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Bull semen shampoo: a load of bull?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s the hottest beauty ingredient of them all?

Monk fruit extract? No.

Sea salt? No.

Mineral water? Acai berries? Cucumber paste? No, no and no.

Try bovine seminal plasma, also known as bull semen.

You read that right.

The stuff that bulls have that helps make calves may cause some people to gag at the thought of rubbing it in their hair, but those people clearly aren’t the customers a Kiwi company has in mind.

Marketed by The Natural Protein Company, Imprivo is a line of haircare products designed to strengthen chemically coloured hair. The secret ingredient? You guessed it – bovine seminal plasma (BSP).

“BSP contains remarkable natural properties which help restore and strengthen chemically damaged hair,” claims Dr. Vish Vishwanath, technical director of The Natural Protein Company.

“While using BSP in the Imprivo products is pretty unique, using protein to treat hair isn’t. Many other conditioners use proteins either derived from eggs or from plant sources, however these do not appear to be as effective as the protein from BSP.”

The BSP used in Imprivo’s products – which includes advanced care bio-protein shampoo ($35 for 250ml), extended care bio-protein conditioner ($43.50 for 200 ml) and spritzer ($35) – comes from bulls from the Waikato region. Imprivo sales co-ordinator Sarah Malcolm seems to swear by the stuff.

“Having worked in the hair dressing business for over nine years, I’ve seen many hair care treatments,” she says.

“What really sets the Imprivo products aside from anything else available is they are natural, provide amazing results and have the scientific research behind them to show they really work!”

Dr. Vishwanath claims that BSP can increase hair volume and fight bacteria, among other effects.

“As well as protecting the hair from the harsh chemicals that are used in the colouring and bleaching process, BSP helps to condition, increase volume and has anti-bacterial components that may promote a healthy scalp,” he says.

“I’m sure some will be surprised to hear about the properties of BSP, however we feel in a world moving away from chemicals and more towards natural products, it’s a win-win situation.”

OK, so rubbing semen in your hair isn’t for everyone. What about drinking it?


Wellington’s Green Man pub launched a stag semen “milked” stout, which may or may not taste exactly like it sounds. Created by Choice Bros Brewery and marketed in the lead-up to Beervana this past August, it wasn’t even their first foray into such heady (no pun intended) products: in 2011, the bar offered apple-infused horse semen shots, followed by syringes of stag semen in 2013.

So to recap: we’ve got shampoo with a bit of literal bull in it, and beer with shots of stuff that’s definitely not hops. But is the stuff that comes from male animals really having a moment?

Well, Lady Gaga’s “Fame” line of perfume has notes of semen in it.

You be the judge.

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