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November 29, 1991 - Image 53

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-11-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

BUSINESS

No one knew make-up like Max Factor,
whose cosmetic discoveries are the
focus of a Los Angeles museum.

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM

Assistant Editor

L

os Angeles — Rita
Hayworth loved him.
So did Vivien Leigh.
Barbara Stanwyck thought
he was the greatest, as did
Marilyn Monroe, Lana
Turner and Jean Harlow.
His name was Max Factor,
and his appeal came through
a tube of lipstick, a jar of
rouge and a tube of eyeliner.
Born in Lodz (then part of
Russian Poland), Max Factor
worked as a makeup artist for
the royal ballet and for Czar
Nicholas II, who made him
court cosmetician, before
immigrating in 1909 to the

Max Factor in his
laboratory.

United States. He settled in
Los Angeles, where Factor
opened his first cosmetics
store in the theater district.
In 1935, Factor opened his
Hollywood Makeup Salon.
More than 8,000 guests —
many of them the cream of
the movieland crop — at-
tended the opening. Later,
actors and actresses from
throughout the world would
pass through the doors of the
salon, where they were
given just the right shade of
base to make their flaws
vanish.
Today, the Hollywood
Makeup Salon serves as the
Max Factor Museum, char-
ting the more than 80-year
history of the Factor
cosmetic empire. Decorated
in Art Deco style, the muse-
um has been restored to look
much as the salon did during
the 1930s.
Hanging on the walls are
photographs of movie stars
like Bette Davis, Betty
Grable and Lana Turner,
regular clients of Max Fac-
tor. In fact, 97 percent of all
actors and actresses during
Hollywood's Golden Age
(1920-1950) used Factor
cosmetics.
Factor makeup from the
early 1900s to 1991 is on
display at the museum, as
are early perfumes with ex-
otic names like Armonia and
Estrelia.
Separate beauty spots
were created for blondes,
brunettes and redheads,
each room painted the color
Factor believed would best
exemplify the women's
beauty. Blondes went to the
blue room; redheads found

The beauty
calibrator
measured the
perfect makeup.

their beauty among mint-
green walls.
Each room was subse-
quently dedicated by a major
star; the "brunettes' room"
found a sponsor in actress
Claudette Colbert.
Many actresses also came
to Factor for wigs, both for
private use and for movie
roles.
Billie Burke's glistening
"Glenda the Good Witch"
locks in The Wizard of Oz
are on exhibit at the muse-
um, as is a bright-red wig
Lucille Ball used. It wasn't
that Miss Ball had a hair
shortage. It was simply that
she was so often doused with
pies and water during her
TV show that she needed a
wig to take the abuse. No ac-
tress had time to stop film-
ing so she could go wash and
set her hair for the next
scene.
Mae West was a frequent
client, as were Greta Garbo
and Marlene Dietrich. Miss
Dietrich even insisted on
having real gold woven into
her false locks, so they would

shine on screen. Factor
employees were later aghast
to learn the gold went down
the drain when Miss
Dietrich washed her wig
after performances.
It wasn't just women who
came to Max Factor. Silent
Screen heartthrob Rudolph
Valentino had his wig for
the 1924 Monsieur
Beaucaire made at the Fac-

Max Factor
applying makeup
to actress Joan
Blondell.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

53

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