Hair Me Out
A still life product photo of Acte+Acre's Cold Processed Stem Stell Serum for hair and scalp alongsi...

This Serum Is Now The One Thing My Scalp And Hair Can't Live Without

My hair is noticeably thicker.

Courtesy of Act+Acre

Not to be dramatic, but I learned more about my hair while talking to Act+Acre Founder and trichologist Helen Reavey for an hour than I have in all my years as a beauty editor. And with Reavey’s deep understanding of hair science and the scalp, it’s not surprising that I noticed a dramatic improvement in the skin on my scalp and in my hair’s thickness and texture after reviewing Act+Acre’s Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum. I’ve long reaped the benefits of the brand’s Cold Processed Hair Cleanse and Conditioner, but adding the serum into my hair care routine gave my scalp and hair a boost, so to speak, of something I didn’t even know I needed.

How The Act+Acre Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum Works

The Act+Acre Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum ($85, Act+Acre) is a scalp and hair serum designed to nourish the hair while reducing dryness and breakage. By targeting the scalp in addition to the hair itself, the Stem Cell Serum helps foster an optimal environment for your hair to grow, so you can avoid things like excessive oil production or flakiness, which can, in turn, affect the look and feel of your hair. Within the formula, apple stem cell extract boosts collagen in the skin to slow down signs of aging on the scalp, which tends to age faster than the rest of your skin. Also, bamboo leaf extract works to prevent stress and damage to the hair and add shine, while aloe vera leaf extract delivers a solid dose of hydration and soothes your scalp in the process.

Typically, after washing your hair, you’ll apply one full pipette’s worth of product to the scalp along your hairline and down your part. Then, massage the serum throughout your scalp until it’s thoroughly absorbed — no need to rinse it out. You can apply the serum to dry hair as well, ensuring you still massage the product through your scalp well, but applying and leaving the serum overnight will give you optimal results.

A Little Bit About My Hair And Scalp

For the most part, my hair is long, of average thickness, treated with minimal color or chemicals, and stays straight, save for a stray wave here and there. That said, it does get a bit greasy relatively quickly, and the length tends to weigh it down. My scalp, on the other hand, tends to be a bit dry on its own, with some redness and inflammation in certain parts. I also have mild psoriasis on the left side of my scalp, near my ear.

The Act+Acre Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum Review:

The feel: 5/5

The minute you pipe the product onto your scalp, the feeling is luxurious. The serum immediately feels cool on the scalp, and while the formula isn’t so thin that it runs and makes a mess, it does blend into the scalp quickly and easily. Even better, it doesn’t leave behind any sort of tackiness, stickiness, or annoying residue.

The smell: 4/5

Fortunately, there’s no major scent attached to this product. Of course, every product comes with some sort of scent given its ingredients, but any scent coming from the Stem Cell Serum was incredibly brief and not unpleasant.

The packaging: 5/5

The serum’s packaging is sleek, luxe, compact, and easy — all the makings of a perfect component. The bottle is small enough so that it won’t take up much space on a shelf or in a cabinet, but not so small that you aren’t getting a good amount of product. IMO, the pipette is a perfect choice, as the small tube allows you reach your scalp through your hair incredibly easily. Aesthetically speaking, the bottle is clean and visually appealing, without any unnecessary flashiness.

The ease of use: 5/5

While some scalp products or hair treatments make a mess, require a lot of additional time, or come with gadgets and tools that feel impossible, the Stem Cell Serum is as straightforward as it gets and takes minutes to use from start to finish. There’s no major learning curve that comes with using the product. Just some drops along the scalp, a little bit of massaging, and you’re done.

The efficacy: 5/5

No cap, this serum hits different. I was skeptical about it at first, and was instantly surprised by how hydrated, thick, and healthy it made my hair feel. Before I started using it a few months ago, my hair was dry and breaking very easily, thanks to years of bleaching. My scalp was prone to flaking, and because I have sensitive skin, I also tended to experience regular inflammation and redness. The brand gifted me when a close-up scalp camera, so I could get a detailed look at my scalp’s health. I didn’t have any major issues at the time, but dry, flaky patches and red patches were visible, in addition to some buildup around my hair strands. What wasn’t visible? Virtually any new hair growth.

Courtesy of Theresa Massony

When I began using Act+Acre’s hair cleanse and conditioner, my hair felt more voluminous, softer, less prone to breakage, and it didn’t get greasy as often as it had in the past. When I added the Stem Cell Serum to that routine, those results multiplied gradually. After a couple weeks of regular use, I noticed my once-flat hair had a bit more lift at the roots, and my scalp was flaking less. I was shedding less, and because of that, my hair felt and looked thicker. As a bonus, I noticed that my sensitive psoriasis patch appeared less inflamed after every use. I can’t say that’s an intended use for this serum, but also, I’ll take it.

After a recent visit to the Act+Acre Atelier in NYC — now on month three of regularly using the Stem Cell Serum — Reavey took another look at my scalp. While there was limited redness and dryness, the majority of my scalp appeared moisturized and healthy. The real kicker? There was a noticeable amount of new hair growth on my scalp, with three and four hairs sprouting from the same follicle. Because my scalp has been consistently nourished and free of flakes and buildup clogging the skin, my hair has been able to grow in thicker and quicker, with more volume at the root. It consistently feels soft to the touch, and any shedding or breakage has been kept at bay. The amount of compliments I get from friends and family are a nice benefit, too.

The price: 4/5

At $85, the Stem Cell Serum is not cheap, and it’s completely understandable if you’re not ready to drop that much for a hair and scalp serum. However, if you are able to swing it, I do feel the quality of the results match the price — and that’s coming from a bona fide cheapo who’s the first person to recommend a more affordable dupe. And for the amount of uses you’re able to squeeze out of this product, to me, you’ll get your money’s worth.

Overall: 5/5

Just, like, look at my hair:

Courtesy of Theresa Massony
Courtesy of Theresa Massony
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TL;DR: The Act+Acre Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum has enhanced my scalp’s health tremendously, giving way to significant new growth of strong, thick, healthy hair. It’s become a can’t-live-without part of my routine, and everyone in my life is tired of hearing me talk about how good it is.

For all the good hair days, shop Act+Acre’s Cold Processed Stem Cell Serum below. And, if you’re in or near New York City on Thursday, July 29, you can head to the Act+Acre Atelier on 54 Eldridge St. to snag a free yoga mat and tote filled with $200 worth of Act+Acre products. Register for the event here, and be sure to screenshot your confirmation to show at the door.

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