Mayavana 1

Image: Myavana

Whether you’re a new natural or OG curly girl, achieving healthy hair requires us to understand our unique hair type and create a plan to reach our hair goals, which can be overwhelming with hundreds of “natural hair products” on the market and infinite hair tutorials. If you’re wondering where to start on your natural hair journey, keep reading to learn how to easily create a regimen that caters to your hair type by using the mobile app, Myavana.

Myavana is the perfect blend of science and technology to help you simplify your natural hair journey and reach your hair goals, instantly! I spoke to the founder of the mobile app, Candace Mitchell on how she’s bridging the gap in the hair industry by using the power of technology to help women create a personalized hair regimen based on the science of their hair.

Can you share your natural hair experiences and what natural hair represents to you? 

I started transitioning when I was 20 years old and my first natural hairstyle that I accomplished was a twist out. It was my ultimate go-to style! I truly started to fall in love with my curls and not rely on always straightening it to feel beautiful or professional. My hair is very thick so my natural hair journey really helped me embrace my “lioness mane”. I learned to accept who I am and feel good about myself without needing to conform to any standard. Natural hair to me represents our God-given identity and unique DNA bursting from the follicles of our crown and giving each one of us our personal stamp on the world. My natural hair truly brings me joy! 

What inspired you to start Myavana? 

When I started going natural in college, I had a really hard time figuring out the right products to use for my hair. I was trying a lot of different things, using my roommates’ products, and sometimes the style would look nice but other times my hair would dry out really bad and break off. I remember looking in the mirror one day seeing how much length I lost and I was so upset. As a computer science major at the time, I had a lightbulb moment and came up with the idea for Myavana. I thought to myself, “There should be some type of app or software that can recommend the right products for your hair!” I started doing research on the science of hair and entered my first pitch competition as an entrepreneur. The rest is history! After my first year out of college, I received a seed investment to start Myavana. I am inspired to help millions of women along their hair journey so that we can be our best, confident selves. 

Read more: How to Create a Scalp Care Regimen to Grow Healthy Natural Hair, According to a Trichologist

Image: Myavana

Tell us how it works... what is the process of determining a person’s hair type using your app? 

In our mobile app, you will simply take a photo of your hair and our technology uses artificial intelligence and image recognition to get a snapshot of your curls and compares that with a database of hundreds and thousands of hair photos that we’ve trained to detect and know the difference between kinks, coils, curls, waves, mixtures of textures and types, etc. It then returns your unique hair combination and recommends products that are uniquely best for your hair, instantly! It takes the guesswork out of caring for your hair. This is our solution when you need real-time guidance. For a more comprehensive analysis of your hair and what it needs, you can order our hair kit and receive a personalized hair care plan. 

Why do you feel more brands are now looking into personalized hair care? Can you share more about the science of curly hair and what makes it unique? 

Brands are starting to see how oversaturated the market is becoming and how consumers are experiencing information overload with all the YouTube videos, blogs, and influencer-driven tutorials that may or may not give you the same results. The entire beauty industry is shifting more to personalization as a way to engage consumers and stay innovative. The science behind all of this is that your hair is as unique as your fingerprint. There are so many variables that make each woman’s hair unique: hair type, texture, porosity, elasticity, health, damage, etc. Every kink and bend on the hair strand increases the weakness of the hair strand and our natural scalp producing oils can’t fully slide down the strand, which makes us so much more prone to dryness. Our textures can change along the strand as it approaches the ends, decreasing in diameter, which makes our hair care regimens more complex to maintain healthy hair. And of course, when you color your hair or apply heat, that introduces even more things to cater to. But don’t worry, we’ve simplified all of this for you. Just tell us your hair challenges or hair goals, and we’ll handle the science! 

Read More: Seriously, what is hair type?

Image: Myavana

What challenges have you endured along your journey that led to key findings for your company?

On the entrepreneurship side, it was very hard to obtain the funding needed to truly grow the business and sustain our operations as we expanded. We ran into many challenges as our customer base grew which led us to take a step back to re-engineer some things. Our customers wanted more real-time guidance which is why we introduced the new mobile app. A key learning that has been pivotal is that once we’ve provided your perfect product match, customers want to buy it right away! We started fulfilling the products ourselves, but that became very cumbersome. We are super excited to partner with brands and retailers like NaturallyCurly to provide a way to purchase products through our app so that we can stick to what we do best! It’s taken a lot of patience and persistence to get to this point. I sincerely appreciate every person that has helped me along the way. 

In your opinion, which of these factors is most important to consider when selecting hair products: hair density, hair width, porosity, curl pattern, all of the above or something else? 

It’s actually a combination of all of the above! That’s the beauty and complexity of it. We’ve been stuck for so long on the hair typing chart when it’s actually a blend of factors that affect product performance. That’s why we offer a hair analysis kit as well to take a deeper look at your strands under the microscope to provide a detailed assessment of your hair profile. We’ll continue incorporating our findings in our technology and make the app experience the best it can be. We truly have hair care down to a science :) 

Image: Myavana

What advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business? 

I truly encourage you to understand what problem you solve for your potential customers and how great the need is for your business. Do customer discovery to uncover the real solution you should provide and at what price. Take into account all costs associated with building your product and make sure you have good margins. Then build the right team to execute (the most important part!). Write the vision and make it plain, be confident in yourself, have faith every step of the way, ask for help when you need it, and move forward persistently. Never give up! 

What can young girls and women with an interest in STEM do to equip themselves for success? 

Take time to really discover what you’re passionate about. Try different classes, courses, and camps, until you find what makes you excited. Then pinpoint what your best learning style is because it takes lots of research, studying, and practicing to truly master a field in STEM. Find a mentor who can guide you and help you when you get stuck because at some point you will but it doesn’t mean that you don’t belong. If you find yourself being the only girl or woman in the room, just remind yourself that there’s a community of us who is cheering for you and rooting you on. You just might become a trailblazer in your field! Women in STEM truly rock :)