Once upon a time, there was a little girl who every morning, would sit and watch her mother put makeup on and get glammed in front of her vanity, for hours. That was her favorite part of the day. She dreamed that one day she would also have her own vanity, and a beautiful makeup collection, that she would spend hours playing with! That girl was me!

No, actually it wasn’t! My mother has never been a makeup person. “Au naturel” has always been her style. However, there was product she would never be seen without, Kohl.

Kohl is more than makeup in my home, it is a tradition for the women in my family. My grandmother, my mom, my aunts, and now myself would always have a little kohl bottle in our makeup bags.


And not any kohl, we used to have it made especially for by my late grandmother. The belief from my mother’s ancestors has it, that kohl eyeliner should be made by a pious, post-menopaused woman. That person would mix a grunden kohl stone (mineral), with burned and again grunden olive and date cores, and a drop of olive oil. The resulting powder is filtered using a specific textile; muslin. And that ends up being the kohl we use.

I would love to believe that when it will be my turn, I will pass this beauty tradition down to my daughter (or son, no judgement)! Kohl happens to be the first type of makeup I have ever put on. On the 26th night of Ramadan, women; young or older would adorn their eyes with it. Another tradition I started in my teens. And from that day, I was bit by the makeup bug, especially the eye makeup bug. I would steal my mom’s kohl stash on school days’ early morning, and put it on before my parents would wake up. I should point out that I wasn’t allowed to use makeup yet.

Only interested in its esthetic benefits, little did I know that kohl was more than just a beauty product. It’s a medicine, as it is known fact that it removes infections from one’s eyes. But, you should be wary that kohl should last you three months, to the most.


I know there are countless articles and writings out there about kohl, and scientific studies, and what not. But in this blog post I wanted to share my personal story with it, and what it represents for me.

Today, Kohl is a great memory from my late grandmother, may she rest in peace.

I miss you Jidda!



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