How to style your wavy (or curly) hair.

how to style wavy hair

Wanna know a secret? I don’t wash my hair every day. Wanna know another secret? Earlier this week I trimmed my hair in the bathroom during naptime. (Don’t tell my hair dresser. Well wait, it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen her, so…)

These two secrets have helped me style my wavy hair, but I have one more big secret that’s practically helped me guarantee pretty, wavy hair every day (whether or not my hair is washed daily). For years I’ve heard how great sulfate-free shampoo is, especially if you have wavy or curly hair, but it’s one of those things where you have to try it to believe it. I’ve never been able to skip a shampoo when I wash with regular shampoo, but with sulfate-free shampoo I can, and I dare say my hair often times looks better on day two? Dare :)

Shampoo with sulfates makes the soap lather up all bubbly-deliciously. And bubbles equals clean, right?! But these bubbles also cause frizziness in curly hair and can damage colored hair.

One of my LA friends shared her curly hair secrets with me, and they’re so good I have to re-share, along with a few of my styling secrets :)

How to style wavy (or curly) hair //

1. Use a sulfate-free shampoo (Trader Joe’s sells shampoo & conditioner for $4/each) and finish with it’s sister conditioner. Wait a few minutes for the conditioner to soak in, then comb or pick through with a wide-tooth comb before rinsing.


2. If necessary, quickly comb hair post-shower to detangle hair and redefine curls.

3. Pump Paul Mitchell’s Round Trip (below, left) 3-4 times, defining your curls as you distribute the product evenly. If your hair is shorter, use less; longer, use more.

4. If your hair is a little dry, apply a small amount of moroccan hair oil (below, center) when damp and distribute evenly, making sure you apply this to your ends.


5. Scrunch a teeny tiny bit. Use your fingers to lift your hair near your scalp and crown to create volume. Let your hair air dry, or once nearly dry use a diffuser and finish with a blow dryer.

6. Help your waves (curls) to set by finishing with hairspray (above, right). This is my very favorite hairspray, I love the hold it provides and it smells sooooo good :)

maxwell birthday party







Something I mentioned above that using sulfate-free shampoo has helped me with is skip shampooing my hair daily. Before using SF I would wake up in the morning and my hair would be pretty flat with too many straight pieces to even let me consider skipping a ‘poo. But now I wake up and I have volume!, curls!, even ringlets! some mornings.

To skip a shampoo, here’s what you do // grab a spray bottle of water and mist your hair. It’s OK to be generous; wetting your hair won’t make the curl fall out. Once your hair is evenly misted scrunch and redefine your curls. Again, use your fingers to lift your hair near your scalp and crown to create volume. You can either air dry or use a diffuser. Some times I add another pump of Round Trip, but I almost always apply a little more hairspray.

Product shopping list:
Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo & Conditioner by Trader Joe’s
Round Trip by Paul Mitchell
Moroccan Oil by Garnier-Fructis
Body Envy Hairspray by Herbal Essences


Super easy, right? If you’re a wavy- or curly-haired gal, what are some of your secrets? What’s your styling routine?

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  1. 1

    Beth Ann Platt says

    Love it!!! Great tips!! Thank you so much!!! I have never tried sulfate free shampoo so I am so going to! I have wavy beachy hair that if is not maintained will look like a lions mane. I completely brush it out in the shower. Shampoo and condition. I rinse the conditioner out but leave a teeny tiny bit on the ends. I scrunch my hair under the water and while it is soaking wet I scrunch it again with “Got 2 Be Kinky” mousse. It is the only curl product that gives me great definition and volume without being too heavy. Then instead of wrapping it in a towel, I wrap it in a tshirt (a trick from a hairstylist friend who says it keeps away the friz). I then use my diffuser and scrunch as I go. Perfect beachy hair!!! If there is ever a wacky piece I use my wand to fix it!!

    Xoxo Beth Ann :] @elleizahbeth

    • 2


      @Beth Ann Platt, YES! And I totally believe you have perfect beachy hair :) One little tip with the SF shampoo, it won’t lather like you’re used to, which feels SO WEIRD at first… but use your normal amount and really focus on scrubbing your scalp. Let the suds wash down the length of your hair and that’s enough to clean that section. I don’t always skip a shampoo, but maybe once a week I wash it twice. I’m not sure if that’s right or wrong, but that’s what I do. SO glad you commented :)

  2. 4

    Lacey says

    I am a hair stylist here in Oklahoma! With the weather here and my hair being curly it’s a nightmare to deal with! I have had really good results using the Redken Curvaceous line on my hair (shampoo, conditioner, full swirl cream/serum, and wind up spray) I really like the foxy curls cream by Bed Head as well (it smells like skittles!!) I also sometimes use a leave in conditioner if I feel my curls are extra dry. I only shampoo about every third day (that’s where the wind up spray comes in. Just spray a little on the hair and rescrunch!). I always have to diffuse my hair or I have awkward spots that do their own thing!! The trick is (with mine anyway) not to rough up your cuticle! Don’t keep scrunching it after it’s dry, don’t “mess” with it either. Just leave it alone :)

  3. 6


    I’m so glad you posted this! I have really wavy hair but after years of flat ironing, it’s just not as pretty as it used to be. I even tried the “curly girl” method and it kinda turned me off to the sulfate free stuff (my hair ended up feeling really heavy and dull) but your method seems to be in the middle so I think I’m going to try it. Just curious… how big of a difference do you think finishing with a diffuser makes? Does it add a lot of volume? My hair is thick so the roots feel weighed down when I add product.

    • 7

      Brooke says

      @Dana at Happy Little Lovelies,
      Try using the diffuser while your head is upside down. It gives me great volume and my hair is super thick. Also, When I hold my diffuser, I don’t “cup” my hair into it, I just hold it above my hair and keep the air flow going the same direction as my hair. This keeps it from getting frizzy!

  4. 9


    Awesome tip about the TJ’s shampoo + conditioner set. I have never bought their products but am always on the scout for affordable** SF sets for curly hair. Yay! Thanks so much. Oh gosh, that Moroccan oil is worth it’s weight in GOLD!
    Sarah M

  5. 11


    your hair is getting so long! my hair is curly too but since it’s so short it doesn’t curl as well. ugh! it just looks like afro city & too many hair products!

    love your tips!

    • 12


      @Katy, IT IS GETTING SO LONG! When I sit down on the couch it ends up under my back, which is just crazy. It’s taken me maybe 8 months to get it this long. I made it through the tough stage where it’s near your shoulders but not quite long enough. And about your comment of too many hair products, try out the ones I listed and see if you like it? And def try the SF shampoo. Using too many products can cause a lot of buildup and make your curly hair uncurly. ♥

  6. 15


    I had always heard about sulfate-free stuff and worried because I didn’t know how it would work with my oily/combination hair. I’m excited to get all these products and start the #maggiecurl routine!
    Thanks from one curly girl to another:)

  7. 18


    love these tips! i use the loreal sulfate free shampoo but i’ll have to try the other products. do you still use the Not Your Mother’s Beach Baby spray? or does living in LA give you natural beachy waves now ;)

    • 19


      @caroline, LOL ;D thanks for the giggle. No I stopped using that beach babe spray, it was seriously drying my hair out with all the sea salt in it. I have two full bottles of it, can I please give them to you? ♥

      • 20

        caroline says

        @Maggie Whitley, I agree with you. it does dry out my hair especially in the winter months here in Chicagoland when the air is so dry already. It does work great in the summer when the air is so humid around here. Want to know my favorite way to dry my hair? Wash, add styling product, then hop in my Jeep with the doors and top off and drive around. :) This only works in the summer, of course. It’s wild and crazy and full of volume but I love it! Now, I just need to figure out the solution for winter…

  8. 21


    I use that TJ’s stuff, too! I spent years and way too much money trying every “all natural” shampoo and conditioner I could find and all of them dried my hair out big-time. Once I tried Tea Tree Tingle, I’ve never gone back. It’s the BEST! I can usually go three days between washes and typically, Day #2 Hair is the cutest.

    I use a volumizing mousse in my hair (I use John Frieda) and a few spritzes of the Not Your Mother’s Beach Baby spray to give some texture and keep my curls from falling flat. My curly hair isn’t super-thick, so I’m always trying to find tricks to help give me volume. I’ll have to check out that hairspray and the Paul Mitchell stuff, too.

    Also, I second the “dry your hair in a t-shirt” and diffuser tricks in earlier comments, too. They really do work to reduce frizz and keep curls intact.

    P.S. Hope you and Zack are doing well! No surprises that you guys created the cutest little dude ever. :)

  9. 23

    Judalee says

    So excited to have this information. The closest TJ’s is 2 hours away! Road trip! I really only wash my hair every three days, if I blow dry the first day it is a frizzy mess but day tie and three are great. If I let it go natural, the first day isn’t as frizzy if I don’t touch it after the curly waves form, but it is still frizzed. Can’t wait to try your suggestions. Thanks So Much!!!

    • 24


      @Judalee, Yes! Definitely try the shampoo (you can also order it on Amazon, but it’s a little more $$ I found). And give the Paul Mitchell product a try, it’s a slimy serum so it’s lightweight but it does wonders for holding curl and fighting frizz. XO

  10. 26


    Oh this was so good! I agree SF is the way to go, esp for curly heads. I went “no poo” over a year ago and truly don’t miss the traditional shampoo/ conditioners. When I straighten my hair (and use extra oil to prevent split ends) I do use SF products to get the extra oil out completely but otherwise it’s just Baking soda/water and apple cider vinegar/water. I also use a Curl+Style Milk ( It smells amazing and works like a charm. My hair tends to be on the dry side, so I will def look into Moroccan oil, thanks for sharing your tips!

  11. 28

    Christina says

    Thank you for these tips esp the Trader Joe’s shampoo/conditioner…. Will have to check that out! (Hope it’s friendly to color treated hair…)

    Now PLEASE give us a tutorial on how to get lashes like yours! Yeow ;)

  12. 32


    Thanks for the tips! I have waves since having my second baby — I use Bed Head Foxy Curls after shampooing (once a week) and simple wet it and reapply a little more foxy curls if needed. But I need all the advice I can get — my husband has spiral curls and it appears my daughter will too so I want to help her when she’s older :)

  13. 33


    Well, I’ve been following the previous styling routine a la Maggie – SF shampoo, NYM Sea Salt spray, John Frieda Dream Curls Spray, same hairspray. Have been not loving it as much as I used to and I’m so glad I read the comments and found out you thought the NYM spray was drying your hair out b/c that is EXACTLY the issue I’ve noticed! I’m debating about trying to commit to growing my curly hair out long like yours so I might have to give your new regime a try. Thanks Maggie!

  14. 34

    Kara Rosenberry says

    I have very thick naturally curly hair and usually use devacurl shampoo and conditioner and use garnier fructise curl cream and not your mamas hair products curl cream as well. I have also used their beach waves product with mixed reviews. This would be on day 3 of no washing heme I am working from home and it needs something.

    I found a great easy less time solution that has saved me and given me hours of sleep time verses doing hair in the morning time. I found the hot buns hair buns work great overnight!!! (As seen on TV or at target or walmart) In the evening, I wash my hair or just condition it, depending, put one of the above curl creams in it. Go chill in the sofa for a few laying down to create some curls (this is optional) and then put my wet hair in a pony tail long bangs included and roll it up in the hot buns product in a high bun and sleep. The next morning I take my hair down dry it for like 5 minutes and I have perfect curls. Life changing!!!!

    I did get some of the trader joes shampoo because paying $8 for shampoo and conditioner instead of a $20 plus is alright with me.

  15. 36

    Tanya says

    Since about 2002, I’ve used a product called “Frizz Busters” serum by Fantasia – I use it after I wash my hair (daily, I know! GASP!) in place of gel or other product. My hair comes out soft, curly, hydrated, and bouncy. I live in the humid East Coast – I highly recommend this product too. I don’t even own a comb or brush, my fingers style my hair. I blow dry my hair upside down. I really find that everyone with curly hair has a different routine that works for them. it was great to read everyone’s ideas!

  16. 37


    great tips, I love them; and your curls are just perfect.
    I had really good results using the CHI line of products.

    Love Kate :*

  17. 38

    Katie says

    Thank you! I gave up straightening my hair 2 weeks ago. I’ve tried a couple products but not really happy with them. Just got my Paul Mitchell Round Trip off of Amazon and love it. My hair has nice waves without being crunchy! Crossing my fingers that it will look good tomorrow too.

  18. 39

    Tricia says

    I followed this to the letter this morning & my (stubborn/obnoxious) naturally curly hair looks NICE. It’s amazing – thank you! I appreciate the tips on products, too. :)

  19. 42

    Alli says

    Great tips!!! We are hair twins- I have the same hair😄 quick question do you always use Moroccan oil & only on the ends! Thanks in advance! Love your blog!

  20. 45

    Emma D. says

    This was perfect! Your hair looks gorgeous! Is there another product that you could use in place of Round Trip? I will definitely be buying the shampoo and conditioner from trader joes!

  21. 49


    Hey, i am so thankful to you for this post. i have wavy hair and seriously speaking i don’t like them at all. i wanted straight hair. but after getting through your post, i started liking my hair. i always thought that straight hair looks stylish but i was wrong wavy hair can also look gorgeous. Thanks dear

  22. 50


    your blog is really very informative and useful. My sis has curly hair and she used to get messed up with them. Hehe..i will tell her about your tips. Thanks for sharing

  23. 52


    It’s very important to take care of curly hair properly as they prone to dry, rough and frizzy easily, as weather changes your hairs also change its texture so it’s very important to know what they need and which product apply at which time.


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