(Useful information for a late nineteenth-century Ball Poudré, as described here, or for 18th-century-style costumes.)
Powder and patches are so often adopted at fancy balls and private theatricals that a few hints as to how to apply them may not be out of place in a work like the present...
...The complexion must be made up in the following way: -- Cover the face with the finest glycerine or cold cream; now rub in the rouge with a piece of cotton-wool, commencing at the cheek-bone and working gradually downwards. Next, cover the face with the fine pearl-powder, and outline the eye-brows with an eye-brow pencil, which may be purchased in any shade at most chemists. Finally, powder lightly all over, to soften the effect of the rouge.
The patches should be cut out of black sticking-plaster, the sticking side moistened and applied to the cheek. They may be round or cruciform, or any fanciful shape. Georgian belles used to adorn their cheeks with bows and arrows, or ships in full sail.
There is quite a science to putting on a patch: it must never be placed on a line of the face, as it appears to extend it. If you place a patch on the line which goes from the nostril to the lip, it will appear to draw down the mouth, and give you a sullen appearance. A patch should be placed so as to call attention to a favourite feature, like a signpost for the stupid or unobservant. The blackness of the patch accentuates the brilliancy of the complexion, whilst its position calls attention to the rounded cheek or sweetly curling lip. The coquettes of old times used to hve a patch which went by the name of the "Assassin," so deadly and rapid was its effect. Perhaps it will be better not to reveal where it was placed, as we do not wish to destroy the peace of mind of the youths of the nineteenth century.
Armstrong, Lucie. The Ball-Room Guide. London and New York: Frederick Warne & Co., c1880s.