*Al Gore, attacking President George Bush in 1992.
“A beauty mark or beauty spot is a euphemism for a type of dark facial mark so named because such birthmarks are sometimes considered an attractive feature. Medically, such “beauty marks” are generally melanocytic nevus, more specifically the compound variant. Moles of this type may also be located elsewhere on the body, and may also be considered beauty marks if located on the face, shoulder, neck or breast. Artificial beauty marks have been fashionable in some periods.
Artificial beauty marks, or mouches (Fr. flies), became fashionable in sixteenth-century France, and the fashion persisted into the eighteenth century. When the fashion spread to Spain and the Spanish Empire they were called a chiqueador.
A mouche was generally made of silk or velvet and was applied to the face as a form of make-up. They were kept in a patch box, or boîte à mouches (Fr. box of flies), and were often fanciful shapes such as hearts or stars. Besides their decorative value, the patches could hide smallpox scars or syphilis sores.
Alexander Pope’s 1712 poem The Rape of the Lock mentions such patches as indicators of “secular love”:
Here Files of Pins extend their shining Rows,
Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux.
Now awful Beauty puts on all its Arms;
The Fair each moment rises in her Charms,
Repairs her Smiles, awakens ev’ry Grace,
And calls forth all the Wonders of her Face;
The Monroe piercing has gained popularity in recent years as a flexible way of approximating a beauty mark. It is a lip piercing placed off-center, above the upper lip on the left-hand side and is meant to resemble Marilyn Monroe’s beauty spot, although Monroe’s beauty spot was on her cheek, not her lip. The Madonna piercing is similar but worn on the right-hand side.
Natural beauty marks are also often enhanced with color from an eyebrow pencil or pen.”
Hunter Oatman-Stanford wrote for Collectors Weekly on 4.5.17:
“…”Face patches have been used since ancient times for purely practical purposes to cover up scars or blemishes,” says Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, who’s written extensively on fashion during the Early Modern period. “And that continued through the 18th century, as visible in the Joshua Reynolds portrait of British soldier Charles Cathcart wearing a giant patch over his battle scar—nobody was wearing patches like that for fashion reasons.
“But in the late 16th century,” Chrisman-Campbell continues, “people started wearing black patches not to cover something up but rather to show something off. The contrast was thought to make the skin look beautiful and to draw attention to certain parts of the face, like the eyes.” One might place a small black circle on one’s cheek, and maybe another crescent over an eyebrow—just enough to offset the ivory pallor of a face in full makeup.
Unlike our modern concept of realistic, discreet beauty marks, these patches were designed to stand out, playing to the Renaissance ideals of visibly enhanced beauty. Made from black silk taffeta or velvet, patches were often sold with an adhesive backside of resin-based mastic, though they could also be stuck on with saliva. Most patches were simple round dots, but some were cut into intricate shapes of small crescent moons, diamonds, or stars…”