What is Hair Plopping

Revisiting Hair Plopping (And Why It Works On All Hair Types)

“Extra curls, extra curls. No frizz, low frizz.” (singing) Ever tried hair plopping? Either way, sing it with me. “Extra curls, extra curls…”

This is exciting! We reviewed hair plopping and found it works wonders to bring out your natural curl pattern, whether you’ve got cottony strands or loose waves. Like us, you probably thought plopping was only for white chicks and Latinas, right? That’s because most of the hype has been around Type 2 hair. It’s a bit of a secret that hair plopping helps define Type 3 and Type 4 hair into voluminous clumps and curls, too.

Hair Plopping: The Things We’ve Seen…

The problem, though, is if you’ve done a search on hair plopping, you probably came out with a whole lot of 10 Step Complications To Life. Why do people get into so many different positions just to tie their hair up: yoga, prayer, acrobatics… confusing! Then there are the fabrics: T shirt, long sleeved T shirt, microfiber towel, regular towel, hair plopping towel… too much! It’s really unnecessary to make things so complicated, when they are really so easy.

For us, a lot of the confusion arose from watching those videos of ladies with Type 2, very long hair. To create super-defined curls out of hair that’s wavy and doesn’t hold a curl easily, they have to do a sort of upside down accordion thing on their hair before wrapping it.

Most of us with tightly curled hair never tried plopping because it looked too complicated to get our coils just so. And with all of that, would it even work? Well, that’s the million dollar question.

Why Hair Plopping is So Simple, And Gives Such Great Results

Hair plopping is definitely worth a try. You don’t need to press your hair down accordion-style if your hair isn’t like waterlily716, above. Here are the reasons hair plopping works perfectly by simply dropping your head and wrapping:

  1. When you drop your head, and gather your hair up at the top of your head, it will dry with volume, shake and bounce. A regular wash and go, sans plopping, isn’t going to give you the same kind of curls. That’s because wash and go hair dries in a downward direction with the hair weighed down by product.
  2. Getting your curls mostly dry, in one position – without touching them, means your curl definition stays in tact pretty much as if it were still drenched with water. Oh!
  3. The fabric wrapped around your hair absorbs excess moisture so that the curls dry quicker and more intact than when air drying.

That’s simple, right? Drop and wrap. Product choices and other details are up to you. Now, let’s see some hair plopping, before and after.

How to Get Plopping

Videos help the method stick in your brain after watching just a few times. Below, women with different hair types get to plopping their hair. Check them out.

Plopping Type 3 Hair With Thick Strands: Adaeze Tula

Adaeze starts out with deep conditioned curls. “Plop a T shirt on your head, and it’s supposed to create curls…” she says. And it did! That smile alone is enough reason to watch the video.

Plopping Type 4 Hair With Thick Strands: Kimberly Cherrell

Kimberly starts out with a semi-defined puff on wash day and got amazing curls and more loveliness than a little bit. She doesn’t mention what products she used, only that’s she is heavy-handed with them.

Plopping Type 3 Hair With Fine Strands: Colored Curly

Colored Curly gives a cute before and after of hair plopping on her fine, Type 3 strands. She’s got a different prep. method, which is more like doing a wash and go. It just proves that you can do this the way that works best for you. The main thing is plopping the T shirt on while your head is dropped.

She didn’t look too pleased with the volume, initially, though. Using gel might have weighed her thin strands down too much. It’s okay to find what works for you.

Plopping Type 4 Hair With Fine Strands: NappyliciousTV

Like Colored Curly, NappyliciousTV also used gel and found she wanted more volume for her thin strands. She got killer definition, though!

Clumping Curl Science: Hydration Is Important!

Let’s take note, sis. All the ladies in these videos have hair that’s pretty hydrated to start. We can tell they take good care of their hair. (Otherwise they wouldn’t be showing it off vlogging, right?) They are moisturizing their hair effectively, on a regular basis, because their hair has no issue clumping. Hair that’s not hydrated clumps easily.

Whether or not your hair clumps easily, here’s something you can do to get it going: plop your hair when it’s soaking wet. When the hair strands are saturated with water, the hair shaft can be easily manipulated into holding a form that lasts longer. This is how Type 2 hair that’s wavy can be made to hold a decent curl (without heat). It is also how Type 4 hair that’s curly in structure, but normally frizzy, can stay clumped into defined curls. Water is no joke.

The number one curl definer is water. So you’ll get even better results if your hair is dripping wet right before you plop on a T shirt – even if you have to drench it again after the product is in it. (Did she just say that?) Products aren’t cheap! If you’re concerned about waste, add water to the product before using. This will help keep your hair saturated while you’re applying it, before plopping.

Plopping as a Hair Care Method (Part Of It Anyway)

We know that in general, black hair tends to be dry. Hair plopping is actually part and parcel of a hair routine that gives natural hair a double dose of hydration. It’s called the Curly Girl Method and was founded by Lorraine Massey in 2011. This method gives the boot to dryness as the first step in helping curls and coils to clump on their own.

So you have a better idea how plopping originated, here’s a quick, basic explanation of what Massey’s method involves:

  • The basic steps are hydration, locking in moisture and plopping.
    1. Hydration is done on wash day, using conditioner to cleanse the hair and scalp.
    2. Moisture is locked into the hair using gel. But if you’re looking for volume while plopping, being heavy-handed with a gel or custard might not be the best idea – especially on fine strands.
    3. The soaking wet curls are then plopped, so they can dry with minimum frizz and excellent volume.
  • Use of products that contain drying ingredients like the foaming agents sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, silicones (chemicals ending in “-one” like “-silicone” or “-methicone” ) and stripping alcohols are avoided. The point is to saturate the hair with moisture and drying chemicals go a long way to counter moisture.

Hydration Has Evolved

Over time, so many products have been created to support our needs for hydration. They’ve given us naturals more flexibility. Strictly following one method or another isn’t as key as it was  when we first discovered, say, cowashing – a term Massey invented as part of the same Curly Girl Method.

The natural hair care industry has evolved so that there are sulfate-free shampoos, prevalent use of moisturizing cetearyl alcohol and a great many conditioners and styling agents that don’t use silicones. Curl definers are also largely replacing gels for creating lightweight bouncy curls for all hair types. Some of the plasticising agents in gel can make it into the hair follicles. Clogged follicles can cause alopecia and subsequently weakened hair strands causing hair breakage.

It’s a beautiful thing to see all types of curls in a healthy state, hydrated and clumping. A huge thanks to innovators like Ms. Massey and all the black companies that keep the natural hair movement zooming. Their creativity helps us style and love our natural hair. So grab your favorite curl definers and get plopping!

Have you plopped your hair before? What did your results look like? Did you use gel, a curl definer or just a leave-in conditioner?

What are your favorites products for the season?

Check back with Black Hair Spot to discover the best tips and secrets to styling your hair.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *