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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 strong sun rays. However, many mothers wonder whether kajal is safe for their baby’s eyes or not.
Is Kajal Good for Baby 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 possibly 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 too much lead in the body 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 hygienic, 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.
- Go for kajal substitutes with organic ingredients.
- Make your own Kajal at home. This can be done by using almond which is rich in Vitamin E, making it economical and good for the eyes. 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 mentioned before, most commercially available 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. Let us see how to do it.
What You Need
- Two equal sized bowls with flat bottoms (you can use steel or anything heat-resistant)
- One thick plate (preferably of brass)
Note: Take care to ensure that the plate and bowls are sterilized.
- 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 in between
- Invert the plate and balance it on both the bowls, creating a bridge. This is where it becomes important to use flat-bottomed bowls so that the plate can balance on them, which will become difficult if you use round-bottomed ones.
- Pour castor oil into the diya and arrange the wick in it. Light and place 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 observe 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 it into a paste
- Store it in a cool place
Common Myth and Truth Related to Applying Kajal to Baby’s Eyes
Although the usage of kajal clearly has so many adverse effects, households still continue to apply it to their baby’s eyes. Here are a few myths associated with this practice and their corresponding facts busting those myths:
- Kajal Makes Eyes And Eyebrows 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 or longer.
- Applying Kajal Will Help To Sleep Longer
Yes. Babies will sleep longer due to the cooling effect of the castor or almond oil mixed in with the kajal. However, as they already sleep for 18-19 hours a day, is there any point for a longer sleep than that?
- Homemade Kajal Is Safe
No. Homemade kajal might be safer than store-bought ones but 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 spiritual/traditional belief and has no scientific base.
- Kajal Helps To Repair Baby’s Eye Form
No. If this was true, doctors would be prescribing them to patients. Kajal has no effect on a baby’s eye form whatsoever.
Whatever you decide to do, hygiene is the most important 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 than take the risk when your little one’s eyes are at stake.