In real life, genuine tears are difficult to make attractive: your skin might get splotchy, you have fluids all over, and your speech starts getting messed up. Not so much in fictionland, where someone crying is extolled as the peak of graceful, sad beauty. Characters blessed with Beautiful Tears are cuter or even more attractive when they cry: their skin flushes in just the right places, their eyes shimmer like jewels, their tears cascade in rivers down their cheeks, and their sobs are soft and gentle.
Usually, this is used as evidence for a character's good looks. Any poor soul witnessing their crying will find it adorable: a hated rival might soften their attitude, while a Love Interest will fall deeper in love. Might overlap with Humanizing Tears if the crying is also used to make a cold or harsh character more sympathetic.
Manipulative characters who are aware of their cute looks (eg. the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and The Fake Cutie) might utilize Crocodile Tears to look beautiful and get their way. See also Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
Compare Single Tear and Sparkling Stream of Tears, unrealistic yet romantic depictions of crying; Beautiful Dreamer, where someone looks good while doing another awkward bodily function (sleeping); and You're Cute When You're Angry, when someone is considered good-looking when upset. May be compounded with Puppy-Dog Eyes or a What Beautiful Eyes! reaction. Contrast Inelegant Blubbering (when someone messily cries) and When She Smiles (when someone is considered more attractive when they're smiling).
- In Black Butler's second anime season, the three Trancy siblings comment that they find Alois's crying to be cute.
- Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: Momo gets teary when admitting how much she owes Tsubame for keeping her from dropping out of school. Kaguya expresses a desire to tell Shirogane how adorable she looks.
- KanColle: Ooi invokes the term moe after seeing Kitakami cry.
- Only the Flower Knows: Misaki cries in several scenes. His tears after his grandfather's death spur Kawabata to kiss him - and then Arikawa also kisses him when he's crying at the train station later. Arikawa outright thinks at one point that Misaki's teary face is adorable.
- Pani Poni Dash!: Whenever Becky gets scared or upset, she turns into a chibi character and hides behind a curtain as she sobs. The others often note how adorable it is and Himeko even calls this "the Hau-Hau".
- Ranma ½: When Akane tears up, Ranma takes note of this and comments, "Gosh, you're cute when you cry."
- Seraph of the End: Ferid blushes upon seeing Yuu's attractive crying face and comments that he now knows why Mika is so attached to Yuu.
- SPY×FAMILY: When cheerful six-year-old Anya goes to apologize to Damian for slighting him, the sight of her wide-eyed and red-faced sobbing makes Damian start blushing furiously and his heart start hammering.
- Shirayuri's tendency to start crying when frustrated is a bit of a Running Gag in Young Ladies Don't Play Fighting Games— her crying face is even the cover images of the first two volumes. But it's actually plot relevant: when Shirayuri asks Aya to play Iron Senpai 4 with her, Aya goes into a long explanation about why she doesn't play fighting games anymore, explaining how her world used to "shine like diamonds" because she had a passion for gaming, but it eventually disappeared and left her feeling adrift and aimless. Shirayuri then tells her that she doesn't give a crap about any of that and just keeps insisting that Aya fight her. What finally gets Aya to crack is when she shows her passion by eventually bursting into shiny, sparkly tears...
Aya: Like diamonds...
- In The Black Swan, Odile observes one of the new 'swans' who has cried herself to sleep. In the moonlight, the girl is this trope, but Odile can't help but think of how blotchy and unattractive she would be in full daylight.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: When the protagonist of The Magician's Nephew sees Aslan crying, he thinks the tears look beautiful when they shine in the light.
- Fairest: When Ivi cries after her beauty potion wears off, Aza comments that Ivi used to look like a tragic heroine when she cried, but now she looks like anyone else, with a red and blotchy face.
- The Perilous Gard: Kate sees a faint sparkle of tears appear on the lashes of her sister, Alicia, "like jewels on a fringe."
- Ringworld: Teela Brown is described with lips perfect for pouting and as the rare woman who doesn't look ugly while crying.
- Community: Annie has what Jeff considers a "Disney face" when she gets upset. When she starts tearing up after the group gets mad at her, Jeff yells at them not to look at her because the sight of her sobbing is cute and will eat away at their resolve.
Jeff: ...Her lip is going to quiver and her eyes will flutter but they won't ever actually close, but do not feel sorry for her!
- John Legend's "All of Me" has him reassure his love interest that "even when you're crying, you're beautiful too".
- Invoked in Lana Del Rey's "Pretty When I Cry", where a woman reassures herself that she is beautiful in her heartbreak during/after a tumultuous relationship.
"I wait for you, babe""You don't come through, babe""You never do, babe""That's just what you do""Because I'm pretty when I cry"
- The Stars song "Patterns": "What I wouldn't do for you, what we couldn't get through, you're beautiful when you cry."
- The Schemes of Scapin: Hyacinthe is crying over her dying mother the first time Octave sees her. He falls in Love at First Sight.
Octave: Her tears were none of those unpleasant tears which spoil the face; she had a most touching grace in weeping, and her sorrow was a most beautiful thing to witness. [...] All who approached her burst into tears whilst she threw herself, in her loving way, on the body of the dying woman, whom she called her dear mother; and nobody could help being moved to the depths of the heart to see a girl with such a loving disposition.
Scapin: Yes, all that is very touching; and I understand that this loving disposition made you love her.
- South Park: The Fractured but Whole: Clyde (as Mosquito) breaks down in tears in Dr. Mephesto's lab. Wendy (as Call Girl) posts a selfie of herself grinning and pointing at a still-crying Mosquito as Stan (as Toolshed) comforts him and tops it with the caption "Boys are kinda cute when they cry, huh? #sorrynotsorry".
- Parodied in the Reductress gag article "Woman Only Beautiful When She's Crying", where a woman is only considered good-looking when she's in tears.
"Do you know what it's like when people only want you to cry?" The vision of Amanda's graceful hands wiping away the majestic river streaming down her bone structure would've rendered anyone speechless. "It's just tragic to be so beautiful and so sad at the same time — and unfortunately that just makes it more beautiful."