Furthering the Blush Review: NARS Exhibit A

It had to eventually get here. Since I'm attracted to impossibly bright blushes, in the pan anyway, and feel a call to them that is often only heard by others who have truly felt deep spiritual connection to a cheek colour, Exhibit A had to be on my list.


The blush is a bright heart-stopping tomato red without any shimmer. It's been known to cause sudden fleeing from make-up counters and perhaps a few tears or two. But if you overlook that and apply it sparingly with a fan or skunk brush, it is a beautiful blush. On my cheeks it goes on as a pretty tomtato red that looks great in the summer. It gives this summery warmed-by-the-sun look. I tried this in combination with bronzers but I've come to the conclusion that it's best used on its own.

The staying power of Exhibit A is exceptionally great. It stays on all day and can even withstand a sweaty jog. With a very light hand, this blush is a sun-warmed pop of colour on lighter skintones. But for those of us with darker skin, this ought to be one of the products we worship with chocolate and ice cream sacrifices (that would be eating them of course). It gives the most beautiful, natural, lit from within sun kissed glow to dark skin. Be warned, however, this blush really requires you to hone your skills. Too much of it looks like you're nursing a fever that if your life were a Bollywood movie, a sad song would play about your mysterious illness. To its credit, I doubt anyone would really ever finish up this blush since it's so very pigmented.

Make-up for Mature Skin Part 1

The other day I was doing make-up for an older lady and decided, fitting or not, to post about make-up for mature skin. I hate completely matte looks for mature skin. It looks very harsh and aging. I like to choose products with a soft shimmer thrown in and then I usually add a few matte things to balance out things.

Face:

  • For age spots, I like to use a corrector and then a concealor. I find that this way I can eliminate using a heavier foundation.
  • My personal pet peeve is using matte foundation on mature skin. I like something with a satin finish, nothing dewy but a soft, incredibly subtle sheen is much more flattering.
Eyes:
  • I always like to start off the eyes with a bit of eye-cream, let it sink in, and then start with the make-up.
  • You're probably tired of hearing it now, but a good primer works wonders to keep shadows in place. However, I recommend a good long wearing cream shadow as base.
  • Incorporate satin shadows along with the matte ones. I like to use a satin shadow on the lid and use a matte one to define the crease.
  • If the skin is wrinkly or if it sags, I like to pat on the shadow rather than making a brushing motion. Patting on the shadow makes the lid grad the colour better.
  • When the skin around the eyes sags, pull up the skin at the brow bone. This way, you stretch the skin and can pat on the shadows better.
  • If ever there was a time to tightline, this is it. Tightlining gives a very subtle but full look to the lashes without being garish and heavy. I know promised to have a tutorial of this up soon, so bear with me. It will be up soon, I promise on my gulab jamun (I've graduated from carrot halwa to this).
  • I avoid pencil liners on the top lip because it tends to smear faster all over the top lid. Instead, I usually go for cream or gel liners where I can soften the line if needed.
  • For lining the lower rim, I like to use a softer shade than black. I usually line with a soft brown or gray shadow.
Eyebrows:
  • Personally, I'd recommend not using a stencil and following the natural shape of your brows. However, if you feel more comfortable using a stencil be sure to keep the overall look as natural as possible.
  • I like to use a very dark matte brown shadow to accentuate the brows. In general, I like to stick to a softer version of what you're trying to achieve. By this I mean: if your brows were/are naturally black, go for a matte dark brown etc.
Cheeks:
  • I'd have to agree with the old adage that cream blushes look fabulous on mature skin. I love the soft, dewy look you get from them. Some of my favourite cream blushes for mature skin are Bobbi Brown's pot rouges.
Lips:
  • Lipliners are great for stopping bleeding and feathering lipcolour. I like to use both a reverse lipliner and a conventional one.
  • I prefer creamy formulas that have a bit of sheen and shy away from mattes.
  • Instead of gloss, I sometimes add a bit of balm on the lips for extra sheen. Carmex always seems to do the trick, but just don't overdo it.

PSA: Bourjois is 30% offat Sephora

Check out Sephora for Bourjois that's 30% off retail.

Little Preview and Some Feedback Needed on Upcoming Tutorials

I will hopefully have another make-up artist interview up soon and I will also have a few breakdowns and the usual beauty stuff up. I've been so ill I haven't been functioning the way I'd like so I'm sorry for the late responses etc.

I got a request on how to do a basic, quick, professional face for work and one on how to use concealor. I also hope to have a video tutorial on a celebrity's make-up. Here's my question: are there any specific tutorials you'd like me to tackle? Feel free to let me know what you'd like me to improve in the tutorials and what you'd like changed/stay the same etc.

Thanks ladies :)

What's in My Bag? (I Got a Bigger Bag Just So I Could Stash More Make-up in It.)

I lied, my bag is bigger because I can always put a book in there so I am constantly reminded that I need to study. So far this strategy is failing miserably. I don't remember who it was that asked whether I could do a 'what's in your handbag' feature but here it is. A century too late and I weeded through things so I didn't have an overwhelming amount of make-up in there.

My dad got me this brown bag thinking it was a bag for my laptop. Men really have no indicators for the function of fashion but I loved the bag. I'm not much of a bag person. I get one and use it to death (clothes on the other hand is a different story), so you're lucky my bag isn't tattered to bits. People around me always beg that I a. never carry a tattered handbag and b. get rid of my (in their opinion) stupid fishing hat. So I'm all scrubbed up for you.

Here's a top view of the goods. It looks empty doesn't it?



Well, your eyes tricked you. Here's the goods in my bag:


  • My textbook. It's called Purity in Exile and I doubt you'll ever want to read it.
  • Pout Translucent Powder. Saw it on sale for $5 at Pure Beauty and picked it up. Works very well and keeps the oilies at bay.
  • MAC Lust lipglass. I'm on my way to finishing this one. I always carry it around since it's such a safe shade.
  • Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipstick n Terre D'Amour. The most wonderful, light, moisturizing formula and the most perfect nude for my lips ever.
  • A sample of Geurlain My Insolence. Not too overwhelmed by this but then again I'm all about the Lush Honey Washed the Kids perfume.
  • A mirror. My mother gave me this and I carry it around in case of emergencies.
  • Guerlain Terracotta Loose Kohl in Noir. It's surma that's lead free and almost as black. I wish I could find a cheaper alternative but I love the long lasting, smudgey, dark look I get with this one. Sadly, there aren't too many loose kohls besides this on the market. I can't find the Sally Hansen one anywhere to save my life. However, I do adore the Guerlain version and use it day and night.
  • Lush Honey I Washed the Kids solid perfume. This is my signature fragrance and I will never be able to get enough of this.
  • My wallet. Pathetically light and unspectacular.
  • Ice Breakers Sours (berry flavour). I love the berry version but shied away from trying it because I associated all things Ice Breakers with that annoying commercial featuring Hillary and Haylie Duff. I love them, but that commercial was awful.

Verve/Vogue India Part 3: Some Beauty Essentials

Here's another photo from either Vogue or Verve India. I forgot to mark which of the two magazines it was from so your guess is as good as mine.


  • Lush Sex Bomb. Get some crackle-and-pop in your tub-stimulating fragrances fizz in your bath to get you into naughty mode.
  • Shiseido Hydro Powder Eyeshadow. Available in green, violet and gold, these shadows glide on easily and leave lasting colour-a zen moment for eyes.
  • Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Advanced Extreme Time Complex Capsules. Skin stressed by the environment? Try these fragrance free capsules. Break open and apply before make-up or moisturizer. Botanical extracts boost the skin's defenses.
  • Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. An instant pick-me-up that gets tired skin looking radiant and acts as a hydrating mask.
Photo taken by me, failing miserably at making sure the flash doesn't blind out the text. From Vogue or Verve India.

Review of the Ped Egg

With all the raves on the Ped Egg going around I bought it a few months back. I always have hideous feel in the summer and compulsively try to get rid of the callouses everyday (keep reading and my descriptions will probably become even more charming and appetizing). I usually use a callous shaver and I admit I do end up with bloody feet once in a while. This is why I'm very happy with the Ped Egg.


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The Ped Egg I found reduces the occurrences of bloody feet because it grates the callouses away in finer streams. I have not yet gotten a cut and I don't need to sand down the areas where I shave away the callouses either. It is sturdy enough to use over the thickest callouses too. The Ped Egg is affective when my feet are wet and dry, although I prefer using it when my feet are dry. I also find that I never have need for the emery board attachment to smooth my feet because the initial result is already smooth enough for my liking.

One issue I have with the design is that the shavings never really fall into the space designated for them. I always have a mess around my feet after I am done with the Ped Egg. I'm not sure whether it's my version that's defective or the overall design but I think this is an area that can be improved. However, I'm willing to overlook it for the ease and effectiveness of the Ped Egg. This is a nice purchase for the summer where your feet are constantly on display.

image source: www.tvtopten.com

Being Very Lazy, Will Have New Updates in the Morning

Hey ladies. I've been sleeping so much that I have turned into one lump of flesh. I told you I could sleep forever. I promise to answer your questions and have updates in the morning. The sleep is getting to me.

Global Goddess Cairo Eyes Liquid Kohl Eyeliner

I recently got this and I am very impressed. I like eyeliners of all kinds, my desi genes take care of that. An eyeliner seems to have a siren's call to my surma-loving ears. So it only seemed fitting to do a review on every desi girl's must have: liquid eyeliner.


First off, I adore the packaging of the product. It's very intricate and delicate with a long handle that gives great control over the applicator. The Global Goddess website states that these eyeliners contain Boabab and Moringa oil. I'm a little skeptical on the effectiveness of make-up that targets complex skin care issues because of their low concentrations so interpret the oils included what you will.

The colour I got was Dynasty which is a deep brown. I wanted to deviate from my usual black and I found this a softer but still rich variation. It still was deep enough to give my eyes an 'oomph.'

What I really liked about the eyeliner is that it stays on through a hell of a lot of abuse. I put it on in the morning and it was on my eyes as fresh as when I had put it on. It's not waterproof but it was very sweat proof and lasted through an intense workout. It also didn't flake one bit and I didn't have exacerbated raccoon rings because of the flakes. So many liners, be they liquid, cream, or gel, seem to do this on my oily lids but the Global Goddess liquid liner is really resistant to flaking. This ranks very high on my eyeliner list because it stays put really well.

Lush's Honey I Washed the Kids. My Little Bit of Heaven

I'm a secret lover of bath products. It's going to be a matter of time before this obsession is unleashed on all of you. I'm going to give you a brief report on one of my favourite soaps of all time.


I have sensitive skin even on my body and I have a love for soaps and lotions that have food smells. Give me anything that has a caramel, vanilla, chocolate or nutty smell and I'm sold. Lush's Honey I Washed the Kids fits my criteria perfectly. It is a glycerin based soap and doesn't contain any animal fats which is great for vegetarians like me. It also doesn't contain sodium laureth sulfate, which is a foaming agent, so the lather is rather unspectacular compared to your average shower gel or soap. This in no way detracts from the soap.

The soap leaves my skin very soft and I find that it is enough for my oily skin in the summer. In the winter it helps boost my skin by imparting a bit of moisture. It is so incredibly gentle on any nicks and cuts I might have from shaving. However, that's not the best thing about this soap. What I love most about it is the smell. It is a divine milky honey smell laced with warm toffee. Whenever I'm in the Lush store I want to eat their products. I'm not joking. I feel that some of their products smell and look better than their edible counterparts and I have a hard time not biting into them. This particular smell is so warm and inviting that it has me finding excuses to shower. And after the shower I can't get enough of the soft smell it leaves behind on my skin.

Lush's Honey I Washed the Kids is by far one of my staple bath products. I have a lot, but this one is warm and comforting. If you like food smells in your bath products, give this a try.

image source: www.lush.com

Vogue India Excerpt Part 2: The Reverse Wing Look

Here's another excerpt from Vogue with tips on creating a twist on the winged eyeliner.


A simple daytime version of the winged look. Draw an extended under-eye line moving in an upward sweep, Leave the top lid without liner, but with a colour block between lid and brow.
Recreate this look with: MAC Paint in Chartru, Bourjois Kohl Pencil in Teal, L'Oreal Shocking Volume mascara.

Image source: vogue india. Shot taken by me and my beautiful camera (craptastic angle all my doing)

Make-up From the Sartorialist's Visit to India

I had a request for this look that was featured on the Sartorialist (always an awesome read by the way) and I have to add that whoever the person is in the pic pulled off the look so effortlessly. By far one of my favourite looks.


Recommended Products:

  • Tinted moisturizer, translucent powder, and concealor of your choice
  • MAC Photogravure Technakohl liner
  • Vasanti Magic World Eye and Cheek Putty
  • MAC Harmony. This and MAC's Sculpt and Shape are my go-to for contouring. Harmony makes an amazing contour on the cheeks.
  • MAC Stud
  • L'Oreal Panoramic Curl mascara
  • NARS Heatwave lipstick. This is an incredibly fitting lipstick for this look I think.

Face:
This look requires your skin to look natural and as unmade-up as possible. Apply an eye cream of your choice and apply a light tinted moisturizer instead of a foundation. If needed, cover up any problem areas with a concealor that matches your skintone. Set with a thin dusting of translucent powder.

Eyes:
The eyes are very subtle and I really doubt she's wearing any eyeshadow. Instead, tap on a highlighter like Magic World sheerly on your lids and a bit on your brow bone. Remember to keep it sheer and soft.

Brows:
This simple look really requires the brows to be groomed. Pluck away any stray hairs but be sure to keep the brows as full as possible. Enhance your brows with the Stud eyebrow pencil using short feathery strokes.

Liner:
If you know how to tightline, I would recommend doing that (I'll have a tutorial up of this soon). If not, line your top lid with Photogravure and keep the liner as thin and as close to the top lash line as possible.

Mascara:
Apply a coat of the L'Oreal Panoramic Curl mascara to the top lashes. Without dipping the wand in more mascara, use the remainder on your bottom lashes.

Cheeks:
Again, it looks like she's not wearing anything and is just blessed with great cheekbones (how do I send her hatemail?). If you would like to have some definition, you can contour your cheeks with a shade like the Harmony blush. I will have a highlighting/contouring tutorial of the whole face up soon if that helps. Meanwhile, I have a badly photographed contouring tutorial under the tutorial section.

Lips:
With a lip brush, carefully outline your lips with the Heatwave lipstick. Then, go in and fill lips with the same lipstick.

image source: thesartorialist.blogspot.com

Little Update on My Very Painful Situation

A few days ago I pulled a muscle in my back really badly. Up until now, even drinking water was an existential question. How badly did I need the water? Would I be willing to risk intense pain to get the water? Was I content to be without pain or did I need to have the water? It had all the makings of a Camus novel or a Pinter play but it also meant that I couldn't type much. After a lot of bengay, holding off going to the bathroom, and hot patches on my back, I am finally better and will be able to answer your comments and post the things you requested soon. And by soon I mean tomorrow. Right now I'm a little befuddled by the bengay fumes.

IIFA Looks Part 1: Shriya Saran

I guess I'm so used to Shriya being in Tamil movies so much I forgot she made a Hindi movie recently too. Or she might have many Hindi movies, not sure. Here is a breakdown of her look at the IIFA Fashion Extravaganza. It's a gorgeous look but personally I would have chosen a different blush. I feel it's much too warm for the colour palette her eyes and lips comprise of. I've offered a substitute that I feel would have balanced the tones better. Ignore it if I'm being pompous.

Also, I'm going to start off recommending you start doing the eyes first so that the flyaway shadows don't mar your foundation and concealor.


Recommended Make-up:

  • Concealor, foundation, and translucent powder that you love
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • MAC Concrete eye shadow.
  • Maybelline Define-A-Brow Gel
  • MAC Nehru eye shadow
  • MAC Shroom eye shadow
  • MAC Smolder eye kohl
  • L'Oreal Voluminous
  • MAC Coppertone blush. Alternative: MAC Blushbaby
  • MAC Twig lipstick
  • MAC Soar lip pencil
  • Blistex or Carmex that comes in the tub.
Eyes:
Prep eyes for eye shadow with some Urban Decay Primer Potion.

Brows:
Shreya's brows are strong but not harsh. I recommend using Concrete to define eyebrows because it's a lot softer than black and doesn't make me look like I have an ongoing feud with everyone who has the power to dehair me. So dip a brow brush into the Concrete eyeshadow and with small strokes define your brows. Be sure to follow the natural shape of you brows. Set the brows into place with the Define-A-Brow gel.

Eyelid:
Use a patting motion to apply Nehru to your lids so you get the deepest version of the colour all the way up to the crease. I find that patting on colour intensifies the shadow instead of stroking it all over the lid. Blend the edges of the crease slightly towards the brow bone. With a pencil brush such as the MAC 219, blend out the shadow near the outer edge of the eye to make a wing towards the end of the eyebrow. Don't take the shadow all the way to the edge of the eyebrow and stop short of it by 1/2 to 1/3 (depending on the level of drama that you want) of the distance between the outer corner of the eye and the end of the eyebrow. Apply a medium-thin line of Nehru along the entire lower lash line.

Highlight:
Apply Shroom to your brow bone and blend into the crease.

Eyeliner:
Line the top and bottom lash line with Smolder. Make the liner on the top lid medium-thin and blend it into the Nehru eyeshadow. On the bottom lid, keep the liner thin and as close to the bottom lash line as possible and smudge into the Nehru that you applied on the bottom lid. For the finishing touch, line your bottom waterline with Smolder.

Mascara:
Curl lashes and generously apply two to three coats of mascara on top and bottom lashes. Use a lash comb to get rid of clumps.

Foundation:
Brush off any shadow fallout and start applying a medium coverage satin finish foundation. Then, conceal any problem areas. Set with translucent powder.

Cheeks:
Apply a sheer dusting of Coppertone on the apple of your cheeks and blend into the temple. I personally like Blushbaby better with this look as I find it fits the colour palette better. Again, just pretend that last line isn't there if you think I'm annoying.

Lips:
Line the rim of your lips with Soar and use a lip bush to blend the outline into the lips. Then, using the same lip brush, apply Twig onto the lips. Apply some balm if necessary. I find Twig's formula quite drying and it doesn't look like Shriya's wearing a high shine gloss, so I think my trusted Carmex or Blistex (the clear pot versions) would work wonderfully for this.

image source: www.filmicafe.com

My Vogue India Find Part 1: Kalyani Chawla's Beauty Must Haves

I was out and about the other day, not even looking to the world for inspiration and randomly walked into a boutique in Houston (Carmaa, for those in the know) and had a coronary. The best thing about vacation is surprises like this. I just about had a coronary when I discovered the owner had several Indian magazines. After performing CPR on myself, I asked the owner whether I could take photos of the magazine articles and she was kind enough to oblige. So here's Part 1 with Kalyani Chawla. I have no idea who she is, but if she's good enough to be featured in Vogue she's good enough for me.


Kalyani Chawla's Beauty Tips:

  • Bronzers work well on Indian skin and make you glow
  • MAC Lipglass will give you a long-lasting finish, ideal for evening wear
  • Be fanatic about removing eye make-up with an extra gentle cleansing gel
  • Add a few drops of baby oil to your bath for soft skin all over


Kalyani Chawla's Beauty Must-Haves:
  • Lakme High Definition Eyeliner
  • Dior Capture Totale Serum
  • Dior Prestige Revitalizing Eye Cream
  • Johnson's Baby Oil
  • Dior Eye Make-up Remover
  • MAC Lipglass
image source: Vogue India, photos taken by me and mostly my amazingly fabulous camera.

Light, Glowy Look for the Summer. It's Very Quick I Promise.

Alright, I admit I have a sleeping problem. I need to rectify that. From tomorrow onwards, I will not stay up all night doing... nothing. May the gods of sleep be with me from now on. But right now, I'm going to use this time for good. This is a look I do because I like an easy, glowy look in the summer. I love to glow, even though I'm an incredibly oily skinned girl. I think it's a nice look for a lazy dinner out on the patio with friends. I hope you like this look because it's a very simple one. I have a couple more complicated ones up next if you don't like this.


Tools Used:

  • MAC 129 powder brush. I used this for the highlight too. As long as you don't dunk it in highlighter I find it works well for both powder and highlighter.
  • MAC 217 blending brush to apply highlighter to my lids, browbone, and the bridge of my nose.
  • Fingers. I'm gross for dipping my fingers into a pot concealor.
Make-up Used:
  • Shiseido Translucent Powder.
  • MAC Studio Finish Concealor in NW35
  • Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Tawny used on lids and highlight
  • Bobbi Brown pot rouge in Pale Pink. You'll be surprised how beautiful it is as a blush on dark skin.
  • Bobbi Brown pot rouge in Velvet Plum
  • Blistex
  • L'Oreal Voluminous
Step 1:
If needed spot conceal problem areas on the face and use a tinted moisturizer. Then set with translucent powder. I wanted to let my skin show through and to really make it a quick look so I left it at translucent powder.

Step 2:
Conceal under-eye circles with the concealor of your choice. I just patted it on with my fingers. Set it with translucent powder.

Step 4:
Apply the Pale Pink pot rouge to the apple of the cheeks and blend to the temples. It's a surprisingly flattering pop of colour on my skin.

Step 5:
Pat on the Velvet Plum pot rouge to lips with fingers. It doesn't have to be precise and you don't want it to look like you put a lot of effort into it. You're basically trying to stain your lips with the lip colour. Even if you're using a similar coloured lipstick, try patting it on with your fingers to get a smudgey effect.

Step 6:
Apply blistex on top of your lip colour to give it a soft sheen and to keep lips hydrated.

Step 7:
Using the MAC 129 brush, dust highlighter lightly on the top of your cheekbones. Then take the MAC 217 brush and apply the highlighter to the center of your lids and blend out. Continue highlighting the brow bone, the bridge of the nose, and the cupid's bow.

Step 8:
Apply two coats of mascara to top lashes and one coat to bottom lashes.

Warm Tangerine Cheeks on Bipasha and Shriya Saran

A while ago I remember admiring bipasha's sunkissed cheeks and thinking that I often love her make-up (the styling not so much but her make-up is usually fabulous). I was browsing the internet again-aren't I always-and I came across a pic of Sriya Saran at a Lux event in Chennai where she was named brand ambassador. At that moment I realize two things. First, do these things take place in an alternate Chennai because I never hear of any glamorous occasion when I'm there. Second, I need to post about Shriya and Bipasha's cheek colour.



To achieve their warm tangerine blush, apply Nars Gina or MAC Melba very lightly on the apple of the cheeks to the temple.

image sources: www.idiaglitz.com, www.media.movietalkies.com

India's Twenty20 Cricket Team Lives in Denial of Melanin

I was about to sleep when I ran across this article. I was looking for some desi-beauty news to inspire me and it did, only int he wrong way. As you might have figured from my maniacal rantings, I hate the whole 'let's make brown girls whiter and let's tell white girls they need to tan to be beautiful' outlook. And so as fate would have it, I came across some idiocy and I can't sleep until I work myself into a frenzy of agitation over this article where two British cheerleaders were told by India's Twenty20 cricket team that they were too dark to perform.


To be honest it's the cheerleaders' fault really. Didn't they know that to enter Indian territory you need to be at or above an acceptable level of dark-skinned-ness? It's the reason Indian embassy officials don't wear sunglasses while issuing visas: it darkens the skin of the applicant. Duh! I think all Indian embassy officials should be fired. How dare they allow the melanin-endowed to enter India? You know what, I think the melanin made the cheerleaders fool officials into thinking they were lighter skinned and then entered the country. See? Melanin isn't only ugly, it' evil too. This is why India's Twenty20 cricket team refuses to buy mirrors. They'll realize they have melanin in their skin too and who knows what the melanin will drive them to do.

In their effort to celebrate their translucent image of self, India's Twenty20 cricket team seem to have taken to courting the ways of the hydroquinone molecule. Truly, it seems to have inspired them to try to cause irreversible damage to India's image by attempting to destroy all things melanin.

image source: www.thisislondon.co.uk

When Buying Desi Kajals and Surmas, Please Be Careful of the Lead Content

I could hear the pillars of desi-hood crumbling and roaring in anger as I wrote the title for this post. Loving kohl is one of the commandments for being desi, and I promise I'm not trying to single-handedly destroy the culture wherein girls are named Kajal. Furthermore, nothing really compares to the blackness and sultriness of desi kajal. I find it infinitely more intense than anything available on the market. However, there is some reason to be careful when buying desi kajal.

The New York City Department of Health and Hygiene and the FDA have both raised concerned over desi kajal and surma. In an FDA testing of kajal and surma coming from the Middle East and from South Asia, they all tested positive for lead. In fact, some samples were found to contain more than half their weight in lead. There have also been reports of people suffering from lead poisoning because of the lead in kajal and surma.

The lead in kajal and surma was also a direct cause of increased levels of lead in children and adults. Some companies brand their kajal and surma as lead free, but they often contain antimony (sometimes in very high levels). This is a substance that causes symptoms similar to arsenic poisoning.

One very frustrating thing is that companies also don't list their entire list of ingredients. They list things such as 'base q.s.' or 'kohl stone.' In an attempt to sidestep the FDA, some companies have branded their own stamp of approval on behalf of the FDA stating that their products are FDA approved. The FDA has emphasized that this is not the case and that these kajals and surmas are still suspect and might contain high levels of lead and antimony. Finally, keep in mind that Middle Eastern and South Asian surmas and kajals have actually been banned by the FDA even though they are imported.

Just in case you were wondering, the New York City Department of Health and Hygiene and the FDA have identified even these popular desi kajals as containing lead:

  • Hashmi Surma Special
  • Hashmi Kajal
  • Hashmi Kohl Aswad

I will try to get my hands on the comprehensive list of kajals and surmas that contain lead.

information sources: www.cfsan.fda.gov, www.nyc.gov