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Plop Plop For Big Bouncy Natural Curls

For those already using the plopping technique (also known as plunking", you know it's great for shoulder length or longer curly hair. If you haven't tried plopping, you're probably wondering if I'm just babbling to myself, which I do a lot.

(Image of model with long wavy, curly hair from Bravo/TV - All Rights Reserved)

Truth be told, there really is a curly hair styling technique known as plopping. I've done it for years to my own hair,  Actually, I first heard about it in 1997 on the HairTalk board from a forum member with curls extending to her waist.  She had devised this cool towel blotting method.

The plopping philosophy and technique has spread through the hair world via the Internet for years.  It routinely pops up on forums, talk boards and discussion forums all the time.

Plopping got its name from the face you literally plop your newly washed curls and waves into the center of a towel and then grab the ends and twist to form a type of towel hat.

The plopping method (aka plunking) has been around for awhile and many with long natural curls and/or waves, like yours truly, use the technique to help define natural curl and wave patterns.   It works for all kinds of textures including Afro textured hair.

Listed below are the steps you would take to plop your hair:

1.  Wash your hair with your desired cleansing formula.  I personally alternate between CO Wash (Conditioner Only) Wash and DS (Diluted Shampoo) Wash depending on the time of the year and what my hair is feeling like it needs.  Yes, I have a daily dialogue with my hair.  No, it doesn't really "talk" back but I do know by how easily it detangles and how the ends and scalp feel what it's trending towards.

Let your hair be your guide and use whatever cleansing formula or system you achieve the best results from.

2.  After washing and rinsing with a cool/cold water rinse to close the cuticle (this is optional, but highly recommended) towel blot your hair to remove major drippage.

3.  Apply your favorite leave-in conditioning + anti-frizz, curl shaping product cocktail.    Your hair should still be wet although not dripping which will dilute your leave-in cocktail.

4.  Lay a very large absorbent towel (the largest you can find) down on a flat surface.  It's best to avoid terrycloth or towels that are nubby because they can sometimes cause frizz.  I use an Earth Therapeutics or similar microfiber towel or a towel designed to absorb water.  There are actually some turban style towels which can be used to plop hair if your hair is not too long or too thick.  This is certainly worth looking into further.

I personally use the end of my California king bed, but a chair or wide bathroom counter will work.  A good friend uses her clean kitchen table.  The key is to find enough surface to lay the towel out and to give you enough clearance so you can completely bend over at the waist and get the proper angle to "plop" your hair as close to the center of the towel as possible.

It's key to get to the center so that there is equal room on either side to create "handles" or "towel extensions" to roll up and secure into the final plopped towel configuration.

Another key is to get just the right sized towel.  If the towel is too big or too small for your head and to create proper handles the towel can not be secured on your head and will slip off or not cover all of the hair.   Experiment with a few different towel until you find just the right towel for your hair.  Each person who plops will be different.

5.  Leave over from the waist with your head pointing down towards the towel.  Getting the proper angle so that your hair will fall into the middle of the towel is important.

6.  Using your hands, position your wet hair onto the towel so that your natural curls or waves are concentrated at the top of your head.

7.  Pull the towel tightly against the top and sides of your head.

8.  Take the sides of the towel on either side and as you slowly stand upright, twist them clockwise (counterclockwise if you prefer) into long rolls near each ear.  In essence the sides of the towel will be forming towel extensions.

9.  Take the two towel extensions and pull them back towards the nape of your neck.  Tie the two towel handles together to secure the towel to your head.

Again it's important to note that a key point is having a towel which is long enough to allow you to tie to hold on your head.  One of the issues many have with plopping is finding a towel which is long enough to tie and keep secure.  Some people prefer to use a big salon clip to secure their plopped towel.  Others tie them.  A lot depends upon your preference and whether or not you have a thick towel to begin with.  Some towels are so thick the handles won't hold a tie.

10.  Allow the towel to remain on your hair for anywhere from 30 minutes to more.  Most people who plop do so to help reform their curl patterns and the key is to plop the curls while they are wet but not dripping allowing the towel to absorb the bulk of the moisture.

11.  Remove the towel and gently shake down your curls.  Either air dry your curls the rest of the way or use a long finger diffuser to shape soft curls.  You can also create finger spiral curls, pin and either air-dry or dry under a bonnet or hood.

12.  For tighter curls or more control apply a light layer or mousse or gel, depending on your curl pattern after you remove your hair but before you air dry or diffuse dry.

Other Plopping Notes Of Interest

If you want to practice plopping before you actually wash your hair, consider spritzing your hair with a spray bottle full of water to get hair damp, not wet, and practice plopping.

The amount of time you allow your hair to remain plopped must be determined by your own individual curl pattern and needs.  Some naturally curly girls or natural Afro hair textures will find they have very unique needs for plopping times.

If you have special secrets that you have discovered for plopping, please share.  I would love to hear them,

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