Kajal how tos - eye care indian style

Kajal / Kohl as it is known popularly is something most indian girls and even boys grow up with. Tonnes of kajal in eyes seem to make most of my baby pictures. I grew up wearing kajal, but of course most schools did not allow kajals, or any makeup, and I went to school, scrubbed clean face, and two plaits, or a curly wavy bob. But when college happened I found myself reaching for the kajal, more and more. Partly because it was the cheap, easy to use, and just because there was always plenty of it in any dibbi or tube i bought.

So what really is kajal,
It is a mix of soot/ carbon with some oil or ghee.

What does it do,
Apart from making your eyes pop, it keeps your eyes lubricated, And cools your eyes when it contains camphor. It also helps your lashes grow thicker.

So here are a few ways to wear kajal, and different types of kajal you can get in the market.

1. Jai Kajal- The one that most people you know will have, this is said to be safe for babies, and since I wore this as a baby, I am guessing it is indeed safe for kids. It has camphor and a lot of ghee in it. It does ok ok on pigmentation,since it is super creamy/oily, it smudges like mad. I recommend this more for therapeutic reasons, and given that generations of children wore this, I am sure it is the safest bet. Besides it is so cheap , that you can actually chuck this in the bin after 3 months, to keep eye products as safe and germ free as possible.

2. Mumtaz baby kajal - This is a kajal that has even lesser pigmentation than jai kajal, and is even oilier. I can literally smell the ghee in this one. This is great if you do not want the dark colour on your eyes, but just want some lubrication. This is perfect for that barely there kohl look, when you want to cool your eyes. Also great if you dont want the blackest black look, but do want some definition to your eyes.

3. Surma - This has some Islamic significance I am told. But this basically is a dry , more often than not camphory , herb enriched powder. Applied to eyes to cool them. It give s slight burning/ cooling sensation that comes from camphor. I have heard people say it contains lead, but I disagree. This is a dry powder form, so can dry your eyes up further, though the camphor will make it water a bit. This is nothing to worry about. A surma gives a barely there, non oily look to your eyes, the eyes look lined and yet unlined. A must try. Khojati and a local brand called hayati make surmas. I have used both the brands, and had no problems whatsoever. None of them have improved my 'number', but then it is not much to begin with. When we make kajal at home instead of adding camphor to it, we just add some surma. It gives a nice thickness, cooling sensation.

The above 3 kajals are more items you should wear before going to sleep to wake up with gorgeous eyes, they are meant for a more lived in look. I loved the smudged kohl look in college days, because most of the kohl would smudge, and I would reapply without removing the smudged bit propoerly. That was because I was lazy with makeup, and never mastered the eyeliner. But what does one apply for day time use, when you do not want super oily eyes, even if it means your eyes will feel cool all day long.

So here are some that I reach out for makeup related reasons,

Cosmetic kajals- These tend to be dryer, and are super pigmented. Often they come in an easier to apply form, such as stick. Personal favourites are Hashmi kajal stick and Rashmi kajal dibbi (small tub). Rhymes too much doesnt it. But the first one is easy to apply, can be carried everywhere, and does give great pigmentation. Also has a slight touch of camphor. Rashmi kajal has no camphor and for a kajal in a tub, it is indeed dry enough. Somehow it seems like no one online has any idea about the existence of this kajal. But if you live around Bombay, I am sure you can find this one at small ittar or henna shops.It is really dark , and doesnt budge once on. And it has never ever irritated my eyes. Hashmi kajal had received bad press for high levels of lead, so here is the article, turns out the kajals are safe, the surma is not.

Lakme Kajals- I used to buy the kajal pencil when it was 20 , then 30 Rs and now they have a version that costs 150. I do think Lakme makes good cosmetic kajals. And are a good bet. Guessing they dont have lead. Coz we wont know till someone does research.

A non kajal related eye care product, seen in most indian homes is , Jivdaya netraprabha, it contains honey and some herbs, that sting your eyes, make them water, but clean up all the dirt and also prevent infection. If you do not have this product, good old honey should do the same tasks.

Also castor oil when applied on eyelashes, makes for a thicker and lush lashes.

Hope you enjoy this post on eye care. And do let me know if this did add a sparkle to your eye.


  1. netraprabha stings like hell..I dont use..y bro does..
    nice article :)

  2. yep it does sting, but i do find that it is pretty effective in cooling eyes, avoiding infections. what i do is , apply it , give it five to ten minutes and wash it off with warm water. i find warm water relaxes my eyes further, and removes the stinging sensation completely.

  3. I used Jai kajal for my daughter. Jai Kajal is a no. 1 eye care products in india.

    1. I know. My mom used it on me after I was 2 yrs old. Till then she used homemade kajal on me. I still use jai kajal in the night.

  4. Where do i get Jai Kajal in India? I was looking for it online but in vain :(

    1. Try any general stores or chemists, or any shops that sell things like bangles and bindis. Its very easily available.

  5. Can anyone use Jai kajal,or is it only for babies and females?I am a male who purchased it for my dry eyes.Is there anyone that has used it on the elderly?I am 65 yo.

  6. Can anyone use Jai kajal,or is it only for babies and females?I am a male who purchased it for my dry eyes.Is there anyone that has used it on the elderly?I am 65 yo.

    1. Jai Kajal is so safe that even babies can use it. I am sure it will not lead to any adverse impact. however if as a male you feel odd wearing kajal, then there is a product called toop anjan which is colourless and equally relaxing for dry eyes. Also feel free to use castor oil before bedtime, just apply a drop in your eyes and that too takes care of eye dryness.


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