Featured Kinks and Curls: Ray Ray

Where do you come from, what do you do?
I'm Ade, but people call me RayRay. I'm African British, I have recently just left college; studying a-level Chemistry, Maths, Biology and Psychology.

What made you want to become natural? What inspired you?
I personally didn't plan on going natural, like some people do; though I've always loved the natural hair look. I never enjoyed the whole process of getting my roots relaxed every few months, so one day, when I was old enough to disagree with my mother...I told her to stop buying me relaxers; and the whole journey started from there really. I think I was about 14-15 years old.

When did you become natural, and how?
I went natural in November 2009, so a little over 3 years natural now. I didn't want to do a big chop, however my plan to transition did not go smoothly, I'd previously seen lots of transitioning naturals on the internet and they'd managed to deal with the two textures perfectly, but me? My straight ends pretty much started to fall off about 3 months after i'd stopped relaxing, despite protective styling. My relaxed hair must have been pretty damaged. Eventually, about 6 months into my transition, I got frustrated and chopped off the relaxed ends myself. So i ended up with a mini afro, which was easier to work with.

What was your family, friends/partner's reaction?
My family were actually very supportive. My friends as well, I noticed that I received more hair compliments with natural hair, than I ever did with relaxed hair. The one negative reaction I received however, was from my hairdresser, who pretty much told me never to come back to her again unless I relaxed my hair. Full details of the story can be found on my new Wordpress blog.
What mistake have you made with your natural hair?
DRY COMBING!!, which quickly came to learn, was a big no no. Within my first few months of being natural, i struggled with combing through my hair, I would just grab a comb and work my way through, pulling through whatever knots I found, which left my hair stressed and very weak. I think one of the most important things to know with natural hair is that it NEEDS moisture. I very rarely comb my hair nowadays because i've gotten so used to finger detangling, but I make sure that whatever I do, my hair is never dry when I do it.

Name 3 products you couldn't live without
Curl Activator gel
Tresemme Naturals Conditioner
Jojoba oil

What are your favourite hairstyles?
My two favourite protective styles have to be, without a doubt, buns and crochet braids. If you check out any of my blogs, you'll notice that I post a lot about buns and crochet braids. They're just so easy to do, and low maintenance which is why I love them.

What is the best thing about being natural?
People always ask me questions like, 'Is that your real hair?' or 'How did you get your hair like that' which, honestly gets annoying after a while but I do enjoy the feeling of uniqueness that having natural hair brings. It's time we started taking pride in what we were naturally blessed with.

Do you ever feel that you want to go back to texturisers/relaxers/weaves?
Very early on in my natural hair journey, yes, but now? Absolutely not. I don't think I will ever go back to relaxers/ texturisers. Weaves, maybe occasionally. But so far, it's been over 3 years and I've only worn a weave once, which I only kept in for two weeks because I missed my actual hair.

What have you learned from your natural hair journey?
I have learned a lot from being natural, mostly self acceptance. But the most important thing that having natural hair has taught me, has got to be PATIENCE, especially with learning to deal with shrinkage and figuring out which products work for your hair and which don't. It's a decision I don't regret making and I'm glad i'll have this knowledge to pass on to my future children.

Tell us a bit about your blogs
I initially started my tumblr blog to share hair/makeup/fashion/natural hair photos, but very quickly the focus of my blog shifted to pretty much natural hair stuff, with me getting all sorts of questions on hair. This inspired me to create a new blog on Wordpress, which I only started in the past 2 weeks. So here, I can discuss at length, natural hair tips and ideas, pictures, product reviews stories e-t-c. It will also help me to document my progress from now on, which is something I failed to do when I first went natural.

Where else can we find you on the internet?

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