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Friday, 16 January 2015

Max Factor

Max Factor was born Maksymilian Faktorowiczr on September 15, 1872 in Lodz, Poland. His mother died when Max was two and his Polish-Jewish father could not afford a formal education for his four children.

At the age of nine, Maksymilian was apprenticed to a Łódź’s wig maker and cosmetician. Years of mixing potions instilled in him a fascination with the human form.

Faktorowicz spent four years in compulsory military service in the Russian Army, where he served in the Hospital Corps.

After his discharge at the age of 22, Faktorowicz opened his own shop in a suburb of Moscow, selling hand-made rouges, creams, fragrances, and wigs.

Faktorowicz's big break came when a travelling theatrical troupe wore his make-up while performing for Russian nobility. He was appointed he official cosmetic expert for the royal family and the Imperial Russian Grand Opera.

Max Factor in 1935, demonstrating his beauty micrometer device. Wikipedia Commons

In 1904, Maksymilian Faktorowicz and his family emigrated to America. He had a fresh start in St. Louis at the 1904 World's Fair, selling his rouges and creams, and operating under the name given to him at Ellis Island, Max Factor.

Factor settled in Los Angeles, seeing an opportunity to provide made-to-order wigs and theatrical make-up to the growing film industry. Max Factor & Company was founded in 1909 by the Polish-Jewish cosmetician for that purpose.

Max Factor created a make-up specifically for Hollywood actors that, unlike theatrical make-up, would not crack or cake. Silent movie stars were eager to sample the “flexible greasepaint”, while producers sought Factor's human hair wigs.

Displays in the Hollywood Museum featuring artifacts and showrooms of Max Factor,

Max Factor introduced cosmetics to the public in the 1920s, insisting that every girl could look like a movie star by using Max Factor make-up.

It was Max Factor who coined the noun "makeup."

Factor developed a reputation for being able to customize makeup to present actors and actresses in the best possible light on screen.

Marlene Dietrich demanded that the father of modern make-up sprinkle half an ounce of real gold dust into her wigs to add glitter to her tresses during filming.

Max Factor's son, Max Factor Jr (1904-96), helped to develop Pan-Cake. It was originally intended for use with the newly developed Technicolor film, but went on to be one of the fastest and largest selling single make-up items of all time.

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