Aegyo-sal aka Cute Under Eye Bags, a K-Beauty Trend

What is Aegyo-sal (애교살)???

In South Korea, aegyo-sal is referring to the under eye bags, roughly translated as “cute skin” or “cute fat.” It’s when someone uses makeup or plastic surgery to enhance their features to create a 3D look to their eyes by volumizing the under eye bags to make their eyes bigger and ultimately more cuter like the picture below.


Image: Taeyeon from Girls’ Generation
Left: Normal pic of Taeyeon with aegyo-sal.
Right: If she didn’t have aegyo-sal.

Why do some people in South Korea want this look?

According to some people, having aegyo-sal makes one’s face look younger and fuller. When you are a baby/child you have lots of fat especially in your face, and it’s cute and is a symbol of youthfulness. Therefore, people like to use makeup, inject eye fillers under one’s eyes, or have surgery to recreate this “youthful” appearance and give more dimension to their face. This has become very popular in Korea since typically the facial structure of Koreans is flat.

So do non-Koreans do this too?

It’s not as common and is usually quite the opposite. However, some Westerners that follow k-beauty will try this look usually by the means of using makeup. Nonetheless, it’s more common though for Westerners to get under eye bag removal surgery. In the West, eye bags are usually associated with aging, wrinkles, and the most commonly talked about negative form – dark circles.

How does one get the Aegyo-Sal look?

These are the two primary methods to achieve the Korean aegyo-sal look:


There are various eyeshadows, eyeliners, and highlighters that are specifically made to give someone the appearance of aegyo-sal. Using a variety of cosmetics to create highlights and shadows around the eye area is a great way to get this look without having to go under the knife or get an injection. If you want to know great tips and advice on how to get this look and which Korean makeup products are out there in the market that Koreans are using to get the aegyo-sal look, check out this article here.

Plastic Surgery

1. Injection

ID Hospital, South Korea

Usually, this is a very quick procedure, heals quickly, and isn’t as inconvenient as a full-on surgery. Doctors use dermal fillers (of which there are many kinds, so shop around before you decide) or a fat graft that is injected into your lower-eye area. Having the injection is said to give your face a more brighter plump appearance. It is a temporary treatment and is recommended to be redone after one year.

2. Surgery

ID Hospital, South Korea

This procedure usually lasts around 20 minutes. It all depends on what hospital you go to. The doctor will make an incision on the outer end of your eyes to insert an artificial derma. Unlike the injection, this procedure is permanent and the artificial derma should not be absorbed into the skin. Since there is usually no scar leftover, you should be able to shower and wear makeup afterwards, but always double check with your doctor first on what you need to do before, during and after the surgery. Lastly, swelling usually lasts less than five days.


Editor’s Opinion on “Aegyo-sal”

I understand the concept of aegyo-sal to make one’s face seem more youthful and fuller, and I think it looks great on a lot of people. However, at first I was quite surprised when I heard this is a common trend here in Korea. At least for me coming from America, I was always raised to believe that eye bags were a sign of not sleeping enough. Ever since I was little I was taught the regiment of putting cucumbers on your eyes to help the swelling go down. I have naturally puffy eyes, which at first I hated with a passion.

Nonetheless, after being in Korea and being told that it is OKAY to have more puffiness in my lower eyelids, I’ve learned to work with it. I would recommend to others that want to try out this look to use makeup. If you really like it and want something that’ll last longer, then I would recommend plastic surgery (after much thought of course). Shop around first before deciding on a surgeon or procedure because I have also seen some aegyo-sal 애교살 that was overly done i.e. fake, and you don’t want to go around looking like your eyes were attacked by bees.


Jihee Park

Jihee Park is the Lead Beauty Editor of K-Beauty Now. Based in the heart of Seoul, her professional expertise and approach in academic, social media, and lifestyle coverage provide compelling articles the community can trust. Translated from Korean to English, bringing you the latest k-beauty news straight from South Korea.