Alterna's Caviar Seasilk Antiaging Moisture Conditioner ($32) is rich and creamy. I suspect that thick, unruly hair will respond to its unctiousness very well. For fine, flyaway hair such as mine, a little goes a very long way if you don't want to get too weighed down. Having said that, my first day of testing Alterna Caviar was on a particularly sticky and humid day and I must say this does a better job of fighting frizz than almost any other conditioner I have tried.

My real interest in Alterna's Caviar Seasilk Antiaging Moisture Conditioner is that it claims to protect chemically colored, aging hair from the stresses and strains of daily life to keep it strong, healthy and younger looking. In order to achieve this, Alterna seems to have thrown in everything including the kitchen sink. I counted almost 80 ingredients and I can't help asking myself if they can all be necessary or in quantities that will make a difference. However, I must admit that the handful of silicones and preservatives are in excellent company.

Obviously there is caviar. One of the key components of caviar is arginine. This is the building block of proteins, it plays a pivotal role in cell division, the healing of wounds, immune function, the release of hormones, and the production of growth hormone. In skin care, it is supposed to build collagen production. As of yet, however, not one study can prove the skin regeneration effects of arginine when topically applied to the skin. Fish eggs are also full of omega-3 fatty acids.

But I am much more interested in wasabi, which features fairly high on the 'list of 80'. There are powerful antioxidants in wasabia japonica called oxido-reductases. These include peroxidases and superoxide dismutase, responsible for the scavenging and neutralization of free radicals, principal factors contributing to the exogenous aging process. In addition, wasabi demonstrates significant antimicrobial properties even at a 1% concentration. Perhaps this conditioner doesn't even need its handful of conventional preservatives, including a paraben and methylchloroisothiazolinone.

Fennel seed is another unusual ingredient to find in a hair conditioner and it, too, turns out to be a natural antioxidant at high enough concentrations, according to in vitro research. I'll pass over the increasingly ubquitous algae extracts (the cosmetic industry's new black). But there are a few other things worthy of our attention if only because 80 ingredients are bound to include some that are pretty obscure. Amino ccyl tRNA synthetase is an enzyme that catalyzes the esterification of a specific amino acid, says Wikipedia. I have no idea what that means, except that they establish genetic code and in the past decade have been researched as a new form of antibiotic. There is also lysyl oxidase, which is an extra-cellular copper enzyme that ultimately helps the cross-linking of collagen and elastin. Another new one for me is lactoferrin, which exists in milk, saliva and tears and turns out to be an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that boosts the immune system.

There is a host of other good things, from flaxeed (linseed) to carrot. My initial introduction to Alterna's caviar conditioner has been very positive and I am curious to see what happens to my color-treated, aging hair with long term use.

Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethiconol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclomethicone, Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Wasabia Japonica Root Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare Seed Extract (Fennel), Chondrus Crispus Extract (Carrageenan), Hydrolyzed Algae Extract, Algae Extract, Caviar Extract, Linum Usitatissimum Seed Oil (Linseed), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Helianthus Annuus Seed Extract (Sunflower), Saccharomyces Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces Zinc Ferment, Super Oxide Dismutase, Lactoferrin, Daucus Carota Sativa Root Extract (Carrot), Retinyl Palmitate, Phospholipids, Corn Oligosaccharides, Copper Lysl Oxidase, Acetyl Methionine, Acetyl Serine, Amino Acyl tRNA Synthetase, Phytosphingosine, Ganoderma Lucidum Tyrosinase (Mushroom), Lentinus Edodes Tyrosinase, Glycine Soja Seed Peroxidase (Soybean), Peptone, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Glycine Max Symbiosome Lysate (Soybean), Pikea Robusta Extract, Adenosine Triphosphate, Niacinamide Polypeptide, Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide, Pantothenic Acid Polypeptide, Papain, Bromelain, Melanin, Melanin Silantriol, Hydrolyzed Oat Protein, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG Propyl Silanetriol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cinnamidopropyl Trimonium Chloride, Jojoba Esters, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cetrimonium Bromide, Glycereth 26, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PPG 1 Trideceth 6, Polyquaternium 37, Polyquaternium 10, Quaternium 91, Amodimethicone, C11 15 Pareth 7, C12 13 Pareth 23, C12 13 Pareth 3, Laureth 9, Trideceth 12, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum), Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, Linalool, Limonene