Tools for Applying Kohl

Rolling my eyes at you!Rolling my eyes at you!Rolling my eyes at you!Everyone develops their favorite kohl “stick” which might not even be a stick at all. Some folks love to clip off a Q-tip and use that to line their eye. Most of the sticks which came with my kohl just got discarded. I have had lovely ones which didn’t work, were too thick, or too absorbent to use. The latter point is a killer.

When you are lining your eye, you are taking the powder coated stick and trying to deposit that powder on the upper and lower waterline. Sliding it all through a moist environment is essential to getting the black powder to rub off and stay put. If the stick is absorbing the tears on your waterline, that is going to make the whole thing drag across your lid instead of glide.

That is why I like a plastic (non absorbent) narrow stick with a matte end which holds just the right amount of kohl powder. This is the kind of stick I recommend, and I have tried a lot of them. You can get a bunch of them from Beauty Makeup Supply, LLC 100 cost $13.95. Perfect for kohl. Please be sure that you don’t poke it in your eye. The ends are sharp and you want to use it always parallel to your eyeball NEVER with the point toward it. At that price you can afford to use a new one every day, that would be much more sanitary for your eyes.

Many of the kohls out there come with an applicator, and some are very good indeed, like the one which is in the container of Kohl from Guerlain.The one which comes with L’Oreal is dreadful, it bends to 90 deg within 2 uses! I think the powder packs down in the bottom of the container and the wand isn’t strong enough to pierce through it. Sudi’s comes with the one I recommend, Moroccan Selection has a beautiful stick which looks like it was made by Bedouins but it is really too absorbent, and the Ancient Artifice has about 3 different kinds which come with theirs.

Of course the kind of kohlstick you prefer is a reflection of your taste, and you may just love one I don’t care for, or you might want to use a brush instead of a stick for application.

Next time, we get down to the details of how to successfully apply waterline eyeliner. In the mean time, take a trip over to Possets Perfume and check out the great Egyptian line of perfumes I have concocted for you for the summertime. Deep, oriental, resinous, and full of some of the most beautiful ingredients I have ever used. You won’t be disappointed, there is even one named KOHL! www.possets.com

Choosing and Buying Kohl

A well lined eye indeed.You have successfully mastered applying an eye pencil to your upper and lower waterline and now it’s time to move on to Big Girl kohl. You are going to line your waterline with powdered kohl. But which one, where can you get good kohl, how much is it, and is there anything else? Of course!

I am including my Excel Spread sheet on all the kinds of kohl I have bought over the last year, and there is a note on the homemade kohl I produced a year ago. If you click the link it will download to your computer.

Waterline Eyeliner Spreadsheet July 2012 Possets Perfume

I tested 8 different kohls over the course of the year. To me a good kohl should be smooth not grainy, easy to apply, “melt” into your waterline, stay on for a very long time, have minimal fallout, produce minimal “eye-boogers”, and be so black that you cannot imagine anything being blacker. Of couse I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it either.

In case you don’t want to download the spreadsheet, here is a brief rundown of what I found.

Homemade was fun but quickly turned tedious to make. It surprisingly was not the darkest or the longest lasting. It was 100% natural and very inexpensive. Fun to play with as your first kohl.

Sudi’s was very dark and “melted” into my waterline. It stayed on for a fairly long time but was not the endurance champ I had hoped. It was the most expensive of them all. Comes in a lip gloss applicator with a pointed plastic stick for application of the kohl.

Guerlain was not super dark but came in a package that made it very easy to apply. The wand was blunt on the end which gave me a better feeling about putting it close to my eye. Very expensive and not in production any more, as I understand. Try looking it up on amazon.com.

L’Oreal can be bought over Amazon.com and is surprisingly good for the cheap price. However, the wand in the package bends almost instantly and becomes useless for applying the product. Pretty enduring but won’t win any prizes. Comes in some exciting colors including gold and burgundy.

Ageless Artiface is VERY dark black and comes in a small vial with a screw on cap. Nice assortment of applicators come with it. It is quite durable (not the champ but respectable). It is the most grainy feeling though. I give this a B or B+. Comes in brown as well. She sells a nice array of old fashioned cosmetics and beauty aids.

Moroccan Selection feels pretty authentic. Comes in a cute glass vial with a cork top and a cute but not so good applicator. This stuff really stays on your waterline well. Dark black and “melts” into your eyelid. I found Moroccan Selection by Googling “kohl” and they have some great Moroccan argan oil products, too.

Mosha Katani is very very dark black and very very durable. Lasts the longest of any of the brands. Comes with no applicator but a practical practical short wide eyeshadow-like container that won’t tip over easily. Inexpensive. Comes in: black, navy, and brown. Many thanks to Shannon O’Leary for telling me about Mosha Katani.

So look through the list and pick out what appeals to you. They each had their good points and not one of them proved to be irritating. Each one was easy to get.

I have also made a perfume called “Kohl”! Come over and investigate it at my website www.possets.com.

How To Start Using Kohl

It’s a little tricky to start using kohl. Those who know how to do it make it appear very easy indeed but those of us who did not grow up with it get a bit queasy at the thought of putting a sharp stick near our eye and rimming it *zip* *zip*.

The “Pros” I have seen just apply kohl like it’s no big deal. You can, too but it does need lots of practice. I will assume that you can apply conventional eyeliner, and I will assume that you have an eyeliner pencil.

First step is to get comfortable with working very close to your eye. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. If you feel yourself getting anxious or tense just stop and come back to it when you are more confident. Delaying this isn’t going to have any bad effects at all.

You are going to want to practice in a well lit place in front of a good magnifying mirror which is at the proper height for you. I have a 10x magnifying mirror mounted on the wall of my bathroom right above the sink and under the lights so I can see exactly what I am doing at all times and hands free. You are really going to want to invest in a great magnifying mirror and put it where it’s comfortable for you to use hands free and at the proper height. Make a journey to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and buy one. I prefer one without its own light source because most of the time those aren’t worth much.

Once you have the mirror in place, it’s time to practice. We are going to start slowly. Take out your eyeliner pencil, make sure it is sharpish and will lay down a good dark line right away. Stand in front of the mirror and pull down your lower lid so you can see the waterline. Take the eyeliner pencil and make a dark line from just in from the tear duct near your nose, to the absolute furthest out part of your eye.

Whew! Step back and take a look. I bet you think that is a great improvement. Do the same thing on the other eye. Then feel proud of yourself. Practice this lower waterline lining until you feel perfectly comfortable with it.

Notice how long the effect stays on your eyes and how you look with rimmed lids. Are you looking like you are squinting or does it make your eyes look hard and emotionless? Well, we will talk about The Fix for that later on but for now just get a feel for rimming your lower lid with an eyeliner pencil.

Please note that if at any time you experience redness, itching, tearing or any other symptom of a reaction to the pencil or the process stop immediately and chalk that up to you not being suited for this sort of thing. No make up is worth getting irritation or worse in your eyes.

So, now you are feeling comfortable with the process of lining your lower lid. You are ready for the adventure of doing your upper lid as well. Line your lower waterline like you always do. When you are through, blink hard so as to rub off some of the lower color onto your upper water line.

Now tilt your head back in front of the mirror and gently pull up your upper lid until you can see the waterline clearly and it’s held a bit away from your eyeball. Gently rim the upper waterline with the pencil BEING CAREFUL TO HOLD IT AWAY FROM YOUR EYEBALL!! You don’t want to scratch your eyeball with any part of the pencil. Just go slowly and be relaxed but note where your hands and the pencil are at all times. Go from the inner corner just in from the tear duct all the way to the outer corner of your eye.

Now stand back and line what you want to line around the tear duct near your nose. Some women look great with that lined, too, and some don’t. That one is up to you.

Again, assess how this looks on you. Do you look hard? Alluring? Dazzled or dazzling? Be realistic.

This is going to take practice and please do slow down and take your time. You will get there eventually.

At this point it’s about time for you to think about buying some real kohl. We will talk about that next. Please do remember to take it easy, relax, be aware of where all your implements are in relation to your eye, take a break if you feel anxious, and admire when you are through. Please be sure to stop at any symptoms of irritation, though.

Come and visit me at Possets Perfumes for more discussion of kohl on our forum, and a fragrance called Kohl, too, part of the Egyptian Evenings Collection which just came out! www.possets.com is the place.

The Tricks To Wearing Kohl Successfully

Kohl (waterline eyeliner) is pretty extreme and it might be natural for you and then again, it might be something you have to work at a little bit. Anyone can wear the look but there are a few pitfalls you should know about first.

Kohl’s allure hinges on an optical illusion, please remember that. All makeup works by way of emphasizing some things while making other things less prominent. Kohl really works with contrast, how dark it is in relation to the white of your eye! That’s it, that is the whole reason why it looks so stunning.

Some people can wear kohl very easily. If your eyes are large in relation to your face and other features, you will look great in kohl. If your eyes are smaller, you want to experiment with using a heavy conventional outer eyeliner to carry it off.

The High Eye

The High Eye

People like me who have what I call “The High Eye” are naturals to wear kohl! We usually look at people with our heads down slightly and have a good deal of eye white showing under the colored iris, our eye floats high in the lid. Kohl works well for us because the optical illusion it creates is to showcase the white of the eye in a rim of black. A side effect of that illusion is to make the bottom lid appear to be pushed up slightly and so your eyes automatically appear narrowed like you are looking into the sun. Since the folks who have a lot of white showing anyway can stand the lower lid appear to be drawing up a bit, the look is perfect for us.

Mid Level Eye

The Mid Level Eye

The jocular eye

The Jocular Eye

Those who have a harder time wearing kohl are people with level eyes (see the image to the left) and what I call “jocular eyes” (where there is more of the lower iris covered by the lower lid). Remember, kohl will give the illusion that the lower lid is pushed up slightly? Well, that works against level or jocular eyes.

level eyed problemHere is a perfect example of someone who has level eyes but isn’t doing themselves any favors with the kohl treatment. Is this poor girl doomed? NO! There is a fix for that, and I have it! She can wear kohl but need a bit of adjustment in order to carry it off and look intriguing instead of looking like she’s caught in a tanning booth without her shades.

The Fix? I learned about this principle in Design School: one of the most powerful design elements you can use is contrast. Using dark, light, and dark colors draws huge attention. But if you throw in a medium contrast element in there, it just gets overwhelmed by all that higher contrast ringing it. Sometimes The Fix is the most flattering approach to waterline eyelining for lighter eyed women, too. The Fix will cure all of the pitfalls you have in regard to eye shape or color interfering with your allure. It’s inexpensive, you probably already have it at your disposal, doesn’t take any more time than putting on normal kohl, and the effects can be stunning. In fact I often use The Fix when I want a change or am feeling ultra daring. So, stay tuned to find out more about kohl, The Fix, and more.

Kohl-What is it?

The eye of Horus is upon you.Kohl is a powdered eyeliner which is applied at the waterline of the eye and coats the top and bottom of the waterline. It is most commonly seen in black but there are other colors available. It has been used since the time of the pharaohs in Egypt to make the eyes appear large and bright, and to keep the sun from causing too much glare, like the first sunglasses.

Kohl is made out of a number of different things, but some will stay on your waterline more successfully than others. In the past, there have been kohls which are made from antimony, and that is a bad thing to put around your eye as it can contain minute amounts of lead. Most kohls nowadays are made from soot or straight pigment. You can even attempt to make kohl yourself, it’s not difficult.

Kohl has enjoyed a tremendous renaissance in the last few years because it’s just a great look and just about anyone can wear it successfully. However, as with most things, it is more attractive on some people than others. What are some of the facial characteristics that make kohl a good alternative for you? If you don’t have those features can you still wear kohl? Where do you buy it? How much is it? What do you need to use to put it on? What are the dangers of using kohl, even if the powder itself isn’t noxious? What safety features do you have to look out for? All those questions, and more will be answered in this series, including The Fix…the trick that lets anybody wear kohl successfully.

Don’t miss an issue of how to wear kohl on Possets’ Kohlfest 2012. Subscribe to our blog so you get all the issues and visit Possets where we have a wonderful Egyptian (“oriental”) perfume collection featuring deep resins and gorgeous fragrances from the Land of the Pyramids. Visit Possets and see for yourself.

Egyptian Evening is Almost Ready

Possets’ Egyptian Collection is getting ready to be unveiled. It has been a long and happy road I have traveled down to get here. I will be coming out with Kohlfest 2012 soon and moar. In the meantime, take a look at the link I have to the right to the site of Dr. Zahi Hawass who is the foremost ancient Egyptian archeologist.

A Bit Of Organization For You Grill Lovers

When I got my grill, I wanted to keep all of the gear in one spot so I would not be running around trying to find bits. I saw that there were vents at the back of the grill and they would fit small S hooks. Amazingly enough, the tools had holes in the end of the handles so that you could hang them up with the S hooks and so, all of my tools are neatly stowed after cleaning them and ready for another night of hot action! Grilling baskets and small silicone mitts are stored inside the grill itself. My grill brush goes just under these tools next to the gas tank. It works for me! All it takes are a few S hooks.

Skirt Steak and Men in Skirts

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St-Lawrence the original grillmasterThe gentleman to the left is St. Lawrence. Poor St. Lawrence, he was grilled to death by an evil emperor somewhere and so he became the patron saint of grilling. So, we will give him a place of honor in this latest post on the subject. You can see the lad in his very hot looking vestments holding a portable (though quite heavy) outdoor grill device. Nothing fancy, just add the charcoal and hope for the best.

But on a less savage (and more basic) note, I had a very very fine dinner last night on the CharBroil. I am pretty picky about meat and I was told by my next door neighbor that skirt steak was excellent on the grill. “Pish posh,” I thought,”skirt steak is as tough as old shoe leather.” But my neighbor persisted and I bought what appeared to be a nice one.

Now to marinade it (Recipe at the end of this blog). I left it in the refridge for the day and pulled it out last night. I fired up the grill and started to cook the olive oiled zuccinis (wanted the grill marks on them). I put them directly on the grill for the marks after rubbing with olive oil. They were followed by a small basket of cherry tomatoes and peeled garlics. Things were smelling good. When the skins of these vittles got wrinkly and done looking they were put up in a larger basket in the warming area above the grill. I used medium direct heat but kept the lid down.

About that same time I put three ears of corn on the grill wrapped in aluminum foil and let them go for about the same time, letting the skins of the squash tell me when they were ready to come off direct heat.

I took the skirt steak out of the bag and dried it off. Onto the high direct heat it went for 12 minutes (6 on each side). The marinade oozed out of the steak making it look beautifully glazed and done on the outside.

I still had a bunch of asparagus to fix and I broke them off where they were the most tender, I oiled them with olive oil, and put them in a flat bottomed steel basket I bought from Weber on amazon.com. It has slits in it and the bottom is mostly solid which I find is wonderful for causing a toasty looking char to the outside of veggies. When you have a mesh basket, the food does not come into contact with a flat hot part and does not produce as nice a dark brown char to it. The asparagus roasted away for 6 minutes. You don’t want it to get near the yellow zone, that ruins it.

Took the entire dinner into the house and ate some of the best food I have ever cooked. I have no idea of what makes grilled food that much better than what you do indoors, but it certainly does make a difference!

One thing that really helps is if you have thought about which things need the longest cooking time and in what order you are going to go. Grilling is a real quick experience and it demands all of your concentration. You don’t want one thing to get overdone while cooking another thing. Be sure to have all of your utensils at hand and ready to go, and those while things next to the asparagus basket above, those are spare silicone hot mitts. Sometimes I have to remind myself that all this stuff is very hot and not get distracted by the beauty of it all.

Here is the site for the skirt steak marinade. Bon Appetite!

Paradise Lost? Fire Up The Grill! You'll Feel Better.

A typical Saturday Night grillfest. Yea, I just got a new grill and I feel like I joined the human race. It’s not the most expensive one, or the most esoteric, but I love it and it’s right for me.

I got a CharBroil Tru Infrared two burner. It uses LP gas to cook with (liquid propane) which is sold just about everywhere. I was afraid that it would make the food taste like petroleum but it gives no flavor to the dinner whatsoever.

I like LP grills because it’s quick to heat up. Just turn on the gas, flip the ignition and POOF it’s lit. The heat adjusts like a stove does, with a knob. LP gas is ubiquitous, and it’s pretty cheap considering how long a tank lasts. Hookup is easy but be sure you follow all the safety practices.*

Charcoal is great but it takes much longer to heat up. You have to prepare the charcoal and let it glow for about half an hour before it’s ready to use, otherwise it’s not hot enough. There is an art to charcoal and it’s harder to turn up and turn down the heat.

I think the difference is a lot like power boats versus sail boats.

You also have to watch out for hot spots in a grill. There are naturally areas which are going to be hotter than others. I find that the back of the grill is hotter than the front on mine, and I think that the parts of the grill above the flames are hotter than the parts further away from them. Also, the parts with the most coals under them would be hotter on a charcoal grill, so the deep part of a kettle grill (the middle) you would think would be hotter than the sides.

I liked the Tru Infrared grill because it has the typical grills on the top of course, but it has “emitters” under the grills. Emitters are simply plates with lots of little holes pierced in them, which are made of very heat conductive material. They take the heat generated by the burners and distribute it evenly on their surface and then send it up through the grills. That makes the heat distributed more evenly and you have fewer hot spots. I think that the heat it generates is negligibly less hot than a conventional grill, but any heat loss is offset by the consistency of heating across the grills’ area.

As for choosing the right grill, I knew we wanted a compact one as there are only two of us. LP gas was a must because I could not spend 30+ minutes just heating the thing up to cook plus all of the time and energy it takes to load charcoal etc.

We looked at several grills which would have been just fine. Weber has a great name and it is more expensive than the CharBroil, I think it is very well built and would last longer. However, it had the usual technology under the hood. The CharBroil had that Tru Infrared heat disbursing edge to it which makes it harder to burn the food but easy to get it to a golden color and beyond (but you CAN burn things on the grill,too, my friends…so you actually do have to do a bit of attending to what you are doing here). I think that CharBroil does make a point of being a more technically forward thinking company and their grill isn’t as high quality as Weber but I am sure it will last for years. I wasn’t really impressed with the quality of the Weber bottom of the line portable grill and it was pretty expensive, too.

I had not heard of CharBroil before I went looking for grills and I do admit to listening to the guy from the hardware store who sold it to us but he steered us in the right direction and I would recommend it.

I am planning to go on more adventures in grilling this summer and beyond. My next door neighbor, Laurie, is the grillmaster of the house over there (grrrl grillmasters? Heck, yea).

*We were advised to paint the connections with soapy water to see if there was any bubbling to show leaks. I did that and found no leaks. HOWEVER, I SMELLED GAS PERSISTENTLY AND WHEN I LOOKED THROUGH THE OPENING IN THE TOP SIDE OF THE CANISTER I SAW THE AIR SHIMMERING THE WAY IT DOES WHEN GAS IS ESCAPING. When I turned off the gas, the smell was gone and so was the shimmer. Getting the same result a second time, I took back the canister and found that the threads on the nozzle were actually faulty! The threads should be sharply defined with NO slashes across them which would allow gas to leak out of the connection. SO PLEASE BE SURE TO DO THE SOAP TEST BUT IF YOU SMELL GAS OR SEE A SHIMMER LIKE A HEAT SHIMMER AROUND THE CONNECTION PART OF THE TANK, SHUT IT DOWN, TAKE IT OFF, AND RETURN IT TO THE PLACE YOU BOUGHT IT. IF YOU HAVE A FAULTY SET OF THREADS IN THE CONNECTION YOU WILL SMELL AND SEE GAS WHEN THE TANK IS TURNED ON AND NOT WHEN IT’S TURNED OFF. So inspect the tank you pick up at the place where you buy your gas.

Pardon Our Dust…

…as they say. We were having a problem with the upgrade on the Possets website and so things which should be tidied up are not…yet. The Egypts are coming, the Valentines and Canterbury Tales had a brief reprieve from their Friday at 6 a.m. retirement. Do stay tuned because wonderful things are going to happen at Possets, we just want to make sure that it is all correct before we let it loose.