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Fake beauty spot

Need to hide your smallpox or syphilis scars? Try fake beauty marks made of velvet, silk, or mouse fur.

Marie Casimire

Sforza Castle Pinacoteca / Public domain

A short post today about another odd fashion trend from the 17th and 18th centuries. People beset by syphilitic sores or wishing to hide smallpox scars adopted fake beauty marks / spots. These could be made of velvet or silk (if you had money) or other materials like mouse fur (if you did not) and were stuck on the face to cover up all other blemishes.

You were left looking like a rather large fly had rested on your face and become stuck, hence the French name for these fake moles: “mouches” (flies). Much nicer is the Spanish term “chiqueador,” which in modern times means a rather indulgent person but in the 18th century probably translated better as an herbal compress.

Apparently people of the time drew fake moles on their faces too, but dressed the whole process up a bit by drawing them in the shapes of stars or hearts. That sounds pretty fun to me – I think I’d go with an interrobang if I had to draw something on my face.

[Thanks to Ann S. for suggesting this topic.]

Categories: Arts & recreation Early modern history Fashion & design History

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

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