Kohl for eyes has been a staple of the makeup kit for millennia, whether to define the inner rims or create a dramatic eye look. Kohl pencils, often referred to as kajals in India, are easy to apply and can be smudged or blended for a smoky effect.
Kohls have long been associated with health and beauty, from the ancient Egyptian queens’ ground-up frankincense to kohls that protect the eyes from desert sun, dust, and sandstorms. Today, cosmetic kohl is a common sight among women in India, where it’s used to highlight the eyes and keep them looking fresh all day.
It also holds a wisp of its old meaning, in the form of applying a bit to a newborn baby for protection from the evil eye, or adorning religious icons with dark hues. And, as a recent study by chemist Christian Amatore and physicist John Walter reveals, it may even offer a bit of protection from bacteria in the eye.
Despite this newfound health benefit, not all kohls are equal. Some contain a high concentration of lead, while others have been made from safer alternatives such as stibnite or antimony. Some are organic, some vegan and some are formulated to help nourish the delicate skin around the eyes. We rounded up the best options below to help you find a kohl that works for your needs. Kohl for eyes