- Aegyo sal means ‘eye smiles’ or ‘cute skin’ and is new trend in Korea
- Considered to make face look more attractive and youthful
- Women using make-up, sticky plastic or surgery to make bags ‘pop’
- Others resorting to commercial filler and fat grafts
Martha De Lacey
13:12 GMT, 26 July 2013
14:30 GMT, 26 July 2013
Most of us spend time every morning daubing our faces with eye creams, moisturisers, foundations and powders in effort to minimise the eye bags that scream ‘I had five glasses of Malbec and fewer hours of sleep last night’ to our colleagues.
But women in Korea are doing everything they can to make their under-eye skin plumper – whether through make-up or by using little sticky strips of tape that make the skin beneath the eye ‘pop’ out. Some women are even having plastic surgery to achieve the look, while others are resorting to using commercial filler and fat grafts.
The new trend – considered to make you more attractive and youthful-looking – is called ‘aegyo sal’, translated as ‘eye smiles’ or ‘cute skin’, and involves accentuating the fatty deposits beneath eyes rather than drawing attention to the dark circles caused by sleep deprivation.
Eyes that really pop: Weibo provides an online picture tutorial demonstrating how to achieve aegyo sal, the Korean trend for increasing the amount of ‘puff’ beneath the eye through make-up, sticky tape or plastic surgery
Blogger Patricia Cahiga, who has written a post on blog.myfatpocket.com about how to achieve the look, explains: ‘Aegyo sal are not eyebags.
‘Eyebags are caused by lack of sleep or if you’re unlucky, caused by your genes and makes you look like a sleep deprived zombie or an unadorable panda, but aegyo sal is loosely translated as “cute/beautiful skin”.
‘Aegyo Sal is the layer of skin under the eyelids that gives your eyes more life and basically makes it look bigger.’
Chinese website Weibo demonstrates how to achieve the look using tiny strips of sticky plastic, and make-up bloggers have posted tutorial videos on YouTube showing how to use make-up alone to make eye puff more pronounced.
Before and after: Blogger Patricia Cahigas demonstrates aegyo sal using make-up alone
Asian Eyelid Surgery is a website run by plastic surgeon Dr Kenneth Kim explaining procedures often carried out on eyes in the Far East. They write: ‘Youthful lower eyelid fullness is commonly seen in younger Asian females.
one appear tired and aged, youthful lower eyelid fullness gives the
appearance of youthful, friendlier eyes as it is associated with
‘Essentially, it is a bulge of fat immediately under the lash line that creates puffiness under the lower eyelid.
‘Different from eye bags, which can make one appear tired and aged, youthful lower eyelid fullness gives the appearance of youthful, friendlier eyes as it is associated with smiling.
‘Anatomically, it is a result of increased hypertrophy of the orbicularis oculi (under eye muscle), which becomes more pronounced when one smiles.
‘This is a highly desired feature in Korea and other Asian cultures. Koreans call youthful lower eyelid fullness aegyo-sal; aegyo meaning cute and charming.’
Spot the difference: Korean blogs highlight the difference between eye bags and aegyo sal
Dr Kim continues: ‘Youthful lower eyelid fullness procedure can be done in combination with lower eyelid surgery.
transferring of one’s own fat tissue (usually from the abdomen, thigh, or hip area) to the under-eye to create more volume
‘Using the same incision site created for the lower blepharoplasty the surgeon can create youthful lower eyelid fullness by suspending the orbicularis oculi muscle back to its original position before muscle atrophy.’
Another popular method is using Restylane commercial filler or fat grafting, which involves the transferring of one’s own fat tissue (usually from the abdomen, thigh, or hip area) to the under-eye to create more volume.
Even the men are at it: As bloggers point out, it isn’t just women in Korea who are falling for the charms of the puffed-eye look
South Korean girls’ obsession with double eyelid surgery as they strive to look like ‘pretty western celebrities’
South Korean women have become so
immersed in western celebrity culture that double eyelid surgery, which
creates the Caucasian crease many Asian women don’t naturally have, has
become as common as going to the dentist, MailOnline reported in November,
Brazil as the plastic surgery capital of the world, South Korea now has
the highest number of surgeries performed per capita.
Going behind the scenes of Seoul Fashion Week for Vice magazine’s online series Fashion Week Internationale, host Charlet Duboc uncovers their quest for a stereotypical vision of a western face.
Scroll down for video
New norm: Double eyelid surgery in South Korea has become as common as going to the dentist
Miss Duboc asks a young K-pop singer from the band D-Unit why one in five women have undergone some sort of
cosmetic procedure in South Korea, which have become popular graduation
gifts from students’ parents.
of their distinctive looks, our ideal appearance would be that of
westerners,’ the singer said. ‘Big round eyes, straight nose, round
surgery involves cutting the outer end of the eyes to make them wider
and rounder, something plastic surgeons say boosts confidence.
Dr Seo, a surgeon from Seo Jae Don
Plastic Clinic, described one of his patients that day, who had flown
from Japan to have facial surgery, has small eyes.
Ideal face: Overtaking Brazil as the plastic surgery capital of the world, South Korea now has the highest number of surgeries performed per capita – in the quest for a western face
Creating a crease: Eyelid surgery involves cutting the outer end of the eyes to make them wider and rounder, something plastic surgeons say boosts confidence
Before and after: South Korean plastic surgeon Dr Seo says women are eager to have Caucasian features
He explained: ‘We will do
eyelid surgery, as well as give her a higher nose. She also has a flat
forheard so we’ll extract some fat and inject it into her forehead and
chin. By doing so her overall profile will look much more appealing.’
Miss Duboc, a British-born, one-time model, he added: ‘Most of our
customers are eager to have facial features like yours.
face with more volume is considered to be more popular these days,
having an apple shape face means there’s more chance to change a
person’s destiny, they think their fortune will change for the better.
‘There are lots of girls who come in
after breaking up with their boyfriends…there are doctors who cure the
illnesses that we can see; we cure the heartbroken people. There is no
need to live with a sense of discontent because of their appearance,’ he
Beauty differences: This young women (right) was disappointed when Miss Duboc (left) admired her ‘natural and unique’ look, explaining that her different features, from that of westerners, is what makes her beautiful
Part of society: Eyelid surgery has become so ingrained in South Korea, before and after advertisements are standard practice
However it seems that Seoul Fashion Week is actually trying to distance itself from this K-pop plastic surgery culture.
Miss Duboc explained that backstage, there were many people who wanted to reverse the trend, favouring a more natural look.
fashion student born in North Korea and smuggled into the south as a
child, who sat next to Miss Duboc at one of the shows, said ‘if a person
is doing it to boost their confidence by covering up their handicaps I
think its fine, but to completely change the way one naturally looks is
She added: ‘I see many of my friends
getting it done. I think our desire to look as pretty as celebrities is
far greater than in any other country.’
Different views: According to Vice, Seoul Fashion Week is actually trying to distance itself from this K-pop plastic surgery culture
Natural beauty: Miss Duboc explained that backstage, there were many people who wanted to reverse the trend, favouring a more natural look
Role models: Young women walking in the shows also believe that the plastic surgery trend has gone overboard, with many now saying there is more value in natural faces
A make-up artist agreed, commenting: ‘I hate people getting double eyelid surgery, personally I like the natural look.’
And a model who had just walked int eh show said: ‘I think Korean beauty is a look with natural eyelids.’
patient outside of Fashion Week’s culture, who recently had the surgery
and was disappointed when Miss Duboc admired her ‘natural and unique’
look, explaining that her different features, from that of westerners,
is what makes her beautiful, said: ‘My mother would always support me in
my quest to look better, my father would be a bit more worried.
older generation… think natural is beautiful, being original is
better. The importance of beauty is different to each individual.’