MAX FACTOR-THE WATERPROOF MASCARA
THE WATERPROOF MASCARA
Around 1940, more and more women started using eyebrow pencils and mascaras as a daily routine. Waterproof mascara became popular at that time and available to the public. Years before this, Max Factor, a Polish immigrant who began as a wigmaker, was working in Hollywood for a waterproof product which would be used in movies by actors and actresses.
First he developed a cream, which was first tried in Theda Bara and Clara Bow, resulting in a waxing-sticking preparation; the actresses couldn’t open their eyes after filming the scenes. Later, the product was improved and became available for common use.
More About Mr. Factor
On 21 January 1908 Factor married Jennie Cook (1 March 1886 – 3 December 1949), a neighbour.
Later that year Factor moved his family to Los Angeles, California, seeing an opportunity to provide made to order wigs and theatrical make-up to the growing film industry. Initially he established a shop on South Central Avenue, advertising the business as “Max Factor’s Antiseptic Hair Store”. Founding Max Factor & Company in 1909, he soon became the West Coast distributor of Leichner and Minor, two leading theatrical make-up manufacturers. During the early years of movie-making, greasepaint in stick form, although the accepted make-up for use on the stage, could not be applied thinly enough, nor were the colours appropriate to work satisfactorily on the screen.
Factor began experimenting with various compounds in an effort to develop a suitable make-up for the new film medium. By 1914 he had perfected the first cosmetic specifically created for motion picture use — a thinner greasepaint in cream form, packaged in a jar, and created in 12 precisely-graduated shades. Unlike theatrical cosmetics, it would not crack or cake.
With this major achievement to his credit, Max Factor became the authority on cosmetics. Soon, movie stars were eager to sample the “flexible greasepaint”, while movie producers sought Factor’s human hair wigs. He allowed the wigs to be rented to the producers of old Westerns, on the condition that his sons were given parts. The boys would watch the expensive wigs. Factor marketed a range of cosmetics to the public during the 1920s, insisting that every girl could look like a movie star by using Max Factor cosmetics.
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 Ben Turpin, Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, Pola Negri, Jean Harlow, Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland. As a result virtually all of the major movie actresses were regular customers of the Max Factor beauty salon, located near Hollywood Boulevard. Max Factor’s name appeared on many movie credits, and Factor himself appeared in some cameos. He became a United States citizen in 1912.
In 1920 Max Factor gave into Frank Factor’s suggestion and officially began referring to his products as “make-up“. Up until then the term ‘”cosmetics’’ had been used as the term ‘”make-up” was considered to be used only by people in the theatre or of dubious reputation and not something to be used in polite society.
In 1938 Mr. Factor was traveling in Europe on business with his son Davis when during a stopover in Paris he received a note demanding money in exchange for his life. An attempt was made by the police using a decoy to capture the extortionist but no one turned up at the agreed drop-off point to collect the money. Factor was so shaken by the threat that he returned at the request of a local doctor to America, where upon arrival he took to his bed. Factor died at the age of 61 in Beverly Hills, CA in August 1938 and was originally interred in the Beth Olem mausoleum at the Hollywood Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA. Mr. Factor was moved many years later to Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, CA.