One of the trademarks of timeless sex appeal is the beauty spot. A true vintage bombshell look doesn’t seem complete without it. It’s something modern day burlesque queens like Dita von Teese and Immodesty Blaize are more than aware of. A delicate black or brown mark placed on the cheek, above the lips or near the eye exaggerates femininity and draws attention to your favourite features. Liz Kenny has this story.

Beauty spots, known to the medically minded by the rather less alluring name of ‘melanocytic nevus’, have been used as a cosmetic enhancement since Roman times, and have dipped in and out of fashion ever since. In those days they consisted of kohl marks or “patches” made from black taffetta or red spanish leather. They were worn on the face, neck or shoulders and could be quite intricately designed patterns, increasing in size as fashion dictated.

Men were not adverse to the odd beauty patch or two, much like in the 18th century, and placement could dictate political allegiance or merely hide a bad skin day. Handy if you had succumbed to one of the many nasty diseases doing the rounds in those hygienically challenged days.

Beauty Spots were at the height of popularity in the 18th century. Historical figures like Marie Antoinette and other well-to-do Regency ladies are forever associated with spots and wigs. Again they could be pencilled onto or adhered to the face. Black silk beauty spots also had a more practical use concealing smallpox scars and disfigurements, which were hard to hide otherwise, the priod being the age of mercury and lead based foundation. Best not to answer the door to an Edwardian Avon Lady.

Popular shapes for creating a beauty spot include a simple dot, but also stars, hearts and crescent moons. As important as the shapditamarke is where to put your spot.

The simple answer is, wherever you think it looks best, but you might want some advice from Madame Du Barry, a courtesan of Louis XV. She apparently defined the meaning of the placement as so:

On the cheek-flirty
At the corner of the mouth- kissable
On the forehead- haughty
By laughter lines- playful
Above the lips- mischievous
lower lips – discreet
next to the eye- provocative
on the nose- impudent

JH Beauty MarksSuch was the beauty spot’s allure that an anonymous 18th century poet even felt moved to write a poem about his lover’s beauty mark

‘ Her patches are of every cut
For pimples or for scars
Here’s all the wandering planet’s signs
And some of the fixed stars
Already gummed to make them stick
They need no other sky ‘

It sure beats  ” Because I’m worth it!”

Beauty spots made a major comeback in the Fifties with Marilyn Monroe, who wore hers on her cheek. Other stars like Elizabeth Taylor followed suit. The post-war years saw a craving for high voltage feminine glamour and a beauty spot seemed like a playful extravagance. Now they are synomynous with pin-up girls and bombshells. In more modern times Madonna has also made use of the extra something a beauty spot can add to your look.

The beauty spot has also had a modern update in recent years, with a new trend for pierced studs in silver or diamante above the upper lip.

It’s easy to create your own with a sharpened eyeliner or Kohl pencil. A long lasting liquid liner with a felt tip is perfect. Make sure you give it time to dry, if necessary a light dusting of powder over the top can seal it. If you search online it’s also possible to buy fake stick on marks, which stops any danger of smudging. Have fun and experiment to find what suits you best.

12 Responses

  1. esther

    i have a natural loveheart on the back of my right sholdre at the top is there a meaning behind this xxxxxxxx

  2. La Sweeta Deeva

    In Singapore and other Asian countries, it is considered quite ‘lucky’ to have a beauty spot. Here’s a little excerpt from a Singapore ex-pat website that explains a few meanings:

    For ladies a mole on the cheeks is considered a beauty spot.
    A mole on the left cheek of a woman is auspicious. A red colored mole means a rich lady; a green-colored mole denotes the woman acquires ornaments; if honey-colored or brown she will be wealthy. A black mole makes the woman marry a man of her choice and she leads a happy married life but is a selfish lady. Has more daughters.
    A mole on the left cheek of a man leads him to a respected virtuous life, full of wealth.

    The EXTENSIVE list of meanings behind beauty marks, moles and spots on various parts of the body is given here:

    But I have to say, ladies, the HUGE ‘beauty spots’ on the man and woman promoting the adoption of better manners on the Singapore public transport system (which was a hoot in itself) put me off big time – as much as I love Marilyn, Liz and co.

  3. Alekz Darling

    I have a natural beauty mark above my lip and also in the center of my bottom lip is a white dot where there is no pigmentation. I have never met anyone else with one. Everyone always asks me if I have bit my lip. Lol

  4. Ash w.

    I have one right above the right side of my lip, and one by my eye, i have had it for awhile, i was three, this year i was marylinn monroe for halloween as a symbolize the beauty and to show off for all those lame fools who ruined my childhood for bullying me mentally and hurt me and beat me for havin it!s but i’m very proud now! and i hope people out there don’t let those people ruin anything for them,like how they ruined my childhood! peace out*live life

  5. Kristina

    Lovely read. I have a slight mark on my lower lip, it of course always gets covered by lipstick. I adore Dita’s beauty mark, that’s my favourite placement, haven’t drawn mine for a while, but this reminds me why I should! xx

  6. Stevie Lou

    Given Jean Harlow was so often seen with one, I really ought to have one too. But not got one as yet.

  7. Allyson

    Thx 4 this piece! Very informative. I have a natural beauty mark next 2 my right eye, & a freckle above my lip that I made bigger, darker by tattooing. I’ve been told if u have 3 moles/freckles that create a Triangle any where on ur body, its a sign of natural, true beauty. (I hv that on the side of my butt). Modeling, I hated my moles n freckles. But Cindy C. made them popular again! Luv & Embrace ur Unique Beauty…marks!

  8. Heloisa

    Great work, Lena!
    In my humble opinion, the 50’s decade was one of the most important in the fashion history! Followed the trend of clothing freedom for women all around the world that started a few years early.

    I tried to write about it in a brazilian site that I participate (Vestido do dia), but nothing compared to your post! I just loved it!