This Hair Care Line Gives You Luscious Locks By Improving Your Scalp Health

Meet Helen Reavey, the woman behind Act+Acre, a sustainable and science-based hair care line focused on anti-aging for the scalp.
Act+Acre provides a holistic approach to hair wellness and growth using cold-processed ingredients for maximum potency and effectiveness.
Act+Acre provides a holistic approach to hair wellness and growth using cold-processed ingredients for maximum potency and effectiveness.

HuffPost’s Small Business Spotlight is a series aimed at highlighting the small businesses that are making a positive difference while forging new and significant futures in commerce.

Your scalp is really just an extension of the skin on your face, so why don’t we care for it in the same way? Studies have shown that there’s a direct correlation between scalp health and hair health and retention.

Helen Reavey, a hair stylist and trichologist, set out to solve that problem and found a solution in creating Act+Acre, a sustainable hair care line that focuses on improving the condition of the scalp first so that healthy hair can follow.

Throughout her 20-year career in the hair industry, Reavey worked in salons and at fashion weeks across the globe, and began to notice a pattern in the hair she saw and styled. Scalps were red and raw from overstyling and product buildup on the scalp, accompanied by dead and damaged hair.

“I said to myself that I wished I had something to send these girls home with
to dissolve the product, calm down inflammation and just really deliver nutrients to the scalp, the skin and the hair follicle,” Reavey told HuffPost.

Now, products like Act+Acre’s Scalp Detox and Scalp Renew do just that by breaking down excess sebum, dead skin cells and product buildup, making the way for more abundant and healthier hair growth. Among other treatments, there’s also a Stem Cell Serum that nourishes the hair follicle and helps to extend the growth phase.

Reavey said that the connection between scalp health and hair health seemed to be widely overlooked within the beauty industry, noting that caring for the scalp really goes beyond just the immediate improvements you may see once you start to address some of the most common concerns like itching, flaking and lack of hair volume.

“It’s really about from five to seven years from now that the hair in that cycle will really start to show what you were doing to it five, seven years ago. It’s like when we work to prevent lines, wrinkles or sun damage now because we don’t want them to appear in another five to 10 years,” she said.

For Reavey, the conception and subsequent launch of Act+Acre in 2019 was also about challenging the norms and processes of the larger corporations that came before her ― their systems of transparency (or lack thereof) with their consumers, their wasteful approach to production and product development, and the kinds of ingredients being used.

Act+Acre uses a cold process method to create all of their products, a patented system that involves a hyperbaric chamber, cold air and pressure to extract the most from ingredients at their highest concentrations, which is possible because they aren’t evaporated off in the process. It also uses 90% less energy than traditional and cheaper methods with heat.

“It’s always about what you’re doing when no one else is looking. [Sustainability and an eco-minded approach] is no longer a ‘nice to have,’ it’s a ‘have to have’ because when we borrow from Mother Nature, it’s our children that will be affected by it.””

- Helen Reavey

“It’s actually so much harder and more expensive for us to create a product [via] cold process, but we knew it was the right thing to do. It was important to us because it would mean that when we’re putting those ingredients in, they’re actually existing. Otherwise it’s such a waste of such beautiful ingredients to take from the planet, put into a product and have them evaporate after ― you’re not getting any benefits of it. We wanted the product to be not only clean, but to actually perform really well,” Reavey said.

Given the difficulty and higher costs associated with the cold process method, how can Reavey ensure her company remains profitable, and how are these practices a worthwhile road map for other prospective businesses to follow? Reavey said it’s all about transparency with consumers, especially when it comes to cost.

“For us to create a product is probably three or four times more than what you’d see in a drugstore. So it really is about being transparent with your consumer, helping them to understand why something is priced a certain way,” she said.

Reavey said that it took hard work, compromise and calling upon the male allies in her life, primarily her husband Colm, to help fight for a place in the industry and make it as a woman-owned brand in the convenience-driven age of shopping large.

If you want to support this woman-owned company and achieve your own long term hair and scalp wellness goals, see below for some of Reavey’s favorite Act+Acre products. Shipping in the US is free.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

A hero collection for all-around scalp care
Reavey called this trio Act+Acre's three hero products for clearing the scalp and nourishing hair follicles in order to make way for new and healthier hair growth.

The Scalp Detox is a weekly pre-cleanse oil treatment made with antioxidant-rich botanical extracts like baobab and basil leaf that gently breaks down sebum and product buildup in the scalp. Scalp Renew, another pre-cleanse treatment, is a cooling exfoliant formulated with salicylic acid and papaya extract to dissolve and digest dead cells on scalp surface, making this a great solution for individuals prone to dandruff.

Finally, Stem Cell Serum, a post-cleanse and anti-premature aging scalp treatment, uses apple stem cells, bamboo and pea extract to help extend the growth phase of hair and reduce hair loss, while also combating free radicals responsible for premature aging of the hair follicle. "As your scalp ages, your hair starts to thin and becomes weaker. This [serum] really helps to recover your scalp, help it retain moisture and keep the hair follicle at a younger state of being," Reavey said.

If you subscribe for a recurrent order, you can save 20% on this collection.
A daily system to cleanse and deeply hydrate hair
This hair washing system is plant-derived and, like all of Act+Acre's products, is made using a cold process method for maximum potency. It can be used daily to help treat hair and scalp dryness and restore hair volume.

The Hair Cleanse in particular contains contains apple amino acids to cleanse and condition the scalp, while baobab oil helps support a healthy and balanced scalp microbiome which can help eliminate any unpleasant scalp odor.

If you have damaged or dehydrated hair, Reavey said the Restorative Hair Mask, which is packed with proteins, fatty acids and antioxidants, can be a great replacement for your daily conditioner. It contains castor oil and shea butter to deliver lasting and meaningful hydration, leaving hair shiny and noticeably softer.

Both of these products are safe for chemically or color-treated hair and when you subscribe for a recurrent order, you can save 20% on this set.
An ancient gua sha comb to promote circulation to the scalp
You may be familiar with the ancient Chinese gua sha tools for the face, and this individually hand-cut natural jade comb works similarly by promoting relaxation, circulation and blood flow to the scalp.

"There are beautiful stimulating properties with gua sha," Reavey said. "Stimulating the blood flow to the scalp feeds nutrients to the hair follicle, helping to ensure that the follicle is in its best possible state." When used with your favorite scalp treatment, the gua sha comb can also help ingredients penetrate more deeply and effectively.
A plant-based dry shampoo made with scalp-loving ingredients
This aerosol-free plant-based dry shampoo uses a blend of tapioca and rice starch to absorb excess oil and refresh hair between washes -- all without that obvious white cast you get from some dry shampoos. It also contains fulvic acid, a plant-extracted nutrient that provides minerals to the hair follicle and promotes scalp microbiome health.

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