Is it just us, or does it seem like every brand — wellness, fashion, beauty, and beyond — is vying to make their products and offerings more clean? If you take a look at the wellness world alone, you’d be hard pressed not to find a campaign filled to the brim with new-age buzz words like activated, detoxifying, restorative, and more. To say that it can be tough to sift through the noise in order to uncover standout products that actually do what they claim would be an understatement, to say the least. Which is precisely why we like to think it our civic duty to test a wide range of these products and dissect them with an extra-critical eye on a quest for the truth. It’s also just really fun to try new things. From this very idea, our Take Three series was born. Selfishly, we want to know just as much as you do. What works? What doesn’t? And what products should we be throwing our hard-earned dollars towards? More than that, however, we want to rest easy knowing that when we suggest a product on Bleu, that we’re only recommending the best.
The minute a cold-processed scalp detox orbited into our radar, we knew we had to give it a try. For those of you who also thought a cold process was strictly reserved for your morning juice, Act + Acre’s methodology combines ice-cold water and high pressure in order to preserve the ingredients in their haircare products. The cold-processed scalp detox specifically is said to nourish, balance, and detoxify your roots for long-lasting hair health. Three Bleu editors decided to give the brand’s trio of products (the Scalp Detox, Hair Cleanse, and Hair Conditioner) an extensive look. Read our every thought, below.
30-something, Contributing Beauty Editor, Brooke Baxter
“Act + Acre is a newer company that has taken flooded the beauty world as an “it” product with its trademarked “Cold Pressed” process. Cold Pressed? Like green juice? Okay, sign me up! Cold Pressing is a process that eliminates heat by using ice cold water and high pressure blending. This process ensures that the active ingredients remain fresh and highly potent. By not using heat to blend its ingredients they end up using 90% less energy. Their packaging is 100% recyclable, it’s made in the USA, and they have been fully carbon neutral since April 2019.
My hair is funny. I’m on the back end of years and years of bleaching my entire head. Yep, the dreaded bleach and tone where very few survive without the dreaded tragic ending point where your hair transforms from thick platinum strands to puffy cotton balls of dead (somewhat mushy) strands of…hair? I’m 37, so I have some thinning in the front while the back is thick and awkward. I don’t put a ton of effort into styling as my hair is tired and on the rebound from an abusive relationship with bleach. With that said, here is my review :
Packaging: 6/10. Act + Acre’s packaging is simple and sleek which I love. The shampoo and conditioner bottles were larger than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise, but also found them to be a bit awkward to handle in the shower with wet hands and limited space. Once you’re pouring the shampoo and conditioner into your hand it’s a shuffle putting a cap down, then applying product, then putting a cap back on, etc., etc. I find when it comes to anything being used in a shower, it’s better to have a connected top vs. a cap that you have to reattach while delicately balancing a puddle of liquid in your hand.
Scent: 10/10. The scent is natural and subtle. The products contain a harmonious mix of essential oils like ylang ylang, vetiver, moringa oil, basil leaf, etc. Very rarely do I use a shampoo and conditioner that doesn’t leave my hair smelling just like it afterwards. Act + Acre is light and fresh and I love that! I never enjoy wearing my residual shampoo scent as my perfumes competitor.
Scalp Detox: 9/10. $42 – I loved this product and I would absolutely buy this again! Act + Acre’s philosophy is that “Healthy hair starts at the scalp.” I couldn’t agree more! Taking care of your scalp is just as important (if not more important) than the actual strands of hair on your head. So, this is a concept that I can wrap my head around…literally. The Scalp Detox is an oil-based product. Application is easy. I found that taking an extra 15-20 minutes to do this step before I washed my hair was convenient to do on a weekly basis. Doing a double wash with the Act + Acre Hair Cleanse is an important next step to insure that there isn’t any oil left on your scalp. I found that the times I did the complete 3-step process my hair looked amazing and super healthy! I also noticed I could go longer in between washes.
Hair Cleanse: 7/10. $28 – Great price point. This product took me a second to get used to. The first few weeks I was washing once and it just didn’t seem to be enough. My hair felt a little weighed down and the times that I used it independently of the scalp detox, I didn’t feel like my hair was ‘clean’. So I did a little research and thoroughly looked through the website and they recommended doing a double wash which was a game changer. But here is my issue, doing a double wash is a lot of product. I have shoulder length hair, so it isn’t a big deal to wash twice, but for someone with long thick locks I can imagine it being pretty time consuming. But the results are great, so if I need to double wash that is what I will do!
Hair Conditioner: 6/10. $28 – Again, great price point. I liked the consistency of this product. It’s very light and great for daily use. I still used a spray detangler on some spots to get a brush through my hair, but overall I felt like my hair was left hydrated and conditioned without being weighed down. I would love if they offered a more intense conditioner to use a few times a month.”
20-something, Senior Managing Editor, Tiana Lewis
“I had absolutely no clue what a cold-processed hair product was. But, as someone who prioritizes her hair care and suffers with a somewhat dry scalp day to day, I was extremely interested in giving a brand dedicated to the long-term health of your locks a try. And, let me be the first to say that I did practically zero research going in. So, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
As far as packaging goes, I have to give Act + Acre an eight out 10. The branding is beautiful — streamlined, simple, yet extremely well-done. It definitely conveys the forward-thinking messaging the brand is promoting, and the bottles look chic in your shower. If you ever host a dinner party and your nosy houseguests decide to take a peek behind your bathroom curtain, someone will undoubtedly ask you about the brand. However, I found the shampoo and conditioner bottles a bit tough to use, which is why I docked two points. The twist-off cap is on the clunky side, so it can be tough to screw it back into place with wet, slippery, shampoo-filled hands. It should also be said that a little of the scalp detox goes a long way! And, the bottle is built to support this sentiment. I was fully expecting a full stream of product to flow into my scalp when, in reality, the bottle is structured to only release a few drops of product at a time. I imagine this is because the product itself is so concentrated. However, unbeknownst to me, I squeezed the bottle so hard that it slipped right out of my hands, landed on my shower floor, and burst open. Call it user-error, but I was devastated, left to scoop what was left of the product — which wasn’t much — out of the bottle with my pointer finger.
Alas, I moved forward, determined to make the line work despite my difficulties with the packaging. With that said, I really enjoyed the shampoo and conditioner. Because the products are so concentrated a little, indeed, goes a long way. You can tell the caliber of ingredients is a cut above the rest from the moment you dab a dollop into your hands. I will say that the conditioner isn’t the most nourishing I’ve ever used, which makes it a great everyday alternative, or ideal for those with fine hair. I wouldn’t use it as a weekly conditioning treatment, however. It just doesn’t have the thickness I desire from a product of that nature. As for the scalp detox — the product I’m sure everyone is here for — I liked it. Although, it didn’t do what I was expecting, which was give my scalp the squeaky-clean feeling I was anticipating from a product with the word ‘detox’ in its title. So, don’t purchase the product with the expectation that it’s going to work as a clarifying treatment. It’s not that. For me, it was more nourishing than anything, which is nice. I can’t remember the last time I used a product whose main purpose was to nourish my scalp. That said, are the results so noticeable that I can’t live without it? No. Is it worth a shot all the same? Absolutely! So, as far as the product itself is concerned, I’d give the line a seven out of 10. Everyone’s hair texture and needs are different. I think Act + Acre could be a trusted line in a lot of different people’s routine. I would definitely recommend you give it a spin. At the very least, you have a chic, fail-safe line in your shower for everyday use.”
40-something, Editor-In-Chief, James Kicinski-McCoy
“I struggle big time in the hair department. As I’ve gotten older, the less hair I have. I swear, it’s like after I had my last child (nearly seven years ago, mind you) the postpartum hair loss just kept going. My hair is noticeably thinner and sad, especially along the hairline framing my face. It has definitely become a source of insecurity and concern, and I am constantly looking for products, methods, and witchcraft to help ease my pain.
Enter Act + Acre. Let me come right out of the gate saying that I love two of the three products from the brand. I’ll discuss the two that I love first. The Scalp Detox: being that it is an oil hair treatment, I was slightly terrified to use it. Because my hair is thinner, it tends to show oil quickly. Meaning, I need to shampoo it often due to the natural oils in my hair, unless I plan to wear my hair up, otherwise it will look dirty the day after washing. Something to know about me: if you see me with my hair down it means I shampooed that day. If my hair is up, it means I did not. The moral of this story is that I do not need any added oils in my haircare routine and I figured I would hate this product. Turns out I was dead wrong. I loved it. The application process, the smell, and my hair post shower were all aces. My hair did not look oily after use and my halo of frizz was tamed. Note: I do double cleanse after use just to be on the safe side. I use the detox once a week and will continue to keep this in my rotation. Now for the next product that I so adore: the Hair Cleanse. I love this shampoo. It works extremely well for my hair type and unlike what some of my Bleu counterparts have reported, I felt it left my hair squeaky clean. The formula just works for me, what can I say?
Now, onto the product that I didn’t like: the Hair Conditioner. I prefer a thick, rich, penetrating conditioner that, once rinsed, leaves my hair completely untangled to the point where I don’t need to comb through it. This conditioner did not perform. A personal preference, maybe, but the formula was just too light for my hair and I started using a different brand in its place. And there you have it. Two out of three ain’t bad, if you ask me. In closing, I really do love Act + Acre. I think they offer a great product at a very reasonable price point. Like others have said, the bottles are a bit awkward to handle in the shower, but that won’t keep me from using something that works well for me.”