Call it a crease. A double eyelid. An epicanthic fold.
Whatever the name, not having one can change everything from how you do your makeup to how you’re seen by the world. But finally, that seems to be changing. Five beauty bloggers shed light on the beauty of monolids.
Jen Chae, 33
@frmheadtotoe / Olathe, Kansas
I grew up in Kansas. And there was very little diversity in Olathe, Kansas. A lot of my Korean family members used to say, “Your eyes are pretty big for being a monolidded person, so it’s OK.” But it was never “That’s desirable” or “That’s pretty.” It’s important to come from a place of positivity versus negativity. If you’re wearing eyeliner because you’re self-conscious about your eye shape, is that really beauty? Now I have a one-year-old daughter. She’s half white. One of the first things my Asian friends said when she was born was, “Oh, she has double eyelids,” “She has a crease,” or “Some people pay good money for eyes like that.” I think she’s absolutely beautiful. But I don’t want her to feel good or bad about her eyes being any which way. All that matters is that she can see. Of course I would have loved her as much if she had monolids. I would have been able to teach her how to do her makeup and tell her that it’s totally normal to not have creases in a society where that’s not what we’re told. I just wish that it were a nonfactor.
Kim Chi, 30
@kimchi_chic / Chicago
I was born and raised in America, but I lived in Korea from the time I was 5 years old until I was 12. It’s common for Korean kids to get eyelid surgery as an elementary-school graduation present. Even in elementary school, I remember classmates, both male and female, saying they got eyelid surgery as a birthday present. My siblings, my parents, and all my cousins have monolids. And no one got surgery. Growing up as a guy in a very conservative Asian household, men had to be butch — they never talked to me about my eyelids. I never gave much thought to them until I started doing drag. A lot of the comments I got were, “You’re so easy to do makeup on. You don’t have the fold, so you can draw shapes on easily.” Drag makeup is about creating completely new features. If I want to create a crease, I can create one. If I want to emphasize my monolids, I can do that, too. The possibilities for doing makeup are endless; my monolids are admired for being versatile in the drag community.
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Weylie Hoang, 24
@weylie / Los Angeles
I thought eyes were just…eyes. Then one day, my mom and I were looking at an Asian magazine. It had a photo of a celebrity before and after eyelid surgery. After that, I started to notice that my eyelids were different. Kids at school would pull their eyes back and say, “This is how small your eyes are.” I was so embarrassed. I remember thinking, I am so unattractive; no guy will ever like me. I started wearing makeup when I was in seventh grade. My mom was someone who loved wearing makeup; she always embraced it, and she let us. I would watch mascara commercials — as the model applied mascara, her lashes would perk up. I couldn’t get perky lashes. My lids would actually push my lashes down. One time I tried eyelid tape and left it on for 12 hours. When I pulled it off, my lid sagged. And it stayed like that for an entire month. I Googled it afterward; a lot of women have the same experience. But I figured out how to do my makeup in a way that worked for me. By the time I was in high school, my girlfriends would admire my makeup — I wore [fake] lashes to school every day — and they would ask me to do their makeup for dances. Right now, I feel 100 percent confident in my eyelids and don’t think I would ever change them. Over the years, I’ve connected with so many people through YouTube who also have monolids. I’m proud that I can represent them and help them feel confident in their monolids as well. Now I’m embracing more no-makeup days.
Hana Lee, 24
@hanaylee / San Francisco
One day in third grade, I was in the bathroom with one of my friends. We were washing our hands. She looked at me in the mirror and said, “Your eyes are so small.” Then I started to notice that all my friends at my Dallas school had an extra line in their lids. I would see all these girls on TV, and they all had the same big eyes, too. My mom naturally has a double eyelid, but my dad didn’t. I didn’t find out until middle school that he’d had the surgery. My mom was like, “Oh, you don’t need it. I prefer your eyes the way they are.” But I was determined to get the surgery. My aunts and cousins had it. My sister’s eyes are a bit bigger than mine, and she was always complimented: “Oh, she’s so pretty because her eyes are so big.” I never got the surgery because I’m uncomfortable with people touching my eyes. I was a little scared, and then when I started a YouTube channel focused on monolid makeup tutorials two years ago, I started feeling more comfortable about myself through the community I made on there. It really changed the way I thought about myself. But even now, sometimes I’m not fully comfortable with my eyes. The idea that bigger eyes are prettier is still there. But that idea is changing. I recently started watching a Korean drama called Goblin. That was the first time I had seen a leading actress with monolids, and she was so beautiful. Seeing that made me feel more confident about my own eyes! In the same way, so many girls and boys who watch my YouTube channel write, “You’ve helped me so much” or “You’ve changed the way I feel about my eyes.” But they’ve helped me, too.
Sandy Lin, 27
@heysandylin / Los Angeles
My mom is Chinese, born in Vietnam; my dad is also Chinese, born in China. They didn’t put a lot of pressure on us in terms of looks. My dad has a crease, but my mom doesn’t. I’m like a hybrid, I guess. Some days I have one crease, sometimes I don’t have any. Middle school was probably when I started to feel different. There were people who made fun of me by calling me a chink and pulling their eyes to the side. That’s when I was most self-conscious about my appearance — I wished I looked like a “normal” person. It was painful, but my friends are all Asian, so I wasn’t alone in it. And for the most part, I’ve mentally blocked out those experiences. When I started wearing makeup, I tried to copy what I saw in magazines and on TV, but what I saw wasn’t going to happen on my lids. Only in the past year have I learned to love and accept the way my eyes are. Funnily enough, it’s because of the K-pop band BTS. They’re men, but they get their makeup done and it looks good. I was inspired by the way their makeup artists work with their eyes to enhance their features instead of building different features on them. Their eye shape still looks like their eye shape instead of trying to be something it’s not. Some of my Instagram followers now say, “I love your eyes. I wish I could have monolids.” To hear people say they like my eyes — and to think about how different it used to be — makes me emotional.
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