The Man Who Changed the Faces of the World
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.
Hollywood devotees, fashionistas and cosmetics junkies will enjoy this rags-to-riches story about cosmetics tycoon Max Factor (nee Faktor, 1877-1938), written with insider knowledge (and unwavering admiration) by author and former Max Factor PR man Basten. Raised in a large motherless brood in Poland, Factor's career began with his stint at the Russian Grand Opera company, where his work was lauded by royalty but where he was treated, in his words, "the same as a slave." Escaping in 1905, Factor settled with his wife and children in Los Angeles, where he soon became "Hollywood's make-up wizard," the man with "the beauty secrets of the Czar's court." Responsible for many stars' signature looks , the modifications he made to cosmetics, as well as his ahead-of-its-time marketing acumen, brought make-up to the masses. Published to coincide with the company's 100th anniversary, Basten's account gets mired in corporate mergers, headquarter shifts and museum politics in its last quarter; up until then, however, this biography of the man who gave the world a makeover is a good story with special appeal for fans of cosmetics and Hollywood's Golden Age.