One of my favorite English proverb is -” Eyes are the mirror (mirrors) of the soul”. Our eyes reflect our thoughts and speak different languages of our emotions and feelings – Happiness, amazement, anger, sadness, and excitement. The most attractive part on a human’s face are the eyes. Applying kohl and other form of eye makeup like eye liner and mascara gives that extra elegance and sparkle to our eyes.
Kohl goes by numerous names. It is called Kajal (in Hindi), Kanmai (in Tamil), Surma (in Turkish) Kuhl (in Arabic). Kohl is widely used in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of West Africa to darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes. It is used mostly by women, and by some men and children as it is believed to keep eye infections and other ailments at bay in addition to its beauty profits. Even the ancient Egyptian beauty tips knew the real secret to beautiful eyes, as one young Egyptian girl noted in a sweet poem to her loved one:
"Like eye paint is my desire. When I see you, it makes my eyes sparkle."
Never use ordinary kohl/kajal available in the market made of sub-standard materials and which is prepared non-scientifically and unhygienic ally. It may contain harmful ingredients like lead sulphide and other toxic chemicals harmful to women and small children. There is no way to tell if any given product is contaminated with lead or not. Buy 100% herbal kohl. In India, some reputed skin-care companies like Himalaya, Shahnaz Husain and Biotique makes kohl from pure herbal ingredients.
I made Kohl the traditional way at home borrowing the recipe from my mother passed on to by my grandmother. The final product – the kohl is pitch black in colour – darker than the night sky. It is totally different to commercially available kohl. Homemade kohl is so cooling to the eyes and very long lasting on the water line. I made only a tiny weenie bit to last me for a month.
Basically a wick is made from clean, white – preferably new – muslin cloth/ cotton. This is dipped into a container of castor oil and lit as a lamp. A rounded brass vessel or kadai is used over this lamp, leaving enough vent to let oxygen in and not extinguish the lamp. The soot thus collected for few hours on the brass vessel is mixed with a drop of castor oil /Almond oil to make homemade kajal. Use the homemade kohl after three to four hours of preparation.
Things you need:
*Clean cotton wick
*Rounded brass vessel/ brass plate
*Castor oil to light the lamp and a drop of either castor oil/almond oil to add in to the soot
*Equal size containers to balance the brass vessel
*Clean and dry spoon to scrape off the soot
*Mittens (to handle hot brass vessel and the lamp)
*Small container with lid to store your homemade kohl
Step by step procedure to make homemade Kajal:
1. Balance the brass vessel on top of the two containers as seen in the below photo. Place the lamp in-between the two containers and place it below the brass vessel.
Lighted lamp placed in-between two vessels balancing the vessel
2. The lighted lamp placed in-between the containers will produce soot on the bottom of the brass vessel as per the photo. Leave the lighted lamp under the brass vessel for one to two hours, occasionally monitoring the whole process.
Soot getting collected on the bottom of the vessel
3. Scrape off the collected soot from the brass container into a clean dry container.
4. Mix a drop of castor oil to the soot and mix it well. When adding castor oil, make sure you start with a drop and don’t make it too paste like consistency as it will smudge the water line when applied to the eyes. You can add almond oil instead of Castor oil. It has got similar soothing properties to the eyes.
Store your kohl in a small air-tight container. Homemade kohl has a long storage life. You can apply kohl with the help of a thin applicator like q-tip or with your clean finger tip.
Tiny weeny bit of my homemade kohl
See the difference between homemade kohl and almond kohl from Biotique. The first one is Biotique almond Kohl and the second one that is darker is homemade kohl!
I love homemade kohl and love using it on my eyes for that smoky effect. It brings fond memories of my grandmother too.
Bye from PD – Nature’s nurture!