Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mr. Max Factor The Makeup Genius at Work!


"You Are Not Born Glamorous. Glamour is Created." This was the famous Max Factor slogan for many years. Max Factor was a definitely a makeup genius. He made the women of Hollywood like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer, Ava Gardner, and Marlene Dietrich sparkle on the big screen. These ladies became regular customers of the Max Factor salon. 


Max Factor didn't limit his cosmetics to Hollywood's leading ladies. He believed that all women should be able to look and feel glamorous given the right tools and make up techniques!



Max Factor besides being one of Hollywood's famous make up artist was also a wig maker and an inventor. The device above which may look like a torture device was called the Beauty Micrometer. Max Factor with other inventors built this device to understand the contours and features of women faces. The inventors stated that there are two key measurements that they looked for: The heights of the nose and forehead should be the same, and the eyes should be separated by the width of one eye. When an imperfection is identified, corrective make-up can be applied to enhance or subdue the feature.


In 1916 Max Factor started selling eye shadow and eye brow pencils. Four years later he launched his line of cosmetics, which he called make-up a phrase he coined.


Max Factor started experimenting with different compounds to come up with the right makeup for film use. The greasepaint in stick form that was used on stage didn't have the right texture nor colors making it unsuitable for the big screen. Max factor then ended creating the Flexible Greasepaint, which didn't caked, nor cracked and because it was a creamier it was easier to blend, which worked perfectly for motion pictures.


Max Factor is mentioned in the classic song, "Hooray For Hollywood." The song refers to Clara Bow's iconic heart-shaped lips that Mr. Max Factor created. Part of the lyrics are:

"To be an actor 
See Mr. Factor
He'll make your kisser look good!"


Here is Bettie Davis with Mr. Max Factor as she is using a finishing powder brush. I haven't seen this kind of brush on the market until I came across a similar one from Besame Cosmetics, which actually was designed to resemble the brushes used by Hollywood's makeup artist in the 1930's. This brush helps to blend in the excess powder or cream which creates a near airbrush finish.


Max Factor had come up with the first known foundation which he called Pan-Cake, which became the it thing to wear. But unfortunately this product has been discontinued. You may find it for sale at Amazon with a very high price tag. However they still have the Pan Stick Foundation and the Creme Puff Pressed Powder. If you still miss the Pan-Cake one I heard that the Ben Nye Color Cake Foundation is pretty similar to the Max Factor Pan-Cake.


In 1929 Max Factor was awarded an Oscar by the Academy Awards for his contribution to the film industry. Who could have known that this creative man with small beginnings ended up the founder of one the world's largest cosmetics line which helped revolutionized makeup for generations to come!

If you would like to visit where Max Factor worked you may visit the Max Factor Building.

For more on Max Factor his story and his iconic makeup line you may visit: Max Factor Website.


Source information and photos: Max Factor website, Wikipedia, The Hollywood Museum.
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