The Max Factor Story

Read all about the master of makeup artistry and man who took makeup from the big screen into everyday

Never abiding by the status quo, Max Factor challenged the norm that makeup was not for all women. It was 1904, and Max Factor had fled to America from Poland with his family, where he opened a cosmetics store in LA. Located near Hollywood Boulevard, it soon became a staple spot for many on-screen actresses.

"You are not born glamorous. Glamour is created."

The Father of Make-up

As the film industry changed, so did the opportunities for Max Factor. He soon began creating products for silent films and colour motion picture films. For example, when the quality of black and white film evolved, Factor created Colour Harmony Face Powder to ensure faces appeared matte on camera. Factor’s expertise quickly spread, and he soon began customising formulas and shades that were glamorous but looked realistic on screen. He designed looks for Hollywood actresses; Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth and Bette Davis. Soon women everywhere wanted to look glamorous, like their movie stars, and Factor was happy and ready to help. Hoping to add a little glamour to the lives of real women, in 1916, Factor launched his range of cosmetics. It was the first time that items like eyeshadows and brow pencils were available outside of the movie industry. Four years later he launched a full range of cosmetics, calling it “make-up” – a phrase he coined. By the early 1920s, Factor was on a path to spreading the message that, given the right tools and makeup artistry skills, any women could achieve movie-star glamour, and this legacy continues today. From mascara to foundation, eye shadow to lip gloss – Max Factor put the transformative tools for makeup artistry into the hands of every woman, enabling her to maximize her unique potential.