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Nice women never wore makeup. Even the word was taboo in polite society—until Max Factor entered the scene. Born in Poland in 1877, Factor worked as a beautician for the Russian royal family, the Romanovs. In 1904, he fled to America, where he opened a cosmetics store in Los Angeles. Creating makeup originally for silent films, then the talkies, and, ultimately, color motion pictures, Factor designed looks for Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, and countless other beauties of the day. Soon women everywhere wanted to look like their favorite glamorous stars, and Factor was there to help, bringing his innovative cosmetics to the general public. He revolutionized the world of beauty by producing many firsts: false eyelashes, lip gloss, foundation, eye shadow, the eyebrow pencil, concealer, wand-applicator mascara, and water-resistant makeup. A true innovator, he also introduced the concept of color harmony and the celebrity-endorsed cosmetics advertising that forms the glamorous backbone of the modern industry.
Max Factor was the father of modern makeup. This is his extraordinary story.
About the Author
Fred E. Basten is the author of numerous books about Hollywood and the entertainment industry. A graduate of UCLA, he was the assistant to the public relations director at Max Factor in Hollywood. Now a freelance writer, he lives in Santa Monica, California.