Skip to main content
MECCA Logo will take you to homepage on click

  • Book an appointment
Mecca Franchise Logo Breaking Beauty News

“Wash Your Scalp, Not Your Hair,” Says Act+Acre

January 1 | 5 minute read

Memo Helen Reavey Interview Hero 16x9

Words by Kerri Gordon

Originally published on | May 27

“Wash your scalp, not your hair,” is the mantra of celebrity hairstylist, trichologist and Act+Acre founder, Helen Reavey.

It’s my new mantra too, after Helen put a magnifying camera to my scalp, revealing that what I thought were healthy, slightly oily, thinning roots were confronting-ly dry, irritated and kind of flaky. In all fairness, I’d never seen up there – and as far as I was aware, I was doing all the right things (though I’ve now learnt that my abrasive scrub is not necessarily the ‘right thing’).

Act+Acre isn’t the first hairstylist-created haircare brand, but it is among the very few created by a certified trichologist (defined by Helen as “someone who bridges the gap between your hairstylist and your dermatologist”). In fact, as the founder notes, it isn’t really a haircare brand at all – it’s skincare formulated for your scalp. Their hero treatment, the Stem Cell Scalp Serum, is clinically proven to reduce hair shedding by 49 percent in six weeks and can even be used on your face.

“I hate to use the word ‘anti-ageing,’” Helen prefaces, explaining, “But it's pro-ageing for the scalp, because your scalp ages six times faster than your face.”

Why do we trust in Helen? Because it’s not just us putting our strands in her hands. The multihyphenate has styled over 500 fashion shows globally, some under the mentorship of the legendary Sam McKnight, with whom she worked with for eight years: “He's an incredible human, amazing mentor, and he makes my favourite styling products – he’s just the best.”

She’s toured with the likes of Alicia Keys, contributed to countless editorials, and is entrusted by your favourite celebrities – from Bella Hadid to Sarah Snook, Hillary Clinton, Mark Ronson and Harry Styles. (I couldn’t help but ask her about the latter, having styled Harry’s famous – though recently buzzed-off – locks for his iconic tutu-cladded Saturday Night Live promo shoot: “I spent that whole week there, it was so much fun,” she says).

Image credit: @helenreavey on Instagram.

So there’s all of that, plus her obsession with, and personal vested interest in, the scalp. “My passion for scalp came at the beginning of my hair career, when my teacher was actually a trichologist. I'd also suffered from scalp conditions my whole life and after having COVID, I experienced major hair loss,” she reveals.

Though the scalp care movement has felt more prominent – though still at a niche scale – in more recent years, it’s nothing new for Helen, who worked in a shiatsu salon 17 years ago in Ireland. “We were giving these massages and taking care of the scalp all those years ago,” she tells The MECCA Memo, adding, “The conversation has really come a long way in the past five years, since we launched the brand – scalp care was just an afterthought, but now there's so much more education out there, and we're constantly debunking and providing education on how important the scalp is for healthy hair growth.” She adds: “It really is the foundation to your healthiest hair.”

On hair growth, Helen notes that “60 percent of people will suffer from some type of hair loss before the age of 40.” There's only two types of hair loss that aren't reversible: genetic and the type that “can happen through pulling, or a lot of chemicals being used on the scalp.”

For the types that are reversible, she advises, it’s all about a 360-degree approach. “You have to think about the stress in your life; if you have a lot of stress, your cortisol is high, which can slow down hair growth-supporting hormones. You can adapt techniques like breath work, along with gently massaging your scalp daily to help product penetrate but also to help stimulate the scalp, which is extremely important for follicle health.”

And then there’s diet, nutrition and hydration.

“You want to make sure you get all the minerals, and all the vitamins you need, because if you're one mineral short and it goes to protect all the other organs in your body, your hair and nails are really the last to get it because they're not important to the body.”

With all that in mind – what can Act+Acre do for you? “If you have a really good skincare routine, your makeup is going to look amazing; I've worked in every area of hair, seeing every scalp, every hair type, every hair condition, and the same rule applies.”

Memo Helen Reavey Interview Fullwidth 16x9

Cleansing your scalp more often (you wouldn’t go five days without washing your face, right?), hydrating after cleansing – like you would your moisturiser – and the act of targeted rituals (from gua sha to dermarolling) will all help in achieving your healthiest-looking hair.

“Everyone needs not only a hydrating scalp serum,” says Helen, “but a serum that has been proven to help hair stay in the growth phase to help reduce hair shedding. You want active ingredients like plant-based stem cells, bamboo, pea sprouts, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera… All these nutrient-dense ingredients.”

To ensure formulations like their serum and oil treatments capitalise on plant-based ingredients in their most active, concentrated and efficacious forms, Act+Acre works with suppliers and formulators who are continuing to innovate in the biotech space. “It's very exciting to work with people who are essentially these incredible mad scientists, and come up with unique blends and processes for Act+Acre.”

“I think we went through 15 iterations of the first product, our Cold Processed Scalp Detox Oil, and our manufacturer might have wanted to fire us after that. It was a long journey, but I wanted beautiful sustainable packaging [Editor’s note: their bottles are made from PETG1 plastic, the highest grade of recyclable plastic, and the brand is carbon positive — for every tonne of carbon they produce during production, they offset that (and some) by funding a solar wind farm in Mumbai]; I wanted to create something completely different from what had traditionally been done, and that's how we came up with our Cold Processed method of manufacturing, which we’ve patented. It's very unique to us and involves hyperbaric chambers, ice cold water, and 1,200 pounds of pressure to blend the ingredients. This enables us to retain 97 percent of the nutrients, versus 10 percent with heat processing – and, it also uses 90 percent less energy,” she explains.

“For our Stem Cell Scalp Serum, the stem cells come from Swiss green apples,” she adds. “If you peel its skin off, what happens to the apple? It starts to deteriorate, it starts to age. So we’re getting the most out of this super plant-based active.

Act+Acre is science-backed, clinically proven, and on a trajectory to flipping the world of beauty on its head. And, you can now shop it exclusively at MECCA.

More beauty news

Skip to content below carousel
Memo Mecca Hq Favourite Hair Products Hero 16x9

MECCA’s Best Heads Of Hair Spill Their Secrets

May 20

Skip to content above carousel