Cleopatra’s affinity for kohl-rimmed eyes was not solely for aesthetic appeal: ancient Egyptians believed the dark eye makeup had medicinal benefits—and as it turns out, they were right. French researchers from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris found that the ancient concoction can fight off infectious bacteria by stimulating the immune system.
Even before modern science proved its benefits, kohl has long-been used universally across North Africa and the Middle East. The eye-paint was used to reduce the glare of the desert’s harsh sun long before sunglasses were invented, and mums applied it on their children, as it was believed to ward off the evil eye.
Today, kohl is still a beauty staple for many women around the world. Here, we give you four non-traditional ways to use the hyper-pigmented black powder:
Swap your eyebrow pencil with a traditional Kohl pot
Contrary to popular belief, perfect eyebrows aren’t just a 21st century phenomenon; women in North Africa and the Middle East have used kohl to draw on their eyebrows as far back as the early 1800s. The long-lasting powder can be used on the eyes and eyebrows just the same.
Use it as a mascara substitute
A mixture of kohl, coconut oil, and a thick textured base like aloe vera or beeswax can be used as a natural substitute for mascara. Use this with a clean spoolie brush for sensitive eyes to avoid allergic reactions.
Use it as an eyeshadow base
Smudge a light coat on the lids for a long-lasting eyeshadow base. For a night-time look, use Kohl to intensify a smoky eye, or to make colours more vibrant.
Apply to hair to hide your greys
If you’re ever in-between hair appointments and need a quick fix, Kohl is safe to apply on the hair to hide those pesky grey hairs. Unfortunately, this trick is only effective for those with dark locks.