Elizabeth Davis is the genius behind the transformational hair growth system, Shedavi which is all about promoting healthy hair and length. Back in 2016, this Chicagoan decided to transform the haircare industry by creating a hair, beauty, and wellness brand that emphasized a holistic approach to taking care of yourself. By incorporating Ayurvedic healing properties into each product, Elizabeth inspired her customers to look at wellness as a lifestyle versus an arduous task to incorporate into their day. Each product focuses on internal and external nourishment for maximum hair health which benefits the scalp, elasticity, immune system, and skin. The Shedavi hair growth vitamins and hair elixir were even given the blessing by the big “O” herself and listed as a top product in Oprah Magazine.
We sat down and chatted with CEO Elizabeth Davis about her own natural hair journey, repairing damaged hair, and what it was like to be in Oprah’s Magazine.
What was your natural hair care journey like growing up?
From my early childhood years I loved hair. I remember growing up and having my mom and older sister take turns doing trendy hairstyles based on what I was interested in at the time. By being invested in the latest trends, it developed my creativity in braiding and enhanced my confidence in experimenting with all types of hairstyles and products. In middle school everyone had a relaxer and even though I really wanted one, my mom advised that she had waited until her adult years to try it out. She finally caved, and I remember feeling disappointed with the results.
That led me to start going to different salons in Chicago where Egyptian stylists would do blow-outs and as I transitioned out of highschool, I went to school in Florida where the humidity almost forced me to start going natural. It wasn’t realistic to maintain a blow-out or straight hair in Florida. I then progressively started expanding my natural hair to include protective styles like weaves and sew-ins and just committed to the process.
Your background is in engineering and project management, how did you transition into natural hair care?
Once I was natural and had trimmed off all my relaxer, I did try keratin treatments and experienced severe hair damage from the extreme heat. My hair was constantly breaking off and I was having to regrow it out. I was working in the construction and general contracting field and in my past time would be researching hair information because I wanted to understand how our hair worked. I began giving advice to different friends and family members who wanted to know how my hair was becoming so long and healthy. This sparked the idea to create a business that was not only going to make me money but provide a real service to the world.
How did you choose your brand name?
I chose the name "Shedavi" from a combination of my middle name and last name which is my mother’s maiden and father’s last name. People think it sounds exotic, but it’s just syllables out of my name. It’s very meaningful to me because it represents the interconnectivity of people coming together.
When you decided to start formulating your products, what were some key ingredients you wanted to include and why?
I was really focused on getting the right quantities of ingredients in order to achieve the right scent and effectiveness. What I love about botanicals is that they are bio-active and can be applied to your hair to create length and health. We aim to focus on not only the ingredients but the technique. I wanted ingredients that would keep the hair and scalp healthy.
What inspired you to take a holistic approach to your beauty brand?
The reason I made the products holistic is because I know our environment affects our bodies and the beauty products we put on our bodies like lotion are absorbed into the skin. I have family members who are nurses which made me health conscious and I wanted to make sure my products would respect our bodies.
What are your tips for retaining moisture in the winter?
My tips for maintaining moisture in cooler weather is to use a water-based moisture such as our leave-in conditioner. It has detangling properties with a lot of slip and hydrating oils so it’s a perfect styling product for this season. I also like to include a dime-sized amount of the elixir which will help it hold for a few days.
Restoration and repair are two staples of your brand and are reflected in products like the elixir oil and vitamins, what are some misconceptions around repairing damaged hair?
First, everything is a chemical and people should understand that, but not everything is going to create a chemical reaction. For a product to change your hair requires a chemical reaction and that’s how relaxers or keratin treatments transform your hair cuticles. Any topical product you put on your hair is temporary (ex: protein treatment or repairing masque) and requires a regime to be effective. You can’t apply these treatments once and expect results. Creating a regime for yourself is important for hair health and preventing damage.
If you could give newbie naturalistas any tips about starting their hair journey, what would it be and which product would you recommend them trying?
You have to get used to your hair being natural and being open to experimentation whether that’s products or styles. You have to find what is optimal hair and makes your hair thrive. My hair thrives with protective styles, but that’s not the case for everyone. The products I recommend as your going natural are our shampoo, conditioner, protein masque, and the leave-in conditioner for detangling. I would also recommend the vitamins and elixir to help promote hair growth.
Self care has become a larger conversation in the Black community whether it’s mental, emotional, or spiritual, how do you incorporate self care into your lifestyle while running a company?
For me, self-care includes a day and night time regime that I’m committed to keeping. I have certain rituals that I practice such as thanking the lord first thing in the morning, meditating, and reading an inspiring business quote to get my mind ready for the day. During the night time I read my bible and prepare myself for the next day like writing a to-do list.
Your brand was rated #1 by Oprah Magazine, what was that experience like and how did it impact your business?
When we did get rated number #1 for the elixir it was a genuine surprise. I was discovered by the writer of the article on Amazon and it’s a testament to manifestation because I never believed it would happen…and it did.