If there’s one thing we constantly worry about our looks, it’s dark circles and under-eye bags. We spend hundreds on the best creams to diminish dark circles and firm our under-eye bags; but in Korea – it’s for a completely different reason.
Women in Korea are doing everything possible to make their under-eye skin plumper, whether it’s through make-up or using little sticker strips that make the skin below the lower eyelids “pop” out.
The new trend – called aegyo sal, translated as ‘eye smiles’ or ‘cute skin’, involves accentuating the fatty deposits beneath the eyes. This puffy under-eye appearance is said to make you look more attractive and youthful.
Not to be mistaken with eye-bags, aegyo sal is the layer of skin right under the eyelids that gives your eyes more puffiness while making it appear larger.
“Youthful lower eyelid fullness is commonly seen in younger Asian females,” says Dr Kenneth Kim, a plastic surgeon who runs the website Asian Eyelid Surgery.
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.
Youthful lower eyelid fullness procedure can be done in combination with lower eyelid surgery.
Dr Kim also explains that a popular method of creating under-eye bag involves the use of Restylane, a commercial filler or fat grafting that involves transferring of one’s own fat tissue (from abdomen, thigh, or hip area) to the under-eye to create more volume.
South Korea boasts the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita than anywhere else in the world. It has become part of the Korean society where it’s not just a norm, but almost a necessity in the so-called “self-improvement” process. In April, images of Miss Korea 2013 contestants emerged, showing similar-shaped eyes, narrow chin and slim nose.
And as if upper eyelid surgery wasn’t enough, Korean women are looking to make their eyes look even larger with under eyelid surgery. Check out these images of popular Korean starlets with and without aegyo sal and decide for yourself:
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Popular make-up blogger Michelle Phan demonstrates that is in fact rather effective in making you look more cheerful and youthful. Watch her make-up tutorial video here to learn how to achieve “smiling eyes”.