black t shirt|
Women of the Arabian Peninsula traditionally use Kohl as eyeliner, mascara and eye shadow. In the 1960s Kohl products became popular with non Muslim women with the makeup fashion associated with designers like Mary Quant, and more recently has been associated with Gothic fashion and various alternative lifestyles.
Kohl is believed by many to have medicinal properties, it has been used as a natural health product for general eye health, for treatments to cuts, and is thought to be a general antibacterial substance.
Its dark colour is said to help to control the sun’s glare in the desert and it is used for this purpose by both men and women.
How is it made?
Making homemade kajal involves dipping a small clean, white muslin cloth in either sandalwood paste or the juice of Alstonia scholaris (a small tree) which is then dried in the shade. The dip and dry process continues all day and after sunset a wick is made out of the cloth, which is used to light a mud lamp filled with castor oil. This burns overnight and in the morning, one or two drops of pure ghee or castor oil is added to the soot which is then stored in a clean dry box.
Kajol is made from the “Monosha” plant, the leaf is covered with oil and is held above a burning mud lamp. Within the leaf is quickly covered with creamy soft black soot which is safe and sterile..
Homemade kohl is thought to be harmless but the process of grinding it with Galena (lead sulfide) can pose a serious health risk. Nowadays reputable manufacturers substitute amorphous carbon or organic charcoal for lead, but unfortunately some people consider the new safe products to be inferior to traditional varieties and have returned to using handmade, lead based kohl.
Lead accumulates in the body and is thus toxic even at low levels of exposure. Symptoms of lead poisoning can be hard to recognise, they include: headaches, irritability, abdominal pain, vomiting, general weakness, paleness, weight loss, poor attention span, noticeable learning difficulty, slowed speech development and hyperactivity.
Lead is particularly harmful to children. Exposure to even small amounts of lead in the womb, during infancy or early childhood can result in lower birth weight, behavioural problems, learning disabilities and reduced intelligence. Lead can increase the risk of miscarriages, stillbirths and premature deliveries and can also affect male fertility.
How can you ensure that the product you use is safe?
Avoid using unlabelled kohl products and to stick to lead free products from reputable manufacturers.
If you have doubts about kohl in your possession, stop using it and dispose of it immediately.
If you suspect that you or your child have been exposed to lead through the use of traditional kohl, consult a doctor.
write by clark