Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

8 Aug

alterna cavia

So, I have been extolling the benefits of Alterna for some time. They make great shampoo and conditioner with just about everything I want/need, and now they even have Katie Holmes as their spokesmodel (and apparently co-owner?) I have loved Katie Holmes ever since Dawson’s Creek, loved her more after The Gift, lost a little love for her when she married whackadoo and depression medication-denier Tom Cruise, but then went back to loving her the most after she left his crazy ass. So she adds value to Alterna’s brand identity for me, and even if you don’t particularly like her, you gotta admit – lady’s got lovely locks.

katie holmes

The one Alterna product line I have steadfastly refused to try is the Caviar line. I know it’s all the rage right now in the hair care circles, but I am vegetarian, so I don’t eat caviar. I DO eat chicken eggs, but it turns out there’s a very large difference between how chicken eggs and fish eggs are harvested: namely, you don’t have to kill the hen to get the egg. And that’s exactly what one has to do to a fish to get caviar.

Recently, I received an email from Elle Inner Circle asking me to take a survey to see if I qualified to sample a new hair care line. I took the survey, qualified, and a couple weeks later, received in the mail Alterna’s Caviar Shampoo & Conditioner. D’OH! When I took the survey, I agreed to try the shampoo & conditioner and report back on my findings, so I dutifully decided that, even though I have moral objections to caviar, since I already had the s&c in hand (i.e., I didn’t buy it and thus didn’t fund the killing of fish), and since I had essentially signed an agreement that I would use it, I would follow through.

Of course the s&c didn’t disappoint – it’s Alterna. It smells great and works great. It’s sulfate- and paraben-free. My hair felt super soft AND super clean, which can be a difficult balance to achieve, plus smelled awesome (like, so good that I went to lunch with my friend Cait yesterday and my hair was still damp and from a couple feet away she said, “You smell AMAZING.”) Still… it’s made with caviar.

I used it as directed and took the survey, in which I extolled its virtues but also indicated that I would NOT buy this s&c, nor would I recommend it to a friend. When asked why, I explained my reasons.

After this, I thought, you know, I should contact Alterna and ask how exactly they harvest their caviar. I should give them a chance. Maybe they harvest it after the fish lays it. I know it’s unlikely, but since it’s not food-grade, maybe. Maybe.

Here is my email:

Good afternoon,

I am a long-time user and fan of Alterna shampoo and conditioner, but as a vegetarian and animal lover have always shied away from using your Caviar line. Recently, however, as a member of Elle Inner Circle, I received a sample of the Caviar Shampoo and Conditioner to try and review. I absolutely loved the way it worked and smelled, but remain concerned about the ingredients and purchasing something that requires animals be killed to produce it.

I am therefore inquiring if your Caviar line harvests caviar in the traditional way – by impregnating fish and then killing them to retrieve the eggs – or if, because the caviar is not food grade, you wait until the fish has laid the eggs and collect them then. I would find the latter acceptable, but cannot reconcile my conscience with the former.

Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing back.

Kate J

Aaaaand here is their utterly useless response:

Hello Kate,

Thank you for your email!

Alterna does not test products on animals. Our products are made ethically and
cruelty-free so no animals are ever harmed during the process.

If you have any further questions or concerns please contact us again.

Customer Service

I did indeed contact them again – I replied directly to this email and asked how they harvest their caviar:

Thanks for the info – where DO you get the caviar, then? I’d really love to write a blog recommending the shampoo and conditioner, but I need more info on how you acquire the caviar!

Kate J

As of today, I have received no response. I have now posted a request for more information on their Facebook page, as well, but nothing there yet, either.

You’re saying that no animals are ever harmed during the process, but are you REALLY saying you harvest the caviar without hurting the fish? Because I really need you to say those words before I will spend $32 a bottle on a hair care product that may or may not require animals to be killed in order to produce it.

I’ll update this if I ever manage to get an honest, straightforward answer on where the caviar in Alterna’s Caviar line comes from.

UPDATE (but no new information):

Hello Kate,

Thank you for your email! Unfortunately, we do not have that information
available at this time. We will forward this reply to the correct
department for review. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have any further questions or concerns please contact us again.

Customer Service

2 Responses to “Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner”


  1. Alterna Kills Animals (or Why I’m Not Buying Any More Alterna Products Indefinitely) | Lipgloss & Life - September 5, 2013

    […] So, first, read this. […]

  2. My Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture Duo Review - June 27, 2014

    […] Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner […]

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