Serving Humanity Through Conscious Haircare
Mala Rhodes is the Founder and Creator of AfroVeda Haircare Products.
It’s a strange thing, being in business for yourself. Throughout our lives we are encouraged to pursue those things that bring us joy. And if those things happen to be a positive influence to others, well then all the better. We often times search the world over for that lucrative career, perfect mate, our ‘purpose’ for being here, all to find out that what we really need to do is just be still.
AfroVeda began almost 18 years ago with my desire to break out of the mold I found myself in, and allow my hair to be what it was intended to be. Granted, I loved my relaxed hair and the way it moved with the breeze. But inside I was looking for a more holistic way of life, and growing out my relaxer just seemed to follow along. There was no thought of forming a business around my hair care regimen, I only wanted to ‘do right’ by my hair.
During the years that followed, I tried my hand at massage therapy as a way to bring a more relaxing atmosphere into my life, and provided care for people living with cancer. In my mind, it was my ideal job and I loved every minute of it. I had been looking for a way to honor my father who passed away from colon cancer, and this seemed like the perfect way to do it. I considered it my own personal escape as well — those moments when aromatherapy, spa music, and tranquility seemed to take over. I knew I was providing this same escape for my clients, and I was filled with gratitude at every appointment. These sessions were fulfilling that inner cry for freedom, and I searched high and low for every opportunity to inch closer to that ultimate goal.
However, after seven years as a massage therapist, I still wasn’t fulfilled. I began to wonder if this was truly meant to be, and my passion for this art started to diminish. Not because of the wonderful benefit I was providing (I still loved doing it), but because I had spent thousands of dollars and endless hours trying to make a business out of the thing that I loved, only to have doors repeatedly shut in my face. At the same time, I was stuck in a rut with my hair regimen, not realizing the true potential I had to grow stronger, healthier hair. Basically, I was just stuck — mentally, physically, emotionally.
I had visited several hair care boards over the years and enjoyed reading about the many success stories others were having. I basically had one homemade product that I used on my hair religiously (because it worked!), and knew nothing about synthetic chemicals, unnatural preservatives, or the structure of hair strands. It was a whole new world to me, and the knowledge seemed to flow from women all over the world. I was astonished and overjoyed! Finally, here was my opportunity to learn about how to care for my natural hair….and be successful at it!!
The word Ayurveda came up on one of the boards and I was immediately intrigued. I began to research this ‘new’ technique (actually it’s been around for thousands of years) and found out that it means “knowledge of life”. I am a very spiritual person and when the thought came to me that I was “honoring the wrong father”, I knew was meant to pursue this. More research (books, internet, and my own Indian friends) brought me to the conclusion that this was truly my ‘purpose’, and that it was something I was meant to do. I began using the herbs and oils recommended for various hair ailments (itchy scalp, malnourished & porous strands, damaged hair) and found that my hair loved it! So much so, that it responded almost immediately!! I went back to the hair boards and posted a picture of one of the homemade products I had concocted and, as they say, the rest is history. Several emails came in saying “if you make it, I will buy it”. One week later, the name “AfroVeda” was given to me and I posted a website with the Curly Custard (the product I posted on the hair board), a hair growth elixir, and an oil to be used for hot oil treatments.
That was 2008. And because of the tremendous love and support from the ladies on the hair boards, and my friends and family, AfroVeda has grown and now offers a growing list of natural products for taking care of hair, the Ayurvedic way. The products are all made by hand, by me, and it is truly a joy. I am somewhat of a perfectionist and do all I can to ensure that AfroVeda products are made with the utmost care and safety. There are no parabens, sulfates or other harmful ingredients in the products. The products do contain Ayurvedic herbs, oils and botanicals that are proven to have a positive health benefit. They are all formulated according to your body type (or “dosha” as explained in Ayurveda), which takes into consideration all things necessary to maintain equilibrium in the body. It doesn’t matter your race, hair texture, or whether your hair is natural or relaxed. What it does consider is YOU.
AfroVeda is still growing and maturing in this industry as each day passes. You will see changes happening — with the website and the products we offer. Please, don’t be dismayed. I now have an incredible support group of both professionals and everyday folks who are overjoyed right along with me about this venture, and are eager to help me with its success. I’ve always heard that it takes a community to raise a child, and I am grateful for those who have encouraged me to step out on faith. Rest assured that we will continue to provide the best quality Ayurvedic hair care products imaginable, and do everything in our power to remain humble and appreciative of this gift.