If you haven’t looked at your scalp under a microscope yet - don’t. You're likely to see layers upon layers of buildup at your roots, even if you showered that day.
After years of styling hair at fashion weeks across the globe and working on glam squads for celebrities like Alicia Keys, Tilda Swinton and Harry Styles, hairstylist Helen Reavey knows all there is to know about scalp care. Throughout her time as a celebrity hairstylist, she’s seen how styling products and hot tools can damage the hair and leave buildup behind on the scalp.
Unfortunately, most people - especially celebrities - can’t cut out styling products completely to eliminate that buildup, so Reavey, with the help of her husband Colm Mackin, created a solution: Act + Acre.
Reavey calls her haircare line Act + Acre a “modern hair wellness brand.”
In other words, Act + Acre is skincare for your scalp. Studies show that your scalp ages six times faster than your face, and Reavey claims scientists have recently increased that number to 20 times faster. Hair sprays and other styling products that leave a layer of buildup behind can escalate this process and strip scalps of healthy oils that promote hair growth.
“I started making my own stuff at home, mixing different ingredients,” says Reavey. “I actually got [someone from] an oil company to come over to my house, and she explained all the oils, and I bought them all from her.”
Reavey chose to combine ingredients using the Cold Process, which combines essential oils at ice-cold temperatures to keep the active ingredients natural.
The final products make up a three-step process: Cleanse, condition and detox. “It's a system to really simplify your routine,” says Reavey. “I believe that oil is much better at showing impurities and removing build-up, and also it delivers moisture that we need.”
After all the scalp damage Reavey saw while working with celebrities, she wanted to get people to care for their scalp the same way they care for their faces.
While she's busy with Act + Acre now, she remembers her days working with celebrities fondly. “They're just so easy going, and they're so used to getting their hair done and just sitting there, and they're less fussy than someone coming into the salon to get their hair done.”
When asked who her favorite to work with was, she says, “Definitely Harry. I worked with Harry [Styles] on his American promotional tour, just before he actually went on tour. So, it was like the Today Show, Radio City, that kind of thing. He’s just fun [and] very charming.”
Styles is known for his luscious locks - salons have reportedly seen more and more men coming in for hair extensions to look like the pop sensation. However, when Styles chopped his hair off, it didn't seem to affect him as much as it affected his fans. "I felt very naked for a while," he told Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1. He continued to touch on why the process of cutting his hair for his role in Dunkirk wasn't as difficult a decision as people might think. "I was, like, 'Oh yeah I have to cut my hair off.' It wasn't a big [deal]."
Reavey also went on Alicia Keys’ Girl on Fire tour, worked with Tilda Swinton on Isle of Dogs and styled supermodel Gisele Bündchen. She still works with celebrities, most recently styling models for the Louis Vuitton cruise show and Sinead Burke, who was the first little person to attend the Met Ball.
Reavey's ultimate goal is for people to recognize the importance of scalp care.
“I think when I hear someone saying one day in the line in Trader Joe's, ‘Have you heard of this brand, Act+Acre?’ that's when I’ll know I got the message across at how important it is to look after your scalp.”