Kohl or kajal (as it is called in India) has been used since times immemorial for beautifying eyes. Women in ancient times used to make kohl at home because synthetic and readymade kohls were a rarity back then.

Nowadays, umpteen numbers of synthetically prepared kohls of varied formulations are available in the market. Although they claim to be safe, there have been instances of such kohls stinging or irritating sensitive eyed people. These synthetic kohls are expensive and might burn a hole in your pocket. Plus, they have a certain shelf life. So they will have to be discarded after a certain period of time which is not a great deal given the fact that you’ve invested quite some money in them.

Hence, finding inexpensive and safe kohl out of the whole lot of kohls in the market can be a daunting task. So why don’t we just make it at home and put all the problems to an end? Read on to know how you can easily make cheap and 100% herbal kohl at home.

For this you will need the following things:

  • One small earthen bowl (even a copper bowl would do)
  • Castor oil
  • Cotton
  • One broad copper plate (you may use an earthen plate also)
  • One spatula
  • One small steel or plastic container for storage


  1. Take a small earthen bowl and add castor oil to it.
  2. Make a long and slender wick out of the cotton such that one end of the wick touches the bottom of the bowl and the other end stays at the brim of the bowl. Make sure this setup is steady and does not budge.
  3. Place an inverted copper plate exactly above the wick with the help of some support at the corners of the plate. Make sure to select a slightly shallow plate. The plate should be one or two inches above the wick such that the shallow portion is facing downwards.
  4. Now light the upper end of the wick.
  5. Make sure the flame emanating from the wick is lapping onto the copper plate. Lower the copper plate if it is too high for the flame.

You will observe that the plate is blackening due to accumulation of ash/soot. The idea behind using a shallow plate was to ensure a large amount of ash is collected and the flame does not escape beyond the boundaries of the plate. Also, a shallow plate will ensure the flame is not disturbed by air currents.

  1. Let the entire oil be consumed by the flame. After the oil has been consumed, the flame will die out.
  2. Leave the plate for cooling as it will become extremely hot due to the flame.
  3. After the plate cools off, turn it over. You will notice lumps of ash sticking onto the plate.
  4. Scrape it out and mix one drop of castor oil in it just so as to make a thick paste.

Note: DO NOT add excessive oil or the kohl would become extremely greasy or fluidic.

  1. Mix it well with a spatula to make a homogenous mixture.
  2. Now transfer it into a steel or plastic container.

Bingo! Our cheap, DIY, homemade, pure herbal kohl is ready for use!

How to use?

You may use it just like you’d use normal kohl. You may apply it with the help of your fingers, or a Q-tip or an eye liner make-up brush.

Advantages Over Commercially Available Kohl

  • It is more economical than the ones available in the market.
  • It has a longer shelf life. It can be stored for as long as 5-10 years provided it is not contaminated and stored properly.
  • It is completely natural. Hence, it is 100% safe. It contains castor oil which is rich in Vitamin E and helps to grow thicken and lengthen eye lashes.
  • It is devoid of any chemicals or preservatives.
  • It gives intense black color unlike the commercial kohls, most of which are very faint.


  • It might smudge a bit for the initial few days. So you may dab talc or loose powder under your water line as a damage control measure. You may also want to dab a little bit of black eye shadow over it to stop it from smudging. You may use cotton balls dipped in baby oil or coconut oil to clean up the mess if it ends up in your under eye area.
  • It is a little cumbersome to use. It is not very easy to use like kohl sticks.


Despite all the hassles involved in the making procedure and application, this kohl emerges as a winner because the pros outweigh the cons.