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Alterna Kills Animals (or Why I’m Not Buying Any More Alterna Products Indefinitely)

5 Sep

So, first, read this.

Since I posted that, I have not heard another word from Alterna. I tried posing the question to them via Facebook and Twitter. They have chosen not to reply.

I’m not sure what pisses me off most about this situation, but I think I can narrow it to two things. One, the initial robo-response from customer service:

Our products are made ethically and cruelty-free so no animals are ever harmed during the process.

Well, that’s a lie, isn’t it? Because as a general rule, fish are killed to source caviar, and your shampoo and conditioner list caviar in the damned ingredient list. Which brings me to two, the absolute non-response thereafter. I have contacted them THREE different ways and they haven’t seen fit to reply at all regarding HOW THEY SOURCE THEIR CAVIAR. Just say you kill fish to get the caviar. Or buy from a supplier who does. That’s all I want. I am not militant. I am not an animal rights activist. I have used your other lines and just avoided your caviar line in the past, which is what I would continue to do if I didn’t suddenly get the vibe that you’re complete and total hypocrites, preaching one thing and practicing the opposite.

So then I have to ask: What else are you lying about, Alterna? You issued a blanket statement in response to my question about your practices for sourcing caviar without any further information to back it up. I can only assume there are other “truths” you are glossing over or manufacturing to support your healthy, natural, eco-conscious image, when in fact you’re just another corporation preying on consumers who want to live a healthier, kinder lifestyle.

Until I hear otherwise, I will assume Alterna is a deceptive, manipulative company. I am boycotting them henceforth – not because they kill fish (honestly, to each their own – vegetarianism is my own choice, not something I force on others), but because I don’t trust them at all.

Shea Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

8 Aug

Shea-Moisture-Organic-Raw-Shea-Butter-Moisture-Retention-Shampoo-Conditioner-1I’m gonna make this brief as I now believe this may have been my error.

I needed shampoo and conditioner at my Mom’s house, and rather than going to Sephora or a salon, I grabbed some at Target. I liked the looks of this stuff because it’s all organic-y seeming and is sulfate free. Inexplicably, the organic/natural stuff and the ethnic hair care products are in the same section. I am pretty sure Shea Moisture shampoo & conditioner MAY be formulated for Black hair, both because if you Google image search it, you get images of Black women and because my sister told me her biracial roommate used to use it.

Anyhow, it was not a good match for my hair, which I have mentioned before is pretty fine. There’s a ton OF it, but the strands themselves are very thin and blonde. I was actually nearly insane after a week of using this, so much so that I went to the grocery store, picked up some Fructis – sulfates and all – washed my hair and talked for about two days about how much better my hair felt. Essentially this stuff weighed my hair down and turned it into a heavy, greasy, oily, awful mess. I tried everything – one day after swimming in the ocean, I just rinsed my hair and used the TINIEST bit of conditioner, but it was still too much. Another day I actually used baby shampoo of my son’s and then a tiny bit of conditioner – still awful. Looking at it now, I bet it’s the Argan Oil, which I have had greasifying issues with in the past.

Anyhow. That’s that. I won’t use it again, but if you have super coarse, dry hair, this might be a win for you!

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

Ooh La, Rue La!

26 Jun

Ah the subscription model of shopping. I am a sucker, and I LOOOOVE getting packages. Plus it’s a great way to try out new products without having to invest in full sizes.

So far, I am a member both of  BeautyBar Sample Society and Birchbox. And then, cause you know, I like to share the wealth, I also signed up for BarkBox. FOR MY DOG.

sample society

If you decide to sign up for BeautyBar Sample Society after seeing this, please consider using my referral code – kate78 – so I can get credit!


Then my friend Cait mentioned Glossybox to me. I have been meaning to look into it but not had a chance yet.


Today, Rue La La is offering a DEAL on Glossybox – $40 for a $100 membership. WHAT! So yeah. I signed up. And maybe, if you’re anything like me, you should too.

rue la la glossybox

If you’re a member of a similar program, please share the details and your referral code below, or tweet it to me @kate78, #lipglosslife!

Serge Normant Meta Silk Shampoo & Meta Velour Conditioner

29 Nov

Recently decided to try Serge Normant Meta Silk Shampoo and Meta Velour Conditioner, after seeing what kind of sulfate-free shampoos Sephora offers that I haven’t yet used. Conclusion? Love it! Love them both! Sold!

From the Sephora website:

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Synthetic Fragrances
– Synthetic Dyes
– Petrochemicals
– Phthalates
– GMOs
– Triclosan

So yeah, already a winner as far as I’m concerned.

I wasn’t crazy about the smell in the bottle, as it’s very traditionally shampoo-y. I tend to prefer gourmand scents, or fruity scents, or flowery scents. Not just “soapy.” But after I used it on my hair, I really, really liked the way my hair smelled. Super clean, just aromatic enough. Plus my hair has never been softer. Additionally, my huzz could use it and not smell like a lady, which is a plus for both of us.

Pretty pricey for what you get, but not outrageous – I have been using it (every other day) for a couple weeks now and haven’t run out.

Totally a fan of this stuff, and would buy it again – for me or my husband!

It’s a Beautiful Day for a Contest!

9 Aug

Today, I won a prize from Nest, the home organization company here in Seattle who is attempting to help me get my life together as I move all our belongings from the house my husband has resided in for 20 years to the house we just finished remodeling WHILE I AM PREGNANT. (No, I’m not at all overwhelmed, why do you ask?!?)

Anyhow, Nest is awesome, and you should enter their contest, BUT you should also enter my contest!

I am thinking, I have some favorites. And I want to share them with you lovely people. So how about a giveaway a month till the baby comes and makes me give up doing everything I have time to do now? YES!

This month’s giveaway will be a little happy Caudalie gift set. I have been raving about Caudalie for months now, and I know I still have yet to write the blogs to back up my love, but I will, I WILL! In the meantime, how do you feel about THIS:

It’s a Caudalie travel kit! Included are mini bottles of:

-Vinosource Quenching Sorbet Creme
-Cleansing Water
-Nourishing Body Lotion
-Fleur de Vigne Shower Gel
-Gentle Conditioning Shampoo

I haven’t even had a chance to try all these products myself, but I can attest that the Cleansing Water is awesome, and the Sorbet Cream is totally divine (or de vine, get it? Since their products are made of grapes? See what I did there?)

ANYHOO, sign up for this fun little giveaway – you don’t have long to enter, as I am going to do the drawing for this one on the 31st – and then next month look to win another of Kate’s Favorite Things, before diapers take over my life.

ENTER THIS CONTEST HERE, NOW!: Caudalie Travel Set Giveaway!


PS. If you enter and say you did things you didn’t do, I will know! Yes I will, and you will lose your entries. So don’t cheat!

Carol’s Daughter Chocolät Shampoo & Conditioner

6 Aug

So I just did my standard Google image search to find an image of this stuff to include, and I got a lot of photos of Black women. I know the founder, Lisa Price, is Black, but are Carol’s Daughter’s products really supposed to be, like  formulated exclusively for Black people? Because I have news: I FREAKING LOVE THIS STUFF. And I am as White as they come.

I’m pretty particular when it comes to shampoo and conditioner. I have been burned recently (see Organix and Phyto, ugh), have crazy hair, and require my shampoos to be sulfate free. I want my hair to feel clean, smell good, but also be tamed at least somewhat (no crazy frizz or flyaways, not impossible to get a brush through). This makes me a bit of a tough customer. I still LOOOOVE Alterna‘s line, but I like to switch it up, especially in the hair department. I went on Sephora recently and found that they have helpfully added a sulfate-free search criteria. I chose a few different shampoo/conditioner combos and ordered up.

Carol’s Daughter’s Chocolät line was first up at bat and, oh, can I marry it?!? Smells AWESOME (but NOT like chocolate, be forewarned)*, gets my hair clean and soft and brushable, and is, of course, sulfate-free. Can’t wait to use up the bottles and buy more for the next round! Nicely done, Lisa!

ONLY complaint – the dispensers are a bit awkward. But with a product this good, I can totally overlook it!

*Not sure how to define the smell exactly – not gourmand in any way. More herbal-y/natural, like sandalwood a little? Anyhow my husband can’t stop smelling me either, so it’s an all-around win.