When I was at my local Japanese beauty supply store earlier this week, I was puzzled to find a display of pale pink, champagne, gold and nude eyeliners nestled between the more standard jet black liquid liners and the ultra-shimmery eyeshadows that are kind of the status quo on this side of the Pacific. They came in the shades traditionally associated with highlighters (think NARS Copacabana and Benefit Highbeam/Moonbeam/Sunbeam), but they were mysteriously packaged in pen form. Upon closer inspection, I came to realize that they were in fact, highlighters — just made specifically for your under eyes.
No, not the area where you're prone to dark circles, but the area directly under your eye, right below the waterline. In countries like Japan and South Korea, it's become popular to highlight the area to create the illusion of puffy (read: larger, not sleepy) eye. In South Korea, they refer to the look as "aegyo sal" which roughly translates to "eye smiles." If you're not naturally blessed with puffy under eyes, there are a few ways to get them — plastic surgery, clear tape, and a little artful contouring. And since plastic surgery isn't a viable option for most — not to mention a little extreme — and the clear tape looks monstrously uncomfortable, why not try the contour method?
And that's where the under eye-specific highlighting tools come in. Most of these products are designed to subtly draw attention to the area, just like a regular highlighter would. So after a little research (okay, mostly just Pinterest), I broke down and bought the unfortunately-named "K-Palette Real Lasting Tears Tank" in "Gramorous Pink." That's not an Asian jibe — as a Japanese-American person I'm generally against "humorous" Asian accents — that's actually what it's called on the package.
Spelling errors aside, I was actually quite pleased with the result: It did what it was supposed to, and made me look (literally) bright-eyed and (metaphorically) bushy-tailed. It's an odd trend, to be sure, but could it be the next BB cream? I'm excited to see if this beauty look makes it stateside!