Beauty Focus: Max Factor

Routine or ritual, make-up is part of our everyday, but a century ago the word “make-up” didn’t even exist. A term first coined by beauty pioneer Max Factor in 1920, it is his legacy that lives on in the company that, this year, is celebrating 100 Years of Glamour.

The owner of a cosmetics shop in Russia by the age of 20, Max Factor immigrated to America in 1904 and quickly set up business in Los Angeles. The shop became popular with moviemakers seeking advice on how to make their actresses appear flawless on screen. Low and behold, Max Factor’s revolutionary Flexible Grease Paint – most similar to modern foundation – was introduced in 1914.

Max Factor went onto work closely with Hollywood icons including Ava Gardner and Jean Harlow, and in 1918 devised the pioneering ‘colour harmony’ theory that guided women into wearing shades that suited their complexion.

Understanding that ordinary women wanted to emulate their on-screen idols, Max Factor launched the High Society Make-Up collection in 1920: the first ever make-up range designed exclusively for the general public.

Its founder’s belief that glamour isn’t something you’re born with but is something that can be achieved if given the right tools remains at the heart of Max Factor, and sees it continue to make woman look and feel special to this day.