In my quest to find quality haircare that is more affordable than my usual suspects, I found a new haircare brand which has quickly transitioned into one of my favorites.
First, the packaging: I absolutely love the simple and functional aesthetic of Act + Acre. I feel that if Kosas were to create a haircare line while channeling their modern and bold aesthetic, this would very much be within their line of style. The three products in the line come in short yet chunky bottles which are also fully recyclable – they are made from PETG1, which is the highest grade of recyclable plastic. The brand futher claims that they use 90% less energy during the production process. Oh and they use the cold pressed method for their oils. As you can see, the bottles have big, bold, white font emblazoned across them in a slightly offset fashion, once again evoking a simple yet modern aesthetic. There is something just so satisfying about the size – it’s the same reason I love the chunky packaging of the Lip Doctor by Osmia Organics. One thing you can notice right away is that the shampoo and conditioner do not come with the conventional pump bottles that you are used to, but rather are equipped with a regular cap that you screw open and close. Initially I felt disappointed upon seeing this, but quickly discovered it to be superior to what I was used to – it’s simply so much easier to work with. The formulations are so smooth that they come out with ease as you tilt the bottle – you don’t need to worry about applying pressure to squeeze any product out, and whilst this isn’t life-changing, it’s more functional. I’m also all about details, even if they aren’t for the purpose of functionality, and one of my favorite aspects is the carved lines on the cap as well as the imprint of the brand name on the bottom – you’ll see this once you open and screw off the cap… SO satisfying.
Let’s move on to looking at their third product, the scalp oil. I was honestly unsure if I even wanted to purchase it in the first place; I’ve always been lazy about massaging oils. I already use my Bass Paddle Brush with wooden bristles to stimulate my scalp with a proper brushing every day, in addition to my Briogeo massager in the shower. In short, I’m not that lazy but I prefer utilizing tools over fingers to make it less of a hassle for me. Granted, these tools result in a quick process that lasts about a minute, but I figure that’s better than nothing. I went for the Essentials Set and decided to pay more attention to said processes. I have to say the first thing that got me excited was seeing the nozzle- it’s FANTASTIC. Anything else – a cap or a dropper – would be an inconvenience to me and prevent me from even wanting to go about using the oil. Instead, I am easily able to cover my whole scalp directly and rapidly by depositing product though the nozzle. In this way, I can not only deposit the oil in a much more precise fashion, but I can also target all areas without worrying about getting my fingers and thus the bottle dirty as well as I progressively add more and more product. When I’m all done, I simply twist the nozzle to close it and then start my massage after I find a comfortable spot to sit and get my hands dirty. As I said before, it’s all in the details. Functional, simple, and easy to use. Again, if Kosas had a hair baby…
Now to continue on about the actual performance of the scalp oil. I assumed this whole bottle would be gone after one use because let’s be real, you need a lot of oil if you really want to cover your scalp. It turns out it lasted me a month, with 6 applications. Of course if you don’t go happy crazy like I did, it will last you much longer. I really like to saturate my scalp so I buy these types of products knowing they won’t last a very long time. This little bottle has forced me to treat my hair with as much love as my skin, helping me create a weekly ritual centered around my scalp and actually look forward to something that seemed like a hassle to me previously. I put on some relaxing music, deposit the oil, and just enjoy the few minutes I spend massaging. Try also pulling your hair at a ninety degree angle as a part of your massage – it feels really good. The days I use this Scalp Detox oil, whether half an hour before I shower or for an overnight treatment, I don’t need to apply any product after I wash my hair. It doesn’t look nasty oily, either, but instead beautifully hydrated. I am going to continue using this product, as well as the line, for the next couple of months to really assess the affect on my scalp and hair, but already I can say that my usually dry scalp is ameliorated. I am definitely more open to trying more oils now and taking more time to love and massage my scalp! As I try more, I will look back and compare.
Let’s look into the performance of the shampoo and conditioner now. If you take a look at the ingredients list for the shampoo, you will notice the second ingredient: Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate is a coconut derived surfactant. It is much gentler on your hair than sulfates, and does a fantastic job of cleaning your hair while avoiding stripping it. My hair feels perfectly balanced after I come out of the shower, as well as bouncy and shiny. It hasn’t looked this good in a while to be perfectly honest. The best aspect of the shampoo is that, aside from cleansing the hair without stripping it, it lathers so well. This is a refreshing change to take note of in the realm of green haircare. Now if your hair is bleached and very damaged, then I would say consider incorporating the Hydration Conditioner or the Legendary Amazon Hair Oil by Rahua. I still a lot of hair that yet remains damaged from all the bleach it was subjected to, thus I really rely on these products since I don’t find the conditioner to be hydrating enough to deal with this. The conditioner definitely has a smooth and thin consistency which will get the job done if your hair is more on the normal side or is only somewhat damaged. Otherwise, consider those products aforementioned.
I did get very concerned about the fragrance, particularly since it is listed so high up the ingredient lists of both the shampoo and conditioner. However, for someone who is sensitive to a lot of products that contain synthetic fragrance, I didn’t get any negative reactions with these products nor did I feel overwhelmed with the scent (again, not ALL synthetic fragrance is harmful so it’s unfair to deem them completely as the bad guy). Still, it would be nice to go without this ingredient or at least have it be much lower down the list – I want to pay for quality ingredients, not for something to smell good. I contacted the company and was so happy to discover that indeed the fragrance is not synthetic at all, but rather a blend of the natural oils of iris blossom, violet leaf, patchouli, soft leather, cedar, creamy sandalwood, papyrus and golden amber. This combination truly makes for a subtle and lovely floral scent. I love that of the Scalp Detox Oil even more – my sister walked in the room once as I was going crazy and massaging my scalp for an hour during the Hobbit, and even commented on how good it was hah!
My biggest concern with my haircare routine was the price – Rahua is so good yet so pricey. I wanted something that didn’t sacrifice performance for the sake of a lower price. To compare, the Hydration Shampoo is priced at $34 for 9.3 oz, and the conditioner is $36 for the same size (click here for products). That adds up to a grand total of $70 which gets spent rather quickly considering I workout and shower often. On the other side, the shampoo and conditioner from Act + Acre are both $28 for 10 oz – that’s $56 for both products. This saves me $14 and I get 1.4 oz more of product! The Scalp Detox does come in pricier at $42, but it’s meant to be a weekly treatment that should last longer than the former two. If you buy the Essentials Set which consists of all three products, you can also save $13 (so you can think of the Scalp Detox as $29 😉 ). The oil, however, is optional. It’s not exactly revolutionary savings, however every dollar counts. Though the ingredient deck isn’t as simple as Rahua, nothing gets my hair so fresh, clean, and balanced like this line. Thus, I will continue repurchasing. Now just know I am still looking for a great shampoo in a soap bar form – I love the simple idea of it and the fact that there is no waste associated with it. However, that’s an experiment that has not yet been met with success. Per usual, I will continue to experiment and update. 😉
Update: They have a referral program now!! What’s most exciting is that they offer 20% while most referrals give 10-15%. Enjoy! Hope you guys enjoy the line as much as I am: http://actacre.refr.cc/vivians