Ithmid Kohl Aswad Ahmar Collection

Guide to Apply Ithmid Kohl & Checking Its Quality

In this article, I will be explaining the details surrounding the application of a traditional type of eyeliner known as Kohl Ithmid. Kohl (كُحْل‎) goes by many different names and spellings such kuhl, kohhel, kohol, cohol, as well as Kajal, Surma or Sormeh ( سرمه ).

Kohl is an oriental eye cosmetic that like other eyeliners is used to mark the perimeter of the eye to make the eyes look bigger. There also exists a type of kohl known as ‘Ithmid’ (a.k.a. Ismid) that has beneficial effects on the eyes, such as providing protection from harsh sunlight by absorbing UV rays. Excessive exposure of UV rays to the eye overtime can cause many eye ailments, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

This is one main reason why the Bedouins of the desert, men and woman, applied ithmid kohl to their eyes. Likewise, the Ancient Egyptians used kohl to protect their eyes, and to treat ocular-related illnesses. Other therapeutic applications of ithmid kohl includes relieving eyestrain, eye pain, eye soreness, conjunctivitis, and light sensitivity. Ithmid also has the effect of stimulating the eyelashes to grow thicker and longer.

How to Apply Ithmid

When you want to apply ithmid kohl to the eye, you need the right tool for the job, which is the kohl stick. It is a simply a stick that is bluntly pointed on one end, and rounded bulbously on the other end. Imagine a miniature pool stick, if you will. Alternatively, it is quite common to use a Makhalah, which is a metal kohl container with the application wand going inside as the top of the container.

There are 2 main ways to apply Ithmid kohl to the eyes. You can either apply it to the waterline of the eyes, which is the space between where the eyelashes and eyeball meet. Or alternatively, you can apply the ithmid under and over the eyelashes.

Ithmid Khol on eye waterline under & over eyelashes

Either way, the process to applying the ithmid starts with lightly mixing the kohl stick with the kohl powder, and then dragging the end of the kohl stick on the waterline of the eyes, and/or above & below the eyelashes. The best practice is to apply the kohl to each eye 3 times.

Note that high quality ithmid easily sticks to the applicator wand, and you don’t need to do anything else. However, if you find that your kohl doesn’t stick to applicator, then one simple trick that works is to dampen the stick with some water, lightly wipe it with a tissue to get rid of the excess water droplets, and then mix the stick in the kohl powder. The moisture helps to grab the kohl particles.

On the other hand, if you find that the kohl isn’t properly applying to the face, you may also try splashing your face once with water with a few drops of olive oil, gently drying the face with a towel, and then applying the kohl. The moisture helps the kohl stick on, and the olive oil helps to make the application smoother for crisper and cleaner lines.

Ithmid Quality Determines Where You Can Use it

Where you apply ithmid kohl to your eyes depends on the quality of the kohl preparation. Normally, you can apply eyeliner to the waterline of the eyes, or above and below the eyelashes. But it may be a bit different with kohl. First consider that ithmid is made by grinding up a metallic mineral known as galena (lead sulfide). Some claim that the mineral used instead is stibnite (antimony sulfide), but I found there to be less surrounding evidence for this to be the case.

Regardless, my point is that mineral-based kohl is made by grinding the metallic-stone into a fine powder. If the particles formed are too big, you will scratch and irritate the eye. In that case, you can only apply the ithmid above & below the eyelashes. However, if the particles produced are very small, then there should be no issue with applying the ithmid to the waterline of the eye.

Ithmid Kohl Powder in Plastic Bag from Saudi Arabia
You can see that this Ithmid Kohl is not prepared properly, as it has big pieces that cause the powder to shine excessively

You can determine the particle size of the ithmid kohl powder by observing how shiny it is. If the grey ithmid powder has very few sparkling particles, then you know that it has a very small particle size. If on the other hand the ithmid powder is very shiny, then you know that the particle size is quite big and can scratch up your eye. I highly suggest you use the latter type of ithmid powder only above and below the eyelashes.

High Quality Ithmid Kohl Aswad from Hijaz
This is a very high quality ithmid kohl that comes from the Hijazi region of Saudi Arabia. Notice how the shining particles are smaller and less in number. The powder is more consistently fine and a lot better for the eye.

In my experience with using different samples of pure ithmid kohl, I found that the particle size of these powders were not small enough to use comfortably on the water line. However, I had virtually no problems if I used the ithmid above & below the eyelashes instead.

So if you want to purchase and use ithmid kohl on your eyes, my advice is that you use the one that has a very fine consistency. Otherwise, after a couple of weeks of applying ithmid on the waterline, your eyes may become irritated and you would have to take a break from daily use. And one such place where you can acquire genuine ithmid kohl from is – I personally have purchased their Hijazi black ithmid Kohl coming all the way from Medina, and I found it to have a finer consistency compared to my other samples.

If you want to find out more about ithmid, I will write more about its composition, origin, health & medicinal effects in future articles.

Video Summary about Ithmid

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6 thoughts to “Guide to Apply Ithmid Kohl & Checking Its Quality”

    1. In my experience, the eyelash’s length increases for sure. Ithmid is also said to improve eyesight, but right now I am working on making the same thing but super-fine. A lot of the time the ithmid you can get now a days is too coarse for continuous use.

  1. Assalamu allaikum. I’ve been looking online and trying to find authentic kohl. Would you be able to make a recommendation? I’m hoping to find one that will bring clarity to my vision. I’m deciding betwen :

    Can you suggest which brand is better? Or should I purchase the one that you bought from ?

    JazakAllah khair

    1. I have only experience with ithmid, which is authentic as far as I can tell. In my experience, the powder only needed some refining. But without refinement, its good to use in small amounts or occasionally.

      1. but doesnt real kohl ithmid have stibnite kohl or it is lead sulphide? Which is the real one? And what is evidence please

        Also the hijaazi one you mention from madinah it says it has no lead so how can it be galena if it is lead sulphide?

        1. Allahu ^alim, Galena could be the actual Ithmid. Or it could be some other mineral, you would have to ask a scholar. But the usage of Galena as kohl was widespread in the past by the Ancient Egyptians and other nations, and even now a days Galena-based kohl is still used in Middle Eastern countries. I know that they use it in Saudi Arabia. In Morocco they also use it.

          The case studies I went through that analyzed the composition of kohl. I reviewed that here:

          But I definitely do find that the grey colored kohl, which I believe is made out of pulverized Galena, makes my eyelashes longer. I am currently using the Hijaazi kohl mixed with powdered Galena stone that originates from Peru.

          Finally, Elemental Lead is not the same as Lead Sulphide. Elemental Lead is in reference to the pure metal itself. Lead sulfide is a mineral composed of lead and sulfur molecules binding to each other to form a cubic structure.

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