• Clare

A brief history of beauty marks

We might thank Marilyn Monroe for bringing the iconic beauty spot into a new era or even more recently Cindy Crawford or Madonna however, beauty marks have a long and wild history which makes them one of my favourite treatments to do!

First things first, what are the natural occurring beauty marks?

They are a cluster of melanocytes cells that didn't spread or produce evenly. These particular cells are responsible for producing melanin (this skins natural pigment) which is why they are usually darker in appearance. So yes, they are essentially a mole!

The history thought different cultures

Moles in agent Greece were used to help predict a persons future, where the placements were auspicious with a persons life, death and prosperity. beauty marks were called "olives" which I think is adorable.

Moles in Imperial China were seen in a similar light to those of ancient Greece however, it was used within Mian Xiang which is a form of face mapping, telling ones story though marks and features on the face along with the colour of the moles.

The 17th-18th century is really when beauty marks or "mouches" became a fashion trend in both Mexico and thought Europe (particularly France). They were worn for various reasons, some times to cover scars or imperfections, other times to highlight beauty and the side of this trend that I LOVE is how they were worn to convey different messages.

  • By the corner of the eye was known as “passionate”;

  • Middle of the cheek was called “gallant”;

  • On the nose was known as l’impudent or l’efrontée;

  • On the laughter lines (nasolabial fold) were called l’enjouée (“playful”);

  • By the corner of the lips was called a “coquette” and was considered flirtatious;

  • On the temple was an “assassin” and considered to be more dignified;

  • On the centre of the forehead was called “majestic”;

They weren't simply little dots either, they were created in a variety of shapes and sizes varying from hearts, stars. Messages that patches could convey included someone’s marital status e.g. an engaged woman wore a heart patch on the left cheek, indicating she was not available; once married, she transferred the patch to the right.

Although usually black or brown, these faux beauty spots could be created in a variety of colours to match outfits and were made from a variety of materials (such as silk, animal skin or paper) and glued onto the face.

This trend slowly died down and was forgotten, even some portrait paintings which originally depicted the person wearing patches were pained over to conceal them back to their natural skin.

Modern day

Although beauty marks have had their ups and downs in modern beauty trends, some decades hating them while others loving them, it's safe to say that beauty spots are still often standout features of beauty. They are recognised for adding a uniqueness to a persons face which in turn creates a distinguishable element of beauty or point of difference. It's not uncommon for us to draw or tattoo them on or even have them removed.

I do love the unique history beauty marks have and although I've only just scratched the surface on a few instances, I hope it's given you a new insight into this beauty trend and made you question others!

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