You may have noticed that I draw on a little black circle "beauty mark" just below my right eye practically every time you see a photo of my face. For a REALLY long time now.... I've been meaning to share some history on mouches and why I've chosen to wear one. I started doing this as a finishing touch to my make-up about 2 years ago after learning more about them in costume history class and becoming pretty obsessed with the idea! (Thanks to my costume history I & II teacher, Helene Siebrits!)
"Beauty Marks" had their origin in Rome around 100 C.E. Wearing these mouches or "patches" over blemishes came into widespread fashion in the second half or the 17th century and developed far into the 18th century due in part to the scars Small Pox would leave on the face. Both men and women imitated this natural mark by sticking black beauty patches on their faces which were eventually used to send signals in flirtation rituals!
(illustrated by Rita Flores)
Mouches could also conveniently cover Small Pox scars and blemishes from wearing the white lead based make-up that was popular in the 17th & 18th centuries. It was the vaccination for Small Pox in 1796 that eventually led to the end of this make-up fashion.
These mouches could be made of black taffeta, velvet, silk, or thin leather that was cut into circles, crescents, stars, hearts- you name it. It was stuck to the skin with gum mastic- glue made from the sap of trees. As the fashion increased, the patches became more and more elaborate and were created in the shape of sailing ships, birds in flight, etc. When the patch is placed near the eye, it indicated passion, one by the mouth would indicate boldness. On the right cheek meant that the woman was married and on the left cheek meant the woman was engaged. I chose my right eye because it meant I was passionate about life and I also felt like it was the most suiting for my face! Also, I just use liquid eyeliner to create the look.
Drawing on mouches for the girls who model for Paulie Antiques has also become my signature style for their make-up. Everyone gets a mouche these days, but it's not always in the same place!
I hope you enjoyed a little history on the fashion of the beauty mark and mouches! Do you have a natural beauty mark or do you create one for yourself? What do you think about them? I'd love to know!