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Image / Agenda / Business

Trichologist Helen Reavey on the career path that led her to becoming the first Irish brand in Sephora


By Helen Reavey
24th Aug 2023
Trichologist Helen Reavey on the career path that led her to becoming the first Irish brand in Sephora

Founder of one of the first Irish-born brands to enter into Sephora, Helen Reavey is the brains behind hair care line Act+Acre. Cementing its position as a market leader in the scalp care, the brand's scalp serum sells a bottle a minute – racking up a waitlist of over 21,000. Here Helen shares more about her career journey to date.

Did you always want to be a trichologist and brand founder?
Yes! My teacher at hair school was a trichologist, and it fundamentally changed the way I viewed hair care and scalp health. My passion for hair combined with my knowledge of the importance of scalp care both played major roles in my decision to found and create Act+Acre

In college, I studied… International Business, but I went back to school to become a hairstylist after college.

My most formative work experience was… my first time working as an assistant in a hair salon. My love and passion for hair started at a young age, and this experience taught me so much about the ins and outs of salons and showed me what it takes to be a stylist. 

My first real job was… my first salon job was working at Peter Mark in Dundrum. 

The most invaluable thing I learned early on in my career was… the two things that have stuck with me throughout my career are: 1. always make sure you love what you do and 2. it is never too late to start doing what you love.

A common misconception about what I do is… that I cut and colour hair while on set, when I’m actually styling the hair based on the lookbooks, etc. 

My main responsibility in work is to… ensure that I’m giving my team good direction and instilling confidence in them to achieve their goals. 

Do you have a career mentor or someone you look up to or seek advice from?
I’ve been so lucky to have a few incredible mentors in my career. It has been such a privilege to learn from and work alongside Sam McKnight, he’s been such a strong influence on my editorial career. From a founder perspective, I admire and look up to my friend Charlotte Palermino – I love how she leads Dieux Skincare with transparency and education at the heart of everything they do. 

The biggest risk I have taken in my career so far is… without a doubt, the biggest risk I’ve taken was leaving my job in Ireland to move to NYC for a fashion week opportunity. It really was the turning point in my career as a stylist. 

I wake at… when I’m not going on set, I usually wake up around 6:45am each morning. 

The first thing I do every morning is… an exaggerated deep breath and a large stretch to get my stagnant energy moving after waking up. 

My morning routine is… I start every morning off with breathwork and meditation. These are non-negotiables in my morning routine since they help me centre myself and set intentions for the day. From there I’ll usually make breakfast and my matcha before getting my day started on work! 

I can’t go to work without… my matcha! I love the ritual of making it each morning. 

I travel to work by… I’m super lucky that our office is less than a 15-minute walk away from our apartment, so on my days in the office, I always walk! If I’m working on set then it completely depends based on where and when the shoot is taking place. 

I start my working day at… if I’m not on set, I typically start my work days around 8:30am when I’m at the office and if I’m on set, call times range from anytime between 4am and 9am depending on the job. 

The first thing I do at work is… go through my inbox and clear out any emails that came in at the end of the previous day or overnight. Then I run through my open items and priorities so I’m focused and aligned on what needs to get done throughout the day ahead. 

I usually spend the first portion of the day… after I catch up on emails and open items, I typically spend the start of the day in meetings with the team to discuss upcoming launches, new product development, our marketing strategy, and more. 

I break for lunch at… I break right around 12 and I usually have a Sweetgreen salad!

The most useful business tool I use every day is… I’d say Slack and Asana are my most used tools – not only do they make it easy to communicate with the team, but they are also great for staying organised and aligned on priorities across different areas of the brand (Operations, Marketing, etc). 

I save time by… trying my best to not get distracted throughout the day! 

I rarely get through my working day without… a glass of hot water and chocolate. Lately, I’ve been loving almond butter cups!

The best part of my day is… my mornings –  I really cherish having two hours to myself each morning before getting started on the work day.

The most challenging part of my day is… 4pm when my energy starts to fade a bit! When I’m feeling a bit tired, I take 15 minutes to do some energy breathwork exercises to help me focus again. 

I know it’s been a good day if… I feel energised leaving work and have had a lot of great ideas throughout the day. 

I usually end my day at… right around 6pm. 

I switch off from work by… to be honest, I am always thinking about work because I really do love what I do, but I know how important it is to switch off. I usually try to switch my phone off by 8pm, which is easier some nights than others! 

Before I go to bed, I’ll… take my supplements, such as magnesium, and try to wind down from the day. 

I often prepare for tomorrow by… organising my calendar and making sure my open items are in a good spot from the day. Also setting out what I’m going to wear.

After a long work week, I destress by… I absolutely love taking yoga and pilates classes on the weekends to destress from work. I also like to spend time outside in nature and meet with friends (who don’t want to talk about work!) 

The accomplishment I’m most proud of is… our team at Act+Acre, that is our biggest accomplishment. 

If you want to get into my line of work, my advice is to… get started and start working to make sure it’s something you really love to do or spend your weekends working on it if you’re not ready to make the leap full-time yet. 

I’ve just finished working on… we just announced our launch in Sephora so Act+Acre is now available online and in 235 stores across the US! This has been a dream of mine since starting the brand in 2019, and it’s been incredible to see it finally come to life. Moving forward we’re excited to continue prioritising our upcoming product launches throughout the remainder of the year.

Photography via Act+Acre.