Plop 'til you drop: Hairstyling technique not all it is wrapped up to be
Plop goes the hairstyle.As a curly-haired girl, I have searched high and low for ways to tame this unruly mane. My locks have been straightened, slathered in expensive products, washed too much, washed too little, cut short, grown long, bathed in...
Plop goes the hairstyle.
As a curly-haired girl, I have searched high and low for ways to tame this unruly mane. My locks have been straightened, slathered in expensive products, washed too much, washed too little, cut short, grown long, bathed in olive oil (at the suggestion of a curly hair "specialist") and - when all else failed - covered with a stocking cap.
Basically, I've tried everything short of follicular homicide.
So when I spotted a post on Pinterest about "plopping" one's hair , I could not resist. Apparently, girls have been bragging about the benefits of (ick) plopped hair for the last few years. This technique - which involves folding wet hair into a T-shirt or microfiber towel in a specific way - allegedly gives you a headful of perfect, non-frizzy, well-defined spirals.
Part of this is because T-shirts and microfiber, unlike terry cloth, won't ruffle the hair's cuticle, which means less frizz.
In fact, plop culture has created all sorts of factions, with women swearing by diverse folding techniques, varying time frames and even different terminology (the technique is sometimes called "plunking," which seems so much cooler than the disgusting alternative.)
Naturally, I had to try it. And so I obediently followed the bare-bones Pinterest post, which directed me to wash my hair before going to bed. While my curls were still wet, I was advised to spread out a T-shirt on a flat surface, then to lean over it and lower my head down so that my hair coiled neatly onto the shirt. As I resumed this ridiculous position, I folded and knotted the T-shirt to create a curl-friendly headwrap.
As I surveyed my ploptastic kerchief in the mirror, I realized I looked exactly like those '60s housewives who wrapped their beehives in toilet paper every night to protect their hair's towering magnificence. The only thing I needed to complete my look was cold cream smeared on my face, a pizza-stained bathrobe and a diabetic cat in each arm.
When the alarm rang the next morning, I couldn't wait to see what my plop-and-fresh towel had incubated. Would I wind up making a Phil Spector-cle of myself? Would I look like Beyonce - or Bea Arthur?
I ran to the bathroom and ripped off the tee to find ... Beyonce Arthur. Yes, there were plenty of curls and no frizz, but my hair had dried into several odd formations, including a Princess Leia-style protuberance on the side I'd slept on and several epic rooster tails.
Further research showed where I'd gone wrong. The Pinterest post didn't tell me to apply hair product first, which might have provided the curls with more control and structure.
I also slept all night in the turban, whereas other plunkers swear 20 to 40 minutes under the towel will get you optimal results.
Even so, I will try it again. The technique does give you volume and eliminates frizz. Also, it's cool to find a hairstyling ritual that doesn't involve a $60 hair appliance or overpriced product.
It's time to plop locks and drop it.
Readers can reach columnist Tammy Swift at firstname.lastname@example.org .