I’ve been an avid user of kajal eyeliners. I was first introduced to them as a teenager when I first started dabbling in makeup and found this coned shaped eyeliner in a Traditional South Asian convenience store and I’ve never gone without it since. I would get so many compliments about my eye makeup paired with my grey contact lenses which was a boost to my confidence to my formative years as a young woman, it just stuck with me till today.
- a black powder used in South Asia as a cosmetic, either around the eyes or as a mark on the forehead.
- a Hindi name that grabs attention. The real meaning is translated to be Eyeliner or Kohl but is associated with talent and beauty.
Traditional kohl eyeliner, also known as kajal eyeliner, is essentially made from soot and other natural ingredients with a purpose of soothing, cleansing and protecting the eye against infections, the sharp sun glares as well as moisturizing and protecting the skin around eyes. It is still widely used by people of all ages and genders in South Asia, North Africa and Middle East and is one of the oldest types of eyeliners. More than makeup, it is used in religious ceremonies and widely believe to ward of evil eyes (meaning a jealous gaze) and spirits that can bring harm or bad omen. Egyptians, who are believed to pioneer it, made many other colours such as malachite and lapis lazuli famously worn by Queen Nefertiti and Cleopatra. In India, it was traditionally made from camphor, vegetable oil and ghee.
Cleopatra played by Elizabeth Taylor. Cleopatra was legendary for her extensive beauty regimes. Besides applying kohl everyday, she bathed in donkey milk and rose water.
What You Should Know about Kajal
Traditional kajal is banned in some countries such as in the United States. Archaeological excavations found jars of Kohl in ancient tombs containing lead. I was surprise to learn that there are still lead found in some kajal in this modern age and went to find out more about the controversy.
Pros of Using Kajal Eyeliner:
- Very intense smoky smouldering look.
- Protects your eyes from infections.
- Can be used for inner eye rims.
- Easy to apply because of its creamy texture.
- Needs very little product to give intensity.
- Can be removed more easily.
Cons of Using Kajal Eyeliner:
- Takes practice to use.
- May look messy if not applied well.
- Some traditional kajal may contain harmful ingredients such as lead.
- It is not easy easily available due to questionable ingredients.
When you see the word kajal used legally on an eyeliner in some countries, it is a marketing term to make you think of intense black pigment with a creamy texture but they are not made of traditional kohl’s compounds and come in different forms. The traditional form comes in a creamy cone-shaped stick or powder in a pot mostly for religious purposes. These days, they come in pencil form for easier application. Here are some kajal eyeliners that I found to be widely used, some non-traditional alternatives and my point of view.
Lakme Eyeconic Kajal
Lakme is a household brand in India and other South Asian countries. Lakme Eyeconic Kajal is marketed and used for cosmetic use rather than for religious purposes. Although traditional kajal is still widely use in India, Lakme Eyeconic Kajal is easy to apply and convenient to carry around should you need to touch up.
Shiseido Kajal Inkartist
For cosmetic use and is available worldwide. Shiseido Kajal Inkartist is a 4-in-1 liner, kajal, eyeshadow and brow tint that comes in 9 different colours. I recommend Gunjo Blue 08 and Nippon Noir 09 for the intensity and Egyptian Queen look.
Lancome Ombre Hypnose Kajal Chroma
For cosmetic use and is available worldwide. Lancome Ombre Hypnose Kajal Chroma comes in a cone-shaped crayon form with a creamy formula that is close to a traditional kajal.
Shahnaz Husain Shaeyes Herbal Kajal
I have been using Shahnaz Husain Shaeyes Herbal Kajal forever as it is affordable and delivers the intense smouldering gaze that is hard to achieve without it.
Hashmi Surma Kajal
Hashmi Surma Kajal is banned in US and other countries as the contents are said to include lead. However, it is still widely use mostly for religious beliefs and some as cosmetics. I personally have never used is as it comes as powder in a pot and a stick to slide between your eye lines and it can get messy. Hence, I would much rather use a crayon or pencil kajal.
Very little product is needed to give the desired smoky eye effect. Just draw it on your eyelids gently and evenly spread it out with your ring finger. I usually use the kajal as a eyeshadow base for smoky eyes. The traditional way to apply it is to draw it along your upper and lower water line.
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As I grew older, I changed my makeup routine, products and even the way I draw my eyeliner. But one thing stuck with me throughout – my kajal eyeliner. As a South Asian woman, it is more than just an eyeliner, it is part of my identity. While it is true that majority of the kajal you find have toxic chemicals, other products such as shampoos, lotions and multivitamins are not spared from questionable ingredients and false advertising too. My best advice is to do your own research, know your ingredients and only purchase what you trust.
This post has been updated and contains affiliate links.
4 responses to “Benefits of Kohl Kajal Eyeliner”
You should add Laura Mercier’s Kajal to that list.
[…] That’s about all the info I can find on Amla Oil and I hope this has been helpful. If you’ve liked reading about the benefits of Traditional Products, you might like these posts. Benefits of Henna for Hair Benefits of Kohl Kajal Eyeliner […]
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