What's Caviar Extract Doing in Your Cosmetics?

Caviar extract skin care

Caviar is one of those things that always has an air of luxury. Given its high price-per-ounce, the mention of it hearkens to wealth and grandeur. We’ve been seeing caviar popping up in products for a while now, giving these goods a sense of the elitism instilled by the mention of this oceanic delicacy.

Recently, it seems there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of companies and products boasting about the ingredient’s inclusion (Cosmetics Design Europe). And they claim everything from emollients to wrinkle reducers.

But is this big-ticket treat as worthwhile in cosmetics as it is with your mouth?

What Exactly IS “Caviar Extract”?

Caviar in cosmetics

The term “caviar” traditionally refers to sturgeon roe that’s preserved with salt, but is often used to described the salt-preserved eggs of other fish as well.

Typically, the word “caviar” refers to the salt-preserved, non-fertilized eggs — or roe — of sturgeon; but the salt-preserved eggs of other fish, such as salmon, is sold under the same name (Encyclopedia Britannica).

I couldn’t find data on whether caviar extract comes from fresh roe eggs or actual caviar, but I’d imagine it’s the unsalted former. After all, “fish egg extract” doesn’t quite evoke the same sense of lavishness as “caviar extract,” does it? And some worry that an increase in marine-derived ingredients could be unsustainable if companies aren’t careful (GCI).

But it’s difficult to know exactly what you’re getting under the name “caviar extract,” particularly because it seems to be a catch-all for ingredients that come from fish eggs in general. For example, Aqua Bio Tech ASA’s Aquabeautine XL®, often mentioned as a “caviar extract,” is actually fluid extracted from fertilized salmon eggs after the fish have hatched (In Cosmetics). And, this article suggests that La Prairie might use a similar harvesting technique with Baerii sturgeon eggs for its caviar extract in La Prairie Caviar Luxe Cream ($375, amazon.com) (Forbes).

[Related: The World’s Most Expensive Moisturizer? La Prairie Jeweled Skin Caviar Luxe Skin Cream]

With all the possible things “caviar extract” could mean, it’s difficult to give a solid answer about where it comes from or whether the caviar extract in one product is equally as good as that in another.

Is There Research Behind Caviar Extract?

If you want the benefits of caviar, it's a likely a dish best eaten rather than slathered on your skin and hair.

If you want the benefits of caviar, it’s a likely a dish best eaten rather than slathered on your skin and hair.

Companies claim that the proteins, amino and fatty acids, lipids, vitamins and minerals, and more are the components that make caviar extract beneficial (CellBone® Technology). But the studies are mostly by the companies producing caviar-based ingredients.

In a double-blind study done by Aqua Bio Tech ASA on its Aquabeautine XL®, 32 women between the ages of 40 and 65 saw improvement in wrinkles, fine lines, roughness, dullness, hyperpigmentation, and sagging compared to baseline after 12 weeks (Aqua Bio Technologies ASA).

Other companies have done studies, but few are solely measuring the effects of the pure caviar extract. So far, I haven’t found any independent research specifically about the effects of caviar extract, roe extract, or hatching fluid on skin. That might be because “caviar extract” in the cosmetics industry seems to be a very broad term for different ingredients derived from fish eggs.

Certain constituents, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, have been shown to reduce inflammation from UVB-irradiation when topically applied. But the data suggests that the best benefits come from eating them, rather than applying them topically.

[Related: Spotlight On: Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids]

Bottom Line

For maximum benefits, it might be better to have caviar as a luxurious snack than to spread it all over your face. The term “caviar extract” seems to encompass any ingredient that comes from any part of fish eggs, which makes it especially difficult to figure out if, let alone which, caviar extract is an effective ingredient. While there are benefits like fatty acids and lipids that make caviar a good emollient, it might not be worth it to pay big bucks just to get this taste of grandeur in your cosmetics.

Related Posts

  • 36
    When a serum is $580.00 retail, it raises eyebrows.  But when a serum is $580.00 and has been on the best-seller list at Saks Fifth Avenue for weeks, it inspires a review. La Prairie Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold ($550.00, Amazon.com) is a serum that contains peptides and - get this - 24 karat gold…
  • 35
    Raspberries are delicious, but they may also have some benefits when they’re included in skin care. It's well known that fruit is beneficial for the body and while the season for these splendid little fruits have gone with the last warm breaths of summer, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy raspberries benefits throughout the winter months.…
  • 32
    I'm very passionate in my belief that there is a place for everyone in this world. I think a lot of us grow up with beliefs that we must conform to what is expected to us.  And while this is true to a certain extent - we can't run around like wild animals giving into…

by Natalie Bell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>