Gujarat government’s Gauseva and Gauchar Vikas Board has been extolling the virtues of beauty products containing cow urine and dung, saying it would give women a Cleopatra-like glow. Shobita Dhar tracks its journey from gaushala to shower.
How urine turns to shampoo
Most companies have tie-ups with gaushalas. Delhi-based Holycow Foundation, for instance, sources urine from gaushalas in Barsana, Mathura. It uses only the first urine of the day of a desi cow. Only the first urine is supposed to contain therapeutic properties. Patanjali sources its cow urine in two ways – independent households, members of which keep an eye out for the cow urinating, and cow breeders, who have built channels in cowsheds to collect urine from the animals. The urine is brought to collection centers from where it is transported by tankers to Patanjali’s facility in Haridwar.
The urine is then distilled and added to soaps, shampoos etc. Urine content varies depending on the brand. Dung is used for scrubs, masks.
What cowpathy experts say
Cow’s urine is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, hence products reduce acne, control dandruff and scalp infections. Its anti-oxidant properties reduce hair loss.
Pricier than milk
With urine distillate selling for between Rs 100-200 a litre, much more than milk, gaushalas are making a neat profit. Patanjali says it’s facing a urine shortage.
Cow skincare line-up
Panchgavya products (containing cow’s urine, dung, milk, ghee and curd) include soaps, face masks, shampoo, hair oil, cracked heel creams.
We tried it….
We used a 250ml bottle of Holycow Foundation shampoo that cost Rs 250. The shampoo had 20% urine distillate along with rainwater (7%) and herbs like reetha, amla. And while there was no Cleopatra-like transformation, the shampoo did foam well and leave the hair smooth. There is a faint whiff of cow smell when you apply it on wet hair.