Starting From The Root

A Celeb Stylist’s Top Hair Tip: “Treat Your Hair Like Your Face”

From Harry Styles to the entire roster of the Kardashian-Jenners, Helen Reavey’s coiffed them all — and she lets us in on what it really takes to save your hair.

A Celeb Stylist’s Top Hair Tip: “Treat Your Hair Like Your Face”

Think of all the haircare myths that you’ve heard before. Things like, ‘You should only condition every other day’ or ‘you don’t need to wash your hair daily’. In fact, whatever you think you know about haircare — take all of that, and toss them out right now. 

“The hair myth I hate hearing the most is that you can’t shampoo your hair every day. You can, and in fact, you should,” says Reavey, who runs Act+Acre, a line of scalp-focused haircare products. “Because leaving it unwashed for several days and adding something like dry shampoo really deteriorates your scalp.

“You would never leave your face unwashed — can you imagine how blocked your pores would be? — and it’s the same thing with your scalp.”

Reavey was in Singapore recently to launch her brand, which is now available exclusively at Sephora’s ION store and online. And she’d know a thing or two about haircare. She’s been doing peoples’ hair for years, after all, from the time she ran a makeshift salon from her dorm room in Ireland, all the way up to her first Paris Fashion Week where she oversaw a team of 25 hairstylists and a constellation of models.

Reavey’s brand, Act+Acre, focuses on repairing and nourishing the scalp. It uses the cold press method (similar to how the juices are made) to ensure that the maximum amount of nutrients get into their products.
(Image: Act+Acre)

After every big fashion show that she’d do, Reavey would get approached by models devastated by the state of their hair. From red, raw scalps, to hair that just wouldn’t style no matter what they used, Reavey’s seen them all. 

She’d create oils for the models to take home — and then she got to thinking. Commercial hair products were made using heat and other nasty additives like sulphates (the former to help blend natural oils into a water-based formula, and the latter to create a nice lather). But the end result were products that had hardly any of their natural ingredients left in them, since they’d all have evaporated off.

So Reavey began to think of a way to create hair products that would be able to retain all the oils through the manufacturing process. Instead of using heat, she’d have to utilise another method of incorporating the ingredients together: Pressure. 

Starting to sound familiar? That’s because Reavey’s uses the cold-pressed method — yes, the same as the juices — to manufacture the products in her haircare brand Act+Acre.  She says that cold pressing enables her products to retain 97 percent of the original nutrients and oils that went into it at the start, as opposed to the 3 percent in most commercial hair products. “Why take all those beautiful ingredients from the environment and just have them evaporate off?” she says.

Reavey believes in using less products for one’s hair—so long as they work harder. (Image: Act+Acre)

And aside from the obvious consumer benefit, Reavey says that the cold press method is also an environmentally-friendly one: Since all it uses is cold air and pressure, they use up to 90 percent less energy in their manufacturing process. 

The Act+Acre line is only made up of three products, a scalp detox, and a shampoo and conditioner. If the selection looks lean, it’s only because Reavey believes that that’s all anyone really needs to achieve TV ad-worthy hair. 

Part of that belief lies in the fact that Act+Acre focuses on treating the scalp. “We’re trying to minimise the product you have to use, but have the maximum effect,” she says. “And to do that, we start with the literal root of the problem, your scalp.” She adds: “Because when you deliver nutrients to the hair follicle, that makes the rest of your hair so much healthier.”

It’s a proven fact that the scalp ages six times faster than the face, exacerbating conditions like dandruff, thinning hair and increased sensitivity. As Reavey likes to say, one should always treat their scalp like they treat their face.

“Plus, our scalp is kind of like the ‘soil’ to our hair,” she says. “A plant can’t thrive if you don’t feed it and care for it — so imagine doing that to your scalp!”