Kohl is a natural substance that is used to darken the waterline of the eyes and mascara for the eyelashes. It is widely used in the Middle East, north and Horn of Africa, and parts of the Indian subcontinent. It is also known as kajol, surma, tiro, and kwalli. Kohl is often made of a natural mineral, but can also contain other materials, such as coal, charcoal, iron oxide, and other metals. Some kohl products contain harmful elements, such as lead and cadmium.
A number of kohl brands sold in the US and UK have been found to be contaminated with lead, and many sellers claim their kohl is pure and lead free when it is not. This article outlines some tips to help discerning between real and fake kohl.
First, check whether the seller knows where their kohl comes from. Any seller who is well versed in their trade will be able to tell you which of their suppliers crushed the ithmid stone into its final form and can verify that no other substances were added to the kohl. This is an important step because any kohl that makes it through the supply chain will have been mixed with other minerals and contaminants.
The next tip is to inspect the kohl powder and look for signs of purity. A good kohl should be dark grey in colour and feel soft to the touch with no rough particles that can scratch up your delicate eyes. Also look at how shiny the kohl is. If the kohl is not very shiny then it may have small particles that are fit to be applied to the eyes, but if it is very shiny then these particles are likely large and can be damaging to the eyes. Ithmid Kohl Uk