Every time I’m treated to a complimentary hair appointment or a brand sends me extensions for free, I think, Who can afford this on a regular basis? While I can swing the cost of a few bundles on my own or pay for an installation without going into debt, the thought of doing both at one time — and spending upwards of $500 or more — is simply a no-go for me. That’s why I was so intrigued by Mayvenn’s new Free Install Program.
Mayvenn is an extensions brand started by Diishan Imira in 2012 that immediately found success due to its strategy of partnering with hair stylists to offer them marketing (building websites), online support, and a cut of sales (15% as of last year). In 2018, the brand announced a $23 million dollar investment that would “go towards marketing to customers and stylists, and developing new package deals that combine hair sales with styling services from stylists within the network, at lower cost,” Forbes reported. And in July of this year, Mayvenn delivered on that promise, joining the rewardStyle platform and launching the aforementioned FREE Install Program.
The rundown on the program is quite simple. Customers get a completely free hair installation when they buy three or more bundles of Mayvenn virgin human hair, frontals or closures. As the website puts it, “That’s a shampoo, condition, braid down, sew-in, and style, all on us.” The site even helps you find stylists in your area and offers style inspo so you know exactly what bundles to choose to get your desired look. On a budget and in need of a hairdo that would last through a campaign shoot and red carpet for work, I reached out to Mayvenn for a complimentary trial of the service. Here’s my experience.
The first step of the free install program is basically deciding you want to participate in the free install program. The homepage of the website lays out the details of the program and once you click on “Browse Stylists” you’ll be guided by a series of prompts that lead you to your free installation.
Before you purchase the bundles that guarantee your free installation, Mayvenn will ask you to choose a stylist. The search begins by entering the zip code or address nearby where you want to get your hair done, like your home or office for instance. From there, a list of potential stylists will populate along with photos of their most recent client looks and their location. Jaxx Stylez was recommended to me and after looking through his portfolio, I decided to choose him as my stylist.
Once you pick a stylist, you can then get into choosing your hair. If you’re not fluent in weave, you can search different looks and Mayvenn will outline the length, texture, and color of the bundles needed, as well as whether the look requires a closure or frontal.
Since I was going with a long bob look with soft curls, I opted for three Dyed Virgin Malaysian Body Wave Bundles in Jet Black (one in 16 inches and two in 18 inches) and a matching 14-inch closure. Once I closed out my cart, the communication moved from the Mayvenn website to text messages which was the confusing and somewhat frustrating part of the process.
Once I paid for my hair, I was told my chosen stylist would be in touch with me about my appointment. If you’ve ever needed to get your hair done ASAP, you know the fear of a stylist not having any availability, and with no way to reach mine directly I simply had to hope for the best.
The great news is I ordered my hair on a Thursday afternoon and by the same time on Friday I received a notice that it had been shipped. I didn’t pay for expedited shipping so I was thoroughly impressed when my hair arrived Monday afternoon. With my shipment notification I received a text with a voucher and promo code that I was instructed to show my Mayvenn certified stylist at the time of my appointment to receive the free installation.
About two hours later that Friday I received another text from Mayvenn to assist me with the booking of my hair appointment. I was asked what day and time I wanted to get my hair done and when I replied with my preference I was then directed to use Styleseat to book my appointment because that was my stylist’s preferred booking method. Slightly annoyed, I followed protocol and booked an appointment for the following Thursday via Styleseat.
On Sunday night my stylist reached out to me about my booking and told me he needed a $25 deposit via Cash App to secure the appointment. Because of the free installation deal (and the fact that I don’t use Cash App), I was a bit leery of this part of the process, but I figured, worst case, the deposit could serve as my stylist’s tip, so I paid the $25 and awaited my appointment the following Thursday.
The installation process the next week was pretty standard. Because my stylist frequently works with Mayvenn clients he was already aware of the voucher process and I loved that he took some time to assess the health of my own hair before starting to braid me down. In fact, he gave my ends a trim and when all was said and done I told him keep the deposit as payment for that and his tip. It wasn’t until that moment that he actually accepted the money I’d sent on Cash App, which I liked since I was worried about how I would get the deposit back on the app.
It’s been two weeks since my install and I’ve gotten nothing but compliments on the look. I even went to Dry Bar for dry styling (because I don’t own a curling iron and neglected to roll my hair at night one too many times) and the stylist there commented on the great quality of the extensions which was nice to hear from an objective party.
I personally love how lightweight the hair feels and because I picked bundles with a bit of a wave too them, it doesn’t take much to add a few curls to the hair with my flat iron in the morning. Despite a few hiccups with the booking process, I see no reason not to take advantage of this program. Mayvenn offers a variety of textured and straight bundles and since most looks require three bundles anyway, you might as well save yourself some cash and take advantage of a free installation.