There has been a lot of chatter and imagery online recently about something called “fox eyes” or “designer eyes.” If you haven’t heard of it, the trend has been created by models, actresses, and social media personalities and taken to the next level by powerful influencers with large followings. The look we’re talking about is the creation of a sort of severe, almond shaped eye that people like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, the Kardashians, and Megan Fox are so famous for.

Having recently been named one of the most beautiful women in the world it’s no surprise that women have been flocking to imitate Bella Hadid’s features, her almond shaped eyes in particular (that are most likely not a gift from mother nature/mother Yolanda alone). But the trend has kind of gone to the next level, and not in a good way, both in a political sense and when it comes to cosmetic surgery.

“Fox Eyes” and Cultural Appropriation

There has been a huge outcry from the Asian community in response to the “fox eye” trend. For many Asian women this has triggered memories of being name-called and made fun of because of their looks and their cultural heritage.

Their outrage doesn’t come from the severe make-up used to create the look or even the trend to achieve the look cosmetically. It actually comes in large part from the poses that are being struck on social media platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok, and You Tube, with women intensifying the look by using their hands to pull their eyes up by the temples, something called the “migraine pose.” It even became a Tik Tok challenge that generated a ton of participation and views.

But what is now a trend promoted by a faction of models, actresses and influencers, was once a harsh racial slur directed at the Asian community. Many people have recounted being taunted, teased or bullied by others making this same pose to emulate the appearance of their eyes.

So although “fox eyes” are being defended by some as not being intentionally racist, the fact that they have become a new trend that exoticizes a very specific look appropriated by predominantly white women of privilege points to an unacknowledged and problematic cultural appropriation of Asian features.

“Fox Eyes” as a Beauty Trend: What to Keep in Mind

The majority of women have been creating “fox eyes” with make-up and by shaving the tips of their eyebrows in order to redraw their angle, making the tips of their eyebrows straighter but also pointing them slightly upwards.

However, some are going as far as adopting the look through both non-surgical and surgical techniques, and these methods tend to be quite risky and often don’t always turn out as expected.

You can in theory achieve the “fox eye” look with fillers and Botox, and also something called a thread lift (threads are inserted under the skin around areas like your lips, eyes and brows to hold the areas in place and give the desired look). With fillers and Botox you would probably do a combo treatment, injecting filler at the outer edges of the eyes and Botox to lift the area around the eyebrows.

Besides the common risks that come with any injectable treatment and the number of other things that can go wrong if you go to the wrong place (like noticeable asymmetries, for starters), the major issue is that this really does not suit every face. Your face actually has to already have the favourable anatomical features like deep-set eyes or a high arched brow, and your skin needs to have high degrees of collagen for this to actually work and look good.

Surgically, blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery could also in theory produce the “fox eye” effect, but because blepharoplasty is not aimed to create this kind of transformation, it’s risky. Eyelid surgery or an eyelid lift is actually a super amazing surgery if you have droopy eyelids or bags under your eyes. The goal is to remove excess skin and fat from either the upper or lower eyelids (or both) and tighten the area around the eyes. The procedure, when expertly done and for the right reasons, can really take years off your face.

But blepharoplasty used as a technique to achieve a look it’s not meant for? Well, it’s probably not the best idea, and probably won’t get you the look that you were expecting.

The concern is really that the “fox eye” trend is exactly that, a trend. Trends are fleeting, they come and go, but when you have a cosmetic procedure done, not only does it carry risks, but particularly if it’s surgical, it’s permanent. It doesn’t go away when the trend does, that’s why when it comes to this particular fad it isn’t really one that we’ve gotten behind. What we really want is for you to look like you in a natural way using well researched techniques and super safe products.