Why I Hate Kajal in Baby Eyes?

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Is applying kajal for baby eyes or kajal in baby eyes a part of your baby care regime?

Is kajal good for baby eyes?

Did/do I like kajal in babies and infants?

This post will answer all the questions above along with what I stand by.

I am in Kerala right now along with my daughter. My cousins, relatives and neighbors come to see us. The first question they ask me is “Why is your daughter so plain?”. I wondered “Is there a plain baby and complexed baby ?”. “No”. They continue “ Put kajal in baby’s eyes. She should be like Meenakshi ; you know eyes having the shape of a fish, Kaamakshi; eyes which could seduce anyone”. Oh my god .. She is just a baby and you want her to seduce at this age? Again I wonder. “ Oh no.. Put kajal such that her eyes are stretched/pulled to such an extend that she becomes Meenakshi “. Trust me when I say this I just want to shoot down all those who shower such stupid gyaan to me!!. I thought of sharing  this with you – why I hate kajal in infant’s eyes?

Why I am not happy with kajal in baby eyes?

kajal in baby eyes

I don’t know if “kajaling” a baby is a tradition even in northern parts of India, but in South India its very common. Small cute babies are smeared with kajal in such a way that they end up looking like “Krrooor Singhs” to me all the time.

Dark inked eyebrows, eyes, a beauty spot on the cheeks and one more a bigger dot on the side of the forehead. Next comes the talcum powder effect. Baby’s eyes, eye brows,  mouth and entire face is dusted with talcum powder to prevent the kajal from smudging.

Once the baby wipes her face with her hand, it looks amazingly messy. My baby for example looked like a baby panda or a racoon once she was handed over to me after the kajal session by my elders and Amma. I and my Amma have had severe quarrels over this too.

On my next visit to the pediatrician, I asked whether kajal has any benefits to the new born or baby. Pediatrician blasted me for having my baby smeared with kajal even though home made. He advised to refrain from using it on babies as they are more prone to eye infections and rashes. Market bought kajal has lead and other hazardous chemicals as well.

“You have a girl. She would start using kajal or surma when she grows up to a teenager if she likes. Why making such a mess of your baby now?” asked my doctor.

But some of my cousins and relatives still have an answer to all these “Doctors would say all those , but we have to beautify our baby”. Now you really know why I wrote this post, don’t you?

5 Common Questions or Myths Related to Applying Kajal in Baby’s Eyes:

Though doctors discourage the use of kajal both home made and ready made, it is still used in many households. On the personal front, I hate the usage of kajal in a baby claiming that she will sleep longer, make her eyes longer, protects her from evil eyes, her eyes bigger and what not!!

Listing down the 5 common questions or myths related to surma or kajal in baby’s eyes.

  1. Would kajal make eyes and eye brows of a baby longer ?

Answer is a BIG NO !!! The physical features of a baby are completely determined by genes and can’t be altered by applying kajal to baby or stretching the muscles of the eye socket.

My mom and granny had put kajal in my eyes for about 4 years, I still have small eyes.. Please don’t hurt your baby’s eyes for the sake of stretching or beautifying. However your baby’s eyes are , he / she is beautiful !!

  1. Your baby would sleep longer with kajal in her eyes.

I agree. Babies sleep longer due to the cooling effect kajal provides as it contain almond or castor oil as base. But since babies do sleep for 18-19 hours a day, why make them sleep again for longer periods?

  1. We make home made kajal. Its safe to use . Isn’t?

NO. Even if its home made , it has carbon which is not good for baby’s eyes. Moreover the finger tips with which the kajal is applied could be infected with germs and cause infection in the eyes of baby.

  1.  Kajal protects our baby from evil eyes.

I don’t know if it helps. If you are so concerned , its better to put a small dot of kajal on the forehead of the baby near the hairline. Why smearing the baby’s face with kajal / surma which could lead to allergies/rashes in the face ?

  1. Surma or kajal can help baby’s eyes to repair from within.

Oh wow ! Is it ? Why don’t all doctors provide a kajal box / pencil post eye surgery to the patients. Infact  I was advised not to use any kajal even if home made  post my eye surgery.

If you are like me or in my shoes , faced by cousins and relatives to ‘kajalify’ your baby , ask them if they have washed their hands before taking your baby in their arms. Hygiene is more important for a baby anytime .. As a mother, as a blogger these are the reasons why I hate kajal in baby eyes.

Read:

How about you? Do you like applying kajal in your baby’s eyes?

Any incidents or experiences with your baby as well? Please share with me.

About Author

Sangeetha loves balancing her personal and professional life. These days, the major chunk of her time is spent on listening to 'how to beat the Piggy from robloks'; thanks to her 8 year old daughter.

20 Comments

  1. I can relate this post to myself too. My 6 day old son is all decorated with Kajal by mother in law. With drawing in his eyebrows n eyes. He does not look natural… Just artificial. And I dont want to hurt the sentiments of my mother in law at the same time I feel helpless. My husband says he dosnot see any harm in this as in India every child gets this and he and his brother were a child were growing got the kajal. So why to make a big fuss… 🙁

  2. I’m from Kerala and I really hate the way people here draw eyebrows on cute babies
    I have a baby girl 4months old .my mil draws
    Kajal all over her eyes .this is sooooo insane I don’t understand why they can’t enjoy the beauty of babies the way they are.me and my hubby told her to draw only during the nights so that she may not feel bad but I don’t like it even if it’s night

  3. Jasheedata on

    My caretaker usually smear kajal to my baby. And aftrer 40 days when she left, I too left that habit even though my family& relative insisted for this. ??

  4. I so much agree with you. I hate this ritual. My son is 11 months. and each time my mom in law visits she advises to use Kajal to make his eyes bigger brighter and more beautiful and I hate this suggestion which to me in hindsight suggests that she feels that my baby is not cute in himself and needs a “Make up”. It clearly agitates me.

    And cute or not cute, he is what he is and he will be what he will be when he grows up.. as long as he is with me. I will not interfere with any natural feature that he has inherited from his family.

    In our country, there is a great pull towards fair skin, big eyes, tallness (for boys), great figure for girls, and more than anything else these ideas create unhealthy complexes in children. These complexes complicate as baby grows.

    I wish people like us can help our next generations to be more confident than the yester years, I am sure there is a reason they are like that, and that is the way their upbringing has been. But let us all give room to more reason and rational.

    Keep blogging 🙂

  5. Hi Sangeetha,

    Your post made me laugh. LOL. Same incident happened with me too. My MIL insisted on putting kajal in eyes of my baby but I was firm and told her she would be responsible if baby’s eyes get an infection or anything like that with kajal. From that day onward she stopped insisting.

  6. You spoke my mind out ! These people should be awarded for successfully making the babies look ugly. Superstition like nazar, etc is still understandable as a logic. But many think they are beautifying the baby by doing this! Specially those black eyebrows! And of course not to miss the talcum powder on their face that might be the cause of allergy, but who cares! I marvel at their sense of beauty ! I am 33 and have a 1.5 yr old daughter. I am lucky that I never faced such problems from both my parents and my in laws side. In fact I hail from quite a modern thinking family including my great grandparents who never believed in these things and I managed to keep all my baby pics without a single spec of kajal on any part of my body. As for my daughter, my maids and ‘well wishers’ have tried many times to give me lectures but I either gave them a shut up call or gave a deaf ear. I have seen many modern ‘educated’ couples doing it not due to family pressure, but out of their own choice and they too have the same argument. The fact is and will always remain, these are all myths & might even harm a child. On the contrary they look horrible ( couldnt get any better description).

      • Ha ha ! Thanks ! Actually recently I had seen a newborn with such eyebrows. His face was looking like a mask. I have seen infants smeared with kajal all over innumerable times before but never saw such black eyebrows before. Out of decency couldnt ask the couple the logic behind it. So searched the net after coming home and that was when I came across your blog. Couldn’t stop writing then. Will definitely go through your blogs.

      • Kratika kukreja on

        Babies look realy kroor singh lie the blog says..
        One son is just 1 month and two days old..i was in my parents hpuse for delivery ..they thank fully agree with the NO kajal theory
        But now its time to go back to my in laws whichhh have insisted me on putting kajl in his eyes..
        I put it today for the firat time..nd honestly all the cuteness in the baby goes for a toss..
        My innocent cute looking son..has started looking so different..i just dont like it…and
        Nobody just seems to understand..

        I completely agree to each and everything mentioned in the blog….but i seriously hope..people understand!!!!

  7. Nice Article. Even for me I dislike putting Kajal in baby’s eyes or even on face. A small dot at the side of forehead is all that I put on my baby.

  8. I remember when i use to be a kid and being the only male all the maasi-bhua etc etc would put so much of it in my eye .. I got some pics of that age and i look horrific …

  9. Super Hit……Even I hate Kajal on babies and I have never ever smeared her with this stuff. Though southie people have criticised me about it but I pay no heed to them. I simply hate it.

  10. Lol.. This is a good post. I am frlm Kerala and I am in my 7th month now and when my baby is here I have planned not to let anyone do it or even ask me why not. I hate it too. I see babies of friends and relatives always smeared with kajal and eyebrow pencils. Even baby boys eyebrows are thickly lined. It really makes them look strange. I hate smearing kajal on babies, and smearing it on baby boys is the cruellest thing. For God’s sake, they are live babies , cute just the way they are! Not dolls to be done the way we like. 🙁 And people are so stupid to think eyebrows get thicker and well shaped only if drawn. As a medico, I don’t get the logic of it, and even doctors do it, I have seen. :O
    I will share this post link with friends. 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting Sana but there is a limit to which we can say .. People here appear deaf to whatever we say as i mentioned .. Wishing you a safe delivery and a healthy baby. TC.

  11. Funny thing; I too referred to this practise in my post today! Putting kajal has absolutely no benefit whatsoever and I put my foot down about either of my sons getting it! Even so, my MIL put this humongous dot right in the middle of their foreheads!! *sigh*

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