Long before beauty bloggers taught us how to perfect a smokey eye, the ancient Egyptians applied kohl, an oblong black liner like substance, to their eyes. Historians believe that both men and women of all social classes used the cosmetic for beautification, but also for religious and possibly magical reasons. They used the mineral-based makeup to honor deities and reduce sun glare, as well as for a sense of personal elegance.
Mesdemet, as kohl was called in ancient Egypt, was a powder made of finely ground minerals and soot. It usually included stibnite, a mineral source of antimony. It was also mixed with various oxides and carbonates to create different shades of browns and blacks. But the most common ingredient was lead, which today rings alarm bells of public health concern.
A modern-day kohl product may be marketed as an ancient cosmetic, but it is not authentic. Historians have found that the kohl in ancient containers often contained lead and other toxic ingredients, as well as a range of organic materials, including soot, and animal fat. And the ingredients on the labels of many contemporary kohl products, whether sold in Europe or the United States, are either missing or contain prohibited concentrations of lead and other toxic elements. authentic Kohl