Review of Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Moisture Shampoo by lchoe
I was excited that Sephora recently started carrying Alterna as I used Alterna shampoos in the 90s when I lived in Los Angeles for 2 years (I am back in NY) and this line (esp the shampoos) was very popular in LA. LA hair needs are different as the brighter sunshine & harder water were tougher on my hair. I had used the Life & Hemp lines then (which I liked) but as my hair has aged (I was 34 in LA and now I am 43), I wanted to try the Caviar shampoo and matching conditioner.
The 1st time I used the shampoo and conditioner, I was AMAZED by the results. My hair was THICK with body, fullness (I have stick-straight, fine, bra length Korean hair). I didn't have to use any of my requisite: root lifter, mousse, even velcro rollers! to achieve how good my hair looked after using the shampoo, conditioner & quickly blow-drying. My hair (raven/black color) was richer in color, shinier, silkier than before. My hair was bouncing and behaving ("Cindy Crawford" hair). In a ponytail, my hair was definitely thicker. This shampoo and conditioner gave me perfect styled full bodied hair without having to use extra products and wasting time putting my hair in rollers. The conditioner was okay (it didn't moisturize much) but with the shampoo's results, I didn't care. I thought I was in hair heaven receiving so many compliments from friends and strangers alike.
The 2nd time I used these products, my hair past my jaw length (my hair length is right above my bra strap) was slightly tangling and not combing easily - uh oh. The 3rd time I used these products, the ends were so dry, prone to tangling/snarling that I had to get a 1/2" trim right away (my hairstylist was surprised by the snarling ends as he knows my hair very well). Eventually over 8 months, I had to cut off 4" of my hair to get rid of the bizarre damage this shampoo did to my hair (Ladies w/ stick straight, silky hair might just want to proceed w/ caution w/ this shampoo).
As I loved my 1st time amazing results with this shampoo/conditioner, I tried to use just the shampoo and use my other conditioners: Kerastase masques (MasquIntense, UV Defense), Joico (K-Pak). My hair was full-bodied at the roots (I could even feel it after I rinsed the shampoo) but my normal conditioners couldn't save my newly prone to tangling, dry hair. I went to Sephora, explained my dilemma and the nice SA gave me samples of Bumble & Bumble: Super Rich Conditioner, Quenching Conditioner & Creme de Coco Masque. They were all fantastic at "saving" my hair (along with Redken Hair Cleansing Cream - to clarify & get rid of any residue from the Caviar products as well as Alterna's TEN Shampoo which is fantastic) but the Super Rich & Quenching Conditioners were particularly fantastic for bringing back my soft & shiny, tangle-free hair.
For people concerned about how toxic your products are, this shampoo rates a WHOPPING 8 (items range from 0, low/safe to 9, toxic, cancer causing, etc.) on the EWG Website (www.ewg.org, measures health hazard ingredients some cancer causing in our toiletries which our pores/bodies absorb). Our scalp pores are large (you can see them vs. your practically invisible pores on your hand) so our scalps are much more vulnerable to absorbing the products you put on your scalp.
Despite my hair's terrible reaction to the shampoo, I'd still encourage people to try this shampoo (if you can return it like I can at Sephora) as it might do wonders for you (esp if you have a different texture than my hair). Perhaps my hair reacted to this shampoo b/c it has "Seasilk" in it (in the past I tried a conditioner with silk in it and my hair tangled so badly as well).
- The scent is very nice and refreshing.
- Although it is $30 per 8.5 oz bottle, it is so concentrated, you only need a nickel size amount for a full lather.
- In terms of volume, hair swinging fullness, shine, richness, this shampoo was amazing.
- My scalp stayed cleaner longer (without stripping my scalp ironically as it did strip my ends) so I go longer w/o shampooing.
Cons: After the 3rd use, my hair was dry, tangle prone which led to breakage (nightmare).
*July 2012 - For now, I like and use the Alterna Bamboo Smooth Anti Frizz Shampoo (gives my hair shine, good condition, decent body, great "swing"/movement) but I use sparingly only for best hair needed events due to the HIGH toxic rating on ewg.org (6 - 8!). Most days I use Trader Joe's Tea Tree Oil Shampoo (super happy w/ this one!).
I am 45, have fine (but lots of it) long (5" past shoulders), black, stick straight, silky Korean hair. Slightly oily scalp with dry ends. I also use: Frederic Fekkai More Shampoo, Kerastase Bain Miroir 1 & 2 Shampoos (my 2nd rinse staples), Kerastase masques (MasquIntense, UV Defense), Joico (K-Pak deep conditioners), Redken (Extreme Conditioner, All Soft), Bumble & Bumble (Super Rich, Quenching Conditioners).