting your hair out of the way as it dries means that the curls can begin to dry undisturbed. Touching curly hair as it dries can lead to frizz. The less the curl clumps are disturbed, the better.

Plopping Encourages Curls

If you are wanting tighter curl clumps plopping can help. As you lower your curls into a t-shirt you scrunch them towards your head and then they stay in this position as they start to dry. You are also relieving the curls of their own weight as they dry which helps encourage bouncier curls. If you want to stretch curls out you can wrap your hair in a t-shirt as you would with a towel and dry them this way. 

Should You Apply Products Before or After?

Curly hair products should generally be applied onto soaking wet hair. This means that they should be applied before you plop. Hair will be too dry to apply styling products such as gels, creams and mousses after you remove the t-shirt. You want everything to work at once. The styling product will help encourage and set the curls as they begin to dry in the t-shirt. Multi-tasking!

How Exactly Do You Plop?

Curly hair plopping step-by-step

  • Place a t-shirt (larger is better) flat on a surface such as a bed with the arms towards you
  • Bend forwards with all your hair falling fowards over your face
  • Gently lower your hair down onto the t-shirt keeping it as perpendicular as possible
  • There are several ways to tie – you can gather the corners into 2 and then twist these pieces together to create ties or bring the back of the t-shirt towards your neck, covering the top of your head and then tie the arms on top of this piece
  • Experiment! Find a way that you find easy to tie. The ultimate aim is to have your curls piled on top of your head, secured by the t-shirt so that they can’t move
  • Leave it in place for 10-20 minutes and then remove carefully
  • Air dry or diffuse until dry
curly hair plopping how to
curly hair plopping t shirt method

Removing The T-Shirt

removing the t shirt after plopping

Extra Tip!

Try using a long-sleeved t-shirt for an even easier tie up on your head. I have a go-to long sleeved t-shirt that I no longer wear and keep just for this purpose.


The new younger sibling of plopping! The idea is similar but you don’t create the towel cap. Instead you keep hold on the t-shirt in one hand and use it to scrunch each curl clump up towards your scalp. The excess water will be removed as you do this and it is still encouraging the hair to dry in its curl clumps. Some people swear by micro-plopping, some by plopping – again, experiment to see which suits your curls best!

micro plopping curly hair with a t-shirt
micro plopping how to

Overall this is one of the best curl tips out there. Plopping will help you achieve defined curls with minimal frizz and reduce drying time too. 

Plop away!

Lauren xx

P.S. If you prefer a microfibre towel

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Wrap Microfibre Towel