Every week, fashion and beauty editor Jolene Khor, makeup artist Fiona Bennett, hair guru Christian Maranion, and beauty connoisseur Monica Saranya Selva De Roy — collectively known as The Clubbers — test drive the latest (and with hopes, the greatest) makeup, skincare, hair care, fragrance, bath and body drops to land in Singapore. Tools and brushes too. You get the idea. To buy in bulk or to take a hard pass? We give you the 411 so you never have to second-guess again.
In the spotlight this week: Act+Acre Cold Processed Scalp Detox, Hair Cleanse, and Hair Conditioner

The holiday season is fast approaching, bringing about glad tidings, good cheer, and great gifts — the latter of which prove particularly appealing to beauty junkies, considering the deluge of groundbreaking innovations hitting the market. We're talking serum-highlighter hybrids, LED light treatment glasses, and most notably, the world's first-ever cold processed haircare line. Act+Acre's Cold Processed natural haircare range, comprising the Scalp Detox, Hair Cleanse, and Hair Conditioner, has arrived in Singapore. Much like cold-brew coffee, cold processed haircare is produced differently from their basic cousins. There's unique technology at play that ensures 97% of active ingredients are retained, and a formulation free of common irritants such as silicone, sulphate, paraben, and gluten. With our interests sufficiently piqued, we set out to take the line-up for a test drive, beginning with the scalp treatment oil (to eradicate all manner of impurities), shampoo (to cleanse), before ending off with the conditioner (to hydrate and strengthen). Is a mane makeover imminent? Fingers crossed, folks.
What Sorcery is This?
For the longest time, I didn't care what I put on my head. There's privilege to having a pixie cut — I got near-full access to my scalp, making it incredibly easy to wash, and it mattered little what shampoo I used, because the hair that I was lathering up will be cut off in less than a year.

Oh, how life has changed. Since 2017, I've been growing it out to a perfectly disheveled (one hopes) bob that has met dye and perm rods. Gone are the days when I can dump sulfate-full shampoos, skip out on conditioner, and still emerge from the shower with healthy hair ready to be subjected to heat tools. One thing that remained unchanged is the state of my scalp. It is perpetually oily. True then as it is true now, I never fail to wash it every day. The longest I've gone is two days; by the end of the second, I'd have to resist scratching the itch. Literally.

Which is why I'm pretty impressed with Act+Acre's Scalp Detox. I prepped my scalp with the fragrant oil for 30 minutes before I jumped into warm water. To ensure proper cleansing, I made sure I got enough shampoo by using the cap of the bottle (as instructed) as a measuring cup. I poured more than what I needed, which I noted for the next time. It lathered up nicely though there's no sulfates present. Yay! I'm one of those people who need foam to feel clean, sue me. The conditioner however, fell short of my expectations. My chemically treated hair needed a richer formula to give me ad-worthy hair tosses. I used a leave-in spray conditioner later. Much better.

Naturally, my scalp and hair felt sanitised (not stripped, FYI). Hello styling cream, volumiser, and hairspray. Twenty-four hours later, my scalp was still "matte" — a phenomenon previously witnessed only in wintry climates. Reasonably so at the 36th hour mark. I only really oiled up post-exercise, about 40 hours later. If it wasn't crazy to applaud to inanimate objects, I'd do it by now.

Jolene Khor

Living the Dream
There are two types of people in this world: those who wash their hair every day and those who, well, don't. I belong in the latter category — I wash my hair once a week, tops! And even then, I will use every excuse under the sun to procrastinate getting my hair under running water. If you see my hair in a ponytail, it's a few days old. If it's in a braid, please don't breathe around me. With that habit, I do get a bit of build-up on my scalp and might be prone to a bit of dandruff around the hairline too. When it's really bad, my scalp might get a little itchy. Don't judge me! This is why Act+Acre's haircare range is so my vibe.

I enjoyed the Scalp Detox, the pre-wash hair treatment. Though the applicator nozzle made the product easy to dispense, it comes out one little drop at a time. It does stop you from over-using it, but boy, it will take you a few minutes to get what you need out. Scalp Detox is made of different oils; once you massage it in and leave it to "marinate" for 15 to 20 minutes, you're ready to wash it out. The oil easily removed the grime on my scalp.

The Hair Cleanse, aka the shampoo, I love! I needed to work the formula in my hands to get it to become thick. It lathered super well and smelt fantastic. After a couple of washes (necessary when you haven't soaped up your locks for a full week), and my scalp felt thoroughly clean, I turned my attention to the conditioner. Frankly, it's like any other conditioner — squeeze out excess water in your hair before running the milk through. It could be just me, but I didn't find it very nourishing; it didn't leave my hair soft nor light. Keep in mind, my hair has been bleached to death so it probably required something heavier. A week later, I'm happy to report that my scalp isn't flaky or itchy yet. I am living the dream!

Fiona Bennett

Change is in the Hair
The Act+Acre's three-step Cold Processed routine is a great weekly ritual that I look forward to. First and foremost, the brand produces straight-to-the-point, eco-friendly formulation in simple industrial-style bottles which are fully recyclable. A win already.

I'm not apprehensive about applying oils on my oily scalp as they help balance and clean the area without stripping it of its natural oils when you shampoo. I wear very thick hair clay to keep my limp hair up in a voluminous quiff, and after Scalp Detox, my scalp felt significantly cleaner than usual.

While I'm not one for fragrance in products, it doesn't always trigger sensitive skin. Researching the ingredients of Hair Cleanse, the shampoo, I was happy to find that the aromatics were from a blend of natural oils such as patchouli, sandalwood, and iris blossom, to name a few. Overall, they gave off a strong but pleasant floral scent. The mouthful ingredient, sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate, is a coconut derivative, a far gentler surfactant compared to sulfates commonly found in shampoos. Despite not having any sulfates, Hair Cleanse lathered very well, which subconsciously made me use no more than what is necessary to get the job done — which is clean my scalp and hair effectively without drying them out. A refreshing change in terms of green hair care.

As someone who sports a guy's hairstyle, too-soft hair makes achieving volume difficult. The Hair Conditioner provided me with just enough moisture without the weight. That being said, you may not feel that (artificially) soft finish to your hair especially if yours has been chemically processed; do not let that fool you.

Christian Maranion

Clean Dream Machine
I work on TV sets, and my head is filled with hairspray at any point of time in the day. As actresses and presenters, we're required to have either a slick look or big curls, both of which only truly achievable with products loaded with chemicals that've thinned so many of my fellow actors' hair. Act+Acre resolved our struggles with one set of products they call The Essentials that solely care for your scalp. And boy, when they say they clean, do they mean it.

It is recommended that we leave on Scalp Detox for 20 minutes, but knowing my scalp's condition (don't forget my six-year blonde hair that's almost platinum now), I let it sit overnight. It was a game-changer. The Scalp Detox really seeped into my scalp and lifted any product or oil build-up I've ever had.

I found Hair Cleanse hard to lather because it doesn't contain any parabens, sulfates, or silicones, but the absence of these ingredients makes good haircare. My favourite of the lot is amaranth oil, also found in the hair conditioner. I'll have you know that amaranth oil has been in my household since the day I knew hair needs washing. Indians are big on it — we add them in our coconut oil. Fun fact: it also prevents premature greying! I wrote this review three days after using the Act+Acre trio and my scalp is still too clean for another wash. I am floored.

Ladies and gents with bleached hair, this is for you: I experienced zero breakage during wash. I tested out the Act+Acre shampoo without adding any of my usual Pravana purple shampoo or conditioner in the mix, and I was still able to maintain a lovely shade of blonde. No brassiness. The affordability of this range is too good to say no to. As I'm transitioning out of all heat elements from my daily hair routine, I trust Act+Acre line to maintain my strong, long, lustrous hair.

Monica Selva De Roy
Act+Acre Cold Processed Scalp Detox, Hair Cleanse, and Hair Conditioner are available online and in Sephora stores.
The Clubbers
a.k.a. the people who will never lie to you, the beauty enablers you never thought you'd have, the voices of reason when logic goes out the window on payday, and when Sephora goes on sale.
Jolene Khor
Beauty Editor of Buro. Singapore
The fashion and beauty editor at Buro. Singapore swiped on her first glitter lip gloss at age 12 and have never looked back since — except the rare (only not so rare) occasions when she wants to feel better about her makeup skills as an adult. That kohl eyeliner look wasn't working out despite the fact that she was listening to The Cure and quoting Oscar Wilde. Her mother is thankful that K-beauty happened though that means her glow isn't just genetic. These days, her worst crimes are knocking out with full makeup on and forgetting to apply sunscreen on her neck. Old habits die hard.
Christian Maranion
Hair Specialist & Makeup Artist
Nine years. That's how long Christian Maranion has been in the hair game. Having honed his craft, he then began dabbling in makeup, finding equal joy in killing it at both. He has worked with the likes of Vanessa Fernandez aka Vandetta, Tabitha Nauser, and Charlie Lim. He also frequently collaborates with names such as Sephora, Elizabeth Arden, and Kat Von D to up their beauty game. Don't be fooled by appearances — though he may love dark humour and even darker outfits, he is a pocketful of sunshine.
Fiona Bennett
Makeup Artist & Hairstylist
Fiona Bennett is a makeup artist and hairstylist by profession, and a wife, mother, and part-time Kardashian expert when she's not hustling. Hailing from Australia, she reluctantly came to Singapore with her husband almost six years ago but she's grown to love it so much she wouldn't want to be anywhere else. She began her journey (sometimes by force) pinning her friends down to make them up before going out — only now she gets paid for it! You might find the self-proclaimed beauty-obsessed Fiona snapping up the latest products in the department stores on weekends. You name it, she has probably tried it.
Monica Selva De Roy
Henna & Makeup Artist
Monica doesn't have enough heads for the hats she wants to wear. When the sun's out, she's selling ultra cool tech that makes logistics look sexier than ever. Then, she slaps on some face cake to moonlight as an actress on Vasantham; from nasty stepmother to varsity mean girl, she's seen them all in the realm of antagonism. Oh, her makeup and henna businesses keep her busy during the weekends too. Amidst all this, she's finding time to test and review makeup — if that's not true love, what is?