How I’m currently styling my wavy/curly hair.

zack maggie whitley

I want to elaborate a minute on the title of this blog post. I chose to include “currently” because exactly how I style my hair changes based on our current lifestyle. With each pregnancy my hair texture has changed and has taken about six months to bounce back. I’ve colored my hair using a box kit, have had highlights, and let my natural color grow out. I’ve nursed two babies, am currently maintaining a strict workout routine, and have lived in two very different weather states: Michigan/Minnesota and California. All of these factors have affected how my hair curls and is styled. And the fact that I style my hair differently now than the last time I wrote a post on my process is proof of this.

Above all else, beyond what I’m about to share and what others have shared, is this important fact: there is no “easy” formula for styling your hair, and you must accept this :) I personally find hair styling posts so fun to read. I love learning about other techniques or products. And, I consider my own texture and curl when reading their tips. It ultimately comes down to having patience to find the right process for you, which can change over the years. Embrace your hair! Don’t fight it’s natural texture, it is on you for a reason and it’s to accentuate your natural beauty.

how to style your curly hair | maggie whitley designs

Here are some notes on my current hairstyling process:

I wash & apply conditioner my hair in the shower as normal. There have been times when I was using sulfate-free products, but this isn’t a “make it or break it” step for me personally. I usually switch to a different drug store brand whenever I need run out (I like variety), but I think my favorites are either L’Oreal or Aussie. (Aussie has an amazing 3 minute deep conditioner, and it’s less than $3!)

Once the conditioner is applied I let it sit for a few minutes before using a wide tooth comb or pick. (For a little bit I was using my fingers to comb through my hair with the conditioner in, but I wasn’t getting enough curl definition once it was dry so I switched back to using a wide tooth comb.) After a quick comb I usually run my fingers through and then massage the roots/shake it out with my finger tips before rinsing. I use an old t-shirt to blot the excess water from my hair and then quickly/gently twist the shirt around my head and secure the end at the nape of my neck. I let it sit like this for just a couple minutes, since my hair isn’t that thick it dries quickly and I don’t want it to be too dry before applying my product.

After a couple of minutes have passed I take the t-shirt off my head and use my fingers to shake out my curls. Then I apply two products: first, Paul Mitchell Round Trip (a bottle lasts me months with daily use) and then Herbal Essences Body Envy hairspray. I apply the curl definer right away (2 pumps) and distribute evenly through my hair, lightly scrunching and for sure focusing on my roots. I let my hair air dry for about an hour before lightly spraying my whole head with hairspray. My hair is mostly wavy, but I’ve noticed I get a little curl definition if I take care of my hair.

hair Max maggie whitley

It’s been years since I used a hair dryer with diffuser, mostly because I feel like it the heat ruins my natural curl. (I have a bouncier wave/curl with more definition when I let it air dry.) Sometimes I’ll use my fingers to twirl a wave into more of a curl, but for the most part I leave my hair alone.

Over the years I’ve tried so many different kinds of products (gel, mousse, pomade, foam, spray) and the two products I link to above are my very favorite. Speaking of products — a product that I love in theory but absolutely ruins my hair after a few months of use is anything with sea salt. This single ingredient dries out my hair and makes my wave/curl disappear. It’s terrible, but it’s good to know I should avoid it.

Many have suggested I use DevaCurl’s line of products. My current hair style routine fits into my lifestyle very well and is super affordable so I’m looking for a new styling process.

Right now I’m washing my hair every other day, and that is with working out daily. I use Dove’s dry shampoo on my roots occasionally on my second day hair, but I always use a shower cap! Using a shower cap has helped me keep my volume by keeping water spray off my hair. After my shower I’ll sometimes use a spray bottle filled with water and flip my head over to mist the length of my hair. Typing that out this sounds counterproductive, but I think avoiding water on my roots and having control over how much water hits my hair is the goal. Most of the time an extra shot of hairspray is enough to revamp my curl and texture.

side braid hair maggie whitley

I’m also growing out my bangs, and french braiding them along the frame of my face has been fun! Besides, I can literally go an entire day with the braid in, sleep with it overnight, and wake up the next morning and it looks exactly the same. Talk about a bonus, ha! :)

That about sums it up! Overall my hair styling routine takes me minutes. It’s super fast and like I mentioned above, works so well with my current lifestyle as a mom of two young babes. I’d love to continue the discussion in the comments. See you there!

Links used throughout are affiliates, thank you for understanding and being a part of this community.

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Love your (curly) hair.

smiles natalie maggie whitley

Natalie is 7 months old and already she has big, loopy curls with lots of natural volume. Her hair is so fun (hello, hair bows!), and it’s made me think about how important it is that my actions & thoughts reflect positivity. Not just because I have a daughter, but because I also have a son, and my children will have women in their life they need to be a positive light to.

What is beauty? What makes someone “beautiful”? Why do we stop believing we are beautiful (or suddenly believe we are)?

What if we considered exactly how we were made, our natural features and all, and declared it as perfect?

Zack sent me a link to a Dove Hair commercial and it about did me in (video is below). I couldn’t agree with it more, and wanted to share it with you today. Really though, their mantra doesn’t stop with loving curly hair. We all need to love our hair, our curves, our smiles, our handwriting, our height, our freckles, our laughs, our quirks, our personal strengths/gifts.

We are women created with purpose to share our selves, our talents with the world.

And so with that I wish you a happy, positive, light-filled weekend.

Remember you are perfect, and by the way… your hair is amazing.

See you Monday :)

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Life around here…

hair maggie whitley

It’s time for a little “life around here” post, yeah? :)

So I’ve got a new beauty secret for my curly hair. Wanna know what it is? A shower cap. You can stop laughing, I’m for real. On days 2 (and 3) of no shampooing I use a shower cap to preserve my volume. To refresh my curl, I flip my head down and spray my hair with water from a spray bottle. Then I flip it back, tousle it a little, and sometimes finish with a light hairspray. That’s it! It’s the best thing ever :) Literally yesterday Zack looked at me in the morning as I was drinking my Chai tea, and before he could say anything I cut him off and said, “yes, I woke up like this.” Volume. It’s been crazy fun.

bauer maggie whitley

It’s Thursday night as I type this post, the rain has just begun to fall — it’s supposed to rain all night, which is the perfect ending for a cloudy week in Los Angeles. We’ve had a bit of a schedule change-a-roo. Zack’s been working crazy hours and I accidentally took a few days off from running. It’s been interesting to notice how strong I rely on my daily exercise. It’s been a really good thing ;) but I can always tell when it’s time for another run. Bauer has loved running, too. He’s like, FINALLY, LADY!

home maggie whitley

When we moved our apartment around in March we were able to create a little play nook for Maxwell. One of the chairs in our living room hides his toys well, and then this bookshelf stores his work bench, bin of building blocks, his tool box, and doctor kit. We also use a wicker basket for his stuffed animals and smaller toys. I give him a few play prompts (read a book to your stuffed monkey; can you fix Bambi with your doctor kit?; can you build me a tall tower?) and then watch his imagination take off.

I’ve also been making a lot of pizza dough. It’s been fun to bake bread this way, and I love how quick it is to make a pie. My favorite topping to add is sun dried tomatoes (marinated in an herb olive oil). #hearteyesforever

natalie maggie whitley

Now that Natalie is 6 months old she’s not only found her squeaky voice but she’s obsessed with moving her arms and legs! It’s hard to snap a photo without it being totally blurry. She’s also started laughing totally on her own from little things Maxwell does or says. It’s so cute and I melt inside every time I hear her raspy laugh. This is such a fun stage. They all are, actually…

maxwell natalie maggie whitley

Babies, babies, babies!

sewing machine cover maggie whitley

Earlier this week Max and I snuck over to my sewing machine to make a cover. He’s become very interested in trying to touch it, so this new cover is my secret trick to keeping him away from all the knobs and buttons ;) So far it’s working.

running los angeles maggie whitley

Wednesday and yesterday I got back into my running zone. AND IT’S BEEN SO GOOD! I’ve been focusing on 4 miles/day, gone for about 90 minutes total (including stops to talk to the kids, having Max walk alongside me, and a visit to the water fountains). And doing my run in the morning is essential, I’m learning. Once the afternoon hits, if I still haven’t logged a run I feel like suddenly it’s time to prep dinner and get the baths drawn. It’s gets to be cranky town over here. Running in the morning is definitely what we need to be doing, for this season of life. In my dreams I’m running a few times each week without the stroller or dog, if you were curious (ha!). Soon… Soon I hope to be doing that again.

Happy Friday, loves!

PS. double stroller c/o Britax and coral capri leggings c/o Albion Fit

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Hair color, learning how to thrive, and new bangs!

bangs apartment maggie whitley

My friend Allison (her husband and my husband are childhood BFFs) has awesome bangs — well, honestly her entire hairstyle is awesome (always), and yesterday morning I finally declared, It’s time for me to have bangs again! Allison and I have similar hair texture and color, and every time I see her or a photo of her I take one step closer to having bangs cut. So yesterday I snuck out in the afternoon and had them cut, and would you believe I love them? :) They’re so fun.

Last year around this time my hair was darker (not my natural color though) and I had bangs, although they were more of a blunt/straight across cut. Now my hair is more of an auburn/blonde/light brown mix to match my natural color — paired with side-swept chunky bangs. This time around my hair feels more natural and easier to style.

For months, and I really do mean months (since February) our family has been praying for Zack’s work schedule to lessen. It has been a really long year, but I’m seriously grateful to see our prayers being answered and his schedule slowing down. It can be so hard to be patient and wait, can’t it? And to be honest, I wasn’t always quietly waiting… There were many days since February where I cried and complained and questioned WHY we needed to wait. My guess is it wasn’t just about answering our prayers but having God work on our hearts, too.

And so during that time I clothed myself (in a sense) in maintenance mode. Knowing the days would be very long and sometimes lonely… Knowing I would have to balance taking care of Max and caring for our home and encouraging Zack, grocery shopping and play dates and bath time, walking Bauer multiple times a day and praying fervently and resting during naptime — these things consumed my time and mind, and auto-pilot kicked in.

I hate admitting this, but after a few months I began running off maintenance mode: not really thinking about what would make me happy, but instead putting my family first so that they were happy. What I missed out on was recognizing how important both of these things are! It’s not about putting myself first as though there’s greater importance to my needs, but rather knowing when I hold both my family and myself on the same level both areas thrive, together.

I want to remember these past eight months as encouragement for the future. I remember a few years ago, when we lived in Minneapolis, going through something similar: something in life caused me to put myself on pause while we worked through a hard season. There was much learned, but I don’t think I processed it the healthiest way.

And now our family is growing! In such a short amount of time I’ll be in a newborn haze, but I’m so looking forward to experiencing that once again. And this time I’ll have my chunky bangs to hang out with as we navigate another hard season… and also maybe a new stick of raspberry-colored lip stain ;)

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