Max Factor is a cosmetics brand that was founded by Maksymilian Faktorowicz in 1909 in Los Angeles, California. Faktorowicz was born in Poland in 1872. He started his career as a wigmaker and makeup artist in Russia. He later moved to the United States and established a cosmetics company that he named after himself, Max Factor.
Bold for the World of Entertainment
Eventually sold in drugstores, the early products of the Max Factor brand were primarily theatrical makeup. They were used by actors in Hollywood. The brand gained a reputation for its high-quality and innovative products. It quickly became the go-to makeup brand for movie stars in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1928, Max Factor introduced the first-ever liquid foundation. This revolutionized the cosmetics industry and paved the way for modern foundation formulas.
Max Factor in Hollywood
In addition to developing new makeup products, Max Factor was also known for its makeup artistry. The brand’s makeup artists worked with Hollywood stars to create iconic looks. It became synonymous with the golden age of Hollywood. One of the most famous looks created by Max Factor was the “smokey eye” makeup. It was worn by actresses like Joan Crawford and Bette Davis.
Bette Davis: Davis was known for her dramatic makeup looks, which were often created by Max Factor’s makeup artists. She wore Max Factor makeup in many of her films. These included “Jezebel” (1938), “Now, Voyager” (1942), and “All About Eve” (1950).
Joan Crawford: Crawford was another star who worked closely with Max Factor’s makeup artists to create her signature look. She wore Max Factor makeup in films such as “Mildred Pierce” (1945) and “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962).
Marilyn Monroe: Monroe was known for her glamorous look, which often included Max Factor makeup. She wore Max Factor in films such as “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953) and “The Seven Year Itch” (1955).
Elizabeth Taylor: Taylor was a longtime fan of Max Factor makeup and often wore it in her films. She wore Max Factor in movies such as “Cleopatra” (1963) and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966).
Audrey Hepburn: Hepburn’s classic beauty was often enhanced with Max Factor makeup in her films. She wore Max Factor in movies such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961) and “My Fair Lady” (1964).
Max Factor on Broadway
Max Factor has also been used by many performers on the Broadway stage, as the brand’s high-quality makeup products are well-suited for theatrical use. Here are a few examples of people and plays that have used Max Factor on Broadway:
Chita Rivera: Rivera is a legendary Broadway performer who has appeared in many hit shows. These included “West Side Story,” “Chicago,” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” She is known for her bold makeup looks, which have often been created using Max Factor products.
“Cats”: This iconic musical, which premiered on Broadway in 1982, featured elaborate makeup and costumes. they were integral to the show’s visual appeal. Max Factor makeup was used extensively in the production, helping to create the distinctive feline look of the show’s performers.
“The Lion King”: Another blockbuster musical, “The Lion King,” also relied heavily on makeup and costumes to bring its characters to life. Max Factor products were used to create the intricate designs on the show’s masks and costumes. They also were makeup looks for its performers.
“Wicked”: This popular musical tells the backstory of the witches from “The Wizard of Oz”. It features elaborate makeup and costumes that are essential to the show’s storytelling. Max Factor makeup was used to create the show’s distinctive green makeup looks, which are worn by the character of Elphaba.
Max Factor’s decline in use for the American entertainment industry can be traced back to a number of factors, including changes in the cosmetics industry and shifting tastes in makeup and fashion. The brand’s popularity had already begun to wane by the 1980s, as newer and more innovative makeup brands began to emerge.
One major factor that contributed to Max Factor’s decline in the entertainment industry was the rise of digital technology in film and television production. With the advent of high-definition cameras and computer-generated imagery, makeup artists had to adapt their techniques to ensure that their work looked realistic on screen. This meant using lighter, more natural-looking makeup that would not be as noticeable under harsh lighting and close-up shots.
In addition, the makeup industry as a whole began to shift toward more diverse and inclusive products and marketing, with a greater emphasis on individual expression and creativity. Max Factor, which had long been associated with Hollywood glamour and traditional beauty standards, struggled to keep up with these changes and adapt its brand image to appeal to younger, more diverse consumers.
The ownership history of Max Factor is quite complex, as the brand has changed hands several times over the years. Here is a brief overview of the major ownership changes that have taken place:
1909: Max Factor, the cosmetics brand, is founded by Maksymilian Faktorowicz.
1937: Max Factor, Inc. is sold to the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.
1973: Revlon, Inc. acquires Max Factor from Firestone.
1987: Revlon sells Max Factor to Norton Simon Inc.
1989: Norton Simon sells Max Factor to the Swedish company, AB Leo.
1991: Procter & Gamble acquires Max Factor from AB Leo.
2016: Procter & Gamble sells the Max Factor brand to Coty, a global beauty company.
Since Coty’s acquisition of the Max Factor brand, the company has discontinued the brand in the United States and has focused on expanding its presence in other countries, particularly in Europe. However, Max Factor products are still sold under the brand name in many parts of the world.
- Year Started: 1909
- Year Ended: 2099
- Origin Of Name: Americanized version of Founder’s name
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Maksymilian Faktorowicz
- Owner While In Use: Many
- Owner Successor: Coty
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Max Factor
- Naics Code: 325620
- Location Headquarters: Los Angeles, California, USA