Our guide outlines how to plop hair to get great curls naturally, using either a towel or a t-shirt, and what to avoid doing.
Plopping is the process of tying curly hair in a t-shirt or towel so that it retains the curls and prevents frizz. In order to plump your hair, you should wash your hair beforehand and apply a moisturizing product like leave-in conditioner. Then tie your hair in a t-shirt or towel. Plopping is easy and will leave you with lovely bouncy curls! Follow the steps below that explain how to plop hair easily.
How to plop hair: the preparation
Shampoo and condition your hair.
This method for how to plop hair requires damp hair, so it is best to do it right after you shower. Use your favorite shampoo and conditioner and make sure your hair is nice and clean.
If you want your hair to be wrapped up overnight in the plop, take a shower before bed.
Remove excess water from your hair after you shower.
Use a microfiber towel to gently squeeze your hair and remove any extra water so it’s just damp as opposed to dripping wet. You can also put your hair in a microfiber turban for 20-30 minutes to help absorb moisture.
Use a microfiber towel as opposed to a terry towel to reduce frizz. If you don’t have one, use a t-shirt instead. Be sure to use a separate t-shirt if you flop your hair.
Make sure you don’t rub the towel against the hair handle it gently.
Apply a conditioner to your hair to prevent frizz.
Pick out a leave-in conditioner. If it’s a cream, squeeze out a dime-size dollop for thin or short hair, and a quarter-dollop for long or thick hair. If it’s a spray, mist your hair evenly. Massage the leave-in conditioner into your hair with your fingers and rub your hands through your hair in a circular motion. 
Try to concentrate the conditioner on the ends of your hair as these are more likely to dry out. Straighten the products from the ears to the hair to avoid greasy roots.
Comb your hair to distribute the product evenly.
Once you’ve applied the product, use a natural bristle brush or metal comb to gently remove strands of hair. This will help ensure your hair doesn’t get stuck in buns after you put it in a towel. 
How to tie the plop
Lay a towel or t-shirt flat with the sleeves closest to you.
If you don’t have a spare t-shirt, a microfiber towel can be used, but a t-shirt works best. Spread the shirt out on the bed so that it is completely flat with the sleeves closest to you.
Use an extra large t-shirt to make sure you can tie the shirt around your head. You can use a long sleeve t-shirt to tie the shirt around your head, but you will have to deal with more weight on your head.
If you are using a towel, opt for a microfiber instead of a terry towel to reduce frizz.
Bend over and twist your hair out in front of you.
Shake your hair out in front of you if you’re bent over so that it falls to the floor. Reach towards the back of your head to make sure each strand of hair is in front of you.
Lower your curls onto the shirt or towel so that they wrap naturally.
Position your head over the lower center of the t-shirt. Lower your hair straight down so that the ends are touching the shirt. Lower your head further so that your hair is in a pile as you get closer to the surface, and stop as soon as the crown of your head reaches the t-shirt.
There is no need to arrange your hair in any particular way on the shirt with your hands – just let your hair fall naturally onto the shirt. When using a towel, lower your curls onto the towel, just like a t-shirt.
Pull the top section over the back of your head.
Reach over your head to pick up the flat part of your shirt or towel. Pull this flat end over the back of your head so that it is flat. The end of the shirt or towel should reach the neck after folding it down.
Tie the sleeves of the T-shirt or twist the ends of the towel to keep it in place.
- Take the sleeve on the left side of your head in your left hand and the sleeve on the right side of your head in your right hand.
- Bring the sleeves together at the back of your head and tie them in a knot, securing the sleeves over the top half of the shirt.
- If you’re using a long sleeved shirt, fold each sleeve over the back of your head and bring them forward to tie the knot there.
- If you used a towel you will have two long ends where your ears are after bringing the top of the towel over the back of your head.
- Twist these 2 ends tightly, then bring the 2 ends together to tie them in a knot on top of your head. You can also use large hair clips to secure the ends of each twist to the towel turban.
Secure loose or stray bits of t-shirt or towel.
Fold the ends of the t-shirt sleeves under the knot so they are out of the way and won’t come loose. Fold in any other t-shirt or towel sections that also stick up to form a smooth t-shirt or towel turban. You can also use pliable hair clips to secure loose parts.
Let your hair dry completely.
If you’ve washed and flopped your hair during the day, wait for your hair to dry – this can take anywhere from 2-6 hours depending on your hair type.
- When you have completed the bedtime process, go to sleep with the t-shirt turban on and let your hair dry completely overnight.
- Make sure the knots are tied tight enough so that they won’t loosen during the day or while you sleep.
- Curly hair that is super thin or short dries much faster than long or thick curly hair.
- If you sleep in your plop, make sure the knot and / or clips are in a position that won’t hurt your head while you sleep.
Undo the shirt or towel to reveal bouncy curls.
Wait until your hair is completely dry, untie the knot holding the shirt together, or roll up the towel. Use your fingers to part and comb through your hair while admiring your fresh locks.
If necessary, use a curling iron to remove awkward strands of hair. Make sure to use a heat protectant on your hair first to avoid damage.
Avoid brushing your curls after taking off the shirt or towel, or your hair will get frizzy.