4 Apr 2017 16:42
The name Max factor is synonymous with make up and cosmetics in the UK. It's famous products; Creme Puff, Lasting Performance Foundation and Pan Stik are almost as popular as ever and it's new mascaras sell very well here.
The extraordinary and romantic story of the original Max Factor, the Father of Modern Make Up, might almost have come from one of the films that made his name household words.
Born Maximillian Fakbrowiczin in 1877 in Poland, Max was of Jewish descent. He learnt his skill when he was apprenticed as a young man to a pharmacist and dentist. He was still a young man when he left Poland for Russia and set up his first shop in Moscow selling perfume, skin creams, wigs and cosmetics. His big break came when a theatre company used his cosmetics for a performance watched by many of Russia's aristocrats. This led to his appointment as Cosmetics Consultant to the Russian Royal Family.
Increasing anti-Jewish feeling in Russia and Eastern Europe led Max to emigrate, with his young family, to America in 1904. At the infamous immigration centre on Ellis Island his unpronounceable name was simplified to Max Factor.
The family had only been able to bring a small amount of money with them and Max had to sell his creams and perfumes at fairs all over America before they had enough money to settle down in Los Angeles where Max established his first Max Factor Beauty Salon. Max was one of the first people to see the potential of the budding movie industry there.
Horrified by the dreadful make up worn on the screen in those early movies, Max created the first flexible greasepaint in 12 shades. This was a big hit and Max was soon make up artist to all the great Hollywood stars. The distinctive look of most of the great film actresses were created by Max. Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford and many others owed their screen image to Max and soon their millions of fans around the world demanded the products for themselves.
Many of the cosmetics products we use today were invented by Max, often referred to as The Father of Modern Make Up. Lip Gloss was invented in 1930. Pan Cake make up, forerunner of all modern foundation and nail polish in 1934. Erace, the first ever cosmetic concealer, was launched on the market in 1954. It's modern counterpart is still available today.
Max died in 1943 and the business was continued by his son Frank and by other members of the family until 1976. Today Max Factor is owned by the giant multi-national company Proctor and Gamble. Here in the UK Max Factor is as popular as ever. Colour Adapt and Lasting Performance Foundation, Lipfinity Lip Gloss and Max Factor's excellent range of mascaras are still best sellers and are heavily advertised on television and in magazines using their modern day catch phrase, Max Factor, The Make Up Of Make Up Artists.
Sadly the picture in the United States, the home of Max's success, is very different and Proctor and Gamble discontinued Max Factor in 2010 due to lack of demand. However Max Factor's many British fans need not worry as the brand is still available in Europe and the United Kingdom.