Beauty Beat: Max factor, color harmony, the invention of makeup

Ashley Evert, Staff Writer

While applying your daily swipe of lip gloss or waterproof mascara in the morning, you probably have not given a second thought to who created these formulas.  It’s common knowledge that people throughout every culture have used certain beauty products for ages.
We are all familiar with the bold eyeliner associated with the ancient Egyptians and the outrageously pale skin that is synonymous with women of the Renaissance (bloodletting with leeches, anyone?), but who turned beauty products into an industry?
I’m sure we’ve all heard the name Max Factor in reference to the makeup brand, but very few people realize the impact he had on the world of beauty.  Polish-born Maksymilian Faktorowicz immigrated to the United States in 1902 and began selling makeup products to local actors in St. Louis under the shortened version of his name, “Max Factor.”
He eventually made the move to Hollywood and began perfecting makeup for movies.  His most notable clients were early screen sirens Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Judy Garland, all of whom became regular visitors at his salons.
He improved formulas for greasepaint, the original formulas of which he thought looked dreadful and terrifying on screen.  He created a more natural-looking flexible greasepaint to replace this.
In 1918, Factor developed his ‘color harmony’ face powder range.  This allowed him to create make up for each individual based on their skin tone and became one of his most notable accomplishments.
Women were so impressed with this makeup on screen that they wanted to wear it daily.  As a result, Factor opened a whole line of cosmetics to be used by the public in 1927.  Factor’s daily-wear face products could be considered the predecessors to modern foundations, tinted moisturizers and B.B. Creams.
Factor has been dubbed the inventor of many revolutionary makeup products, including lipgloss, pancake foundation, panstick foundation and waterproof formulas.
Without Max Factor, we might not have these revolutionary products today.  Panstick foundation is still made by Max Factor & Co., with numerous variations on the formula to accommodate certain skin types.
With such great vision, creativity and drive, there is no wonder that Max Factor is unanimously known today as the inventor of modern makeup.  You can still find the Max Factor & Co. cosmetic brand in almost every drugstore.