Beauty mark

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Supermodel Cindy Crawford is known for her beauty mark.

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.[1] 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 mark[edit]

painting described in caption; the back woman is on the left
Dual portrait of a black woman and a white woman, identities unknown, circa 1650, by an anonymous hand. The two women, who appear to be of equal standing, are wearing face patches, which were a fashion of the time. The painting is captioned "I black with white bespott y white with blacke this evil proceeds from thy proud hart then take her: Devill."[2]

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.[3]

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.[3]

Alexander Pope's 1712 poem The Rape of the Lock mentions such patches as indicators of "secular love":[4]

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;[5]

A chiqueador on a lady's temple, detail of "Retrato de María Rosa de Rivera" by Pedro José Diaz, Lima, Peru, 1785.

The Monroe piercing has gained popularity in recent years as a flexible way of approximating a beauty mark.[citation needed] Natural beauty marks are also often enhanced with color from an eyebrow pencil or pen.[6]

People with notable beauty marks[edit]

Many female sex symbols, actresses, and other celebrities are known for their beauty marks:[6][7][8]

A Monroe piercing is a lip piercing placed off-center, above the upper lip, meant to resemble Marilyn Monroe's beauty mark.

Male actors known for their beauty marks include:[6]

In fiction[edit]

In the conclusion of the book The Silence of the Lambs, the heroine Clarice Starling gains an artificial beauty mark when burnt gunpowder gets lodged in the flesh of her cheek. She retains this mark in the sequel novel Hannibal. This symbolism (along with Dr. Lecter's polydactylism) did not get carried over into the film.[citation needed]

Joan Crawford had a prominent beauty mark in her role as Sadie Thompson in Rain.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ariel, Irving M. (1981). A Historical Introduction: Is the beauty mark a mark of beauty or a potentially dangerous cancer? Malignant Melanoma, Appleton-Century-Crofts, ISBN 978-0-8385-6114-0
  2. ^ Capon, Alex (28 June 2021). "Pick of the week: £220,000 for enigmatic faces of the Interregnum". Antiques Trade Gazette. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Beauty Marks Go Global", ARTicle, blog of the Art Institute of Chicago, January 14, 2015 Archived August 26, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Pope: Rape of the Lock". University of St Andrews. 16 March 1999. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  5. ^ Pope, Alexander (May 1712). "The Rape of the Lock: An Heroi-Comical Poem". Canto 1. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Barbara Cloud, "Marks of Distinction", Chicago Tribune, April 25, 1990.
  7. ^ Schulte-Hillen, Sophie (August 14, 2017). "The 9 Greatest Beauty Marks of All Time, from Cindy Crawford to Madonna". Vogue.
  8. ^ White, Jackie (April 30, 1995). Behind the glamour lurks an ugly, dirty business. Kansas City Star