After my personal ode to flower power, I realised that there is more where that came from. It’s time to make a few historical trips to the makeup world. Which means: another blog serie! These historical makeup trips include a little bit of personal history and a lot of worldwide history. Let’s hit it off with the first episode: eyeliner / kohl.
Personal eyeliner history: the oriental look
In highschool I didn’t feel like spending too much time in front of the mirror in the morning. I still don’t. Oriental Spice and a lot of Snoozing is my middle name in the morning. The longer I can stay in bed in the morning, the better. Every second counts. That being said, of course I do want to look representative. So (liquid) eyeliner has been part of my daily routine since 2001. And it only takes me three minutes. Efficiency at its finest.
Then we have kohl (also known as Kajal in India) and another opportunity to take Oriental Spice literally. Kohl is something I have known since I was little. I was fascinated by the “real” kohl that made dark eyes even darker. In India kohl (or kajal) is used to protect the eyes against the evil eye, but also as a cosmetic to enhance the contours of the eyes. I have used kohl for a long time on “no rush” days, because I only like the panda look on a panda bear and a smokey eyes look in the evening. When you have dark eyes, it gives you that intense dark, oriental look. With a blog name that starts with Oriental Spice, you can understand that I definitely like the oriental look every now and then. (In the pictures above I am wearing loose kohl powder).
Wordwide eyeliner history: protection against the sun and evil eye
From 2001 to Ancient Egypt, 20000 BC. Back in those days, the most important goal of eyeliner (kohl) was to protect the skin from the burning desert sun. The Egyptians also believed that wearing eyeliner would protect you against the evil eye and bad energy. Nowadays, only women wear eyeliner daily life. Back then, both men and women had heavily lined eyes. Wearing eyeliner, wasn’t without a risk. Kohl eyeliners included a lot of not very healthy ingredients, like lead and copper ore. These ingredients were mixed into a paste and applied with wooden/bronze sticks or glass that was specially cut to apply kohl. Doesn’t sound very injury free…
Fast forward to the 1920s, when eyeliner was introduced to the mass public. It was the flapper era and smokey eyes were made famous by celebrities like Clara Bow. In the 1940s, eyeliner became multifunctional. During World War II there was a shortage in seamed stockings. Eyeliner was used to replicate a seamed stocking line. The 1950s brought back feminine fashion and glamour. These were the years of the classic winged eyeliner. Popularized by Old Hollywood actresses of the golden era and it never went out of fashion. In the 1960s, liquid eyeliner was invented. The winged eyeliner became thicker, longer and more dramatic: the “cat eye” was born. Between the 1970s and the present, the ingredients of eyeliner have been further developed. Nowadays you can buy it in every colour, brand and substance you like. So many brands, so many different variations too choose from and that applies to every luxury these days. The choice is yours.
Note: This post does not include a complete history of eyeliner. I only included some historical highlights in this blogpost that I found interesting.