Hey y’all – today we’re venturing off the beaten sewing path and talking about haircare. Specifically, how to make and use a plopping towel for curly hair. Now you may be wondering what exactly haircare has to do with this month’s theme of Eco Sewing, and I’ll admit, it’s a teensy bit of a stretch. But here’s the thing – the more I’ve learned about curly hair care, the more I’ve realized that these methods use less water, product and energy for styling and maintenance, and that is why this tutorial is appearing this month.
I talked a little about curly hair the first time I appeared au natural on the blog, and here’s the summary: my mom does not have curly hair, so there wasn’t really anyone to teach me how to take care of it. My hair is fine, and was oily, so I thought I needed to wash it all the time. But as an adult I read a book and discovered that shampooing less, using conditioner instead of shampoo most days in the shower, and getting rid of sulfates and silicones in my haircare and styling products has left me with hair that is less oily, less frizzy, and overall more manageable.
And one of the secrets to curls that look good is to use a plopping towel. The idea is that you let your hair dry in a scrunched state without touching it to control frizz and get the most from your curls. And it works.
You can use an old t-shirt to do this, and I did for a long time, but the Coach always grumbled about me stealing his old shirts. Plus wads of shirtsleeves near your ears don’t work so well. So I finally decided to make a towel specifically for curl plopping.
So, to make your own. You’ll need about 1/2 yard of 60 inch wide knit fabric. I used a French terry I had, but it’s important to note that you want the smooth side touching your hair. Friction = frizz and all that nubby surface creates more opportunities for friction. This is why jersey t-shirts work well. But I had lots of extra of this French terry and not so much jersey at the time. So, French terry it was.
Fold your fabric vertically, then horizontally, and round off the corner with all the raw edges with your scissors.
The center parter of my towel is 12 inches wide and 18 inches tall, tapering out at the sides. I decided to serge around the edges because of the little French terry nubs that were going everywhere. But that is a totally optional step – this could really be a no sew project.
To use a plopping towel, you first prepare in the shower by holding your nose and hanging upside down to get all your hair to hang smoothly off the top of your head. You may want to run a wide toothed comb through it to detangle. Do this right before you get out of the shower, and if your hair is long, watch that the ends don’t get into the drain.
Then, when you get out of the shower, lean over and plop your hair right into the center of the towel. Don’t dry it at all before getting out, leave it dripping. And if you want to put any product in, this is the time to do it, right before you put the towel on.
With your head resting on the towel, gather up the sides and stand.
Then twist the sides and tie them at the back or front of your head.
The Coach calls this my Princess Leia look 🙂 And that’s it – just let your hair dry as long as you can in that towel. You can even sleep with it on, though if you do that I recommend tying in the front, not the back. When you do take it off, it helps to gently hang over and let your curls kind of fall and untangle from each other, and remember to touch your hair as little as possible.
As curly girls know, every day your hair is kind of a surprise. My hair curls differently based on the humidity and how long since it’s been washed and how many days I’ve gone without straightening it. So here are two different days I used the plopping towel, which I took off when my hair was still damp.
Thanks so much for these suggestions my hair is exactly the same it is refreshing to hear someone else struggle with curly hair. Michelle
As a hair stylist, most often I go for products. But this is awesome. I need to see if there is any fabric in my stash to try this out with! Thanks for sharing something fun and cool. And it totally fits in the theme. 🙂
It was great seeing you at SNAP! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later today that features your plopping towel tutorial: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/?p=87543 –Anne
Thanks so much for this tip. I was using a t-shirt for drying my hair but not with the plopping method and I’m getting much better curls now! I appreciate your hair posts. I think this was the first place I heard about the curly hair book and that has changed my curly haired life! 🙂
Brilliant! I had stick-straight hair for 30+ years, until I had my son. Apparently having kids really DOES change every part of you… So it’s been a bit of a learning curve adjusting to this new body. I loved the new curly hair, but had no idea how to care for it. Thanks, I’ll have to try this!
The same thing happened to me.I just don’t get it. I’ve read that the amount of curl is dependent on the shape of the hair follicle. How in the world can pregnancy change the shape of the follicle?!?
I’m sold! But how the heck did I miss out on a great idea like hair plopping?? I have some pretty crazy curls and I’ve never heard of it! I’m also a hairdresser and this makes sense! So tonight I will give it a try and plop my hair! I just love this new word! Thank you for sharing this, you clever girl
Thanks for this tip. I have never heard about it. My hair is longer, but I will try.
I’m a terror for hair care – can’t be bothered, but blimey this works! Thanks for sharing, even if I’ve got dry hair I want to keep out the bath water it gets plopped, and curls …. Where had they been hiding!
I like this idea! I will steal my coach’s t-shirts for this. Tell coach he can’t complain. They have TONS of shirts.
Thanks, I’ll give this a try today.
Update:worked brilliantly with hubbies tshirt, now I’ll be making the plop head wear. Thanks.