Black, winged eyeliner will never not be modern - it’s truly timeless, and yet one of its earliest and best known uses was as long ago as ancient Egypt. In a unique makeup tutorial, makeup artist Lisa Eldridge explores the history of kohl, starting with its original purpose in Egypt as being both medicinal and spiritual and visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to discover the containers and applicators that were used in those times.
After creating her own mineral-based kohl with gum arabic, castor oil, water and lamplack for pigment, Lisa carefully packages the thick, creamy liquid into her very own replica of an ancient kohl pot made of wood and bone. Then, with a replica of the stick applicator that they would have used at the time, Lisa shows how they would have applied their kohl to create a dramatic, defined eye.
Cheating with a brush to get a more modern, polished look, Lisa expertly smudges the kohl through her waterline and under the lash line before using the cumbersome stick applicator and kohl to apply a ‘mascara’ to her lashes in the way the ancient Egyptians would have, finishing it off with a modern day mascara for extra wow-factor.
As Lisa herself says in the video, “Our love affair with kohl will never end.” Continue yours and watch the pro create a sooty, feline flick with the tools that still inspire our liquid eyeliners of today.
Death on the Nile: Uncovering the afterlife of ancient Egypt runs until 22nd May at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Admission free. FacePaint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge is published by Abrams Image, RRP £18.99.
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