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In: home > Newborn Care / Diapering and Grooming your Baby / Is it Safe to Apply Kajal to Baby’s Eyes?

Is it Safe to Apply Kajal to Baby's Eyes?

newborn-care Diapering and Grooming your Baby
Though applying kajal to baby’s eyes is an age-old tradition in India, it is not safe. Find out the reasons why you should avoid applying kajal to your baby’s eyes.

Kajal, commonly known as kohl or surma, is a dark eye liner to be applied on inner eyelids. It is a thick black paste. It is traditionally used in India, Egypt, and Middle East countries.
It was originally prepared at home by combining the soot from oil lamps with ghee or castor oil.  Every Indian family tends to apply kajal on baby’s eyes due to some old beliefs, but these days, its application safety for your baby’s eyes has come to a toss.

Is Kajal Safe for Your Baby?

Taking decision of whether applying kajal to your baby’s eyes is safe or not is really painful. There are few old beliefs prevailing behind applying kajal to baby’s eyes, but there is not much justification or proof supporting such beliefs which gradually turn them into myths in this modern world. Moreover, pediatricians strictly ask not to put kajal on baby’s eyes. So it becomes difficult to decide what to do?

What Are the Common Beliefs of Indian Families for Applying Kajal to Baby’s Eyes?

  • Applying kajal on your baby’s eyes will make their eyes bright, large, and attractive.
  • Kajal soothes, cleanses and protects the eye against infections and the sharp sun glares.
  • Applying kajal on your baby’s eyes will ward off the evil eye.

Why Say No to Kajal for Your Baby’s Eyes?

Many studies have been carried out behind the safety of use of kajal in baby’s eyes and pediatricians have come up with multiple reasons to avoid applying kajal in your baby’s eyes.

  • Most commercially produced kajal has high levels of lead in them. This is certainly harmful for your baby as too much of lead stored in the body can affect the brain, other organs and bone marrow, leading to anemia, low IQ, and convulsions.
  • Kajal can lead to itchiness, watery eyes, and other allergies in your baby.
  • Kajal if washed down during bath can pass down and black the small and narrow opening between the eyes and nose of your baby causing infections.
  • The ingredients or packaging of the kajal can be contaminated, and thus harmful for your baby’s eyes.
  • Also, while applying kajal, your sharp and uneven fingernails can cause discomfort to the baby and if your hands are not properly hygienic in condition, then it might be infectious to your baby.

What Are the Alternative Options?

The best option is to apply a small mark of kajal behind one of the eyes, at the hairline on the forehead, or on the sole of your baby’s foot if you believe in the story of warding evil’s eyes off your baby. Or you can check the ingredients used to prepare it while you buy it from stores – go for the organic ones. However, it is better to avoid buying the kajal available in the market; instead of it, prepare it at home.

How to Make Kajal at Home?

The easiest way of preparing home-made kajal is as follows:

  • Take a clean, white, thin muslin cloth of 4x4 size and soak it in sandalwood paste and dry it in shade; this sip-and-dry process must be done throughout the daytime.
  • In the evening, roll the cloth into a thin wick and lit a mud lamp with this filled with castor oil.
  • Keep a brass plate smeared with garlic juice over the lamp leaving a little gap enough for the oxygen to aid the burning of the lamp overnight.
  • Next morning, scrape off the carbon powder that is deposited on the brass plate into a clean dry box and mix it with few drops of pure ghee or castor oil and store it.
This can be used on daily basis as the ingredients you use for this preparation have medicinal values. You can even enjoy keeping the old beliefs intact using this home-made kajal cutting out the risks of the harmful effects of kajal for eyes. Though home-med Kajal is deemed to be safe, it is not good to play with your baby’s eyes. It is advisable to keep your baby’s eyes free from kajal or any other substance which can prove harmful for baby’s eyes.

What are the common beliefs in India associated with applying kajal baby’s eyes? Why is it best to avoid applying kajal to the eyes of babies? Is it safe to apply homemade kajal to baby’s eyes? Discuss here.
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Meha.1 year ago
My mother in law puts kajal on my baby's eyebrows. According to her putting kajal on baby's eyebrows is good for growing thick eyebrows. My baby looks weird with that. I wanted to know if it is safe to apply kajal on baby's eyebrows?
Kanishka.1 year ago
Hi Ridhi, it is good that you are avoiding kajal, but oil is not safe at all. Putting oil in baby's ears and nose can damage his or her brain. Explain this to your mother in law and she will definitely stop doing it.
Ridhi.1 year ago
Since doctor has said no, I am not applying kajal to my baby's eyes. However, it is ok to put oil in baby's ears and mother in law does that always. She says it is good for baby's ears and nose.
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