Nov 11, 2009  •  In Asian, Beauty, Korean

Extra Fat Under Your Eyes May Make Them Look Larger

One thing I noticed lately is the prevalence of Korean celebrities who have large fat deposits under their eyes.


This picture of the new girl group Rainbow was what prompted my new curiosity.

Koreans (well, Asians in general) can have very warped views on attractiveness and appearances. I wondered if puffy under-eyes now counted as a desirable trait.

Internet searches brought up nothing, so I decided to formulate my own theory.

Asian blepharoplasty — otherwise known as Asian eyelid surgery — is performed in order to give the appearance of larger eyes. Asians even use glue or tape in order to create the crease that makes your eyes look bigger.


As you can see, a crease can make your eyes look bigger without changing the dimensions of the eyes.

I then wondered why the theory could not apply to the under eye area as well: can puffy under-eyes make your eyes look larger?

I am not talking about the under-eye bags that come with age. I am referring to the genetic kind — the extra deposit of fatty tissue that some people have even at a young age.

There was only one way to test my theory. I decided to take the above picture of Rainbow and remove, via Photoshop, the girls’ under-eye bags. See for yourself:

The difference is especially noticeable in the bottom right picture.

Still not convinced? Let’s try this picture of Kim Tae Hee, who is one of the most popular actresses in Korea right now:

Sure, she may look more tired with the bags, but you can’t deny that her eyes look larger with them.

I must confess that I was a bit disappointed with these results, because I do not possess this extra fat deposit under my eyes. I don’t even get puffy eyes when I’m tired…I only get dark, dark under-eye circles.

I’m still not sure if Korea has caught on to this phenomenon, as my Korean web-trawling skills are limited. However, I would not be surprised if a few years down the line, I start reading advertisements for under-eye deposit surgeries.

Do you have extra fat under your eyes? Do you consider them a blessing or a curse?

38 Responses to “Extra Fat Under Your Eyes May Make Them Look Larger”

  1. Sunny says:

    Oooh, I think you’re onto something! I never thought about this so I just looked at myself in the mirror- I do have that extra fat under my eyes when I smile. I wonder where it comes from, if the puff shows on both girls who naturally have bigger eyes and those who got them surgically altered.

    • hehe says:

      omg it always comes out after smile I dunno if it’s the eye smile but yeah I used to hate it but now seeing that I guess it’s not that bad,
      Btw I’m asian but is there anyone NOT asian and happens to have that happen to your eyes?

      • Katarina says:

        I’m not Asian and I have them under my eyes. My grandfather was Chinese, though, so it might be an Asian trait…

      • Jennifer says:

        I have the same little puffs under my eyes that appear even when I give the slightest hint of a smile. I’ve had them since I was a little girl. My mother always told me that it gave me a “sweet smile,” but I’ve always hated them. In fact, I came across this page looking for a way to get rid of them! I never knew they were a desirable feature to have. I’m not Asian, nor do I have any Asian blood in me. I’m actually part Polish.

      • cady says:

        I have them and I’m 100% not asian.

  2. Andrea says:

    I never thought about this before you mentioned it but it makes sense since the extra definition under the eye would suggest that the eye extends a little beyond and below what you may think of of the eye when you look at it. I’m terribly awkward at explaining what I’m trying to say but I’m sure you understand what I mean anyway since you wrote all about it.

    I was curious if I had the extra pocket under my eyes and I just looked at a picture of myself and I definitely have it and I’m sure I’ve had it all my life since people have said that I look like I have larger eyes than other Koreans.

  3. Amy says:

    Hi Jenny! I’m amused by your remarkably astute observations of our world. I possess those terrible hereditary dark circles and fat deposits. I do NOT think this is beautifying in any manner. I do think that for an Asian I already have relatively large eyes, but I don’t think it’s related to the fat deposits. All of my sisters and I have it (thanks Dad!) but we all have differently shaped eyes.
    You could do the experiment on yourself (not sure if you can photoshop extra fat into your lower lid) and see if it gives the illusion of bigger eyes?

    Fascinating observation nonetheless. I do think that some baby fat on the face makes people look younger though. And when I was young and cursed my chipmunk cheeks, I am now thankful that lack of sleep and working a lot has not hollowed out my cheeks the least bit. Yay for chipmunks!

  4. Tara says:

    Huh, interesting. Our baby has this big-time, and I’ve feared she would see it as a bad thing ("bags under the eyes"….). Hope for her sake that it does take off as the next big thing!

  5. Geek in Heels says:

    @Amy — I like your idea of Photoshopping under-eye fat deposits onto a picture of myself! Here are the results: https://www.geekinheels.com/blog/2009/11/12/the-under-eye-fat-experiment-on-myself.html

  6. Diana says:

    Oh wow… what an interesting post! I’m Chinese and when I was a kid, I noticed that my under-eye fat deposits made my eyes look "different" from those of my white friends, so I would go to the mirror and pull down the skin under my eyes to make it flat so that I could see how I looked without the fatty deposits. It’s been years since I’ve given the fatty deposits any thought… but after reading your post, I went to the mirror again and pulled down the skin under my eyes. And you’re right, I think that the fatty deposits really do make my eyes look larger. I wonder what the biological advantage is to having the fatty deposits? I read in a 1970s sociology book that Asians’ eyes are shaped the way they are because it helps protect the eyes from the glare coming off the sand and snow. Who knows though… it was a 1970s textbook, after all ;)

  7. I hate my bags under my eyes, but thanks for at least making me think that they look larger with them!!!!

  8. nehsarang says:

    Hi I recently discovered your blog and I think it’s hilarious :) And informative.
    The bags of fat under the eyes is called Aegyo Sal. Like the word aegyo which means like doing cute, lovable things, and sal which means skin or fat. I think some people get surgery to enhance the skin they have under the eyes because it does make you look cuter. A lot of ulzzangs, or people known for their good looks, are famous for that fat because it makes them look more attractive. I hope this helps a little :)

  9. miyuki says:

    THANK YOU for supporting my suspicions on this!! whenever I ask my friends they are like.. what are you talking about, isn’t it just underbags.. why would you want them … :P

  10. katy says:

    Oh i know. I have the bags under my eyes, though they’re not as large. Once I tried to photoshop my pictures and one of the apps was "concealer". When I used it, it got rid of my bags and my eyes looked smaller.
    Also, one day one of my friends told me that i had the "aegyo fat". (aegyo is korean term for cute. kinda….-0-)
    She said i was so lucky and people really want to have it.
    I don’t think really bog ones are pretty, they might look okay now but when you age they’ll sag. But little ones enlarge your eyes while not sagging. (my mom has them too and she still looks fine at 50)

  11. Gheala says:

    I do have them, even though I’m Egyptian and I consider them to be a bliss because they do, thank god, make my eyes look bigger and easier to put the eyeliner on.

  12. Cindy says:

    My friend noted that my eyes had this "little wrinkle" when I smiled. There’s a picture of me as a baby that my parents took with the caption: This is Cindy when she’s upset. I was a year old. My friend took one look at it and said that I looked happy because of the little fat deposits. I was actually about to cry. :)

  13. viva la sk says:

    Great job with the photoshop! It was interesting to see the difference.

    The fat under the eye isn’t very new in Korea at all. In Korean it’s called 눈밑애교살 or translated, under-eye cute/charming skin/fat. There’s a mini plastic surgery procedure where you inject something to that bottom lid area and have it puff up. I wouldn’t doubt that the majority of the girls in the Rainbow group have gotten this procedure done. Pretty obvious with this celeb: http://cafe.naver.com/ulgul.cafe?iframe_url=/ArticleRead.nhn%3Farticleid=45998

    So don’t worry if you don’t have it naturally!

  14. Duy says:

    The fat in the lower eye lid is present in people who live in cold climate. It's not because Koreans think that it's pretty. It's just a signature look because South Korea is a country that is pretty far north.

  15. Geek in Heels says:

    @Duy — South Korea isn't far north (it's classified as a temperate deciduous forest) and if anything, its summers are hotter than the ones we have here in NY.

  16. Korean says:

    It seems that you have no idea about what you are talking about. the reason that Koreans find under eye fatty deposit pretty is because when you smile, your eye tends to bend more into a half moon shape and it is cuter. It has little, if anything to do with their eyes being bigger. If they wanted their eyes to be bigger, they can just turn to plastic surgery and cut the inner/outer corners of their eyes.

  17. Geek in Heels says:

    @Korean — Did you read the entire post? If you had, you would see that I wrote the extra fat gives the illusion of larger eyes, just as the double fold does. I never said anything about WHY Koreans find it pretty; however, if the trait helps make the eyes look bigger that is an added reason to find it attractive, no?

  18. yuna says:

    I went to korea and we went downtown to a famous plastic surgery clinic. My mom went to get her crow's feet removed and the surgeon asked her if she wanted to have some fat inserted under her eyes and have 눈밑애교살. HAHA. It's not an exaggeration, practically EVERYONE gets their eyes done, and it's very common to see it on celebrities. Most of them are not natural anyways.

  19. Citrine says:

    I am not sure about surgery but I have already seen some (Ok, just one, like that main girl in Boys over Flowers) Korean actress with a shimmery pale pink/white eyeshadow under their eye to enhance those litte eye bag…

  20. didi says:

    A little late to the game on this one, but I think part of the reason why it works is because the shadow under the eye makes it seem as though there is more depth in the eye socket, which is something many Asians are lacking (I sadly have a slightly protruding eye). The illusion of a deeper eye socket could also trick the viewer’s brain into interpreting the eye as being slightly further away, and therefore bigger than if it were closer. I think this effect is probably secondary to the simple emphasis added by underlining the eye (similar to how an more defined eyebrow can make the eye look bigger).

  21. Jenny, I recently picked up on this too, and was wondering if this is advertised in Korea, as something like a breast implant surgery would be here. It’s kind of making the “mold” for what people should look like. I don’t think that the size of your eyes should define who you are, but I guess it’s your body!

  22. Lisa says:

    Even though your studies have shown that it may display the illusion of larger eyes. I do not find them attractive at all. I have been searching the internet to find out why or what is causing these bags/ puffiness I have below my eyes. I am asian and now am guessing they are hereditary fat deposite tissue? as you said. I am looking to get rid of them. When I look at pictures it immediately attracts my attention and I wonder why I have such puffy eyes. It bothers me so much that I try not to smile to big so it doesn’t show too much and end up with this awkward half smile.

  23. Sophie says:

    I think its called the “love band” eye surgery ! Dont see the need for why people would need to get it done, I’m trying to sleep more to get rid of mine ~ !!

  24. caroline says:

    hi!! this is so interesting , I have to tell you I came here because I saw a vid when some doctors explained that the fat under the eyes is surely considered beautifull and there are a lot of cosmetics that enphasize that area , there are also a solution made by dermatologits that is injected under the eyes area to create a plumped-up look … AND I WAS LIKE O_O at first I was thinking ” man koreans are really crazy , how could they injected something just to have that , THAT’S INSANE (FIVE MINUTES LATER) I was looking for fat under my eyes in front the mirror xDDDDDD

    THIS IS THE VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhyCIUYyKbI&feature=g-u-u

  25. Em says:

    I think it’s true! I have them and everyone says I have huge eyes even though I’m Asian but I don’t think my actual eye outline is much bigger. I feel better about having them now even though they make me look tired all the time!

  26. Riana says:

    Ya…i have deposit fats under my eyes.. And it become bigger if im stress or tired. And i have big eyes..i hate it.

  27. Whoa Nellie! says:

    I am multi-racial…not Asian..and have the extra fat under my eyes. I noticed it big time tonight & was freaking out.. in America the is called bags and means you are old & ugly. People get surgery to get rid of the fat or use expensive creams. Thanks for your article.. I feel so much better now. Grin* And glamorous

  28. k says:

    Hmnn interesting theory. When I was in Korea, many of the models in ads are left with the under eye puffyness and I asked my Korean mother in law why Koreans have such puffy eyes and she said its just genetic for Koreans, she had the same puffyness. I never saw adverts to BUY puffy eyes (I saw plastic surgery ads for about every other surgery tho including eyelid, nose, jaw shaving, forehead implants, cheek implants, calf surgery)). I don’t know if puffy under eyes are a desired trait but it certainly isn’t something that koreans feel the need to photoshop out of pics, so they must like it. I have puffy under eyes when I smile and I’m white but I always thought it makes me look really tired cause when I am actually really tired my eyes are super puffy. I don’t think in western culture puffy eyes are considered desireable because you don’t see models or celebs with it and the beauty industry sells lots of “depuffing” eye serums.

  29. There's a surgery for that says:

    There’s a surgery for that ( aka bigger eyes)……..

    Two WORDS……………. LOVE BANDS.

  30. Jess says:

    Hi Jenny,

    I’m just curious, is there a name for this surgery? Do they perform it in the US? And do you know if it works on Caucasians? I used to have them and they all of a sudden went away and I now look much older. So, I’m considering saving up and getting it done in the future – but first am on a mission to find out its name of course!

    Much appreciated!

    Jess

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