On this day in 1904 Max Factor was born, after emigrating from Russian-controlled Congress Poland to the United States in 1904 Max Factor moved his family and business to Los Angeles, California, seeing an opportunity to provide made-to-order wigs and theatrical make-up to the growing film industry.
In the early years of the business Factor personally applied his products to actors and actresses. He developed a reputation for being able to customize makeup to present actors and actresses in the best possible light on screen. Among his most notable clients were, Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Judy Garland.
As a result virtually the entire major movie actresses were regular customers of the Max Factor beauty salon, located near Hollywood Boulevard.
In 1920 Max Factor gave in to his son Frank’s suggestion and officially began referring to his products as “make-up” based on the verb phrase “to make up” (one’s face). Until then the term “cosmetics” had been used; the term “make-up” was considered vulgar, to be used only by people in the theater or of dubious reputation and not something to be used in polite society.
Both his sons Davis and Frank were heavily involved in the business, with Davis the general manager and Frank assisting his father in the development of new products.
After Max Factor’s death in 1938, Frank Factor took the name Max Factor, Jr., and expanded the still private cosmetics firm, along with members of the immediate family including Sidney Factor, Louis Factor, Davis Factor and Max Firestein.
During World War II Max Factor developed make-up shades for use by the US Marine Corps in camouflaging faces.
By the first quarter of 2010, Procter & Gamble had discontinued Max Factor in the United States, instead focusing its marketing efforts on the more successful Cover Girl cosmetics line. Max Factor will continue to be marketed overseas.
Max Factor is also exclusively available through Drugstore.com in the United States, as we celebrate today’s day to remember.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell