Atlanta-based beauty tech startup Myavana has just launched a brand new mobile app powered by artificial intelligence that can analyze a photo of your hair for instant product recommendations.
Chief exec and co-founder of Myavana, Candace Mitchell Harris, 32, said the new platform will allow the company to give women of color real-time guidance in the palm of their hand.
“Think about all the times where you’re in the bathroom or you’ve watched hundreds of YouTube videos,” Mitchell Harris said. “This really eliminates all of the trial and error and you’re actually able to chat with a hair consultant.”
The app is the latest development for Myavana. Customers can simply take a picture of their hair and receive real-time hair care recommendations through AI and image recognition technology. From that picture, the app can determine what kind of hair the user has and what products are needed to achieve desired hair goals.
The product is already backed by three celebrity ambassadors — Keri Hilson, Letoya Luckett, and Eudoxie Bridges. Mitchell said she hopes the partnership will help put the “strength of celebrity influence” toward propelling a black female-owned business.
The glamorous trio is featured in Myavana’s latest commercial for the new product. They began their press tour for the mobile application in December 2019 as the app was originally slated for release in March. But the launch was temporarily delayed because of Coronavirus.
“Our mobile app allows you to have everything you need for your hair at your fingertips from consultations with hair experts, video content for healthy hair guidance, product recommendations throughout your hair journey, and much more,” said Mitchell Harris.
However, Myavana is not limited to an app. The company also offers a hair kit that allows consumers to submit hair strands for deeper lab analysis for a one-time fee of $99. According to Myavana’s site, the kit examines the texture, type, and condition of the consumer’s hair to create a “digital hair profile” which includes a custom treatment plan to improve hair health.
And the app is not intended to replace the hair kit.
“It’s all about what fits your needs,” Mitchell Harris said. “The app is more when you need instant feedback but if you want a more comprehensive analysis […] then the hair analysis kit will be better for you.”
Customers can simply take a picture of their hair and receive real-time hair care recommendations through artificial intelligence and image recognition technology. From that picture, the app can determine what kind of hair the user has and what products are needed to achieve desired hair goals.
The black hair care industry is big business. In 2018 research giant Mintel valued the Black hair care industry at $2.51 billion in the U.S. alone. In fact, spending on shampoos and conditioners is projected to continue to spike as more women choose to wear their hair in its natural state.
Launched in 2012, Myavana aims to transform the multibillion-dollar hair care industry with hair care personalization through science and technology. Indeed, Mitchell Harris says the growing natural hair movement has given her company a unique positioning in the marketplace.
Mitchell Harris revealed she first came up with the idea as a computer science undergraduate at Georgia Tech while she was transitioning to natural hair and trying out several hair products. But after many dried out her hair, she began to research the different variables that affect how products react in your hair.
“A lot of us really think about our hair type like I’m a 2b or 4c, what should I use in my hair? But there are so many other factors involved,” she said. “So I developed an algorithm to match your hair characteristics to the products that will actually work the best.”
This personalization helps take some of the guesswork out of the natural hair care process by also giving consumers access to professional advice.
“It was important to us to also have professional experts involved because they are the ones who are trained to properly guide you,” Mitchell Harris adds. “Which has kind of been lost in a lot of the content online because the professionals aren’t the ones creating it.”
Still, it has not been an easy journey. Instead of raising traditional venture capital, Mitchell Harris decided to get her product to market and focus on “revenue generation and customer acquisition.”
“That whole path was very challenging because you have to typically move a lot slower because you are reinvesting your own resources versus having millions of dollars put into the business,” she said.
And she acknowledges that this was not a popular route for many startups.
“Generally in startup culture that is not as popular because they kind of give you a window of three to five years to make it and if you’re not a multi-million dollar business by then, then you’re kind of put off to the side and not taken seriously,” she said.
Nonetheless, she said that changing her outlook and finding balance has helped her overcome these challenges, and keep building.
“Moving from like a fear-based approach to a faith-based approach helps me stay a lot more balanced and it gives me a lot more peace,” Mitchell Harris said. “Any time you can maintain your peace throughout the day and limit the stress you’ll be able to sustain yourself for a lot longer.”
And Mitchell Harris said she now sees Myavana as not only a helpful resource for consumers but also a vehicle for changing how consumers view their natural hair.
“We always emphasize self-care,” she said. “Shifting from your hair being a difficult thing to manage to actually taking care of yourself –you’re emphasizing the things you love about yourself and maintaining your peace.”
Interested? Download the link for the Myavana’s new mobile app here.