NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!
Doug Ratner: My name is Doug Ratner. I’m the lead singer/guitarist for my band Doug Ratner & The Watchmen; we’re a country fried rock 'n' roll band from Springfield, MA. We’ve had some major independent success and I’m trying to revitalize rock 'n' roll for the 21st century because it’s lying dormant right now! I’m also a huge animal lover...I have two german shepherds named Oggy and Trudy.
NC: How and when did you start embracing your curls?DR: In late 2009, I started growing my hair out for good after my sister helped me put it in a pony for the first time. I'm a rock 'n' roller, so my image is directly related to who I am as an artist. My long, curly hair is a reflection of who I am as an artist…wild, untamed and passionate!
NC: From start to finish, on a curly day, what's your process?
DR: I let genetics do most of the work (I'm Jewish) along with a healthy diet of organic meat and fish, vegetables, berries, and lots of avocados and coconut oil! I only wash my hair about 2-3 times a week, usually with Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. I also try to get 20 minutes of direct sunlight whenever possible and when I do wash my hair, I like to let it dry in the sun. I don’t use any artificial products on my skin or hair because I try to limit my body's exposure to unwanted toxins/chemicals. Our skin is the largest organ in the body, and ensuring healthy skin is part of having healthy hair! What you put into your body directly impacts how you look and feel! And of course, adequate hydration is a must.
NC: What are your favorite hairstyles to wear?
DR: I keep my hair in a ponytail if it's really hot out, but I like it down and wild! Sometimes I put a bandana around it to keep the curls out of my face and when it was in its growing stages, I used a headband to keep it back.
NC: What are your must-have products and tools?
DR: Dr. Bronner’s is great because I can bring it on the road to wash my hair, wash my body and brush my teeth. Other than that, my must-haves are sunshine, water, healthy food and a healthy mind.
NC: What about your hair stylists?
DR: I have a stylist in my hometown who cuts my hair. She's always trying to get me to try new products, but I never do.NC: What do you do at nighttime for your hair? DR: Sleep! Healthy sleep patterns are so important for a healthy immune system, which affects our bodies and therefore our appearance. I also sleep with my hair down, not in a ponytail. I like to let it breathe and restore itself while I do the same.
NC: What reaction did you get when you decided to go natural?DR: I get a lot of looks and stares from people...and usually a lot of compliments from girls!
NC: What is the best thing about being curly?DR: It's a form of self-expression and it's another way to let people know about my music and passion! And my heroes (Roger Daltrey, Eddie Vedder, Slash, to name a few) all have long curly hair. When I'm up on stage I feel empowered in a way, like I'm paying homage to them.
NC: How do you think having curly hair impacts your life?
DR: I don’t want to say that it makes me unique because with or without my hair, I believe that I’m a unique individual. But it does make me very recognizable and it adds to the branding of my band and my look. A lot of people remember me because of my hair on stage and they'll recognize me in a restaurant or even walking down the street. Fans will tell me that they noticed me crossing the road because they recognized my hair. It's really cool! In our upcoming album, I write about my long hair in some of the songs.
NC: What would you tell others to encourage them to embrace their curls?
DR: If it’s who you are, embrace it 100% and never worry about other people’s negative opinions. Deep down, people are yearning for a way to express themselves and find happiness, and that takes truth and honesty. By letting your hair grow out and be curly, you’re making a statement and expressing yourself in the most natural way.
NC: Tell us about your current and upcoming projects.
DR: We're finishing up our third album—it will be released in the middle of August. We also start shooting our music video soon...for the same song that talks about my hair! Then we're going on tour through the Midwest and the South from August 15th-25th. Lots of awesome stuff coming up.