Beauty patches for the sake of vanity!

December 21, 2014

The use of beauty patches has been around for quite a few moons and was originated in ancient Rome - birthmarks and moles were regarded with superstition! The patches, also worn by women in the 16th century to conceal blemishes on their faces caused by smallpox, lead-based cosmetics and pockmarks, became a popular fashion staple in the 17th century were they were worn more for the sake of vanity rather than to hide blemishes; women pasted them on their face, neck and breast, and were also used to emphasize the porcelain white complexion, worn by both men and women in the upper echelons of society or in court.

A little later, the patches became even more than just vanity and were used as a secret language: a patch near the mouth meant you were flirtatious, while a patch near the corner of the eye meant that you were somebody's mistress. Not only used hidden messages, but beauty patches could also be used to show your political preference!

Although being around long before it, beauty patches are quintessential of the 18th century and were made from little pieces of gummed tafetta, black silk or velvet and were made in all sorts of shapes: hearts, crescent moons, stars, rounds, squares and arrows. Hell, I've even read that horse carriages were en vogue as a beauty patch, too. 

"If it be a lover's part you are to act, take a black spot or two; twill make your face more amorous, and appear more gracious in your mistress's eyes". - Glapthorne, playwright in the mid-1630s

Because of their popularity, little enameled patch boxes were made for ladies to carry these little patches in, and you can still buy them today!

Patching had a brief revival in the 1920s and late 1940s, and were used to accentuate facial features such as the eyes or the lips. It was worn by actresses such as Clara Bow and Joan Crawford and in the 1950s the fake mole was sported by Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.

Although I am not gifted with a beauty mark myself, I do have a couple of freckles bundled up near my eye that, every now and then, I love to accentuate with a brown pencil into a fake beauty mark. When I first read about velvet beauty patches I immediately fell in love with the idea of them. I really like try it out sometimes and definitely find me such a cute box to store them in!

What do you think of beauty patches? Yay or nay?

You Might Also Like


  1. These beauty patches are really lovely! When I was younger, like you I loved to accentuate a fake beauty mark. But with your post, I want to do it again.

    1. Yeah, they're really cute indeed. I wish I was born with a beauty mark.

  2. Thank you for this lovely post.
    I do have a very small mark on my left cheek, but as soon as I apply make-up it nearly vanishes and I never felt the urge to accentuate it. Maybe because I have a Dermal Anchor next to my left eye, a little black star so this really is kind of a fake beauty mark. I have to admit I didn't know about the meaning of the position when I had it made, otherwise I maybe would have reconsidered this. I am an engaged woman and surely not anybody's mistress ;-) So maybe I can consider myself lucky that the beauty-mark-language isn't spoken anymore by most people^^
    Wish you a merry Christmas!

    1. Well, the one I usually accentuate is also near the corner of my eye and neither am I someone's mistress.

      I wish you a very lovely Christmas, too!

  3. What a charmingly lovely post! I wasn't born with any of these beauties on my face either, nor freckles either (I wanted freckles soooo badly as a child). If stick on beauty marks ever come back in vogue, I'll be the first in line to try them out (and may do so all the same one day even if they don't).

    ♥ Jessica


Popular Posts

My Flickr Images