In India, Kajal is a form of eye makeup, which has been in vogue since the ancient times. It's the womenfolk of India who mostly apply kohl to darken their lower eyelid. However, it is also applied in case of children's and earlier, even the Indian men used to wear kajal. Kajal accrues the word Kohl, which is also at times spelt as Kol, Kehal or Kohal. Traditionally, it was prepared at home by females, as protection against eye ailments.
However, today, it is easily available in almost all the shops. Infact, the concept of applying Kajal has become more of a fashion trend in urban India in the recent times. Those people who prepare Kajal at home make it out of soot and other ingredients. In old times, people believed that kajal or Kohl provided relief from the sun's glare. Another perception pertaining Kajal was that it wards off bad luck or vibes.
As such, many women even today apply the Kajal as a small dot on the forehead of their toddlers as well as in their eyes. It is also applied at the nape of a child's neck, where it is not visible. Some people believe this will strengthen the child's eyesight. Applying Kajal is a strong tradition practiced by inhabitants of almost all the regions in India.
Method of preparing Kajal at home
Kajal preparation begins with dipping a clean, white, thin muslin cloth about four by four inches square in a sandalwood paste. The cloth is then dried in shade. After the sun is down, a wick is made out of the cloth and then used to light a mud lamp filled with castor oil. A brass vessel is positioned over the fire, leaving enough gap for the oxygen to aid the burning of the lamp. This is left burning overnight. Next morning, one or two drops of pure ghee or castor oil is added to the soot on the brass vessel and stored it in a clean dry box.