Caviar: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About What Fish Eggs Are Doing in Your Beauty Products

Forget crackers; spread some caviar on your face instead.
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Wendy
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Forget crackers; spread some caviar on your face instead.

The beauty world is no stranger to marine-based ingredients. Seaweed and algae are longtime favorites, for example, and sea salt is so commonplace we tend to forget its watery origins. Other ingredients from the deep blue sea: squid ink, chlorella, sea buckthorn and various sea clays. 

You can officially add caviar—yes, fish eggs—to that list. It's starting to become a regular on the menu at high-end day spas, and you'll find it in plenty of products, too. 

When it comes to buzzy, trendy beauty ingredients, I approach with equal parts skepticism and fascination. However, unless a product sounds downright dangerous, my curiosity tends to win. Still, I like to be informed, and I like to keep you all informed. 

I reached out Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a dermatologic surgeon who filled me in on all the juicy caviar deets via an old fashioned, no-nonsense Q and A. 

What are the skincare benefits of caviar-infused products?

"Clinical studies on caviar skincare are fairly limited, but researchers generally agree that it contains antioxidant properties that help to strengthen and protect skin against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Caviar also has omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, two nutrients that are part of a healthy diet and promote luminous, balanced skin. It is also thought to heal and prevent cellular inflammation and work alongside the skin’s natural processes, stimulating collagen production and minimizing surface wrinkles. 

"Finally, caviar, like other marine ingredients, is known to be intensely moisturizing due to its cellular makeup. This just might be its most attractive quality."

Bella Schneider Beauty Caviar Serum Ampules, $52. These come in a set of 10 glass ampules that you break open. Each ampule has three to four uses, I've found. The product is silky and lightweight, makes my skin feel hydrated and soft, and smells amazing. 

Bella Schneider Beauty Caviar Serum Ampules, $52. These come in a set of 10 glass ampules that you break open. Each ampule has three to four uses, I've found. The product is silky and lightweight, makes my skin feel hydrated and soft, and smells amazing. 

These are surprisingly fun to break open.

These are surprisingly fun to break open.

What does the ingredient look like in beauty products?

"It’s important to note that when a product boasts the inclusion of caviar, it likely actually contains a fish egg extract, not actual salt-preserved caviar one might eat. The term 'caviar' has come to be a sort of catch-all for fish-egg derivatives. The extract in your product could come from unfertilized fish eggs, or it may come from techniques performed later in the harvesting process, after the eggs have already hatched."

How well can we expect caviar-infused products to work?

"Caviar is not considered a serious skincare ingredient. While it does offer benefits for the skin and it’s quite well-tolerated by all skin types, it isn’t a miracle breakthrough.

"You’ll be able to enjoy your best results by developing a well-rounded skincare routine that features powerful ingredients backed by science, such as retinol, growth factors, peptides, vitamin C and hydroquinone. Caviar can certainly be a part of your regimen, but it should not be the focus."

Alterna Hair Care is also on the caviar wagon. They have a line of products ranging in the $20 to $40 range that feature the ingredient. I'm a big fan of their 3-Minute Shine Boost, which is sort of spendy but #worthit

Alterna Hair Care is also on the caviar wagon. They have a line of products ranging in the $20 to $40 range that feature the ingredient. I'm a big fan of their 3-Minute Shine Boost, which is sort of spendy but #worthit

Are certain brands more trustworthy than others?

"As with any type of skincare product, there is a wide range of caviar formulas available to choose from, and these are bound to vary in quality and effectiveness. It’s important to do your research to find where and how companies source their caviar and other ingredients."

Do you have any personal recommendations?

"Two brands to start with are Pevonia and Kerstin Florian. Kerstin Florian has a Caviar Collection of several products that work to smooth and regenerate skin with a blend of sustainably sourced caviar, peptides and other skin-healthy actives. I like Kerstin Florian Caviar Age-Defense Serum. Peptides and caviar work to diminish fine lines, while shea butter and botanicals soothe and minimize inflammation.

"Pevonia products feature natural ingredients from seas all over the world. Pevonia Timeless Eye Contour combines marine-based polypeptides with caviar extract and anti-inflammatory plant extracts to firm and brighten the delicate eye area."

Caviar for your lips! These lip creams are made by Skinn and sold for $18 a piece at Evine.com. Swatched are Cerise, the red, and Bare, the nude.

Caviar for your lips! These lip creams are made by Skinn and sold for $18 a piece at Evine.com. Swatched are Cerise, the red, and Bare, the nude.

These are seriously creamy and pigmented. Wearing one coat above. Color me caviar impressed. 

These are seriously creamy and pigmented. Wearing one coat above. Color me caviar impressed. 

Is there anything in particular that consumer's should look for when purchasing these kinds of products?

"Caviar extract alone will not make much difference in terms of overall skin health. It’s best to look for products that contain a blend of powerful anti-aging ingredients in order to maximize the benefits of your skin care routine."

  • Have you tried caviar-infused skincare or beauty products? How did they fare? 
  • What's a buzz ingredient that thoroughly surprised you? 
  • Does the thought of smearing caviar on your skin, even if it's an extract, weird you out?