The kajal story | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 01, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 01, 2015

Style Talk

The kajal story

They say eyes are supposedly the windows to a person's soul. Whether true or not, why not take the chance to dress up your window? With a little kajol, add the sensuous touch that may be just what you are missing. 

Kohl is a prehistoric eye cosmetic, also widely known as eyeliner. Over the years, kohl has evolved and became a cornerstone for eye makeup making it an absolutely indispensable element in creating any eye look for everything from daily events to runaways to photoshoots.

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Ancient Egyptians used kohl as a means of protection for their eyes from the harsh rays of the desert sun and other eye ailments. Kohl was discovered during an archaeological excavation. The substance was found to be either malachite green which is copper ore or galena which is a form of lead. During that time, lining your eyes with kohl was not only a form of beautification but also considered an ancient Egyptian art by queens and noble women. 

However, it will be wrong to assume that Egyptians were the sole consumers of kohl. Women in Somalia and Ethiopia have long applied kohl to cleanse the eyes and lengthen the eyelashes. Predominantly Muslim inhabitants of the Sahara region have also used kohl for all kind of events, festivals and trips to the mosque for weekly congregational prayer. Of course, kohl is now used among different cultures, races and, religions and has become a style icon over the years, unrestricted by any societal boundaries. 

In South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, kohl is extracted from a succulent spurge, known as 'Monasha' plant. This leaf is covered with oil and kept above a burning lamp.

The leaf eventually becomes covered with soft sterile black soot. It is considered safe enough that mothers are known to often apply it to their infants' eyes to ward off the evil eye. Some women also apply kohl to the left side of the forehead or waterline of the eyes of women or children. It signifies that no person is flawless with the 'black mark' and thus attracting no unwanted jealousy or envy from others. 

In recent years, the use of kohl has become absolutely pivotal in many professions. Bharatnatayam dancers use heavy kohl to enhance eye gestures and movement. The kajol tends to accentuate the beauty of the eyes and completes their unique wardrobe.  

Today, kohl has diversified into many forms each with its own characteristics suited for different styles and purposes. The most easily accessible forms are pencil eyeliners containing a slim stick of wax and oils loaded with pigment. This can effortlessly be applied to your eyes creating fine lines of varying widths. Maybelline Smudge Resistant Colossal Kajol is a renowned pencil eyeliner available at stores such as Almas or Priyo.

Liquid eyeliner is slightly more advanced on the list. Applying liquid eyeliner requires both precision and patience as a crooked wing can easily spoil the look you want to achieve. Liquid eyeliners from prominent brands are available at BanglaShoppers located at Banani. Lastly, gel eyeliners have a creamy consistency. They can be applied with a brush or be blended like a pencil until the gel dries. 

With the help of a kajal, allow your eyes to express the charm of speaking without utterance, unearth your hidden feelings and divulge your story. Let it be your kajol story. 

By Mayesha Raidah
Photo: Shahrear Kabir Heemel 
Model: Doyel
Make-up: Farzana Shakil

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