Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
Eyeliner by Zahra Hankir
Add Eyeliner to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf


Best Seller
Eyeliner by Zahra Hankir
Audiobook Download
Nov 14, 2023 | ISBN 9780593791042 | 656 Minutes

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • Nov 14, 2023 | ISBN 9780143137092

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Nov 14, 2023 | ISBN 9780525508601

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from Eyeliner

Product Details


Praise for Eyeliner:

“[A] perceptive cultural history . . . engrossing and appealingly monomaniacal . . . Each chapter is more interesting than the last. Hankir doesn’t take her subject too seriously; her history lessons are peppered with cultural references and good humor. The book is also a smoky-eye lover’s paradise: an orgy of makeup rituals, of tips and tricks, of brands to try.” —Cat Marnell, The New York Times Book Review

Eyeliner is admirable in the breadth and depth of its research, and edifying . . . an impressive, rigorously researched, winding path through centuries and over continents.” —

“A significant addition to cultural histories of self-expression. Hankir disrupts many deeply held assumptions about beauty, gender, and power . . . Hankir writes with boldness and care . . . [she] meticulously details commonalities in physical and aesthetic practices […] without losing sight of cultural specificity or intersectionality.” —Library Journal (starred review) 

“A fascinating history . . . If you’ve never given much thought to the beauty staple, Eyeliner will change that forever.” —Town & Country

“This captivating account reveals the complex significance of a seemingly simple adornment . . . Hankir packs her reader-friendly narrative with relatable examples of cultural and geographic significance . . . Throughout, Hankir maintains an appealing sense of intimacy.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Readers will never think of eyeliner the same way after reading this book . . . [Eyeliner] has a richer and sometimes stranger history than many people (including me) would have guessed . . . endlessly fascinating.” —Electric Literature

“Eye-opening and surprisingly intimate . . . Hankir’s journalism background shines through . . . And her own reflections lend weight to the close-up and personal feeling conveyed throughout . . . Eyeliner is a thorough retrospective of a product that has endured over time and continues to play a significant role for cultures around the globe.” —BookPage

“Fascinating . . . The book travels around the world and through time, documenting the use of eyeliner in religious settings, in social settings, cultural customs around it, and much more. [Hankir] blends memoir and anecdote with research and reportage, historical examination, and cultural/societal commentary to create an absorbing and engaging read.” —Book Riot

“Absorbing . . . Hankir provides an engaging, colorful study while relating her own cross-cultural story.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Detailed and engaging . . . [an] absorbing look at how people around the world use eyeliner to express and reinvent themselves . . . readers interested in beauty culture will be fascinated by this accessible examination of such a versatile and popular beauty product.” —Booklist

“Intriguing . . . [Hankir] uses this ancient form of makeup as an ingenius prism through which to explore cultural identity.” —The Bookseller (UK), Editor’s Choice

“I loved Eyeliner. Hankir approaches her subject with dedicated curiosity, humility, and humor, blending anthropology, travel writing, memoir and history. A treat to read and—of course—beautifully eye-opening.” —Kassia St. Clair, author of The Secret Lives of Color

“Zahra Hankir’s Eyeliner is a captivating exploration of the historic lineage and contemporary use of eyeliner. An arresting feminist narrative from start to finish, this book reveals the depth and multi-dimensionality of a cosmetic that connects Queen Nefertiti to young women protesting in contemporary Iran and beyond.” —Rafia Zakaria, author of Against White Feminism

“Combining the steady contemplation of the personal essay with her journalistic flair for storytelling, Zahra Hankir traces the history of kohl, traversing space, time, and cultures to delve into the deeply human importance of a makeup kit staple many of us don’t give a second thought. The result is an engaging read that is poignant, enlightening, and full of emotional depth.” —Layla AlAmmar, author of Silence is a Sense

“Who knew the humble eyeliner could offer up so much? Zahra Hankir’s beautiful writing style and incredible attention to detail mean that even those with zero interest in makeup will find this book awe-inspiring and fascinating as it goes far beyond the realm of beauty.” —Funmi Fetto, Contributing Beauty Editor at British Vogue and Beauty Director at the Observer

Praise for Zahra Hankir and Our Women on the Ground:

“A refreshing anthology of essays by female writers whose work cut through the many clichés of Middle East reporting. Their accounts provide honest and raw depictions, recounted from their own experiences and from other women whose stories are often overlooked when reporting on foreign policy and conflict.”
The New York Times

“Refreshing (and long overdue) . . . Will appeal to readers of all genders and backgrounds who want to broaden their understanding of the Arab world.”

“Determination, grit and humour shine through the writing of reporters who frequently face opposition from their own families.”
The Guardian, “The Best Books of 2019”

“It has been many years since I have, at the end of a book, felt compelled immediately to start again from the beginning. . . . [A] superb compendium of reporting by Arab women . . . Intelligence and depth of insight . . . radiate[s] from these brilliant journalists.”
—Bobby Ghosh, Bloomberg


“A masterpiece . . . [and] an absolute must-read.”

“Truly groundbreaking.”


“Incredibly eye-opening.”

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Zahra Hankir
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking “SIGN UP”, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top