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Alterna Caviar 3 Minute Shine Boost

Is a Solution for:
Dry or Brittle Hair
November 4, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 7 Comments
I did something that I very rarely do the other day, I used a product without checking what was in it first. I didn’t just use it in some absent-minded way. I pounced on it and was prepared to go into denial as long as it did the job.  It did. And now, predictably, I’m in a bit of a quandary.  The product is Alterna Caviar 3 Minute Shine Boost ($25).

Although I haven’t been doing anything different (mostly using Nurture My Body’s shampoo and conditioner), my hair has been looking a little frizzy and pretty dull and lackluster the last couple of weeks. I was given a sample of Alterna Caviar 3 Minute Shine Boost and when I read that it promised to be “a shine treatment that acts like a lip-gloss for your hair by giving it an instant blast of hi-def shine”, I just wanted it to be true.

And it was. Shine Boost does what it says on the can. After shampoo and conditioner, I left it on for three minutes and rinsed it off. My hair was soft, shiny and manageable. A once a week treatment is supposed to be enough, which is why I was feeling reckless enough to go for it.  Three minutes once a week can’t hurt even if it has every paraben known to man. The thing is though that it doesn’t – in my experience – last through shampoos. I didn’t use it this morning and my hair looks dull again.  So if I am going to consider using Alterna Caviar 3 Minute Shine Boost with every hair wash, I’d better take a look at what’s in it.

Thankfully the main glossing agent, PPG 3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, is perfectly harmless. And most of the first few ingredients (although not natural) are mostly benign – the exception being Oleth-10, a mild to moderate skin irritant that can have toxins present and may cause organ effects even at low doses. I was delighted to see that they are closely followed by all sorts of botanicals, peptides and antioxidants. Including Alterna’s signature wasabi., in which there are powerful antioxidants in 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. Of course, there is caviar extract, which contains arginine, the building block of proteins.

In fact, the shine isn’t tarnished until you get to phenoxyethanol, some more oleth, and the potential irritant centrimonium chloride. The presence of the potential carcinogen ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate would freak me out if this wasn’t a rinse off product (although as a UV sunscreen I don’t really understand why its here at all).

No Alterna Caviar 3 Minute Shine Boost isn’t squeaky clean. But on balance, there are a host more good things than bad in it. Plus, it really does a good job. I think I’ll go for it.


Water (Aqua), Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Amodimethicone, Oleth-10, Polyacrylamide, Ppg-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Isododecane, Isohexadecane, Caviar Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Panthenol, Wasabia Japonica (Wasabi) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-59, Polyquaternium-10, Superoxide Dismutase, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Papain, Bromelain, Melanin, Pikea Robusta Extract, Glycine Max (Soybean) Symbiosome Extract, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Seed Extract, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Corn Oligosaccharides, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Pantothenic Acid/ Yeast Polypeptide, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Phenoxyethanol, Oleth-20, Cetrimonium Chloride, Laureth-7, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Hydrolyzed Saccharomyces/Lactobacillus/Ubiquinone Ferment, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Niacinamide/Yeast Polypeptide, Hexapeptide-11, Adenosine Triphosphate, Apigenin, Oleanolic Acid, Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Saccharomyces Lysate Ferment, Lactoferrin, Aminoacyl tRNA Synthetase, Phospholipids, Quaternium-15, Copper Oxidase, Acetyl Serine, Acetyl Methionine, Mica (Ci 77019), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Fragrance (Parfum).
  • November 8, 2010

    by Jaysie

    Marta - I empathize. I use Redken Extreme shampoo about once a month or whenever I want my hair to look better than just good and it's ingredient list is a banquet of no-no chemicals. But it makes my blonde hair shine! I think of it as the devil in the dark blue suit. I haven't tried the Alterna Shine Boost but I have tried 3 or 4 of their other products and they all had scary ingredient lists.

    BTW, your description of your frizzy lackluster hair is what I experienced with NMB, only it happened right away for me. Maybe there's something in it blondies don't like.

  • November 5, 2010

    by Sunday

    Let me try that link again for you;

  • November 5, 2010

    by Sunday

    Hello Laura ~ I use Satin Hair Color by Developlus; in the shade 7RC Red Copper Blonde. My natural color is a medium brown, when I was younger and played in the sun, my highlights were glorious. But alas I at 42 and trying to keep my splotches and freckles under control (more difficult than softening crow's feet...who knew) without salon injected highlights ~ $75 a visit ~ my natural shade tends to show all my greys and looks mousy. I buy my color with the CoverGrey developer by the same Satin Brand. While I do miss the whole salon vibe and chatter, I actually get the same results!

  • November 4, 2010

    by Junko

    Marta ~ respect that you're honest enough to fess up to using this! Really, you could of just kept your mouth shut and none of us would of been the wiser. I respect your honesty and it's nice to know that your human like the rest of us who just can't resist sometimes :)

  • November 4, 2010

    by Laura

    I've only used the Alterna volumizing mousse but I love it. I suffer from dull hair, even with salon coloring, so I'm definitely going to try the caviar.
    Sunday,I've also enjoyed being a red head lately but find it's very difficult to maintain the red and the shine. What do you use for a good a good root touch up between salon visits? I've always been afraid to try coloring at home but I also hate spending
    $75 for color every 6 weeks.

  • November 4, 2010

    by Sunday

    I too have put my hair through the ringer, until I finally realized for me, being a red head was a comfortable way of being pretty. Every 3-4 weeks I do my own roots, so I miss out on the salon shine boost I used to look forward to after my color touch up visits. For 2 years now I've been using WEN and absolutely LOVE it. No frizz, my hair is soft and shiny, I use all the 'flavors' and never feel any build up. My curly hair is baby fine but I have alot of it and WEN works great for me.

  • November 4, 2010

    by Wonda

    Alterna Caviar products have been a long time favorite of mine. I am about 95% grey with hightlights and low lights, so I have put my hair thru the ringer! While I don't use the products every day, I find Alterna Caviar to be my "go to" products when I need a conditioning boost that doesn't weigh my hair down. My number one go to is Lanza Color Care Healing it.

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