What is Kohl Eyeliner? Everything You Should Know About

best kohl eyeliner

Kohl eyeliner, often simply referred to as kohl, is a cosmetic product used for eye makeup. It has a long history and is popular in many cultures around the world. Kohl is typically a soft, powdery substance that comes in a pencil or stick form. It is applied around the eyes, mainly on the waterline or lash line, to enhance and define the eyes.


The primary purpose of kohl eyeliner is to accentuate the eyes, create a more dramatic look, and make them appear larger. It can be used for both upper and lower lash lines. Read on for absolutely everything you need to know about kohl liner.

History of Kohl Liner

Kohl Liner is one of the oldest and most enduring cosmetic products in human culture. In Ancient Egyptian culture, the kohl was made from a mixture of galena (lead sulfide), malachite, and other natural minerals. The dark, pigmented substance was applied not only for cosmetic reasons but also as a part of religious and cultural rituals.

In Greco-Roman world, both men and women applied kohl for aesthetic reasons, contributing to a distinctive look that celebrated dark, outlined eyes. Moreover, Kohl continued to be a popular cosmetic in Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures, maintaining its cultural and religious significance.

Features of Kohl Eyeliner

When choosing a kohl eyeliner, consider personal preferences, the desired look, and the formulation features that align with individual needs for an enhanced eye makeup experience. Several features of Kohl eyeliner are as follows:

Long Lasting Formula

Intense Pigmentation

Cooling Sensation

Blendability & versatility

Variety of Colors

Soft & creamy texture

How to Choose the Right Kohl Eyeliner

In terms of modern-day kohl eyeliners (not actual kohl), several considerations come into play. The first factor to be considered while picking up the kohli eyeliner is packaging. The most common liners are available in pencil form, some comes in pots with brush. Pencil kohls offers easy application for beginners, but pots allows customized precision with a brush and are for experts.

When it comes to finish, kohl liners generally comes in matte texture, shimmer, and metallic options. The Matte finishes are versatile, while shimmer and metallic finishes add a subtle pop and sparkle look to your eye..

Last but not the least, Kohl liners comes in a variety of colors, from classic black to white and even pink, blue & teal green. Black kohl suits to all skin complexions, but pale complexions may prefer gray or brown color. White and nude shades brighten the waterline by offering an awakened look to the eye.

How to Use Kohl Eyeliner

  • Make sure your liner is sharp! Give it a quick sharpen before applying.
  • Gently apply on the upper lash line. Draw a small wing off the corner of your eye.
  • Taking a small smudge brush, smudge out the line you just drew. Blend it for a smokey look.
  • Apply on your waterline.
  • Add a little bit of liner more to the lower lash line and take the same brush to smoke out the line.

Best Kohl Eyeliners

1. Best Gel Kohl Eyeliner: HAUS LABORATORIES by Lady Gaga

This creamy, pigment-packed gel kohl eyeliner pencil is designed for a luxurious application experience. With a smooth glide along the waterline, it delivers intense color payoff and offers extra playtime for blending and smudging before setting. The formula transforms into a water-resistant finish, creating a mesmerizing smokey-eye effect that lasts.

Features: Water Resistant Finish

Type: Smokey

What We Like
Longer stay
Best for Waterline
Blends seamlessly
Vegan & Cruelty Free
What We Don’t Like

Bit Pricey

Also Read: 10 Best Liquid Eyeliner for Beginners

2. Best for Water Line: MAC Eyeliner Kohl Power Eye Pencil

The MAC eyeliner delivers intense and vibrant colors in a single stroke, allowing for bold and striking eye looks. Its creamy formula ensures a smooth and effortless application, preventing tugging or pulling on the sensitive eye area.

This smudge proof eye pencil available in a diverse range of colors, from classic blacks to vibrant hues, allowing you to experiment with different looks and complement your style.

Features: Rich Pigmentation

Type: Smudge-Free

What We Like
Full Coverage
Safe for use in waterlines
Ophthalmologist tested
Best for contact lens users
Paraben & Gluten free
What We Don’t Like

Bit Pricey

3. Best for Sensitive Eyes: Lord & Berry Nude Eyeliner

This Kohl Eye Liner combines traditional allure with modern convenience. It delivers a semi-matte finish and is perfect for smudging. Furthermore, it is ophthalmologically-tested and is best suitable for sensitive eyes. While its soft tip ensures gentle application for eyes by making it suitable for the inner eye circle.

Features: Gentle for Inner Eye

Type: Matte

What We Like
Matte finish.
Long lasting.
Can be smudged
Easily Blendable
What We Don’t Like

4. Best Waterproof: K7L Dark Brown Eyeliner

K7L Dark Brown Eyeliner

  • Coverage that won’t Budge

This Waterproof and smudge-proof eyeliner ensures a flawless look for emotional moments and long hours. The non-traditional creamy formula guarantees a 12-hour wear. By using this, you can achieve the perfect cat-eye and is perfect for beginners. It is available in five bold colors, including Onyx, Cocoa, Rust, Crema, and Disco.

Features: Waterproof

Type: Shimmery

What We Like
Lasts all day
Smudge Proof
Easily Sharpened
Coverage that won’t Budge
What We Don’t Like
Sharpen after every few uses
Light Coverage

5. Best Powdered Kohl Eyeliner: jane iredale Mystikol Powdered Eyeliner

This water resisteant powdered eyeliner is best to create smokey eyes in seconds that lasts all day. The creamy texture of the powder is easily applicable by using soft brush. It contains coco glycerides which helps to smoothly glides the product and gives staying power for whole day.

Features: Water Resistant

Type: Elegant

What We Like

Use as a Eyeshadow
Built-in & removable brush
Long Lasting

6. Best Longwear: LAURA GELLER NEW YORK Kajal


  • Available in 6 vibrant colors

This soft kohl formula is suitable for any look, eye color, or age. It is infused with Vitamin E and Caffeine which helps to hydrate and conditions the lids while providing a caffeine boost to reduce puffiness and redness around eyes. Available in 6 vibrant colors and delivers you richly pigmented color in smooth, skip- free strokes.

Features: Highly Pigmented, long-wearing 

Type: Smooth

What We Like
Soft Kohl
Smooth Texture
Sharpener Included
Smudge- Proof
What We Don’t Like

Hard to get off
Not for poor aging Eyelids

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I Use Kohl Eyeliner on the Waterline?

Yes, many people use kohl eyeliner on the waterline to enhance the eyes. However, it’s essential to choose a product specifically labeled as safe for the waterline.

  • Is Kohl Eyeliner Waterproof?

Some kohl eyeliners are waterproof, providing resistance to water, sweat, and tears. Check the product description or label for waterproof or long-lasting features if this is a priority for you.

  • How Long Does Kohl Eyeliner Last?

The longevity of kohl eyeliner depends on the formulation and brand. Many products claim to be long-lasting and may offer hours of wear without smudging. Experimenting with different brands can help find the one that suits your needs.

  • Can I Create a Smoky Eye Look with Kohl Eyeliner?

Yes, kohl eyeliners are often used to create smoky eye looks. The soft texture and blendability make them suitable for achieving both precise lines and smudged effects.

  • Can I Sharpen Kohl Eyeliner Pencils?

Traditional pencil-form kohl eyeliners can be sharpened with a cosmetic pencil sharpener.

  • How Do I Remove Kohl Eyeliner?

Kohl eyeliners can be removed using makeup removers or gentle cleansers. Water-resistant formulas may require specialized makeup removers. Using a cotton pad or swab, gently wipe the eyeliner away, taking care not to irritate the eyes.

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Written by Harry Smith

She is a professional beauty writer & blogger. Self confessed handbag addict, enjoys Netflix and online shopping :) in her free time.

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