Yoruba Traditional Eyeliner (Tiro)

Yoruba Traditional Eyeliner (Tiro)


Tiro is a cultural eye-lining cosmetic for facial ornamentation widely used by Yoruba people. It is an age long phenomenon and has been worn by both men and 
women but became very popular in the 19th century. 



In spite of the popularity in western Nigeria, Tiro has a 
national and universal character. The Hausa in the Northern part of the country call it Kwali and Uhie in Igbo in 
the Eastern part. It is also found within their middle eastern and indian tradition. Known as (Kajal)

The base material from which tiro is made is called galena Page. 
Page alluded to a common 
metallic mineral and the most important commercial ore of lead and silver mined. It is antimony, which when ground with a piece of charcoal, is applicable to the eyelashes.

The ground 
grayish black mixture is often kept in a conical dispenser made of metal. The powdered 
form is neatly packed into conical metal pot or dispenser and applied to the lower rim of the eye with round ended stick for facial beautification. A small rod in the container allows the application to the margins of the 
eyelids. 

Studies have shown that tiro has been applied for its beautifying and attractive effect on 
the eyes. It is also used for its protective or sunlight shielding effect on the eyes as well as in the treatment of 
ophthalmologic infections to cleanse the eye.

Tiro is used as fashion and appealing. It makes your eyes 
glitter and attractive.Yoruba use "tiro" for beauty enhancement and attractive effects on the eyes is primarily aimed at 
females,by extension it has broadened its appeal to the male market.

Its use was initially observed on traditional religion worshippers such as Sango and Obatala and used by other uninitiated women in Oyo and other Yoruba 
towns according to Shryock (2004) .

Tiro has won for itself a global acceptability and relevance and should be embraced as such. It can therefore
favourably compete with other cosmetic eyeliners if repackaged and marketed for wealth creation.

-Dayo Adegoke

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