Just because one half of your head is exposed to the world (more commonly known as your face) while the other is generally not (your scalp) doesn’t mean you should give one side preferential treatment when it comes to care and upkeep.
Of course, few among us have the same hair as face routines—while we tend to wash our faces daily, shampooing as often is downplayed. Regardless of how you approach your personal care regimen, don’t forget that the skin on your scalp is just as sensitive and important as the skin on your face – and makes a big difference when it comes to the appearance of your hair.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
As someone who has had a fair share of scalp and hair issues over the years, from breakage and frizz to dandruff and itchiness, I was excited to give Act+Acre’s Cold Processed Cleanse and Scalp Detox a whirl to see if its blend of essential oils and extracts treated more like a juice than a typical hair product was what I needed to recharge my routine. Just like the way food is processed can affect how the nutrients are expressed in our bodies (hello, raw food diet), the same is apparently true with hair products – which makes perfect sense since these products are absorbed by our largest organ – the skin. Act+Acre’s cold pressed line is beneficial because instead of disrupting the scalp’s microbiome for short term results (which is what happens when you use products with sulfates and silicones) the line builds up the scalp’s natural environment while removing product build-up, dead skin cells, and allows your natural texture to shine through.
The scalp detox process is somewhat of a commitment and divided into phases. The initial “reset” phase lasts one month – this is when the cleanse is most noticeable, and hair may even seem comparatively flat and dry. However, one must trust the process and let this phase ride out, all in the name of reaping longer-term benefits. Phase two, or the “restore” phase lasts from month 2-3. This is when you’ll notice improved hydration and a reduction in scalp inflammation, though you should still be prepared for a touch of frizz. Phase thee happens by month 4 and is dubbed the “renew” phase – this is what you’ve been working towards. The pH of the scalp is restored, your scalp microbiome is balanced, new hair growth is consistent, hair will feel fuller and stay clean longer, and you won’t need products for your natural moisture and shine to come through.
Cold Pressed Products
Again, this is all possible thanks to the cold pressed method, which is described on the company’s website. Act+Acre use hyperbaric chambers, ice cold water, and 1,200 pounds of pressure to combine the plant-based ingredients. The explanation continues that by ensuring the internal temperature of the hyperbaric chamber never exceeds an ambient level of 68°F, the original active ingredients remain fresh and highly potent. “The absence of heat mitigates the loss of molecule compounds that would otherwise be released by the added energy. Further steps are then taken to reduce energy consumption, such as reducing the propeller speed to 200rpm when the temperature of a mixture approaches a given threshold relative to the ambient level.” This is majorly different from how conventional products are produced, at temperatures exceeding 300°F. Not only does this have an adverse impact on the environment, such temps can cause toxicological risks, including the formation of nitrosamines, “which are known human carcinogens and can lead to human kidney and respiratory damage over time.” As if the case for colder products wasn’t strong enough before, this definitely seals the deal.
Trying out the Scalp Detox and Cleanser, the first thing I noticed (because it’s the first thing I always notice) was the smell. It’s a fresh botanical scent that isn’t overpowering or too herbal, if you know what I mean. The scent is sweet yet natural without being overwhelming, which is always a positive in my book.
I administered the detox, which comes in a small bottle with an easy to use nozzle, as the instructions stated, working it directly onto the scalp and leaving it on for 20 minutes after shaking it well (these products will give you serious juice vibes, just let your mane drink it). I followed up with the Cold Processed Hair Cleanse, washing my hair not once—but twice. Both shampoos take just a small amount, though you are encouraged to add more product as you work it from the back of the neck first (this was a welcome change to my usual shampoo pattern) to the front of the hairline. The second shampoo was, as promised, soapier and I was able to work up more of a lather and see those gratifying suds. It’s clear how this might initially lead to some dryness, but this seems to be just what my product-addled hair needs to stay properly cleansed.
The scalp detox is only recommended about once a week, and is suitable for all hair types, including hair that’s been color or chemically treated. While it takes a few months of hardcore commitment to get manes back on track and officially detoxed, my hair did feel cleaner than when I shampoo regularly. I’m going to stick it out and can’t wait to see what my locks look like after the 4-month mark.