Max Factor: The Godfather of Makeup

Max Factor is a part of cinematic history. It has been around since 1909 and they haven’t looked back. Max Factor excelled in the importance of custom, technical make-up application. They took into account individual nuances in the facial structure, contour, and creative characteristics of each actor.

Max Factor became the authority on cosmetics in film-making. He moved with the times and didn’t let technology stop his creativity. With black and white moves the makeup was exaggerated so that the camera could pick it up. It is even known that they would use pure black grease paint so that the actors could be read from off the screen.

With new challenges and the development of Technicolor film, it required the company to develop a new line of products as its existing Panchromatic make-up left a slight sheen on the skin.  So, they develop a suitable make-up, renamed the “Pan-Cake” series. It concealed skin imperfections under a transparent matte finish.


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skin and hygiene

Max Factor even cared about skin and hygiene. He offered his makeup in a collapsible tube, instead of in the stick form used by others. It was a good thing because his tube greasepaint was not only more hygienic but also could be applied more thinly and evenly.

Max Factor also created beautiful lipsticks. Max Factor’s hi-fi lipstick claimed it never dries, any waiting to set, no blotting, and the color won’t come off. It sounds like an ad from today’s commercials. This lipstick came in 9 shades so variety was limited but the prices were right. The lipstick was $1.25 plus tax, you can’t beat that!

So it’s so interesting to learn a little about the makeup and movie industry and how they worked together to create cinematic history and to pioneer the way for other lines today. When you pick up your foundation, lipstick, or powder you now have a greater appreciation of how it all got started.