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This Hair Company Is Giving Its Customers Free Weave Installs - Is It Worth It?

I Tried Mayvenn Install and got my weave installed for FREE. Is this is a marketing scam or a deal you don't want to miss?

I Tried It

There's nothing like the confidence that can come from a bomb, fly new hairstyle. I love my natural hair in all its beautiful and diverse glory, but I also love the versatility that comes from rocking hair extensions. Buying hair and then having to pay to get it installed, however, can be an extremely pricey and stressful experience. Who's the best stylist? What's the best hair to pick?

As someone who is NOT skilled in the hair styling arena and cannot do my own installs, I save getting a hair weave for special occasions only. When I heard about minority-owned hair company Mayvenn's new Mayvenn Install program, I knew I had to try it. The program allows customers to buy hair online and then get matched with a local licensed salon stylist who will shampoo, condition, braid down and, install the hair free of charge to the customers. Customers receive a pre-paid voucher via email that is scanned by the stylist, enabling them to collect payment from Mayvenn instantly.

To bring this service to fruition, Mayvenn raised $36 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz and Essence Ventures. "Now with Mayvenn Install, customers will be able to buy hair and the installation service for probably 40% less than what they normally would have paid," says Diishan Imira, Mayvenn CEO and co-founder. Though the program is marketed towards consumers, the company is dedicated to helping hairstylists develop their entrepreneurial talents and grow their own businesses. 25,000+ in-network stylists in over 250 cities are now being directly connected to customers in need of service, with Mayvenn fronting the install price. The company reports that some stylists are averaging 20-40 new clients a month because of Mayvenn install. In four months alone, the company has paid out over $20 million in commission to stylists who are part of the program.

As part of xoNecole's I Tried It series, the Mayvenn team allowed me to review the Mayvenn Install process. Read on to learn more about my personal experience, thoughts on the program, and whether or not I'd recommend it to our xoNecole readers.

Please note, this is not sponsored. The hair was provided free of charge for an honest review of the program.

The Mayvenn Install Process

Mayvenn

Customers can access the free install program directly from Mayvenn's homepage. Once clicking "Get a free install", you are directed to a user-friendly customized webpage. The three-step process was simple and easy to walk through. First, I chose my desired hairstyle type, which was a closure. (Easy maintenance, please!) Then, after inputting my location, I was given a list of participating local stylists to choose from. I was able to read reviews and years of experience and choose the stylist that fit my preference. Finally, it was hair selection time, which was the most impressive part of this process.

As someone who wasn't sure what I wanted, I opted for the "show me looks for inspiration" button. I chose the "deep wave" texture option and scrolled through the multiple hair styles to choose the look that spoke to me the most. After browsing through several pictures of women rocking the deep wave texture in different styles and lengths (and since I love big curly hair), I decided on a 18" closure and 20", 22", and 24" bundles. After ordering, I received an email confirmation and pre-paid voucher that the stylist will scan in order to get paid.

Scheduling Your Appointment & Receiving The Mayvenn Hair

After payment is complete, you're connected with a Mayvenn assistant via text who helps you book an appointment with your chosen stylist directly. I was asked to send over time and date preferences to initiate the scheduling. To be honest, this is the part of the process that wasn't my favorite. Due to my stylist availability and the customer service lag time, it took me about one full-day to secure a date and time for the install. Being able to view the stylist's calendar directly without a third party would have made the booking much smoother.

The closure and bundles arrived in less than three business days and came in beautiful individual Mayvenn-branded satin-lined pouches. The hair was soft to the touch and the closure looked well-constructed with a realistic-looking part. A curly-hair maintenance guide was also included in my hair package. Having a FAQ booklet was helpful, especially when it came to knowing how to properly prep the hair for install.

The Mayvenn Hair Installation

Writer Rana Campbell

I chose NJ-based stylist Lucky a.ka "The Weavemaster" to install my bundles. I arrived at her Union, NJ salon ready for a few hours of hair pampering. Her assistant, Anjail, meticulously detangled my hair and gave me an ultra-relaxing shampoo and condition. She then took her time (a major necessity for thick-haired naturals like myself) blow-drying my hair and painlessly braided my hair in flat, neat cornrows.

Then, Lucky put in work. In less than an hour, she installed all three bundles and even tweezed my closure part to make it look more realistic. After the install, she defined my curls and did a light style, making sure my hair was LAID - baby hairs and all. (Now, I know why she calls herself the weave master!) The sew-in wasn't tight and I felt like I'd still have edges when I decided to remove the extensions. At the end, Lucky scanned my voucher. Though the service was free of charge, I made sure to tip both her and her assistant, per Mayvenn's recommendations.

The Verdict: Is Mayvenn Hair Good?

Writer Rana Campbell

So, would I recommend Mayvenn Install? HECK YES! The process was fairly simple. I already knew Mayvenn was trustworthy when it came to hair quality. I liked that I didn't have to worry about buying hair and then finding a qualified stylist to install. Lucky came highly recommended from the Mayvenn platform and the actual install experience was pleasant and relaxing. What surprised me was how popular the service was. Both customers before and after me were also Mayvenn clients.

As a hair stylist, Lucky appreciates being able to be part of the program. The ability to attract new clientele has positively impacted her business, she told me. She sees being part of the program as part of her overall marketing strategy. Though the money she receives from Mayvenn isn't as much as she normally charges for a regular sew-in, the sheer number of new clients she's able to bring in monthly and re-market to, balances it out. I now have a trusted hair weave technician that I'd love to support again either using my own funds or by participating in the Mayvenn Install again.

Overall, here are some of my personal noted benefits and potential limitations of the Mayvenn Install program:

Benefits:

Writer Rana Campbell

  1. The hair purchasing and stylist selection process is very user-friendly. The program is great for people who want to try weave for the first time. The technology allows users to have a customized experience when selecting a style and stylist.
  2. Mayvenn hair quality is up to industry standard. Their 100% virgin hair is gently steam-processed and can last up to a year. I've had my hair in for about two weeks now with minimal shedding or tangling.
  3. You're directly supporting a local licensed salon stylist. Instead of buying hair and having it sit around, you're able to empower and economically fuel a local stylist by scheduling time to get hair installed.
  4. Free installs means you're saving a lot of money as well. Most stylists can charge upwards of $150 for a simple install. If you're a frequent bundle buyer - or even want to customize the hair, you'll still save hundreds over the course of a year.
  5. There's a 30-day guarantee! Even if you wear, dye, or cut the hair and are not satisfied, Mayvenn will still exchange the hair and allow you to try another stylist.

Limitations:

  1. In order to qualify for the program, you have to buy three bundles. If you want to buy less, then you can't take advantage of Mayvenn Install.
  2. You have to use a Mayvenn-vetted stylist. If you already have a trusted weave installer, they cannot scan the voucher and collect payment from Mayvenn.
  3. Installs are limited to installs only. If you'd like added styling, cut, or coloring, you are responsible for paying the service balance.
  4. The booking process can be a bit frustrating depending upon your and the stylist's availability. Plus, booking is limited to Mayvenn's customer service hours.

To learn more Mayvenn Install or to try it for yourself, visit https://freeinstall.mayvenn.com/.

You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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