The history of the kohl or kaajal has seen it’s fair share of high points with iconoclasts like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and the model Twiggy reinventing the sultry eye makeup time and again. Surprisingly, this trend isn’t very strong the the thriving industry of Bollywood. Is it time we revive the kohl-eyed muse?

If eyes are the features that accentuate beauty then kohl is the one that brightens up the eyes and keep the eyes on the prize. A significant part of bold eye make up right from the past, kohl or kaajal has been repeatedly praised for crafting an instantly sultry appearance.

kajal 1 Can we revive the fashion of the kohl again?

Today, from every actress from Hollywood to our desi girls try to imitate the style of yesteryear actresses like the famous Italian diva Sophie Lauren. One of the most admired beauties of the 50s and 60s, her make-up mainly focused on her eyes and kohl played a vital role in it, making the eyes mesmerizing and so beautiful. She had a stunning curvaceous figure and looked great but her eyes were always the talk of the town. So much that over the years, many actresses have tried to bring the same look time and again. Beyonce even went ahead with the super flattering and the iconic Sophie Lauren look in her music video, “Why don’t you love me?”

Beyonce why dont you love me Can we revive the fashion of the kohl again?

Beyonce attempts to recreate the iconic eye makeup of Sophie Lauren

At home, if you see all the photographs of our Indian actress from the 60s and 70s, you’ll notice Bollywood too focused a lot on eye make-up, the prime factor again being, kohl and that too in greater proportion.  The beautiful faces of Saira Banu and Sadhana is the reminiscence of the beautiful kohl era which invaded the beautiful Indian eyes and glorified its beauty further. No wonder, the girls all over the globe, both in east as well as west are fond of smokey eyes but the question arises here, “Can we revive the fashion of kohl yet again?”

Saira Banu Can we revive the fashion of the kohl again?

The beautiful Saira Banu

Kohl, Kaajal, sorma or surma was initially known as mesdement in the Egyptian culture. The most primitive records specify that kohl was first used in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt as early as ten thousand BC. The pictures of the ancient Egyptian queens further prove the point.  Aha, probably, that’s the reason behind the interesting  eyes of Cleopatra. If you will see the 1917 silent movie Cleopatra, the kohled eyes of the gorgeous Theda Bara speak it all.

Kaajal was also used on a large scale as eye cosmetic even in the Middle East, South Asia, the Horn of Africa, North Africa and some parts of Western Africa. Slowly, it spread towards the west and when UK was witnessing the makeover from the Victorian face to the make-up clad face, kohl was the part of the fashion, credits to iconic actress Audrey Hepburn and model Twiggy who went ahead in defining fashion during the 1950s. Their cat-eyes liner became the signature look of that time and women till today seem to be so impressed by the looks that they leave no stones upturned in imitating their divine eye style. Christinia Aguilera has created the Twiggy eye makeup in her album “Moves like Jagger” along with Maroon 5.

Lately, one of the famous and most admired kohl eye make up was witnessed in the eyes of Amy Winehouse, the famous Brit singer and five time Grammy winner who died last year at the tender age of 27. She not only could revive the trend of cat eyeliner once again but also could add her own unique style to it. A true diva, youngsters all across the world admire her unique eye makeup and hairstyle as much they appreciate her vocals.

In the contemporary era there have been so many cosmetic companies like Chanel, Maybelline, Bourjois and Max Factor who have been producing good range and types of kohl yet in Bollywood we have not witnessed a single actress unlike their western counterparts who could revive the kaajal era once again. The effect must be really mesmerizing because if you observe the poems of that era you’ll not find a single poem of a prominent poet, novel of a famous author and ghazal of a legendary writer without the mention of the word “kaajal” while describing the beauty of a woman.

From Gothic, punk chic to the latest culture we have seen a lot of notable faces especially in the Hollywood endorsing kohl. They have been trying to experiment with their looks from smokey to dramatic and sultry not only enhancing their looks but at the same time emerging and reviving the magic of kohl once again. However, in Bollywood we are yet to witness the same though it cannot be said for the young Indian girls which you see in colleges, offices, streets, bus stands, across the pubs and in the heavy traffics. Their eyes are full of kohl even if the style of applying it may vary. Maybe we Indian girls are more influenced  directly from Angelina Jolie, JLo, Beyonce and Rihanna rather than our desi  girls Kareena, Priyanka and so on.

Bollywood Kajal Can we revive the fashion of the kohl again?

Lastly, with a range of colors and great inspirations from the glorious past, there is indeed a wide prospect for the revival of the kohl in a massive form. However, you never know if it will stand the test of time in this ever changing trendy era against the rival eye cosmetics.

By Deepti Verma

Also See:
Shilpa Shetty – The Goddess Of Diet And Yoga
Why I would not buy products that donate profits to the poor children in the streets

Image Source:
Indian Kajal@Facebook,, Beyonce and Sasha Fierce@Facebook

Video Source: Audrey Hepburn – Breakfast at Tiffany’s Inspired Makeup Tutorial-Lisa Eldrigde@YouTube

Custom Search

Do you have any contrary opinion to this post - Do you wish to get heard - You can now directly publish your opinion - or link to another article with a different view at our blogs. We will likely republish your opinion or blog piece at IndiaOpines with full credits