Long before makeup artists were demonstrating how to perfect a smokey eye on YouTube, the ancient Egyptians used kohl, or kajal, around their eyes. It was a mixture of galena, a type of lead sulfide, and other minerals mixed with water or oil. It was worn for both beauty and practicality—it could reduce the sun’s glare and keep bugs at bay, among other things. Historians believe that men and women wore kohl to honor deities or to reduce the risk of eye diseases caused by dust, dirt and smoke.
Modern kohl is typically made from the mineral antimony. It can be found in a range of shades and finishes from classic black to shimmery bronze, and it’s ophthalmologist-tested—meaning it won’t irritate or cause any sort of reaction. The Saffron & Rose pick comes in the dark hues you’d expect from a traditional kohl—but it also offers a few surprising colors and finishes, like a mint green with a subtle pearlized finish and a shimmery bronze. It’s also ophthalmologist-tested and comes in a double-blown glass cosmetic tube, reminiscent of the containers that the ancient Egyptians used to store their kohl in.
The ancients stored kohl in a variety of ways, from the ornately decorated jars that the Louvre Museum has to offer (like this 4th century-AD dilekythos) to a simple, cylindrical metal case known as an ithmid or surma, still commonly used in North Africa and Asia. Regardless of the container, kohl has always been precious to many—ancient Emirati women were even buried with it along with jewelry and seashells. authentic Kohl