Talk:Kohl (cosmetics)

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Is Surma as called in India and Pakistan, the arabic name of Kohl? IrfanAli 09:04, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

The article says that the arabic name is kuḥūl. However, I've been told that the persian word "sormeh" refers to kohl. I have a farsi-english dictionary that defines sormeh as collyrium, and "sang-e sormeh" (sormeh stone) as crude antimony, which is an ingredient of kohl. -- Narge 12:53, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

This article seems to be about the same thing as Kajal and Sirma (see [1]). I propose merging them both to this article — kohl is the only word of the three that appears in my English dictionary. -- Narge 13:30, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Punjabi's, call it Sirma. We can mirage the article, and have the article say "also called Sirma" then we can redirect the Sirma link to Kohl what do you reckon? --StreetScholar 01:02, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

I've merged the Sirma and Kajal article and give the sections sub headings --StreetScholar 12:24, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Pop Culture[edit]

The references given are questionable. Theda Bara & Mariska Veres are not the only famous women to use heavy kohl eyeliner or even particularly notable. Both are just two examples of a stylized look that has been considered fashionable throughout worldwide history including in the 1920's and again in the 1960's. What makes these two people significant to the use of kohl over thousands of other famous actresses and singers? Lacrimulae (talk) 07:44, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Antimony and Lead?[edit]

Kohl (Proto-Indo-European root K-h-l Biblical Hebrew Kahal ) Kohl. "blue" Kohl is a dark-bluish blck pigment composed of both lead-based compounds as well as a compound of antimony. The lead-based compounds in Kohl are: Galena (PbS) – dark grey and gloss Laurionite ( Pb(OH)Cl) – white Phosgenite (Pb2Cl2CO3)- Cerussite (PbCO3) – blue. The antimony-based compound in Kohl is Stibnite (Sb2S3) - blue. Stibnite has antimony (stibium). There is evidence that submicromolar concentrations of lead ( PB 2+) can elicit nitrous oxide production which in turn can trigger an enhancement of the immune response. Reference: Tapsoba et al The ancient Egyptians, documented in the Ebers Papyrus (~ 1550 BCE, discuss these compounds within Kohl as protective for the eyes. Indeed Kohl was used an eyeliner and cosmetic. There are a number of endemic ocular disease in the Nile region including trachoma, a chlamydial organism which can cause corneal scarring and conjunctival cicatricial disease, with visual loss. Kohl was used not only as a cosmetic but also s a medicinal collyrium (from Gr. kollurion). Two ofKohl's lead compounds - the lead chlorides laurionite and phosgenite - were not natural to the Nile valley. It is believed they were intentionally synthesized by the ancient Egyptians for this purpose. The widespread use of Kohl across the Mediterraean and the Mid-east attests to its ability to protect the eye from infectious disease and be used as a cosmetic. Here is another well-written reference.


I think the article needs some integration by someone who knows all about kohl (I don't!). First, the preparation section says nothing about galena, lead, or antimony, but makes it sound as if kohl is made from soot (if I read right). Then, the health concerns section talks about lead. Finally, nothing at all is said about antimony which, according to many other references, is an important part of some types of kohl. Mikeblyth (talk) 18:21, 16 December 2009 (UTC)Mike Blyth

Your remark is entirely accurate and it expresses the problem with the lede and etymology section. We are told that kohl is from lead, then suddenly antimony is introduced as part of the etymology with no explanation of the connection. It is WEAK. (talk) 17:42, 19 January 2015 (UTC) Please see my discussion above, about the chemical constituents of Kohl. Let me know if you wish more detail and references. Vincent

This is presumably a highly complex topic, only the surface of which is scratched in the present revision. Apparently use of "kohl" is attested in the Hebrew Bible, and possibly in ancient Egyptian sources (but from what period? Egyptological sources are needed). The entire point of "kohl" seems to have been the heavy-metal poisoning leading to dilated pupils (presumably in order to fake a "come hither" signal that could otherwise only be produced by advanced method acting, or by actual arousal), so either antimony or (later?) lead seems a crucial ingredient, even though the term can now just mean "dark makeup" and may just be (but is it?) the modern Arabic term for mascara. So, a discussion of the history of this is needed, when and where did they stop using heavy metals? Where do they still use them? --dab (𒁳) 12:43, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Approaching from a mineralogical perspective, I'd always heard of kohl being prepared from stibnite, which is natural (& impure) antimony sulphide. But there are enough similarities and solid solutions in all these semi-metal compounds that there are a lot of other minerals that would produce similar effects. Including the poisoning. Using galena/ lead sulphide would probably work, but the shininess of natural galena wouldn't make it a natural choice to prepare a black pigment, whereas stibnite is naturally dull black in most specimens. The true state of affairs is probably a lot less simple and clear cut than the article suggests. (With my reasonable amount of chemical knowledge, you wouldn't catch me using any of these mixtures. I try to avoid handling even my nice specimens of galena these days. I doubt I'd even try preparing such mixes without gloves and a dust mask.) Aidan Karley (talk) 08:48, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Charred Frankincense[edit]

I'd always heard Kohl was made from the crushed remnant of burnt Frankincense, and that the lead version is an inferior substitute. (talk) 18:21, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Interesting. Hatshepsut obtained frankinscence from the same Land of Punt that reportedly also supplied the galena. She sent an official expedition there during her reign, which brought frankinscence, myrrh and other gifts. Punt was at the time ruled by King Perahu and Queen Ati. Middayexpress (talk) 18:55, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Proper Attributions[edit]

I am not familiar with the rules of Wikipedia:Plagiarism; could someone who is please check the Health concerns section to verify that it is properly attributed? I am mainly concerned with the parts added in the 17 September 2015 edits. They seem to be a direct copy/paste of the original text. I don't know if this requires more than a token reference. — Shattered Gnome (talk) 19:44, 18 March 2016 (UTC)