Kajal/Kohl – Should it be your infant’s first make-up?

Kohl-lined eyes have always been my idea of beautiful eyes. It’s minimalist and yet adds a definite outline to the face. And on babies, it looks simply adorable both as eye make-up and as a small dot on the forehead to ward off the evil eye.

When my sweet daughter was born, my confinement maid advised me to apply home-made kajal in her eyes. She said and I quote, “It will make her eyes bigger gradually’’. And like an idiot, I agreed. She prepared kajal at home, how she made was interesting though.

She soaked overnight a top-quality (not your average Californian ones) Mamra almond in home-made cow milk’s ghee.

Next day, she fished out the almond on the point of a sterilized nappy pin.

Next she lighted the almond with the help of a match stick and covered the burning almond partially with a small silver spoon.

Black greasy powder got collected at the bottom of the spoon.

Later, she kept the tiny silver spoon in a separate box.

She would take a little kajal from the spoon and would apply it very generously around my newborn’s eyes. All was well for a couple of days but then her right eye started watering a little. We paid little attention to it. Gradually, there was thick sticky yellow mucus sitting around the corner of her eye at all times. The mucus would sometimes spread a little and my poor baby couldn’t open her eye. Then we rushed to the doctor who advised us to stop applying kajal.

But for the damage that was already done, he asked us to clean her infected eye with soft cotton wool dipped and squeezed in warm water. I must have done that for a fortnight for the infection to completely disappear.

Lesson well learnt! I wouldn’t advise anybody to apply kajal even if it’s prepared in the most hygienic manner.


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