• Imagining History

Ancient Egyptian Eye Make Up

Updated: May 18

The distinctive Ancient Egyptian eye make-up, called ‘Kohl’, was worn by men, women and children alike.


But why wear it at all?


  1. First off, as demonstrated by Lizzy Taylor (above), Kohl enhanced the natural beauty of the wearer – Ancient Egyptians, like everyone else, liked to look good.

  2. It also identified the wearer’s status to others, a member of the royal family may have incredibly intricate make-up, whilst a peasant might have slapped on their Kohl using the backend of a chunk of limestone.

  3. It also had ‘magical benefits’, supposedly protecting the wearer from disease and warding off that pesky ‘evil eye’.

Whilst we can’t validate its effectiveness at evil eye warding, Kohl was brilliant at preventing disease. In recent studies scientists have recreated samples of Kohl and have since proven that Kohl can prevent and treat eye disease.



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