Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Do bull semen hair treatments work?

I was recently reading an article on my beloved Beauty Heaven website on the use of bull semen as a hair treatment and I thought to myself, I've got to find out more about this. Not because I am genuinely interested but because I wanted to know how someone could even come up with this as a hair treatment.  Did a farmer, after 'milking' his bull, accidentally ran his hands through his hair only to find that it left it super soft and beautifully shiny? We all know, thanks to Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary, that semen makes an excellent hair gel - but a treatment as well? This I had to investigate.

I have trawled through the Internet, trying to find more information on this treatment but all I came across was a plethora of blogs, each repeating the same information, commenting on how weird or out there this treatment is (which of course it is!). According to the bull semen is mixed with the high protein katira plant root extract and this is massaged into the hair for 45 minutes. In an interview with Reuters, Hari Salem, creator of this treatment said that he tried hundreds of products before discovering that bull semen was the elusive ingredient for making hair look gorgeous."The semen is refrigerated before use and doesn't smell," Salem told London's Metro newspaper. "It leaves your hair looking wonderfully soft and thick.". So that's it. No cool story of how this treatment came about, no accidental discovery by an unhygienic farmer - just a salon owner, looking for a protein treatment to repair hair, decided to use bull semen.

So, whilst I couldn't find any scientific evidence that this will work, did the theory at least have merit? Hair is made up of the protein keratin. The keratin forms rope like fibres and the are covered by the flat cells of the cuticle - which is what gives hair its shine. Damage to hair occurs when the cells of the cuticle are lost, leaving it dull and lacking shine. So, can bull semen replace these lost cells? Semen contains sperm, mucous, sugar solution and an alkaline solution. The majority of the protein in semen comes from the sperm, but sperm is designed to fertilise an egg, not a hair follicle, so it is going to do nothing to repair damaged hair. I really can't see any of the other ingredients having much impact either. The purported benefits of this treatment are most likely due to having your head massage for 45 minutes, allowing the cuticles to be smoothed down, and not the 'elusive ingredient', bull semen.

Now I know this is meant to be a scientific blog, but as hard as I look I can't find any evidence that bull semen does anything other than make baby bulls! You are more than welcome to give this treatment a try, you never know, it might just work. But personally, I am going to leave the semen with the bull for him to give to his wife to make future Big Macs for me.