If you have curly hair, many people probably picture perfect, beautiful waves which naturally bounce as you walk and which are consistent throughout your hair!
The reality of frizz, flyaways and straggly bits is a long way from the dream of perfect curls, and trying to wash, brush or style them is another matter entirely.
Trying to achieve the perfect wavy hair usually involves some intensive time with the straighteners, heated rollers or curling tongs, and for many of us, that leads to dry and damaged hair which then breaks, split and becomes unruly.
So, what if there was a way to create stunning natural-looking curls without need for heat?
The good news is that it is possible for those with curly hair, thanks to the rise of the hair plop technique.
It might be a name that makes you giggle, but it is actually a specific drying technique that will create even curls, impressive volume flawless definition.
Want to know more? Then, read on and find out how to do it for yourself!
What on earth is hair plopping?
Hair plopping might sound like it is very technical, but if you have an old t-shirt or pillowcase lying around then you have all the equipment you will need.
You can plop curly hair when it is wet to keep your curls compact and scrunched. This means that your roots will stay volumized, your hair cuticle stays smooth and your curls stay clumped as they dry.
We have all seen the twisted turban on top of someone’s head as their hair dries, but if you have curly hair, this option can stretch out your curls and make them frizzy.
Instead, swap out your towel for a cotton t-shirt, pillowcase or microfibre towel to dry your hair on top of your head.
Make sure you use the biggest material that you can find, so grabbing your partner’s favourite t-shirt for the process could be considered essential (especially if it’s one you hate).
Once you have showered and applied any leave-in conditioner or styling products, flip your hair over onto the flat t-shirt, keeping neck hole closest to you. Press your head down onto the curls and pull the bottom of the t-shirt over your head until it touches the nape of your neck and forms a bag over your hair.
You will then need to grab the sleeves near your forehead, twist them together and tie them in place to create a t-shirt hair wrap.
When you flip your hair back, your curls should stay on the top of your head, although it may take a little practice.
How long should I plop my hair for?
Once you have your hair plopped onto your head, you need to know how long to stay like that.
This will largely be determined by your hair type, length, porosity and lifestyle so it might take a little trial and error to find what works for you.
Whilst some people only need to do it for 10 minutes, others prefer to plop hair overnight to gain maximum effect.1
What should I use to plop my hair?
Using a normal towel to plop your hair is not recommended as it is thought to be too rough, and this can be what creates some of your frizz.
Cotton is smoother and gentler, and as most of us have a t-shirt handy at home, the curly hair t-shirt method has become a hit.
If you want to be really gentle with your curls, then a silk scarf could also work, but many favour a microfibre towel for the task, and you can now buy a specific plop towel to make it easier to plop wavy hair.2
How can I get wavy hair without heat?
Find out more about how to achieve that gorgeous wavy look through plopping and other methods in our article How to get wavy hair without heat.
This heat-free styling method not only creates a gorgeous natural look, but also cuts down on drying time.
It is perfect for all types of curls, and it can easily be adapted to suit each individual hair type, which explains why it has grown in popularity with so many curly-haired guys and girls!
Last updated: 3 March 2021
Reviewer: Manisha Taggar
Joined Holland & Barrett: May 2019
Qualifications: BSc Hons in Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science
Manisha started her career at a Cosmetics distributor as a Regulatory Technologist followed by a Regulatory Affairs Officer, ensuring the regulatory compliance of cosmetic products from colour cosmetics to skincare. After 3 and half years in this role, Manisha joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019. Manisha specialises in Cosmetic products, both own-label and branded lines, ensuring that these products and all relating marketing material comply to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.