Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beauty Find: Stick Kajals / Khols

Shahnaz Husain Herbal Eye Kajal

For those who may not be aware, "kajal" (South Asian) is simply another word for "khol" (Arabic), an eye cosmetic used to darken the lids and lash line for centuries in parts of Asia and Africa, and heralds back to the Protodynastic periods of Egypt.

Besides being a beauty aid, it was believed to guard from harsh rays of the sun, had components that treated eye ailments, and was also used to "strengthen the eyes" and guard against evil spirits.

I personally LOVE khols and kajals for their abiilty to go on jet black, or smudge out to the perfectly-smudged "last-night's makeup" look, all the while retaining that slightly glossy, creamy finish. This is by far the best way to get that sexy, smoky under-eye. (Think of the divine Eva Green in Kingdom of Heaven and as Vesper Lynd in James Bond.) 

Premium brands like Guerlain have done their own exorbitant versions of it, but you can get great-quality products from for just a few dollars (Under $7 PLUS SHIPPING) from reputable sellers on eBay.
  • Good kajals should go on very smooth and build to a dense jet black in about 2 strokes/coats.
  • You should not notice any smell.
  • It should not contain any lead (lead sulfide) so make sure you get it from brands that specifically say "No Lead"

I previously first got into the traditional pyramid/lipstick-shaped kajals via a Limited Edition collection by The Body Shop a couple of years ago, and I loved it so much for the waterline and as a smudgy base that I bought a backup before they discontinued it. 

(Don't you hate how drugstores and high-street brands tend to create products, bring it in, discontinue it, bring it in, then discontinue it again?)

I have not tried the stick/applicator versions (a la L'oreal HiP khols), but I'd imagine kajal sticks will give you much more intensity as you're applying the product directly onto your skin instead of via an applicator.

  • These obviously can't be sharpened, and you shouldn't need to. 
  • You are supposed to use the sides rather than jab the very tip right into your eyes.
  • Press the kajal to the inner rim of your lower lids, with the tip pointed inwards toward your tear duct. Then close your eyes on the tip and gently pull the kajal outwards to the outer corners. This should place the color right along your lashes without poking your eye balls out.
  • This gives a messier, smudgier line than if you use just the tip for application, but you will be doing "self-sharpening" by using the sides.
  • As you get right down to the end of the tubes, you may need to start using a brush to apply the color (but these are so affordable that you might as well just get a new tube).
I'm no expert in terms of the many brands and options available from the Middle East and India, but one of the most accessible and reputable that I've heard of is Shahnaz Husain. They do not use any lead in their product, and include herbal extracts that are supposed to condition/treat your lashes and skin.

I can't verify the treatment claims, but so far, the kajal has performed exactly to expectations. It's rich, dark, smooth, and will be a splendid (and cheaper!) replacement for my Body Shop kajal. *Note that if you're in a very cold and dry climate, kajals, like any other cream product, may perform a little differently.

There are a few top-rated sellers on eBay selling Shahnaz Husain Herbal Eye Kajals for very good prices. Make sure you look for those who INCLUDE FREE SHIPPING in the cost. The total cost (as of mid-2012) should be under US$7 per tube.

Shahnaz Husain kajals come in plastic trays with foam wrapping to prevent shipping accidents, and should be sealed with a holographic brand sticker at the side, with date of manufacture and expiry printed on the bottom for quality assurance.

Each stick should stay good for about 3 years at least.


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