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View Full Version : calling all females (and cosmetic historians?): A question about mascara and eyeliner.



smellycat6464
08-21-2012, 04:34 AM
It has been pointed out to me in a recent crit I received that I confused eyeliner for mascara.
I went to project replace all "eyeliner" for "mascara"...but this is a medieval-esque setting...is that anachronous? Did I even use the word "anachronous" correctly haha?

I did some research and found that egyptians used "kohl" in their eyes. But i don't know if kohl=mascara. I though mascara was a modern invention in cosmetics. I'm afraid if I use "kohl" instead of "eyeliner" my readers might scratch their heads, because when I saw the word kohl, my first thought was the clothing store haha.

And now that I think of it, would the stuff that Egyptians used run if they cried? I may have to just ditch that description all together because maybe only modern makeup smudges via tears...

Bookewyrme
08-21-2012, 04:40 AM
Egyptian kohl was more similar to eyeliner than mascara. It would almost certainly have smudged from tears/water etc. since it was usually made from substances like soot or charcoal. I'm not a medieval scholar, but I'm fairly certain they would not have referred to kohl, however.

sunandshadow
08-21-2012, 05:07 AM
Eyeliner is a thicker, less wet substance that comes in pencil or cream form and is applied to skin. Usually it is applied in a line around the eye, hence the name (in other words, the skin at the base of the eyelashes. Kohl is an eyeliner. It may also be used to draw eyebrows or as an eyeshadow, but it's thicker and a bit stickier than eye shadow (or historically it was probably called eye powder). The ancient Egyptians used kohl with malachite eye powder, among other things. Kohl is in fact still commonly available as a makeup, but I don't think they called it that in the medieval period. I think it's naturally waterproof, but I'm not sure - you should read the wikipedia entry for kohl. Mascara is wetter and is applied to eyelashes.

benbenberi
08-21-2012, 05:31 AM
If your story's medieval-esque is European-based and your characters are not prostitutes, they wouldn't be wearing either.

zanzjan
08-21-2012, 06:38 AM
If I were in a mood to be irked, "calling all females" would do it, given that I don't know or care crap about makeup, nor do a good number of my just-as-female-as-I friends, but I do know a guy who is absolutely amazing with the stuff.

You're a writer; check your assumptions. :)

mayqueen
08-21-2012, 06:44 AM
Women in Anglo-Saxon times may have darkened their eyelashes with soot, which would smear.

smellycat6464
08-21-2012, 06:47 AM
I'm fairly certain they would not have referred to kohl, however.
duly noted, thank you!

The ancient Egyptians used kohl with malachite eye powder, among other things. Kohl is in fact still commonly available as a makeup, but I don't think they called it that in the medieval period.
Also duly noted, thank you!


If your story's medieval-esque is European-based and your characters are not prostitutes, they wouldn't be wearing either.
Haha that's quite an excellent point you bring to the table! While its not really in medieval Europe, I had Italy in mind while making this country. So maybe its best to ditch it all together.


I do know a guy who is absolutely amazing with the stuff.


Aw nuts, I originally had my title more "politically correct," but then I changed it fearing I was being offensive and stereotypical. I guess I didn't exactly sidestep that land mine. Sorry if I offended anyone, as that was not my intention :)

smellycat6464
08-21-2012, 06:49 AM
Women in Anglo-Saxon times may have darkened their eyelashes with soot, which would smear.

Excellent fact, I can probably just say eye shadow and let the reader make that jump. Although, I don't want to suggest my lovely politician to be a lady of the evening, so I have to do more research on the cosmetic equivalents for red lights throughout the ages. Thank you!