Meet The Founder

Meet the Founder: Act+Acre’s Helen Reavey

act+acre founder helen smiling at the camera. blond haired womanConsistently thrilled by the thrill of the new, we’re head-over-heels for our latest {hair care} hero, Act+Acre: the brand that’s reinventing scalp care with a well-considered edit of essentials that get to the root of follicular issues. Harnessing thoughtful, sustainably processed ingredients, this range works to balance and cherish the scalp with the level of care we’ve reserved for our faces (you won’t find a scrub (or a sulphate)). Developed by celebrity Trichologist, Helen Reavey, we pitched our itch-related questions to the brains behind the brand…

{Cult Beauty} Hi Helen, can you start by telling us a bit about your background – and what led to the development of Act+Acre? What made you decide to take a leap and start your own brand?

{Helen Reavey} I suffered from scalp issues my whole life and as a trichologist feel so strongly about treating your scalp with the same degree of care and attention as one treats their skin. The scalp ages 6 times faster than the face! I created the brand with my husband in 2019 when no one had ever heard of ‘scalp care’. At the time I was working as a celebrity hair stylist and noticed one thing that always remained constant — good hair starts at the scalp.

{CB} The ‘skinification’ of hair care has been happening for a while now — with the oft-neglected scalp having its moment in the ‘spotlight’. Can you talk us through how Act+Acre is leading a new wave of scalp-conscious hair care; shall we call it, ‘skinificiation 2.0’?

{HR} While it seems every hair care, skin care and wellness brand is bringing out a scalp product —we have always started with the scalp. Having always prioritised the health and care of the scalp, Act + Acre continues to pioneer a new era in hair care that emphasises holistic hair wellness. Through ingredients like Swiss apple stem cells and processes like our Cold Processed® Method we’re not only creating new products, but disrupting the way things have always been done. That to us is ‘skinification 2.0’ — finding ways to do things better. Better for your scalp and better for the environment.

{CB} Scalp microbiome: not the sexiest concept – but ‘unsexy’ shouldn’t mean something’s forgotten. Why is the scalp microbiome important – and how do we keep things in sync?

{HR} While scalp may not be a ‘sexy’ topic – our dandruff videos on TikTok do get about 30 million views so you could say they are alluring to a few. The scalp microbiome is very similar to the gut microbiome – it’s a collection of bacteria and fungi, that play a crucial role in maintaining the scalp’s health and balance. Why keep it in sync? An imbalanced scalp microbiome will result in various scalp conditions, such as dandruff, dryness and itching, as well as impacting hair growth and overall hair health.

Keep it in sync by:

Cleansing often: use a gentle cleanser (like our {Scalp Detox+Cleanse}) to avoid stripping the scalp of its natural oils and disrupting the microbiome.

Proper Nutrition: eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support the health of the scalp and hair.

Avoid products with harsh chemicals (sulphates, silicones and synthetic fragrance) that can negatively impact the scalp microbiome, disrupt the skin barrier and cause irritation.

Reduce Stress: stress can disrupt the delicate balance of the scalp microbiome and contribute to hair loss and other scalp conditions.

Incorporate Probiotics: using products (like our {Dry Shampoo}) that contain probiotics can help support the growth of good bacteria on the scalp and promote a healthy microbiome.

three act+acre scalp friendly products and a scalp gua sha with a green ribbon

{CB} You advocate a 30-day scalp detox – can you explain why we need it?

{HR} A 30-day scalp detox is a process of resetting the scalp by cleansing it of impurities, build-up and any potential irritants. This can help improve the health and balance of the scalp, leading to healthier, stronger hair.

Here are some reasons why a 30-day scalp detox may be necessary:

Build-up of product residue: over time, styling products, such as hairsprays, gels, and mousses can leave a build-up of residue on the scalp, clogging hair follicles and impeding healthy hair growth.

Environmental toxins: exposure to environmental pollutants, such as smog and chemicals, can damage the scalp and hair, leading to dryness, itching, and other scalp issues.

Poor diet: a diet lacking in essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can negatively impact the health of the scalp and hair.

Stress: stress can disrupt the balance of the scalp microbiome and contribute to hair loss and other scalp conditions.

By taking the time to detox your scalp, you can help improve its overall health and vitality, leading to healthier, stronger hair.

{CB} We love to think winter is over but really, we’re nowhere near out of the woods (“Hello, February!”). Are there any tips to cherish hair (and scalp) when navigating cold weather, central heating and… hats!

{HR} Yes, cold weather, central heating, and hats can all have a negative impact on hair and scalp health. Here are some tips to help protect your hair and scalp during the winter months:

Hydration: drink plenty of water to help keep your scalp and hair hydrated, especially during the dry winter months.

Limit heat styling: central heating and heat styling tools can strip your hair of moisture, causing it to become dry and brittle. Limit your use of heat styling tools, and use a heat protectant when you do use them. When in doubt, use a hair mask once a week to add hydration.

Use moisturising products: incorporate products like {Scalp Detox} that contain nourishing ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and oils to help keep your scalp hydrated

Massage your scalp: regular scalp massages can help stimulate blood flow and improve the health of your scalp and hair; “Hello, {Scalp Gua Sha}!”.

Cover up: when outside in the cold weather, wear a hat or scarf to protect your hair and scalp from the wind and cold.

{CB} The brand is powered by cold processed ingredients. Can you explain — in layperson’s terms — what this means and why cold-processing is beneficial?

{HR} When we started the brand we wanted to do things differently to how they have always been done. In this case the beauty industry traditionally uses Heat Processing to create their products. Our patented Cold Processed® Method uses hyperbaric chambers, ice cold water and 1,200 pounds of pressure to combine our plant-based ingredients. This allows the original ingredients to remain fresh and highly potent. Think about when you over-cook vegetables – they lose their nutrients. The same thing happens when you heat up ingredients.

The result of cold processing is a nutrient-rich formula that easily absorbs into your hair and scalp for optimal health. With consistent usage, we’ve seen a significant improvement in both scalp health and overall hair wellness— leading to stronger, more resilient hair health. In 2018 the US Patent and Trademarks Office granted Act + Acre patent protection for our Cold Processed® Method, which means we can continue to develop these products as both innovators and industry leaders.

a black male using a green gua sha on his head

{CB} Can we talk sustainability? It’s central to the Act+Acre ethos but can you guide us through your commitment to being transparent and eco-conscious?

{HR} On our first box we printed, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. We continue to let this guide our sustainability efforts.

Cold Processed® Method: not using heat we save 90% energy and keep ingredients as active as possible.

Eco-friendly packaging: Act+Acre uses 100% recyclable and biodegradable packaging materials, reducing their environmental impact and promoting sustainability.

Our Partners: we work only with partners who have the same ethics and all ingredients are sourced from fair trade and COSMOS-certified partners.

{CB} For those intrigued by the brand but not ready to fully commit to the ritual, what’s the one product you recommend buying (to trigger Act+Acre addiction)?

{HR} Definitely, {Stem Cell Serum}. This product is incredible for all scalp and hair goals – The apple stem cells in the formula are clinically proven to stimulate blood flow to the scalp for anyone looking to combat hair thinning. For someone with visible scalp irritations (itchy or flaky scalp) the aloe vera in {Stem Cell Serum} supports collagen production while soothing irritation and scalp imbalances. And the bamboo and pea extracts reduce premature ageing of hair follicles for overall hair heath. Not to mention it is the most gorgeous ritual. I would recommend this product to anyone (I even put it all over my face daily).

{CB} If you could debunk one hair myth and stop us from perpetuating bad hair habits, what do you wish we’d STOP doing?

{HR} I’d love everyone to stop using physical exfoliants on their scalps. Scalp products with microbeads can cause micro tears on the scalp which increase the risk of infection, irritation and follicle damage. They can be very harsh on sensitive skin leading to redness, dryness and inflammation. I always ask my clients, would you use a body scrub on your face? Probably not, so please stop using them on your scalp!

It’s recommended to use chemical exfoliants, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), instead of physical exfoliants. Our {Scalp Renew} is a BHA that works by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing for a more controlled and gentle exfoliation.

Thank you so much Helen! And don’t forget, if you have any hair or scalp-related questions — or want to know even more about Act+Acre — please contact our Cult Concierge who’ll be happy to help with your queries.

Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...