Some things immediately come to mind when you hear luxury: designer clothes, champagne, and of course, caviar. Caviar is the epitome of extravagance in dining - expensive and hard to find. While caviar is not an ingredient easily found in your local grocery store's seafood section, you might find it in the haircare aisle.
Caviar is salt-cured eggs, or roe, collected from the sturgeon family of fish. Caviar is a costly ingredient and has a limited supply worldwide, making it coveted amongst the luxury skincare brands and the haircare industry. In haircare, caviar is often used as a source of protein to strengthen hair.
Is there science behind the hype of caviar in haircare? We turned to two dermatologists to understand the benefits of caviar for hair, Kristina Collins is a Harvard-trained dermatologic surgeon and the Co-founder/CEO of Austin Skin, and Ava Shamban is a Board Certified Dermatologist based in Los Angeles, CA, and the founder of Ava MD Dermatology, the SkinFive med spa concept and The Box by Dr. Ava, seasonal skin solutions by subscription.
Meet the Expert
- Kristina Collins is a Harvard-trained dermatologic surgeon and the Co-founder/CEO of Austin Skin.
- Ava Shamban is a Board Certified Dermatologist based in Los Angeles, CA, and the founder of Ava MD Dermatology, the SkinFive med spa concept, and The Box by Dr. Ava, seasonal skin solutions by subscription.
Caviar for Hair
Type of ingredient: Hydrator and strengthener
Main benefits: Strengthens and hydrates hair, repairs split ends, and increases elasticity.
Who should use it: In general, anyone with dry, dehydrated, brittle, or damaged hair would benefit most. Caviar would also benefit those with curly, color-treated, or natural aging hair.
How often can you use it: Products such as conditioners with caviar infusions can be used daily.
Works well with: Other hydrators and protein boosters
Don’t use with: There are no known ingredients that negatively interfere with caviar, but those with naturally oily hair may find it too rich.
Benefits of Caviar for Hair
Caviar has wide-spanning benefits for the hair and scalp. "Extracts from caviar are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and protein molecules that can take your hair care up a notch," Collins explains. Collins also shares that hair conditioners commonly contain some protein source, which can be derived from caviar. Shamban agreed, adding, "It is a strong anti-aging ingredient, given its abundant composition of essential amino acids, structuring peptides, proteins, essential fatty acids, and trace elements." Caviar has a significant impact on the scalp's skin, but most products infused with caviar highlight the restructure and repair benefits of this ingredient.
- Powerful Antioxidant Properties: One of the reasons for caviar's popularity in the culinary world is that it is rich in antioxidants. "The antioxidants within caviar protect against UV damage and environmental pollutants, improving the strength of the hair shafts as well as improving the health of the skin on the scalp," Collins explains. Shamban added that "It is also rich in vitamins A, C, and D. It has high levels of magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and cholesterol."
- Strengthens the Hair Follicle: The antioxidants and protein in caviar help to strengthen the hair follicle, as they "protect against the breakdown of collagen and elastin in skin and hair, which could lead to thicker, stronger hair and promote anti-aging benefits in the skin," Collins explains.
- Repairs Split Ends: Collins explains that "Hair conditioners commonly contain some source of protein, which can be derived from caviar. In preparation for creating a hair conditioner, that protein is processed to create smaller particles called peptides. When the conditioner is used, the peptides coat and diffuse into the hair shaft, temporarily mending damage, patching split ends, and increasing the tensile strength of the hair."
- Treats Effects of Natural Hair Aging: Shamban shares that hair has its own aging process whereby it can become brittle and break easily. "Bonds are weaker, and we lose not only color and shine but elasticity and strength of the keratin protein bonds." Caviar can combat this, as it can support hair and scalp restructuring.
- Hydrates the Hair and Scalp: "Caviar is naturally full of omega fatty acids which help promote a healthy barrier for the hair shafts and increase hydration," Collins explains. Caviar is also an excellent source of vitamin D.
- Improves the Overall Appearance of Hair: According to Collins, the anti-aging, hydration, and protection properties of the various ingredients can help hair to appear silkier and may also promote better health of the hair. Shamban agrees, adding, "As with many nutrient-rich products that nourish, condition, and hydrate, the overall appearance of the hair is noticeably better."
- May Prevent Hair Loss: Caviar contains Vitamin D, omega-3-fatty acid, and omega-6 fatty acid —which may help prevent hair loss, according to Collins. "Additionally, the protective action of the antioxidants and the barrier protection by the protein and omega fatty acids may help prevent further hair damage such as split ends that can lead to the appearance of hair thinning," she adds.
Hair Type Considerations
Our experts agree that caviar is safe for all hair types, including color-treated hair and aging hair. Shamban states that dry, dehydrated, brittle, or damaged hair would benefit most and that those with naturally curly, wavy, or more coarse hair would also be good candidates. She also points out that aging hair stands to gain the most from caviar's strengthening and bond restructuring properties.
Both experts agree that it may be too rich for those with super fine hair or a tendency to produce excess sebum (oily scalp or hair). It also would not be appropriate for anyone allergic to fish or those practicing a vegan lifestyle. Consult your doctor before attempting to use caviar products to treat hair loss, as every case is different and requires a specialized approach.
How to Use Caviar for Hair
Caviar has benefits for the hair, scalp, and skin both from consuming it and using products that contain it. "Caviar is not just a snack for the rich and famous," Collins jokes. While there could be benefits from applying caviar directly to the hair and scalp, neither expert recommends this due to the high cost of caviar and the proven results of products that are infused with it at a much lower price point.
- Using Products Infused with Caviar: Both experts recommend using products that contain caviar infusions to take full advantage of the benefits to your hair. Collins recommends Alterna, which she shares has a nice line of caviar-infused hair products. Shamban recommends Miriam Quevedo, a Caviar line with products for restructuring support and vibrancy for both scalp and hair.
- Eating caviar: "Caviar when eaten contains loads of protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids, all of which nourish the skin and hair," Collins explains. This is a tough and expensive product to find, though, so she recommends using products with caviar in them over attempting to gain the benefits this way.