Alter EGO Impact Ego with Garlic ($43.99) is a hair conditioning mask aimed at over-treated, chemically colored and otherwise abused mops. Although my hair doesn’t really (thankfully) fit that description, I was drawn towards this Italian hair care brand because I was intrigued by the use of garlic.

Useful against vampires, head colds and a potent antioxidant, garlic has many qualities beyond the culinary. However, I have never really associated it with a hair treatment. So the first thing I did was a search on garlic and hair and found that there are all these people suffering hair loss who rub cloves into their scalps with impunity. Was there anything to this, or was this home remedy being conducted by the kind of folks who also believe in vampires?

Given some of the explanations, they do seem to fall into the somewhat gullible camp. They are being told that garlic (and onion, as it happens) nourishes follicles that have become blocked due to a bad diet. These bulbs also kill germs and parasites that infect the scalp. Never mind that average baldness is not caused by germs. I particularly like the remedies that call for aged garlic. Aged how? Is it laid flat like a wine? Trust me. Vampires do not exist.

But behind all this nonsense, was there any hard data. I did find one study conducted in Iran that used a garlic gel to help hair grow. The only thing is that garlic was used along with betamethasone valerate, a steroid cream without testing the bulb on its own. An even less convincing study in Iraq used onion juice and concluded that the subjects that used it saw more hair growth than those who just used tap water. How many more, you might ask. 2%.

To be fair to Alter Ego, garlic isn’t going to you any harm so why not give this mask a go (especially as it is currently reduced by about 50% on Amazon.com). However, you might find a few other things in Impact Ego With Garlic less benign. cetriminium chloride is a potential irritant, as is phenoxyethanol, methyldibromo glutaronitrile, benzyl salicylate, methylchloroisothiazolinonemethylisothiazolinone. Meanwhile linalool may be carcinogenic. and

Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Dipalmytoylethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Parfum (Fragrance), Cyclomethiconec (Cyclopentasiloxane), Limonene, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Glycol, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Methyldibromo Glutaronitrile, Benzyl Salicylate, Citric Acid, C.I. 11680 (Pigment Yellow), C.I. 74160 (Pigment Blue 15:1), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Extract), C.I. 12085 (Pigment Red 4), Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Allium Sativum (Garlic Extract), Cochlearia Armoracia (Horse-radish Extract), Ferula Assa Foetida (Asafoetida Extract), Methylisothiazolinone.