One year ago, TikTok couldn't get enough of the "Fox Eye," a makeup look using concealer, liquid eyeliner, and false lashes to engineer an elongated, upturned eye shape — a technique that Asians (rightfully) slammed as racist and culturally appropriative.
Now, the internet is moving away from the Fox Eye and towards "Puppy Liner," an eyeliner technique that can create the illusion of downturned eyes. The look, which entails applying winged eyeliner to curve down instead of up and out, is an extension of TikTok's recent obsession with "Sad Eyes" and "Sleepy Eyes," makeup aesthetics that focus on accentuating the lower lash line to create a rounded, doll-like look.
The shift away from the sharp, angular look of the Fox Eye (which, once again, fetishizes the very same eye shape that Asians are often mocked for) was a long time coming, considering the trend cycle's propensity to toggle between extremes. (As Isaac Newton once proclaimed, every action comes with an equal and opposite reaction.) Take skinny jeans as an example: Once de rigeur, tight-fitting pants began to fall out of favor as mom jeans and wide-legged trousers began to take over the runway. Now, designers are beginning to flip-flop back to skinny jeans, leggings, and slim pants.
"We really did reach the peak of Fox Eyes and the angled eyes," TikToker @imonaugust said in a video posted back in September. "I think the natural progression of that is to go in the opposite direction towards downturned eyes."
But should TikTokers even tout eye shapes as trends?
While one can put on and take off a pair of skinny jeans, a face full of gems, or a red lip, TikTok's obsession with eye shape revolves around a genetically determined feature that cannot, at least without surgical intervention, be changed. When beauty trends fixate on unchangeable facial features — features that are sometimes characteristic of particular ethnic groups — they send a clear message: Anyone who wasn't born looking this way is inadequate.
This feeling of inadequacy pushes people to go to costly lengths. At the height of the Fox Eye craze, clinics and surgeons began advertising thread lifts, a semi-permanent cosmetic procedure that lifts the brow and eye area, angling them upward. It's not farfetched to think that the aesthetics industry will dream up some newfangled "tweakment" to mimic the look of Puppy Liner.
Now that we've come to the collective agreement that the Fox Eye is problematic, how about eschewing eye shape-based trends entirely?