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An Industry of Progress, Part I

By: Mario Montalvo
Posted: September 29, 2011, from the October 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
1920s makeup look

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Differing from any existing offerings, Factor’s creations were specifically targeted for cinematic photography. His early formula gestated into “‘pan sticks” and “pan cakes” that adapted readily to panchromatic film, which, unlike black and white monochromatic film, was sensitive to all color hues. These early foundation prototypes were a blending of precisely calibrated wax, oil and pigment that quickly acquired universal use. To these offerings, Factor added rouge, mascara, eyebrow pencils, lip liners and false eyelashes, all of which helped to further solidify his fame. He is also credited with the creation of the word “makeup.”

Factor’s techniques were as unique as his products because they subtly enhanced the actors’ own natural appeal without making them look contrived or obvious. In the movies, nothing remained static, so Factor’s makeup was not only timely, but also always remained state-of-the-art because he was able to anticipate, create and even shape the new looks that constantly emerged in the cinema. More important, Factor’s makeup made every complexion appear flawless. The public avidly took note and sought out this new miracle.

Factor’s pioneering efforts in the development of makeup and its application paved the way for makeup artists who were responsible for creating the special look that defined each movie star. These early artists adapted to fashion trends effortlessly and changed accordingly, contributing abundantly even toward the refinement of makeup manufacturing. Some recognizable names among the many who appeared on cinema rosters were Guy Pearce, Jack Dawn, William Tuttle and the Westmore brothers, to name a few.

Concurrently, new discoveries in chemistry precipitated leading-edge developments in the area of cosmetic formulations, resulting in more sophisticated manufacturing proficiencies with raw materials and lower production costs. These, in turn, catapulted existing and newly emerging cosmetic entrepreneurs into an arena of extreme wealth and influence.

Other cosmetic luminaries

Apart from the cinema, and the deserved acclaim afforded to Max Factor, there were many other cosmetic luminaries, including the following.