Why Do Koreans Have Small Eyes? [EXPLAINED]

Korean Eyes

For Koreans, an attractive appearance is a great asset. So, many of them consider their looks as an investment. While some spend their money on Korean beauty products, others even go under the knife to enhance their natural features.

Although East Asians are well-known for their small eyes, Koreans tend to prefer big, prominent eyes. They emphasize their eyes as they believe that the they hold beauty.

But do they really have small eyes size? Or it’s just that their eyes appear smaller? In this blog post, we will talk about why Koreans have small eyes. So, without further ado, let’s read ahead!

Evolutionary Traits

Epicanthic Fold

East Asian ancestors came from Siberia—one of the coldest regions in Russia. However, during the historical migration, those with large eyes died due to snow blindness. Therefore, they couldn’t pass on their genetics.

These Siberian ancestors’ eyes have also developed an ‘epicanthic fold.’ It is an extra thin layer of skin, and it’s often associated with greater levels of fat disposition around the eyeball. It also serves as protection to the eyes from snow and sunlight glare.

A study shows that the eyeball size of people across the world is roughly the same. The only difference is that Koreans have epicanthic folds that cover the inner corner of the eye, making them look small.

Eye Shape

Eye Shape

Koreans have a different eye shape compared to other races. They are known for having almond-shaped eyes, making them appear smaller than rounded-shaped eyes.

Due to Korean beauty standards, they have the so-called “Golden Ratio of Beautiful Eyes.” In this standard, one needs to possess the four main components of beautiful eyes:

  • Iris should be 90% exposed.
  • Eyes should be at least 8-10mm in vertical height and 27-29mm in horizontal length.
  • Ratio of the inner and outer half eyes should be 4:5.
  • Double eyelids

So, to achieve big, beautiful eyes, most Koreans go through various surgical procedures such as ‘canthoplasty’ for wide eyes and ‘blepharoplasty’ for less excess skin on the upper eyelids.

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Monolid Eyes

Kim Go Eun
Actress Kim Go Eun

With K-pop idols and Korean actors, double eyelids seem to be common in South Korea. But Koreans, naturally, have monolid eyes. It’s indeed one of the main reasons why they have small eyes, as it decreases the opening between upper and lower eyelids.

Since having big, round creased eyes is the standard of beautiful Korean eyes, the ‘double eyelids’ surgery has become a popular choice to achieve natural-looking creases. In fact, it has become a great birthday and graduation present for teenagers in South Korea!

Still, some Koreans and even famous Korean idols and actors like Park So Dam and Kim Go Eun refuse to hop into the trend and change their natural eyes. After all, having monolid eyes is one of their charms!

Face Shape

Face Shape

Another factor that affects the size and appearance of the eyes is the face shape. Naturally, Koreans have prominent cheekbones and a wide jawline. This facial bone structure accentuates their eyes and makes them appear smaller.

Koreans’ desire to achieve the perfect face shape and proportion pushes them to go for facial bone contouring surgery such as jaw, chin, and cheekbone reduction. There are also some trending beauty hacks like make-up techniques and V-line tapes to create an illusion of a narrow and slim V-line.

Read More: Why Do Koreans Sleep On The Floor

Short and Thin Lashes


Koreans have short and thin eyelashes that make their eyes look even smaller. It makes the eyes look dull, so they use popular Korean eye make-up products like mascara and fake eyelashes to enhance their lashes.

Some even do ‘semi-permanent eyelash extensions’ to add volume to their natural lashes and ‘lash lifts’ that curl lashes for bigger, brighter, and more prominent eyes. But note that besides their upper lashes, they also emphasize their bottom lashes to give an eye-popping result.

Also, unlike the Western look with bold eyelashes, Koreans usually go for a soft and natural eyelash look to pull off a whimsical and fairy-like look.

Short, Farther Eyebrows


Generally, East Asians, including Koreans, have closer and shorter eyebrows. It creates an optical illusion: the farther the eyebrows apart, the smaller they’ll look. It also makes the eyes look more narrow.

So, to improve their eyebrows, Koreans fill its natural shape with make-up in shades of brown to dark brown to make them look as soft and smooth as possible. They also avoid making their eyebrows look bushy, as ideal Korean eyebrows are light, simple, and straight.

Read More: How To Get Korean Eyebrows

Dark Circles

Dark Circles

Korean beauty focuses on a natural and youthful look. This explains why almost every Korean idols and stars look younger than their actual age. However, one won’t look young and healthy if there are visible dark circles and wrinkles under the eyes.

Not only does it affects a person’s complexion, but it affects the eyes’ size as well.

As a solution, Koreans use a variety of beauty products such as eye creams, concealers, and eye patches to reduce dark circles and puffiness of the eyes. For faster results, some choose to undergo ‘under-eye fat repositioning’ or eye bag removal surgery.

Flat Nose

Eyes and Nose

Asians are known for having a flatter, lower nasal bridge, and lower nose tip. The nose’s size and shape greatly affect the eyes’ appearance, as a flat nose makes the eyes look smaller and too far apart.

Since the nose is the center of the face, changing it will not only enhance its shape but the overall appearance of the face as well. Some undergo ‘rhinoplasty’ surgery to achieve a taller and pointier nose by increasing the height of the nose bridge and lifting its tip. As a result, it will make facial features look more symmetrical.

Fox Eye Make-up Trend

Itzy Yezi
ITZY’s Yezi

While most Korean try to look less Asian by making their eyes look bigger and rounder, some still love, appreciate, and prefer to keep them as they are.

They enhance their slanted eyes with the current fox-eye trend. It is an eye make-up look that features a cat-eye flick and sharp inner corners using eyeliner and dark eye shadows.

ITZY’s Yezi and Blackpink’s Jennie are some of the K-pop idols that totally rocked the fox-eye look. So, many people started to learn and use this eye makeup technique for a fierce look!

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Korean Man

Usually, when we hear ‘East Asians,’ the first thing that pops into our heads is their small, slanted eyes. But technically, they don’t really have small eyes. They just appear smaller because of the epicanthic fold that’s included in Asian genes.

So, Koreans won’t be able to escape this genetic feature unless they remove it through surgical procedures.

Additionally, since it protects the eyes from cold weather and acts as a defensive mechanism against the environment, it is probably one of the reasons why Koreans’ eyes become puffy during the winter season.

Big eyes are often associated with attractiveness. So, Koreans believe that they’re better off with prominent eyes. While some think small eyes are less attractive, there are still who appreciate and consider them a striking feature of one’s face.

We hope that you enjoyed reading our blog post. If you have comments, feel free to tell us what you think below!

If you want another interesting read, you might also like: Why Do Koreans Have Clear Skin?


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