The Facts About Kohl Pencils

Women decorate their eyes with kohl and it definitely looks good as it lends a definition to the eyes and makes them look more beautiful. But have you ever thought how this kohl evolved? Let us discover…

Have you noticed Jack Sparrow, the famous pirate character from “The Pirates of Caribbean”, being played by Johnny Depp? Jack Sparrow outlines his eyes with dark kohl and his look in the film is definitely distinct and leaves a mark on the audience. Almost every actress faces the camera with kohl applied on her eyes? Kohl helps in defining the eyes and sans this application, our eyes look empty and sad.

Women decorate their eyes with kohl and it definitely looks good as it lends a definition to the eyes and makes them look more beautiful. But have you ever thought how this kohl evolved? Let us find out.

History
The kohl finds its roots to ancient times. The word “kohl” literally means to brighten the eyes. The kohl was used by the Egyptians around 4000 B C E. Both men and women used to make a paste of lead sulphide and antimony sulphide and apply it around their eyes. The Egyptians believed that by applying kohl to their eyes, they could guard their eyes from eye disease, ward off evil spirits and also protect their eyes from the sun.

The Egyptians also believed that kohl helps in highlighting their eyes and attention was paid to their eyes. Kohl helps in adding depth and intensity to one’s eyes.

How are Kohl pencils made?
Different countries practice different methods to prepare kohl. In Egypt, women lighten the lead sulphide using white carbonate of lead. Kohl is then made from the soot of sunflower seeds, almond shells and by perfuming it with frankincense.

Another way of preparing kohl practiced by the Egyptians is by pounding lead sulphide with gum and frankincense. This mixture is then mixed with goose fat and cow dung. The mixture is then burnt. Lead oxide gets released when the mixture is burnt. The by-product obtained from burning the mixture is then mixed with milk and fresh rainwater. This is again pounded with mortar. The result is fine black coloured powder. The powder needs to be as soft as velvet to be around the soft skin of your eyes.

In India, lamp black and lead are the main ingredients used during the preparation of kohl. Kohl contains many heavy metals, lead and antimony.

Today, kohl is available in many forms. You get kohl in the form of liquid and are called as eyeliner; you get kohl in the form of pencils and also in paste form. People buy the form which they are comfortable with. Companies press this powder in between soft cedar wood and give it a form of kohl pencil. For eyeliner, this mixture is liquefied and is filled in opaque bottles. They come with a small brush as an applicator. For wax based kohl, wax is mixed with the powder and this lends a smoother finish compared to the rest.

Definitely, eyes speak a million words than our mouth. So go ahead, give your eyes that dramatic look and make sure you grab attention.