If you have curly hair, chances are good you’ve tried just about every hair product and technique to help you achieve defined curls. However, between failed twist outs and flaky hair gels, you’ve all but given up on your dream to have Instagram-worthy ringlets. What if we told you it may not the products and hairstyles ruining your coils, but the way you dry your dark brown hair? But there’s a better way: learning how to plop your curls.
If you step out of the shower after washing your hair and immediately wrap your strands up in a towel turban, you’ve come to the right place. Fluffy bathroom towels are great at wicking away moisture and keeping your wet strands off your face and neck. However, the texture of the towel can rough up your hair cuticle and cause major frizz. Twisting your curls up in a turban style wrap can stretch out your coils, making it nearly impossible to achieve definition and potentially leading to breakage.
Plopping, on the other hand, has all of the benefits of a towel without any of the curl-ruining side effects. Never heard of plopping before? We’ve teamed up with Jada Jenkins, Mizani brand ambassador and stylist, to break down everything you need to know about how to plop your hair for better curls. The best part is that you only need a T-shirt!
Photo Credit: @alannaarrington.
What does it mean to plop hair?
Plopping is a hair drying technique in which you gather all of your hair at the top of your head before wrapping it in a T-shirt instead of a towel.
“Plopping is a great technique for curly girls to enhance their curl,” Jenkins says.
Plopping helps your curls two ways. First, gathering your curls on top of your head condenses them, encouraging a more defined curl pattern. Second, a light cotton T-shirt has a much smoother texture than most bath towels. That means there’s a much lower chance of the T-shirt disturbing your precious curls.
Photo Credit: @taelorthein.
Who should try plopping??
Plopping is safe for all hair types, but may not be necessary for every head of hair. Jenkins typically only recommends plopping to her clients with curly hair.
“Plopping is suitable for curl types three through eight on the Mizani texture key,” she says.
While plopping is great for those with curly hair textures, it’s also a great technique for anyone looking to coax some texture out of their hair. Recently plopping has become all the rage on Tik Tok as people who never considered themselves curly girls are using the hair drying technique to achieve curly and wavy texture with ease.
Photo Credit: @lamajbackwards.
How long do you plop your hair?
How long you plop your hair is entirely up to you. Some people like to leave the T-shirt on their heads until their curls are completely dry, while others wait until their hair is about 50 percent dried, before allowing their hair to air dry. We suggest experimenting with different timing and find the technique that works for you.
Can you plop your hair overnight?
Yes! You can absolutely plop your hair overnight. If you like to wash your hair at night but dread waking up with wonky curls after a night of tossing and turning, plopping is the perfect technique for you. If you’re worried about your pillow becoming wet, lay a towel across it before going to sleep.
What hair products do you need to plop successfully?
All you need to plop your hair is your favorite hair styling product and a T-shirt. If you’re still on the lookout for the perfect curl styling product, Jenkins recommends giving one of these products a try.
Mizani Styling Foam Wrap
This light, anti-frizz, non-flaking, foaming formula balances hydration, shine, and hold to create the ultimate luxurious wet set. Formulated with monoi oil, shea butter, and anti-breakage ceramide technology, this product is a superb solution to frizzy, unmanageable, damaged, color-treated hair for Mizani curl types one through eight.
Mizani Styling Foam Wrap, $18.00 MSRP
Mizani True Textures Perfect Coil Oil Gel
Mizani True Textures Perfect Coil Oil Gel is the key to no-fuss style, defining and shaping your curls and coils while keeping them moisturized all day long. This formula contains sustainably sourced coconut and marula oils and olive oil.
Mizani True Textures Curl Define Pudding
Mizani True Textures Curl Define Pudding is designed for coiled to extremely tight styles. This paraben and wax-free formula offers a smooth, lightweight hold, frizz control, and shine. It does not flake when dry.
How to plop your hair:
Ready to plop? Jenkins breaks down the hair drying technique in 10 simple steps.
This is a crucial first step as you should only plop with freshly washed hair. We love Mizani’s Moisture Fusion Moisture Rich Shampoo.
You should always follow shampoo with a conditioner, preferably one from the same hair care system like Mizani Moisture Fusion Intense Moisture Mask.
Be sure to rinse out your conditioner before applying your leave-in product thoroughly.
Apply a leave-in and styling product to your hair.
Jenkins recommends to start applying your product at your ends and work your way to your roots. You can never go wrong with Mizani 25 Miracle Milk, followed by one of the styling products mentioned above.
Lay a T-shirt across the bed.
Place the T-shirt on the edge of the bed, with the collar and sleeves facing you. For the best results, Jenkins recommends using a soft, short-sleeve T-shirt.
Gather your curls.
Flip your head upside down and place your ends in the center of the shirt. Gently lower your head until all of your hair is gathered in the center of the shirt.
Wrap the T-Shirt.
Fold the bottom of the shirt over your head, so that it touches the nape of your neck. Then, take the sleeves and tie them around your head at the nape of your neck.
Allow hair to dry.
You can keep your hair wrapped in the T-shirt for as little as 20 minutes or as long as overnight. Some people allow their hair to dry completely before unwrapping the T-shirt, while others finish drying their hair with a diffuser.
Unwrap the T-shirt.
Once your hair is as dry as you’d like, it’s time to unwrap the T-shirt!
Style your curls.
Now that your curls are dry, defined, and frizz-free, you’re free to style your hair anyway your heart desires.
Interested in personalized advice about how to best care for your curls? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.