We all know limes are an excellent source of vitamin C and provide a mood-boosting citrus scent. But should they have a place in your beauty routine as well? While traditional limes may not be included in many beauty formulations, their more expensive and exclusive cousin, the caviar lime, might be just what your hair care routine is missing.
We asked board-certified dermatologists Dendy Engleman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, and Marisa Garshick, MD, for the low down on the benefits of caviar limes for hair.
Meet the Expert
Are caviar limes what's missing from your hair care routine? Keep reading for expert opinions on using caviar lime for hair.
Caviar Lime for Hair
Type of ingredient: Exfoliant and powerful antioxidant
Main benefits: Gently exfoliates the scalp, reduces the harmful effects of UV damage on colored hair, and boosts moisture in the scalp and hair
Who should use it: In general, anyone can benefit from using caviar lime, but those with damaged or color-treated hair will benefit most. Caviar lime can be irritating, so those with sensitive skin or scalp conditions should use it with caution.
How often can you use it: Caviar lime is a consistency ingredient, meaning regular use is needed to see results. It is found in many nourishing shampoos, so Engelman says it can be used as often as you wash your hair as long as no irritation occurs.
Don’t use with: There are no known ingredients that interact with caviar lime negatively.
Benefits of Caviar Lime for Hair
Caviar limes are native to the rainforests of Australia and are known for their distinct individual juice sacs when the fruit is cut. They come in various shapes and sizes and a range of colors, including purple, green, yellow, and pink. The caviar-like pulp of the fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, and terpenes, such as limonene. Terpenes are responsible for the fragrance, taste, and pigment of plants and have various medicinal properties, such as anti-cancer, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasitic properties.
When it comes to hair, our experts agree that caviar lime offers a host of benefits for both the hair and the scalp. "Pertaining to hair, caviar limes are known to naturally exfoliate the scalp without stripping it of its natural oils and cleanse the scalp of dirt and impurities, thereby supporting an optimal environment for healthy hair growth," says Engelman. Garshick agrees that caviar lime has exfoliating properties and says it can help to smooth the appearance of hair. Both experts mention that it is often an ingredient in nourishing shampoos and conditioners.
- Gently exfoliates the scalp: Engelman notes that the gentle exfoliation provided by caviar limes is great for the hair and scalp because it does so without stripping them of their natural oils. Over-stripping hair and skin can have an adverse, drying effect which increases oil production. The exfoliating properties of caviar lime help to eliminate dead skin on the scalp, says Garshick, which helps to prevent buildup.
- Provides powerful antioxidant properties: Antioxidants provide many benefits to the hair and scalp. According to Engelman, caviar limes contain three times more antioxidants than other citrus fruits. Garshick explains that caviar limes can have antioxidant benefits as they are rich in vitamin C, which can help with overall scalp and hair health by reducing free radical damage.
- Reduces the harmful effects of UV damage: Engelman shares that the antioxidant effects of caviar limes also reduce the harmful effects of UV damage on colored hair (which is especially susceptible), allowing it to look hydrated and shiny for a long period of time.
- Boosts moisture in the scalp and hair: Both experts mention caviar lime's ability to up moisture in the scalp and hair. "It can help to boost moisture in the scalp and hair, helping to smooth the hair," explains Garshick. This is why caviar lime is best paired with nourishing, hydrating ingredients that balance out its acidic properties, such as vitamin E, natural oils, and hyaluronic acid, says Engelman.
- Improves overall appearance of the hair: Hair looks its best when it is smooth and shiny. Engelman explains that caviar lime contains smoothing properties that work to repair damaged hair and give hair a healthier, shinier appearance. "It is usually found as an ingredient in more nourishing haircare products such as curl creams, conditioners, and leave-in products," Engelman adds.
- May improve hair growth: Bioactive components from plants, like the terpenes found in caviar limes, have been shown to have hair-growth-promoting therapeutic effects. "While more evidence is needed to determine how it impacts hair growth, it can help to improve overall hair health", says Garshick. Engelman agrees, and adds "a healthy scalp is the key to healthy hair. Due to their various benefits for the scalp, as well as organic acids that provide moisture to the base of the hair follicle, caviar limes are effective for improving hair regrowth and minimizing hair loss."
Hair Type Considerations
Our experts agree that caviar lime is safe for all hair types, including color-treated hair. "Caviar lime products can be used on all hair types and textures, and it is especially helpful for repairing damaged hair—whether that be from heat damage, over-processing, or environmental factors," shares Engelman. Garshick agrees that it can be safely used by all hair types given the range of benefits.
Caviar limes pose little risk of undesired results. However, if you are unsure or have known allergies to citrus or other fruits, consult a medical professional before using them, cautions Engelman. Garshick agrees and says for someone with sensitive skin or scalp, they should be used with caution. "As with any ingredient, if you have sensitive skin it is always best to apply the product to a small area to ensure no reaction prior to use," Garshick explains.
How to Use Caviar Lime for Hair
Caviar limes can be purchased and used in their natural form, though they can be difficult to find in regular grocery stores and are often pricey. Engelman says the best way to implement caviar limes in your hair care routine is to use hair products that contain caviar limes, in addition to other nourishing ingredients. "Due to the high acidity present in caviar limes, you should balance them out with nourishing ingredients and be sure to thoroughly rinse out any product. You can apply caviar limes directly to hair, but again, be sure to rinse them out thoroughly in order to avoid stripping your hair with the high acidity of the limes," Engelman explains.
- Create your own bespoke shampoo or conditioner: Garshick says caviar lime can be added to your favorite shampoo or conditioner. "It can be incorporated into shampoos to help eliminate dead skin build-up on the scalp, or conditioners to help nourish the hair," she explains. Start by adding a teaspoon of the juice to a squeeze of your shampoo or conditioner in your hands to test the acidity instead of adding it directly to the whole bottle.
- Add caviar lime to your hair primer: Garshick says caviar lime can also be incorporated into hair primers to boost shine. Due to the high acidity of the lime, use only a few drops if you are leaving the ingredient in your hair.
- Use products containing caviar lime: Many hair products that are designed to nourish hair already contain caviar limes. The ingredient can also be listed as finger lime, citrus caviar, and Citrus australasica.
The Best Products With Caviar Lime
Engelman recommends Prose’s custom hydrating conditioner, as it contains caviar lime extract in addition to other nourishing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, plum oil, and vitamin E that work together to restore and hydrate the hair follicles.
Garshick recommends the Wella Invigo Brilliance Conditioner For Normal Hair as it contains caviar lime and provides instant color vibrancy for up to seven weeks, and color protection with regular use. It is best for fine to average hair.
This vegan hair mask contains caviar lime and other antioxidant-rich ingredients to create a treatment that deeply moisturizes while smoothing the hair and enhancing shine.
What makes caviar limes different from regular limes?
Caviar limes (also known as finger limes) are an Australian citrus species characterized by their round to teardrop-shaped juice vesicles that burst into individual juice sacs when the fruit is cut. The finger-shaped fruit is sold for these juice vesicles, which can be separated into individual "pearls" resembling caviar.
What benefits does caviar lime have for the hair and scalp?
According to our experts, caviar lime can help gently exfoliate the scalp while also boosting moisture and shine in the hair.
Does caviar lime promote hair growth?
Bioactive components from plants, like the terpenes found in caviar limes, have been shown to have hair-growth-promoting therapeutic effects. However, more research is needed to determine if caviar limes directly influence hair growth.
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