“The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Who doesn’t love wearing Kajal? I’m sure you all do. I know we can achieve a myriad looks with this simple, yet, versatile cosmetic. But, the most common look has been to accomplish a bold, striking and sharp look, thus making your eyes stand out; whatever colour they may be.
Today, when we have a choice of so many different coloured eye pencils, it’s easy to abandon the good old faithful kajal, but this little post is a tribute to one of our all-time faithful best friends: the kajal!
In the olden days, women used to make kajal at home by burning a plate on a diya of castor oil and then the soot that accumulates is mixed with ghee to form the kajal paste. You can learn more about this process in this post called “How To Make Kajal (Kohl) for Eyes at Home“. This is exactly how my grandmother used to make it for all her grandkids including me and we would watch her apply it with her fingers so effortlessly. Nowadays, thanks to technology, we don’t have to go through all the trouble as we get it mostly in the form of pencils.
Some women now use liquid liners (which have a different consistency and feel) and the gel eye liner form, but let’s not get into those as I want to focus on the original kajal pencils. We have a variety of brands to choose from with Maybelline, Lakme and MAC being the most prominent ones.
You know, as simple as the topic of the post may seem, funnily quite a few friends of mine have asked me how do I get my kajal line so sharp and bold, especially when theirs smudges all over the place. If I want to don a simple eye look and may be pressed for time, doing the bold Kajal look works wonders. Even if you don’t go all the way with foundation and lipstick, kajal can transform your face from dull to wow and you know that right!
It’s also great for more conservative environments like your workplace where you don’t want to look all dolled up, yet, want to look and feel good. Applying kajal can make your eyes pop and confiscates all signs of fatigue within seconds of application and on days when I don’t wear kajal, my colleagues or friends think I’m ill or tired. So, go figure!
I love the way many Bollywood celebrities don kajal and with barely anything else on, makeup wise, they look gorgeous with those kajal-lined bold eyes. Kareena Kapoor comes to mind as I’ve seen many picture of hers where she has applyied only bold kajal with some lip-gloss and despite that looks stunning in them.
Did you know late Princess Diana used to wear kajal and that too from Shahnaz Husain’s collection? Well, she did. Not only is it popular in India, Pakistan and the Middle East, but globally women have embraced kajal as their go-to make up for eyes.
Here are some tips and tricks I’ve compiled for you to sport your kajal (or if you like to call it kohl) and make it look bold, stunning and sharp:
1. Before you embark on applying kajal, do clean the eye area thoroughly even after you’ve washed your face. Take a cotton dabbed in some cleanser and cleanse the eye region all over including the upper eyelid and all around the under eye area. Then, if you have oily lids, dab some powder to mattify the skin around the eyes to remove any leftover oil. If you have a nude matte eye shadow, you can use that over the eyelids and also on the bottom lash line area as you will be applying kajal on the lower lid too.
2. As kajal is black, it is crucial to make your under eyes looks clean as the dark kajal can make the under eye area look darker than normal. So if you have dark circles make sure you conceal them properly preventing them from looking dull and apply a highlighter if need be.
3. Now, if you like to line your water line, then with your free hand or you can use fingers of the same hand if you can balance, stretch the upper eyelid upwards exposing the lash line so you can line it with kajal. This technique of lining the upper waterline is called ‘tightlining’ and is used to make your lashes look fuller from the base.
It’s an illusion trick that people use if they don’t want to use false lashes. Do the same for the bottom line by pulling the eyelid with your other hand so that you can easily apply the kajal on the bottom water line too. By the way, avoid lining your waterline if your eyes are too watery as that will only smudge it and irritate your eyes.
4. If you want to apply kajal on the eyelids (you can do this with or without lining your waterline) depends what effect you want. With your other hand, gently stretch your outer eyes making the skin tight to apply the kajal line. Some kajals glide on effortlessly without having to hold the eyes, but it’s best to do this in order to avoid any uneven lines due to wrinkle formation on the skin. Don’t tug too hard as the eye is the most delicate area.
5. I like to start from the inner corner of my eyes and work my ways outwards as it normally is narrowest at the inner corner than the outer (this applies to both upper and lower eyelids). However, do what is easier for you.
If you feel the density isn’t quite dark enough (one stroke should do it if you’re using a good kajal), you can go over the line once more till you reach your desired intensity. The idea is get a bold look so do invest in a good kajal with ample pigmentation.
6. If your kajal is sharp enough, you can use this to flick the upper eye line to form a winged look. I know it’s easier with gel liners or liquid ones, but the same stunning winged look can be achieved by a pencil kajal too, provided it’s not too blunt.
If you fancy the fishtail look (recall Sharmila Tagore back in the day) then do a similar flick slightly downwards with the kajal to form a fishtail-like effect at the outer corners of your eyes: very retro and beautifully bold!
7. This tip is what I’ve been doing for ages now and it always works. Take an angled eye brush and then dip it in some stark black eye shadow and dab it over the kajal line. Don’t brush or sweep or smudge (we are going for the bold look here and not the smokey eye) and this will not only make your kajal look bolder and brighter, but also make it last longer as the powder will cling onto the creamy textured kajal and keep it intact. Black powder over black creamy/waxy kajal intensifies the look tenfold!
8. For the inner corner of the eyes, you can either take the kajal line all the way round to the v-shaped corner or you can leave that v-shaped area bare and fill it in with some shimmery eye shadow just to make the eyes pop a bit more. If wearing kajal to office, best to skip the shimmer!
9. Finally what I also like to do is take a nude (skin coloured) eye shadow, and with a fresh angled eye brush, I sweep the nude shadow just below the lower eyelid kajal line to finish it off. It kind of seals off the kajal giving it a sharper appearance and looks clean. Now, there’s no way the kajal will smudge all over the place. The idea here is to get a bold look so the more the better and don’t forget to apply mascara to complete the look.
Hope these tips will help you apply basic bold and sharp kajal. Of course, you can mix and match with different coloured eye shadows etc, according to the occasion or opt for the smokey eye, but that’s another story!
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Lotus Herbals Colorkick Kajal
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Colorbar Just Smoky Kajal – Just Blue
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Lakme Nine to Five Kohl Ultimate
Colorbar Kohl Intense Eyeliner
How To Apply Blush
How to Apply Pencil Eyeliner – tutorial
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Eye Makeup: How to Apply Eye Makeup
How To Apply Eye Shadow with Fingers