How to Plop Hair

In my journey from Hair Novice to what I would comfortably call Hair Intermediate, I’ve definitely come across some interestingly-named curly hair hacks that have made me take a second look. First, it was co-washing, then pineappling, and now: plopping. And like both of its predecessors, it’s being hailed as a must-try for anyone with curly hair who wants an easy curl care routine that leaves you with beautiful, frizz-free curls. As embracing natural curls has grown in popularity over the years, so have many different care techniques to promote the natural wave and avoid damaging effects of thermal treatments. Today we’re exploring why plopping should be on your curl-care list!

What is hair plopping?

My favorite hair and beauty hacks are the ones that are so smart and simple that they make me think “seriously, how did I not think of that?” Essentially, plopping is just what it sounds like: after applying your go-to moisturizing curly hair products, just plop your hair down onto a microfiber towel or old long-sleeved t-shirt, and wrap your hair up to let it absorb excess water. It’s being lauded as a smart way to get defined, frizz-free curls without any of the usual stress that comes from styling, or potential damage from heat styling. People with curly hair know firsthand how important the right routine is to maintain bouncy, defined curls, and often this can mean a lot of struggling and patient styling to get the desired effect. But that’s why plopping is such a smart technique — you’re essentially letting the microfiber towel do all of the styling work, and you’re free to go about the rest of your morning routine, stress-free.

Does plopping work on all hair types?

Before you attempt it, know that plopping may not give you your desired result unless your hair is naturally wavy or curly — although we still recommend drying your hair with a microfiber towel to help reduce the chance of breakage.

Davines LOVE Curl products in shower

Hair plopping benefits

Aside from the relative ease and accessibility of this routine, plopping is a great way to get your best-looking curls ever.

Reduced drying time

With plopping, the towel is really doing all of the work. By letting it aid in the drying process and not having to turn to a diffuser, you’re going to have a faster morning routine and ultimately healthier-looking hair.

Softer, more defined curls

Another great thing about plopping is that your curls will actually end up looking softer and more defined. The t-shirt or microfiber towel will partially absorb excessive hair product, which will help you avoid the dreaded dry, crunchy-looking curls that can come from using too much stuff on your hair.

More volume

Who can say no to more voluminous hair? Gathering your hair at the top of your hair while it dries will create more lift at the root, leaving you with significantly more voluminous-looking, lifted hair. This technique also means your curls will end up looking more defined as well: since the towel is scrunching and securing your hair at the top of your head, it’s reinforcing the curl pattern, and will leave you with beautiful, ultra-defined, and glossy-looking curls.

Less frizz

​​And of course, one of the main benefits of the hair plopping technique is that it helps to fight frizz. Microfiber towels are much more gentle on the hair than traditional terry cloth ones: this means that while they absorb just as well, they won’t be rough on the cuticle, which can lead to lifeless looking curls and damaged hair. The plopping technique will give you all of the convenience of shiny, effortless-looking curls, minus any of the frizz that curly-haired folks have come to fear.

Davines shampooing curly hair

Hair plopping: Step by step

  1. Shampoo and condition your hair
    Once you’ve decided between a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt, plopping starts with clean, freshly-washed hair. Even though we’ll be applying curl styling products as the next step, you should also start with a strong base. Then once you’re out of the shower, gently squeeze out any excess water to avoid over-saturating your towel when it’s time to plop.
  2. Apply your curl-enhancing products
    Next, apply your favorite curl-enhancing products and evenly distribute them throughout.
  3. Lay your head on the towel
    Next comes the actual plopping part: after laying your microfiber towel or t-shirt onto a flat surface, gently lay your head on top of it and wrap the fabric around your hair. Scrunch and arrange your hair to make sure that all strands are within the fabric, then either wrap up the towel or tie the arms of your t-shirt into a secure knot.
  4. Let your curls rest
    And now, the easiest part: the waiting period as you let your hair air dry. You’ll want to let your curls dry in the towel for at least 20-30 minutes, but this is also a great overnight hair trick to start the day with the fastest morning routine ever. 
  5. Enjoy your perfect curls
    After unwrapping your hair from the towel, use your fingertips to gently separate and work through the curls. You should now be able to enjoy beautiful, frizz-free curls for days, since plopping is also a great way to help lock in your curls with a shiny, defined shape.

What should you use to plop your hair?

Either a microfiber towel or t-shirt will work with this technique — the key is to avoid traditional terry cloth towels. While definitely absorbent, these towels can do their job a little too well, removing essential moisture that curly locks need, while also roughening up the cuticle and causing frizz. So for the best plopping result, just remember to avoid any traditional cotton towels in favor of a microfiber towel.

How long should you keep your hair plopped?

You’ll want to let your curls dry in the towel for at least 20-30 minutes —if you’re plopping your hair as a part of your morning shower, just move onto the rest of your pre-work routine and let your curls get defined all by themselves. And if you diffuse your hair, you could even cut extra time off of the rest period of your plopping routine.

Davines LOVE Curl for plopping hair

Best products for plopping hair


Wash your hair with a curl moisturizing shampoo to ensure that your curls and waves have a head start toward moisture and definition. Or if you’re struggling with how to fix frizzy hair, use an anti-frizz shampoo with anti-frizz action to help fight flyaways from the start.


Just like with the shampoo, use either a curl moisturizing conditioner or anti-frizz conditioner to get your hair in optimal condition for plopping.


If you’re looking for some new recommendations and aren’t sure where to start, try a leave-in curl serum: you’ll get defined, elastic and soft curls that will leave your hair moisturized without being too weighed down. Another smart choice is a curl-building serum, which also adds elasticity and shine to curls, while blocking out frizz and outside humidity.

Products to extend curl life

After going through the effort of getting your perfect curls, make sure you’re using the right products to keep them looking their best! Spritz a curl revitalizing spray onto your curls if you notice they’re looking limp — this will also help control frizz and add bounce. If you’re noticing your scalp getting a little too oily, try applying some dry shampoo instead of showering, to help prolong the life of your newly-plopped hair. For more tips and tricks on how to use dry shampoo, be sure to check out our previous blog post.

Final thoughts on hair plopping

The only other thing you need to have healthy, beautiful curls: regular visits to your Davines stylist! Be sure to use our salon locator and schedule an appointment to make sure your curls are looking their best. Then the next time your curls are ready for a wash day, give plopping a try — I suspect you (and most importantly, your curls) will be really happy you did.

By Lauren Hannel, staff contributor

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