Most people work tirelessly to reduce the appearance of the bags under their eyes. Not only has puffiness long been associated with looking tired, but it’s also considered a sign of aging. However, a new trend is changing the narrative when it comes to baggage, as people are actually looking to achieve what’s known as “cheerful eye bags.”
The trend originated in South Korea where it is known as “aegyo sal,” which translates to “charming fat” and is characterized by a puffy pouch under the eye. What was once considered a flaw, the K-Beauty scene now claims will give you a more youthful and charming appearance. For this reason, cheerful eye bags are catching on stateside, too, especially with the younger crowd.
To no surprise, it seems that TikTok is driving the trend, as its users are known for pushing back against America’s rigid standards of beauty. On the app, TikTokers demonstrate how they use makeup to fake bags — or in some cases, people even go as far as getting cosmetic procedures to achieve the look.
With that said, we’ve talked with Dr. Audrey Kunin, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist DERMAdoctor Founder and Chief Product Officer NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, to find out more about the “cheerful eye bags” trend.
What are cheerful eye bags?
First, it’s important to note that these are not the same as eye bags. Under-eye bags are usually darker in color (purple-blue), bigger, and saggier; whereas, “charming fat” is smaller and sits in a higher position toward the lower lash line.
“Traditional eye bags are actually below the eye in what we refer to as the infraorbital fossa,” explains Dr. Kunin. “Cheerful eye bags are not actually bags at all, but rather a puffy lower lid.” Essentially, it’s a bulge of fat as opposed to liquid buildup or sagging tissue.
How do you get cheerful eye bags?
While she’s aware of the trend, Dr. Kunin notes that she hasn’t had anyone come through her office with the hopes of achieving a full lower lid. But for those looking for cheerful eye bags, she says that it’s typically done through injections of hyaluronic acid fillers.
“It involves inflating the lower eyelids creating a puff,” Dr. Kunin explains. This is thought to make it appear that you are smiling at all times. However, she warns that injections can potentially cause brushing, infection, and out-turned lower lids when performed incorrectly.
Another popular way to enhance the fatty deposits beneath the eyes in Korea is with fat grafting, which involves the transferring of one’s own fat tissue to the under-eye area to create more volume. This method, however, is much riskier, requires more downtime, and is far less common in the U.S.
Can you get the look with makeup?
Yes! If you’re looking for something less invasive, a simpler (and temporary) way to get cheerful eye bags is with makeup. Just as you can make your cheekbones appear lifted and more defined by contouring, you can do the same to make the lower lid appear “fuller, brighter, and cheerier,” says Nyane, a beauty influencer and content creator.
Simply apply a bit of matte brown eye shadow just under the natural fat pocket on your lower lid; most people will see a small crease when they smile making it more prominent. Then, apply a slightly shimmery pink shadow (like shade Fariki in the Morphe x Nyane Fierce Fairtytale Artistry Palette) or highlighter to the fat pocket, and blend everything together using a fluffy brush. Finish by highlighting the inner corners of eyes.
Because beauty trends come and go so quickly, makeup may be the best approach if you’re interested in trying out the cheerful eye bags trend.