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Applying kajal to a baby’s eyes is a traditional Indian ritual, believed to ward off the evil eye and give protection against the intense sun rays. Some believe that kajal increases the size of the baby’s eyes, protects his eyes from diseases, and improves eyesight. Sometimes kajal is applied simply because older people of the family advise new parents to apply it. However, many mothers wonder whether kajal is safe for their baby’s eyes or not.
Is Kajal Good for Baby’s Eyes?
Even though applying kajal to a newborn baby is considered good by many Indian families, the truth is that it is an extremely harmful practice, with possible negative consequences.
Reasons to Avoid Applying Kajal to your Newborn’s Eyes
- Many commercially produced baby eye kajal products have high levels of lead in them. Lead is extremely harmful to the baby as a prolonged application can lead to excessive lead storage in the baby’s body. It can affect the organs, the brain, and bone marrow, causing low IQ, anaemia, and convulsions.
- While applying kajal to your baby’s eyes, if your hands are not clean, they may transfer infections to the baby. Also, you might accidentally hurt your baby’s eyes with your nails or fingers while rubbing the kajal on.
- During a bath, kajal can mix with water, run down and block the opening between your baby’s eyes and nose, causing infections later on.
- Kajal can also lead to watery eyes, irritation, itchiness, and other allergies in your baby. In worse cases, it can damage your baby’s vision too.
Common Beliefs of Indian Families for Applying Kajal to Newborn’s Eyes
- Applying kajal to a baby’s eyes will make his or her eyes bright, luminous, and attractive.
- Applying kajal to a newborn’s eyes will ward off the evil eye.
- Kajal supposedly soothes and protects the eyes from the harsh sun and also prevents infections.
What is the Alternative to Kajal for an Infant’s Eyes?
- The safest and best option is to apply a dot of kajal behind one of your baby’s eyes, at the hairline near the forehead or on the sole of your baby’s foot if you are particular about warding off the evil eye.
- Even though the application of kajal is not recommended if you wish to apply it to your child’s eyes, it’s better to make the kajal at home. This way, you can regulate the ingredients and protect your baby’s eyes from high amounts of lead that present in store-bought kajal. This can be done by using almond oil which is rich in Vitamin E, making it somewhat safe. The steps to make your own kajal have been shared below.
Is it Safe to Use Store-Bought Kajal?
The answer is NO – it is not safe to use store-bought kajal. As explained earlier, most commercially produced kajal products have a high amount of lead, excess amounts of which can cause anaemia, convulsions and lower IQ in children. The ingredients of store-bought kajal can cause itchiness and watery eyes in your baby.
Making Kajal At Home For Babies
Homemade kajal for babies is the right way to go if you want to protect your baby from the ill-effects of kajal but still follow the traditional beliefs. Making kajal at home is quite easy and does not require any fancy ingredients. Here’s how you can make kajal at home.
What You Need
- Two equal-sized bowls with flat bottoms (you can use steel or anything heat-resistant)
- One thick plate (preferably made of brass)
Note: Make sure that the plate and bowls are sterilised before using them.
- Ghee (few drops)
- Diya (an oil lamp) and a wick
- Castor oil (to burn the diya)
- A small box to store the kajal
How To Make
- Invert both bowls and place them flat on the floor with a small gap between them.
- Invert the plate and balance it on both the bowls, creating a bridge. This is where it becomes crucial to use flat-bottomed bowls so that the plate can balance on them. It will be difficult to balance the plate on round-bottomed bowls.
- Pour castor oil into the diya and place the wick in it. Light and set the diya under the bridge, below the plate.
- The diya’s flame should be touching the plate. If this does not happen, use smaller sized bowls to decrease the height.
- Wait for around 20 minutes.
- Taking care not to burn yourself, slowly lift the plate.
- You will see black soot which has collected on the plate’s inverted surface.
- Scrape it carefully with a knife into the small box.
- Add a few ghee drops to make a paste.
- Store it in a cool, dry place.
Common Myths and Truth Related to Applying Kajal to Baby’s Eyes
Although the usage of kajal clearly has so many adverse effects, people continue to apply it to their baby’s eyes. Here are a few myths associated with this practice, and the corresponding facts busting those myths:
- Kajal Makes Eyes and Eyelashes of an Infant Longer
No, it doesn’t. The physical features of a baby’s face are determined by genes and genes alone. So no amount of kajal is going to stretch the muscles around the baby’s eye socket and make it bigger.
- Applying Kajal Will Help the Baby Sleep Longer
There is no scientific evidence supporting this myth. Babies already sleep for 18-19 hours a day, is there any point for making a baby sleep longer than that?
- Homemade Kajal is Safe
No. Homemade kajal might be safer than store-bought ones, but it still contains carbon which is unsafe for the baby’s eyes. Also, infections can be passed from your fingertips to the baby’s eyes during the process of application.
- Kajal Helps to Protect Baby From the Evil Eye
This is purely a traditional belief and has no scientific base.
- Kajal Helps to Repair Baby’s Eye Form
No. If this were true, doctors would be prescribing them to patients. Kajal does not affect a baby’s eye form whatsoever.
Whatever you decide to do, hygiene is the most critical element to keep in mind while taking care of your baby. Remember that your baby’s eyes are naturally beautiful, and applying kajal can cause damage to them. It is better to avoid using it than to take a risk when your little one’s eyes are at stake.