How to Plop Hair Overnight With a T-Shirt or Microfiber-Towel

A young black girl with bouncy curls on 3B fine hair strands prepping to her thicker hair plopped with a towel turban.

Every time you look up, it seems like a new hair care technique is making its rounds or an old technique is gaining new popularity on the internet.

One of the more recently popularized hairstyling techniques people are giving a whirl is hair plopping. If you’ve heard of the technique and want to give it a try, you’re in the right place.

This article will teach you how to plop hair overnight with a t-shirt or microfiber towel for some amazing results. 

What Is Hair Plopping?

Hair plopping is a method used to dry and style curly hair. Curly hair tends to be rather unruly and hard to tame – plopping aims to minimize frizz and maximize definition. The name “plopping” comes from the act of wrapping your wet, freshly washed and conditioned hair in a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel.

You simply “plop” the towel on your hair, let it dry, and get beautifully defined curls.

African American female with wet hair preparing to plop her natural curls with a long-sleeved t-shirt.

How to Plop Your Curly Hair

Now that you know what hair plopping is, let’s learn how to do it. If you’re thinking this will be a complicated process, you’ll be glad to hear that it isn’t. If you follow the below instructions to a T, you’ll be plopping in no time.

Wash, Condition, and Prep

You’ll start by washing and conditioning your hair as you typically would. Once you’re out of the shower, apply a generous amount of leave-in conditioner and styler (or curl cream) to your damp hair. You can also add an oil for good measure. 

Hint: You’ll apply your products just like you would if you were doing a wash and go. So, if you usually layer your products using the LOC or the LCO method, you’ll do the same.

A cute African American female with completely dry natural curls after using a hair dryer following a shower.

Wrap Your Hair in the T-Shirt or Microfiber Towel

Get your cotton T-shirt or large microfiber towel and follow the below instructions: 

How to Wrap Your Hair in a Cotton T-Shirt

Overnight WET PLOPPING for Maximun Definition & LESS Drying Time!

Start wrapping your hair in the shirt while your head is hanging down. Here’s how to do the rest:

  1. Lay out the shirt flat so that the bottom edge of the shirt is lined up at your front hairline.
  2. Bend your head over and lay your hair into the T-shirt or microfiber towel accordion-style, meaning your curls should fall on top of each other as you lower your head into it.
  3. Wrap the shirt around your head and crisscross the bottom corners at the back of your head.
  4. Reach for the collar of the shirt and bring it to the nape of your neck.
  5. Bring the sleeves of the shirt up to the front of your hairline.
  6. Tie the sleeves at the front of your head, and tuck in any loose pieces.

How to Wrap Your Hair in a Microfiber Towel


If you’ve opted for a microfiber towel that has a rectangular shape, you’ll follow the below instructions to wrap your hair up:

  1. Lay the microfiber towel out flat. The longest sides of the towel should be running horizontally.
  2. Lay your hair into the T-shirt or microfiber towel accordion-style.
  3. Grab the middle portion of the top of the towel and place it at the nape of your neck. Wrap it around the back of your head and crisscross it at the front. 
  4. Crisscross the long pieces in the back and then tie them at the top of your head.

Now, you can go ahead with your business while your hair dries. After up to a half hour to 45 minutes, untie the shirt or towel and take it off your head. 

After removing the towel, you can gently squeeze portions of your hair to remove any more moisture. If your curls are loose, you can also scrunch with the towel.

If your curls are tight, gently shake your head to loosen up any curls that are clumped together. Then allow your hair to air-dry the rest of the way.

African woman using an aloe spray that's about to plop curly hair with a short-sleeve t-shirt.

Benefits of Plopping Hair

Plopping has been around for more than a decade, and people are still using the method to dry their curls. If you’re wondering why then this section will be helpful. Keep reading to learn the benefits of plopping.

It Reduces Frizz

Again, because curly hair is drier than straight hair, it’s prone to frizz. Plopping helps reduce frizz by soaking up the excess moisture in your curls while the towel or t-shirt compresses them.

When you remove the towel, you’ll notice that your hair is less frizzy than it would be if you’d let it air dry.

A young black female completed a curly hair plopping routine with a terry cloth towel before bedtime.

It Enhances Your Natural Curl Pattern

When you plop your hair, your curls will fall into place in their natural pattern.

If you’ve ever diffused your hair and turned your head upside down, you know that your curl pattern can become distorted when your hair is hanging down. Plopping helps to enhance and define your natural curl pattern.

It Adds Volume

If you have fine, limp curls, plopping can help to add volume to your hair. When you plop your hair and take off the towel or t-shirt, you may notice that your roots look slightly lifted.

This is because your hair is drying while it’s piled on top of your head vs. hanging down. Gravity doesn’t have as much effect, so your hair looks fuller and has more volume.

Light-skinned African American woman with sopping wet hair on wavy hair after plopping her natural curls.

It Helps Your Hair Dry Faster

If you’re in a hurry and need to get your hair dry quickly, plopping can help. Plopping helps to speed up the drying process because it’s compressed against your head.

The moisture is wicked away from your hair, and the heat from your head helps to speed up the drying process.

Drawbacks of Plopping Hair

Though plopping has some great benefits, it also has a few downsides. In this section, we’ll discuss the drawbacks of plopping hair so you can decide if it’s the right hair-drying method for you.

A female with tighter curls removed the excess water from her wet curls before plopping it on an old t-shirt.

It Can Cause Breakage

If you have fragile, damaged curls, plopping can cause breakage. This is because your hair is pulled and tugged as you wrap it up in the towel or t-shirt.

If your hair is already damaged, this can cause even more breakage. If you have fragile curls, you may want to try a different hair-drying method.

It Can Cause Tangles

If you have long curls, plopping can cause tangles. When you lay your hair into the towel, your curls can easily become intertwined and knotted.

If you have long hair, you may want to try a different drying method to avoid tangles. Not everyone has this issue, but it’s something to look out for. 

A cute black girl plopped her hair using a towel on a flat surface (like the bathroom counter).

Tailor Your Hair Plopping Routine to Your Needs

Now that you know all the benefits of plopping, you may be wondering how often you should be doing it. The truth is, there isn’t a right or wrong answer.

It depends on your hair type and how often you wash your hair.

  • If you have dry, frizzy hair, you may want to plop every time you wash your hair. That would be totally fine. As long as you’re not experiencing any adverse effects, like breakage, feel free to plop away.
  • If you have oily hair, you may want to plop less often. Oily hair doesn’t need as much moisture, so you may find that plopping every other time you wash your hair is sufficient. Again, it depends on your hair type and what works best for you.
  • You may want to plop more often if you have fine, limp hair. Fine, lifeless hair can benefit from the extra volume that plopping provides. If your hair looks flat after air drying, try plopping next time and see if you like the results.
African American female that used leave-in hair products before plopping using the head and flip technique.

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The bottom line is that you should plop as often as you need to get the results you want. Experiment and see what works best for your hair type.

We hope this article has given you all the information you need to give hair plopping a try. This hair-drying method can be a game changer for curly girls, so we encourage you to try it out. We wish you the best of luck on your hair care journey!

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