Curly Girl, Plopping, Sleeping and Fuzzy Back-Head
January 25, 2020 5:50 AM   Subscribe

I've been doing curly girl for about a year. Post-shower (still in shower), lean forward, product, gel, plop in t-shirt. The problem is that while this works well for my front hair, the back hair ends up fuzzy instead of defined curls. I assume this because the front ends up piled on top, but the back is laying flat against the back of my head (hairs travelling from where they grow to the top). Surely this is the nature of plopping, though. Yet other people don't report this problem. What am I doing wrong?

I've been doing curly girl mostly for about a year now. I always said my hair was curly when wet but didn't hold the curl. Turns out I just didn't know how.

I shower at night so often sleep in-plop. Otherwise, I use a sleep cap. My hair is medium length (between chin and shoulder). This seems to be a problem even when I let the plot down and air dry though. And even the few times I've gotten decent back curls (not sure how), the back ends up fuzzy the next day from sleeping in the sleep cap at night.

My hair is not long enough to pineapple (and anyway, that would also give me stretched along back of head back hair).

I went curly girl to avoid having to spend a tonne of time drying and styling (used an iron any day I needed to be presentable before that), so I don't want to spend diffusion drying, which takes forever.

It's possibly relevant, that I seem unable to just flop my hair forward while wet without a tangled mess (i.e. in the shower to go from standing up to leaning forward for product/gel. If I just try to flop it forward it ends up every-which way and ready to super-tangle. So I loosely comb it forward with a wide tooth comb. I thought this might be stretching out the back, but fuzzy-back-head happens even when I just wet my hair in the tub (i.e. flop forward while dry and then wet it when it's already flopped forward, no combing).

Oh...curl stylist told me I'm 3a, but i think i might be 2c.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I assume this because the front ends up piled on top, but the back is laying flat against the back of my head (hairs travelling from where they grow to the top). Surely this is the nature of plopping, though.

I'd be far more inclined to assume that what you're experiencing is the nature not so much of plopping but of sleeping.

I'm a curly guy, not a curly girl, also somewhere between 3a and 2c depending on the weather. I don't use any hair care product at all beyond warm water and a brush. If I do anything at all with my hair other than brush it under a running shower in the morning and then let it drip dry, it will turn itself into frizz and/or tangled mats. In particular, any bit of it I've slept on is always a bit matted in the morning.

So I think the only thing you're doing wrong is expecting hair that's been slept in not to look like it's been slept in.
posted by flabdablet at 6:07 AM on January 25, 2020

There are lots of curly-haired people who shower at night, sleep on their hair, and have it work well. But it can take some doing. Unfortunately, this is is one of those "everyone is different so you have to try a bunch of stuff" situations. So you're going to get a bunch of contradictory-sounding suggestions, and hopefully find that one or two actually work.

You say you can't do one big pineapple, but is your hair long enough that sleeping with it in a few twists is an option? (I find that twists reshape my hair enough that I might as well do this step instead of plopping, not in addition.)

What's your sleep cap made out of? If you haven't tried a satin cap, try one — they do frizz things up a lot less.

If you're sleeping with your hair plopped, is the cloth you're using moving around on your head? If so, experiment with different ways of tying it, or with tying it more tightly, and see if you can get it to move around less.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:18 AM on January 25, 2020

I tried plopping and found I can't sleep on my hair; I have to at least wet and style it every morning or I lose all definition.

I don't diffuse all the way since I hate it and don't find it works all that well for me. I scrunch everything in a towel after putting in a leave-in conditioner and gel. Then I use a diffuser to just sort of set the curl, especially in the back, and dry my bangs. Then I use a curl setting spray and let my hair air dry the rest of the way. I have an hour long commute each way, so I'm dry by the time I get to work. On weekends, my partner usually isn't up until 9 or 10, so I have time then too.

I also saw a noticeable difference in definition when I started using the leave-in conditioner after my shower -- might be worth a shot to wet the back in the morning and scrunch some of that in to see if it helps. It might just need some more product every day to do its thing.

I use it sometimes during the day when I'm frizzing out due to a bad rainstorm or humidity and I swear by it.
posted by marfa, texas at 7:00 AM on January 25, 2020

Check out the Curl Ninja on youtube - she has super helpful videos about “curl families” and why upside down styling causes curls’ length to join into clumps with hair from other parts of your head. So it makes sense when you flip back over the curls’ clumps from the back of your head would kind of fall apart. (She also has the only useful video about porosity that I’ve ever seen, search “this is what low porosity hair looks like”, and also styling for volume vs. clumping). Good luck!
posted by astrid at 7:32 AM on January 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

Possibly silly question: would adding more product to the underside help? Maybe you need some more protective crunch on the back that will hold the shape through sleep.

Otherwise, what is your morning routine? Does a little leave-in/curl spray and finger-shaping help the back side?

FWIW I'm a 3B/C and never had success with the t-shirt plop. I pineapple (my hair is above my shoulders and some of the back falls out by morning and I just scrunch and shape with some water and product in the morning) and/or use a silk covering on my pillow with better results.
posted by TwoStride at 9:58 AM on January 25, 2020

Look on YouTube for "Medusa Clipping" which is a like a pineapple but for shorter hair. That helped me when my hair was short/medium length. I also found that a sleep cap really flattened and elongated my curls. YMMV, but try sleeping without it with your hair in the Medusa Clip and/or on a silk pillowcase.

I seem unable to just flop my hair forward while wet without a tangled mess

I would check the ingredients in your products first (I use this site) and go on some CG facebook groups to see what others experience with the products you're using. Also try different styling techniques and keep a log of what works and what doesn't with pictures (Plopping never worked for me. Perhaps another technique would work better for you).

For the flipping the hair over and applying product, check out Atoya's Flip Coat Scrunch videos on Instgram.
posted by vivzan at 11:04 AM on January 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

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