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If you’re looking at eye makeup, look no further than the ubiquitous fare, the kohl. These are the best kajals for Indian women right now.

If there’s one beauty product that truly belongs to Indian women, it is the versatile Kajal or Kohl. Eye makeup is a big part of the Indian beauty routine and kajals are perhaps the most used item – right from the interiors of India to the cities, every woman carries it and uses it daily – it’s the only product that is extremely popular. The eye area is of course a very sensitive one and that’s why kajals are seen as safe, even good for our eyes because they come with pure ingredients and are creamy and comfortable. With international labels also looking at kajals in a big way, we now have a great wide array of kajals and kohls that are not just highly pigmented formulas but also ones that come with staying power and safe ingredients.

Picture courtesy: Corallista’s Instagram 

Soorma or Kajal as it is called is derived from the Arabic name ‘Kuhl’ and is known to have originated somewhere in the Middle East. The details are of course, fuzzy, some say Egypt while others point at the Arabic world. And not just as a beauty product, kajals were worn by Egyptians to protect and safe guard their eyes and was known as ‘Galena eye paint’. In India, kohl or soorma has been immensely popular and everyone wears it as a badge of honour. Whether it’s seen as a beauty enhancement or to ward off evil, it’s here to stay and has over the years evolved into more refined fare in the market. It protects the eye against the sun’s harsh rays and gives you a cooling effect, some contain ghee to make sure they offer its soothing properties. In that sense, kajals are truly a bridge between wellness and beauty.

How does one wear Kajal to perfection? One can wear it as a liner, or just on the waterline to make your eyes appear brighter. One can also smudge it up a bit and you can almost pull off a smokey eye and if you try a graphic eye as well. And these days, one has many colour choices to play around with too – from whites to purples to fun greens, you can really do up your eye according to your mood. While there are a few players and almost every Indian label presents it’s Kajal liner, we decided to offer you some insights on the most underrated ones that the market is teeming with. The three popular ones are Lakme Eyeconic, Maybelline Colossal Liner, the Plum Natur Studio All-Day-Wear Kohl Kajal and the L’Oreal Paris Kajal Magique but this story looks into the others that are highly rated in the kohl business.

The popular one: M.A.C Crayon Kajal Eye Liner, Rs 2,300

The most popular M.A.C kohl ever, this product has been in the ‘must-have’ lists of possibly every celebrity in India and abroad. Known to give you that fiery intense look with just a swipe, this Kajal liner does not budge nor smudge. It’s creamy and long-lasting and comes in 6 stunning shades, our personal favourite being ‘Flourish Me’ in deep purple – a colour like no other. Plus, its water-resistant.

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The homegrown label with loads of goodness: SoulTree Ayurvedic Kajal, Rs 350

This Ayurvedic home-grown label has started off with these popular kohls that are made with organic ghee and all the goodness that comes with it. The creamy texture gives you a smooth finish while the ghee gives you a soothing, cleansing effect. It also contains almond oil and natural pigments and the colour range is extensive.

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The luxe option: Guerlain Terracotta Kohl Loose Powder Liner, Rs 3,550


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By far the most tricky but the most sought after liner in the world is this gem of a Guerlain kohl. We know that bloggers like Vasudha Rai love it but there is a technique and a process to wear it – no wonder most women find it a bit intimidating. But here’s Vasudha’s video to make up for that. But well, the legendary Terracotta Khôl comes in a sophisticated packaging and gives you that matte smoky effect – it is long-lasting and stays put through the day.

The underrated one: Rimmel London Ultimate Kohl Kajal in Black Obsidian, Rs 799

Well, Rimmel surprisingly has a bunch of kohls that are bold, graphic and extremely pigmented and this one hits the nail beautifully. The black option is a game changer for many reasons – it’s a waterproof formula and a non-smudge formula. The tip is known to give you a precise, defined, dramatic look and the colour payoff in just one swipe is stunning.

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The budget-friendly one: SUGAR Stroke Of Genius Heavy Duty Kohl, Rs 499

Available in stunning, highly pigmented 8 shades, the Sugar kohl pencil is as stunning as they come. That beautiful creamy texture that glides in is the reason why this is currently the most popular kohl pencil in the budget-friendly category right now. A waterproof formula that lasts for 8 hours, it is free of mineral oil, paraffin and preservatives. An added plus, our favourite beauty blogger Corallista has used it and has given us many reasons to pick it up.

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Latha Sunadh
Deputy Editor
When she's not trying on a new serum, researching on yet another classic fragrance and sharing lip balms with her 5-year old daughter, Latha Sunadh keeps it reined in with a nice song and a good book. Special skills include obsessing over handmade, home-made and handcrafted luxuries.