This popular makeup trend has a dark history involving secret messages

Kelsey Weekman

E-girls are the current “it” girls of internet and teen culture, and a core part of their look involves stamping a black heart on heavily blushed cheeks.

The trend, inspired in part by singer Marina Diamandis, has actually been around for hundreds of years.


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DIAL 1-800 YOU-WISH

A post shared by MARINA (@marinadiamandis) on Jun 29, 2013 at 1:21pm PDT

TikTok user MarkFisherQuotes explained in a video that the stamps are similar to the “beauty patches” popularized in the 16th century — but they were more of a necessity than an accessory.

@markfisherquotes

welcome to e-girl academy! ##marinaandthediamonds##egirlmakeup##egirl##aestheticedit##rareaesthetic##angelcore##fairycore##fashioninspo##pastelgoth

♬ Cherry-coloured Funk - Cocteau Twins

People made patches out of leather, silk, taffeta, velvet and even rat skin to cover up unsightly marks on their faces.

Scars were especially common during this time because of a different dangerous beauty trend, MarkFisherQuotes said. Men and women were expected to be extremely pale to be considered beautiful, so they covered their faces in a lead-based powder that ate away at their skin, leaving marks.

Scars from smallpox often left scarring on their faces, as well.

In addition to using these patches to cover blemishes, aristocrats also used the placement to send secret messages.

The side they placed patches on could signal political allegiance, and the location on the face signaled their mood (or willingness to flirt.)

Beauty patches don’t send any secret messages anymore, they’re a fun aesthetic choice — and a nice reminder of how great it is that makeup doesn’t have lead in it anymore.

If you’re interested in trying out the trend, check out these 11 trendy stamps in all kinds of shapes.

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