If you have curly hair, you know that taking care of it is no easy feat. Finding a routine and products that works for you and your strands requires patience and a whole lot of trial and error. But luckily, there are a few tried-and-true methods that you can always rely on for beautiful curls. Curl plopping, for example, is a great step to add to your post-wash ritual; it’s a widely used technique that involves gathering your hair on top of your head in a cotton t-short, microfiber towel or even a hairnet. This not only dries the hair but helps keep curls intact — all without using heat tools.
“Curl plopping enhances your curls and reduces frizz giving you a great hair day without any heat styling,” says Janine Jarman, founder of Hairroin Salon and the creator behind Curl Cult. “Great hair without the heat damage is always a win!” When it comes to curl plopping, the towel you use is the most important factor — and traditional towels, Jarman says, are not the way to go. “They absorb too much moisture from the hair,” she says, “making curly hair dry and roughing up the cuticle causing additional frizz.”
Wondering exactly how to plop curly hair? Ahead, check out Jarman’s step-by-step guide for curl plopping, as well as our recommendations for some of the best hair microfiber towels for the job.
How to Plop Curly Hair
After washing your hair, Jarman says the first step for curl plopping is to gently detangle with a wide-tooth comb. Then, squeeze out any excess water with your hands; however, be gentle as too much fussing will cause frizz. After that, it’s time to apply any curl-supportive products (like creams, gels, or jellies) that you prefer. Jarman recommends ones that are paraben, silicone, alcohol-free, like the Curl Cult Enhance Curl Cream ($35; curlcult.com). A lightweight styling cream for all curl types, it helps to sculpt curls and combat frizz.
Now comes the actual plopping: “Flip your head over and pile your hair in the center of a cotton t-shirt, microfiber towel, hairnet, or fishnet stocking,” Jarman says. “Ensure your hair is nicely tucked in and ‘plopped’ on itself.” Rather than twisting your hair into the towel, it should be sitting, accordion-style, right on top of your head. This will help reduce any breakage and keep your curls as volumized as possible. Jarman suggests keeping your hair wrapped for anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes, then finish drying with a diffuser or air dry any remaining dampness in the hair.
If you have short curly hair, Jarman says you can skip the plopping process altogether. ”For short hair, you don’t need to plop but rather gently scrunch the moisture out of the hair with the recommended towel and finish with a diffuser or air dry,” she says.
The best curly hair wraps for curl plopping
When it comes to how to plop curly hair, a cotton t-shirt will work just fine — plus, it’s a great use for all those old screen printed t-shirts you have lying around that you never wear but can’t bring yourself to get rid of. If you’re interested in something a little more luxurious, however, there’s no shortage of options. Check out these curly hair wraps and hairnets that are perfect for plopping.
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