Cow urine: Iceland’s latest beauty secret

Iceland's latest beauty secret: cow urine.

Iceland's latest beauty secret: cow urine. Photo: Eggert Jóhannesson

A group of young Icelandic innovators are behind ‘Q Shampoo’, a new wholly organic hair-care product made from… Icelandic cow urine.

Age-old tradition

The idea is the brainchild of a group of six Reykjavik University students and fuses age-old traditions with modern economics.

A member of the Q Shampoo team told mbl.is that the starting point for the group’s work was to create something new and extract added value from something not currently utilised. Initial research revealed that people used cow urine in the olden days to wash their hair, body and clothes.

Interesting urine properties

“Some people will think it exciting and want to give it a try. Others will think the idea is disgusting,” says innovator Ant­on Reyn­ir Haf­dís­ar­son. “But Icelandic history tells is that girls used to mix urine into their washing water to clean and beautify their hair.”

Urine performs well at dissolving acids and dirt and has similar cleaning properties to regular soap. It is remarkably cleansing and full of vitamins.

Haf­dís­ar­son points out that there are other organic ingredients in Q Shampoo, including coconut and sunflower oils, and insists that other fragrant ingredients mask any smell of urine.

Marketing ambitions

“The product is 100% organic with no artificial ingredients or harmful by-products,” insists Hafdísar­son. “We are already in contact with various shops to market Q Shampoo and we hope that international markets will also be interested.”

The other four members of the Q Shampoo group are Bryn­hild­ur María Gests­dótt­ir, Íris Dröfn Magnús­dótt­ir, Al­freð Andri Al­freðsson, Björg Marí­um Adams­dótt­ir and Helga Guðný Elías­dóttir.

The Q Shampoo team.

The Q Shampoo team.

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