Some things immediately come to mind when you hear luxury: designer clothes, champagne, and of course, caviar. Caviar is the epitome of extravagance in dining - expensive and hard to find. While caviar is not an ingredient easily found in your local grocery store's seafood section, you might find it in the haircare aisle.
What is Caviar?
Caviar is salt-cured eggs, or roe, collected from the sturgeon family of fish. Caviar is a costly ingredient and has a limited supply worldwide, making it coveted amongst the luxury skincare brands and the haircare industry. In haircare, caviar is often used as a source of protein to strengthen hair.
Is there science behind the hype of caviar in haircare? We turned to two dermatologists and a thinning hair specialist to understand the benefits of caviar for hair. Dermatologic surgeon Kristina Collins, Board Certified Dermatologist Ava Shamban and certified trichologist Mark Blake weigh in on the hype.
Meet the Expert
- Kristina Collins is a Harvard-trained dermatologic surgeon and the Co-founder/CEO of Austin Skin.
- Ava Shamban is a Board Certified Dermatologist based in Los Angeles, CA, and the founder of Ava MD Dermatology, the SkinFive med spa concept, and The Box by Dr. Ava, seasonal skin solutions by subscription.
- Mark Blake is a certified trichologist and member of the International Association of Trichologists. He is an internationally recognized trichologist and thinning hair specialist who has worked in the hair industry for over 40 years.
"Caviar is fantastic for your hair," says certified trichologist Mark Blake. "You can choose to eat it or use products containing it for your hair. Caviar contains a mixture of proteins and amino acids that thirsty hair in need of nourishment needs (around 26 percent proteins and 14 percent lipids). Caviar contains hair loving Arginine, methionine, lysine and histidine."
Caviar for Hair
Type of ingredient: Hydrator and strengthener
Main benefits: Strengthens and hydrates hair, repairs split ends, and increases elasticity.
Who should use it: In general, anyone with dry, dehydrated, brittle, or damaged hair would benefit most. Caviar would also benefit those with curly, color-treated, or natural aging hair.
How often can you use it: Products such as conditioners with caviar infusions can be used daily.
Works well with: Other hydrators and protein boosters
Don’t use with: There are no known ingredients that negatively interfere with caviar, but those with naturally oily hair may find it too rich.
Benefits of Caviar for Hair
Caviar has wide-spanning benefits for the hair and scalp. Although no studies have been done on caviar applied topically to the hair and scalp, research has shown that the antioxidants and protein it contains is beneficial. In addition, studies have been done on caviar applied to the skin, with results showing its anti-aging benefits.
"Extracts from caviar are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and protein molecules that can take your hair care up a notch," says dermatologist Christina Collins. She also shares that hair conditioners commonly contain some protein source, which can be derived from caviar. Dermatologist Ava Shamban agreed, adding, "It is a strong anti-aging ingredient, given its abundant composition of essential amino acids, structuring peptides, proteins, essential fatty acids, and trace elements." Caviar has a significant impact on the scalp's skin, but most products infused with caviar highlight the restructure and repair benefits of this ingredient.
- Powerful Antioxidant Properties: One of the reasons for caviar's popularity in the culinary world is that it is rich in antioxidants. "The antioxidants within caviar protect against UV damage and environmental pollutants, improving the strength of the hair shafts as well as improving the health of the skin on the scalp," Collins explains. Shamban added that "It is also rich in vitamins A, C, and D. It has high levels of magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and cholesterol."
- Strengthens the Hair Follicle: The antioxidants and protein in caviar help to strengthen the hair follicle, as they "protect against the breakdown of collagen and elastin in skin and hair, which could lead to thicker, stronger hair and promote anti-aging benefits in the skin," Collins explains.
- Repairs Split Ends: Collins explains that "Hair conditioners commonly contain some source of protein, which can be derived from caviar. In preparation for creating a hair conditioner, that protein is processed to create smaller particles called peptides. When the conditioner is used, the peptides coat and diffuse into the hair shaft, temporarily mending damage, patching split ends, and increasing the tensile strength of the hair."
- Treats Effects of Natural Hair Aging: Shamban shares that hair has its own aging process whereby it can become brittle and break easily. "Bonds are weaker, and we lose not only color and shine but elasticity and strength of the keratin protein bonds." Caviar can combat this, as it can support hair and scalp restructuring.
- Hydrates the Hair and Scalp: "Caviar is naturally full of omega fatty acids which help promote a healthy barrier for the hair shafts and increase hydration," Collins explains. Caviar is also an excellent source of vitamin D.
- Improves the Overall Appearance of Hair: According to Collins, the anti-aging, hydration, and protection properties of the various ingredients can help hair to appear silkier and may also promote better health of the hair. Shamban agrees, adding, "As with many nutrient-rich products that nourish, condition, and hydrate, the overall appearance of the hair is noticeably better."
- May Prevent Hair Loss: Caviar contains Vitamin D, omega-3-fatty acid, and omega-6 fatty acid —which may help prevent hair loss, according to Collins. "Additionally, the protective action of the antioxidants and the barrier protection by the protein and omega fatty acids may help prevent further hair damage such as split ends that can lead to the appearance of hair thinning," she adds.
Hair Type Considerations
Our experts agree that caviar is safe for all hair types, including color-treated hair and aging hair. Shamban states that dry, dehydrated, brittle, or damaged hair would benefit most and that those with naturally curly, wavy, or more coarse hair would also be good candidates. She also points out that aging hair stands to gain the most from caviar's strengthening and bond restructuring properties.
Both experts agree that it may be too rich for those with super fine hair or a tendency to produce excess sebum (oily scalp or hair). It also would not be appropriate for anyone allergic to fish or those practicing a vegan lifestyle. Consult your doctor before attempting to use caviar products to treat hair loss, as every case is different and requires a specialized approach.
How to Use Caviar for Hair
Caviar has benefits for the hair, scalp, and skin both from consuming it and using products that contain it. "Caviar is not just a snack for the rich and famous," Collins jokes. While there could be benefits from applying caviar directly to the hair and scalp, neither expert recommends this due to the high cost of caviar and the proven results of products that are infused with it at a much lower price point.
- Boost shine with a serum: Look for serums infused with caviar to increase shine and defrizz hair. For best results, apply a few drops to dry hair and style as normal.
- As a hydrating shampoo: Enjoy the benefits of caviar on your hair and scalp by using a shampoo infused with this product. Massage into your scalp and then all the way down the tips of your hair. Rinse well and follow up with a conditioner.
- As a nourishing conditioner: Strengthen your hair follicles to prevent breakage by using a caviar-infused conditioner. Apply the conditioner to your hair after shampooing and rinse out for shiny, healthy looking hair.
- Prevent hair loss with a scalp treatment: For those with concerns of hair thinning, look for leave-in scalp treatments with caviar which may help prevent hair loss.
- Nourish hair from the inside out: "Caviar when eaten contains loads of protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids, all of which nourish the skin and hair," Collins explains. This is a tough and expensive product to find, though, so she recommends using products with caviar in them over attempting to gain the benefits this way.
The Best Products With Caviar
Whether you want a product to help with dry hair, thinning hair or frizz, there are many products infused with caviar to help fit your needs. "Caviar hair products work with all hair types so are not off limits to anyone," says Blake, who recommends Alterna caviar hair products. "Obviously there are different types of caviar products that range from fine to thick hair and from hair thinning to difficult to control hair textures."
Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Conditioner infuses hair with antioxidants and nutrients and promises to improve vibrancy and elasticity. Simply massage it into hair and scalp and then rinse out.
Alterna’s Glow Crazy Shine Booster contains botanical caviar to help protect your hair from pollution, while infusing your locks with shine and manageability. Mix one to two pumps with your favorite hair mask or conditioner.
Mon Platin Black Caviar Volumizer Shampoo contains extract of black caviar, along with vitamin B3 and glycine amino acids to help infuse volume into thin hair. This shampoo will help leave your hair fuller and healthier looking.
Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Clinical Densifying Leave-in Scalp Treatment helps to increase hair volume and fullness, while protecting and providing texture to fine and thinning hair. Use daily by spraying the product on the scalp, massage in and then style as normal.
Miriam Quevedo Extreme Caviar Restructuring Luxe Serum is perfect for those who have dry hair due to coloring or other chemical treatments. This leave-in serum restores shine and softness to your hair, while also protecting it from heat damage.
Is caviar shampoo good for colored hair?
Yes, shampoo infused with caviar is a great choice for colored or highlighted hair. It restores moisture and shine to your hair. Make sure your shampoo is sulfate free, as many caviar-infused shampoos are.
Do caviar hair products actually have caviar in them?
Many caviar hair products, such as Alterna, contain a caviar extract. This extract contains omega 3 fatty acids, proteins, minerals and vitamins to benefit your hair and scalp.
Do caviar hair products have a fishy smell?
No, we promise your hair won’t smell like you just returned from a fishing trip! Caviar hair products contain the extract, along with other ingredients, so you get all the benefits of caviar, without the fishy smell.
Affairs O of R. Cpg sec 540. 150 caviar, use of term - labeling. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Lee KE, Nho YH, Yun SK, Park SM, Kang S, Yeo H. Caviar extract and its constituent dha inhibits uvb-irradiated skin aging by inducing adiponectin production. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(9):3383.