Choosing Eye Makeup: Eye Pencils & Kajals

Eye pencils, kajal
"When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes" - Victor Hugo. In our series on eye makeup, we take up pencils/kajal first - something almost all of us use daily. We hope these 4 FAQs will help you choose your next eye pencil/kajal better, and get your eyes talking...


1. Eye pencil or kajal pencil?

We've had people asking us: isn't a black eye pencil the same as a kajal pencil? Short answer: NO. Long answer: Eye pencils are liners meant to demarcate and highlight the eyes. They are normally not good enough to be used inside of the lower eyelid, which is where we apply kajal. Kajal pencils, on the other hand, are specially formulated to be safe for waterline application - that is, in contact inside our eyes. We've had people complaining of irritation when they applied eye pencil in place of kajal. Remember this when choosing your pencil/kajal.


2. Kajal pencil or kajal stick?

For product features: kajal pencil. Reasons: always sharp/can be sharpened easily, easier to carry, more shades available, and uses less/no plastic. Kajal stick is better value for money but we worry about what happens when the stick is half-used and not really as sharp as when you began. Using hands to apply... well, so yesterday. 


3. Automatic pencil or sharpening type?

A few pointers to help you decide:
  • Automatic pencils typically have less "stuff" in them than wood/plastic encased pencils. Usually, automatic pencils have 0.3-0.4g of actual content, while encased pencils have more than 1g of product. Sharpening does lead to some wastage, but we estimate that the sharpening type pencil will last 2-3 times longer than the automatic ones
  • Need for carrying a sharpener - this is obvious. But remember that an automatic pencil will not have the same precise sharpness that a well sharpened encased pencil will have. It's a compromise, for convenience
  • All-natural formulations are often not suitable for automatic liners. This is because they are softer and cannot be independently "plonked" inside an automatic pencil. If you are in for natural products, check if the kajal you are using is all-natural.


4. Which brand?

In keeping with our objectivity, we will refrain from naming brands here, but use the following guide to choose. We've started with the important ones (in our view) first:
  • What's inside: unfortunately the ingredient list on most eye pencils and kajals is missing, so we really don't know what's inside something that we use on and inside our eyes.
  • Softness of the formulation: Is the formulation comfortable for day-long wear? Don't just settle for smudge-proof, check if it's something you want inside your eyes 365 days a year.
  • Long-lasting: Most eye pencils and kajal pencils these days last more than 6 hours. Anything more is a bonus. We wouldn't choose one just because it says x-hours long. The first two factors are equally important
  • Shades: Nothing beats black, but we see people getting experimentative. For Indian skin and for the kind of heavily printed/embroidered clothes we wear (as opposed to solid ones preferred by Westerners), it's tough to get the right shade match for your pencil everytime. Stick to black, and maybe a blue or a brown, that should serve you well for almost everything. Colored eyeshadows give more bang for the buck, in our opinion. More about eyeshadows some other day.
Let us know if we missed something on pencils/kajal, and we will be happy to include it. See you soon, cheers!

About Plum

Plum GoodnessInspired by global best practices in safe natural cosmetics and beauty solutions, Plum is an exclusive, online-only beauty brand. At Plum, we bring together science and product expertise in a harmonious blend. And we give back to nature as much as we take. Designed in London and in the EU, all Plum products are 100% vegan and free of Parabens, DEP, DBP, Propylene Glycol, SLS, PABA, DEA and other harmful chemicals. Plum is available directly from Click here to explore our product range.


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