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The Father of Modern Makeup: Max Factor

June 30, 2011

Max Factor is nothing if not the inventor of modern day cosmetics and flawless glamour. Born Maximillian Faktorowicz in Lodz, Poland during the 1870s, Max Factor is often called the father of modern makeup. He invented the term “makeup,” based on the verb, “to make up” (one’s face). To millions of women all over the world today, the name Max Factor goes hand in hand with beauty,fashion and above all glamour! He is credited with the invention of several makeup products and makeup techniques.  The biggest stars of the time, such as Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Judy Garland became his steady clients and firm friends.

In 1902, Max Factor emigrated to the United Sates from Russia and settled in Los Angeles with his family in 1909 where he began selling hair goods and imported stage greasepaints to local stage actors – he was also on hand to render makeup advice to actors from the fledgling movie industry.

Max Factor at his best..



When Max Factor saw his first motion picture he declared the heavy, shiny stage greasepaint ‘terrifying!‘ on film and created Flexible Greasepaint, the first ever make-up created for film, to make actors look more natural.

Credited as the father of modern make-up, Max Factor is responsible for inventing many key cosmetic products (for both on screen and off) and is still the inspiration behind beauty trends and innovations today. In 1914 he created the first cosmetic made specifically for motion pictures. It was a form of thin greasepaint that gave a more matte appearance than earlier formulas.

Max Factor also developed the “Color Harmony” principles of makeup, which held that “certain combinations of a woman’s complexion, hair and eye coloring were most effectively complemented by specific makeup shades.” This principle established for the first time that certain combinations of a woman’s complexion, hair and eye coloring were most effectively complemented by specific makeup shades prescribed in “Color Harmony”

Among his other contributions to the world of makeup were lip gloss, liquid nail enamel and pan-cake makeup  specifically adapted for films in colour.

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