I’ve been on quite the hair journey during quarantine. First, I was all about the air dry. A few weeks ago, I visited Jenny Perry Salon, where she (safely) double processed my hair and now I'm a blonde. But my newest obsession is a magical technique all over TikTok that will give even the frizziest-haired people gorgeous curls called plopping. There are more than 10 million videos on the platform dedicated to the wrapping method, which involves wrapping wet hair in a pillowcase or t-shirt to reveal perfect spirals.
Curl expert Lorraine Massey, owner of New York’s Spiral (x,y,z) Salon, says that although plopping is new to TikTok, it’s been a hairstylist secret for more than a decade. “I’ve been plopping or as I like to call it 'wrapunzeling' for about 15 years,” she says over email. “Plopping also allows the hair to dry in a polarized position, undisturbed, releases the hair of its own weight as well as the extra water weight that tends to straighten out the wave patterns.”
Below, Massey breaks down the viral trend that's actually been around forever.
So, what is plopping?
It’s a curl-enhancing, heat-free way to dry your hair. “Hair is suspended in a setting position, like the old-fashioned pin curl or roller sets,” Massey says. “But much more natural. It allows you to capitalize and enhance your own hair pattern.”
How do you plop your hair?
- First, cleanse and condition.
- Next, place a wrap—a long sleeve t-shirt, pillow case, or towel will work—out flat on a surface.
“Bend over, allowing your wet hair to cascade forward, then tilt your head so that the ends of your hair meet the middle of the fabric,” Massey says. “Then slowly squish hair downwards into the fabric towards the crown, like the motion of closing spring slinky or Accordion.”
- Once you’ve compressed your hair, pair the corners of the wrap so that there are only two and start to twist the side simultaneously until tight.
- Flip your head upright, bring to the front, and secure. “It’s almost like the 1942, We Can Do It poster of the 20-year-old girl in stylish red-and-white polka dot bandana,” Massey says.
Don’t worry if it takes you a few times to master it—basically everybody on TikTok says the same. The amount of time you plop your hair is up to you. Lorraine suggests 15 to 20 minutes for people who don’t mind their hair being a little damp—you can finish up with a diffuser or let it continue to air dry.
What products should you use when plopping and why?
“You can use any silicone-free, light-weight, water-soluble cleansers, and conditions that can easily detangle and organize the hair,” Massey says, suggesting her own CurlyWorld product line. “Like anything else you have to experiment with what works best for you; it may need adjusting in different seasons.”
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