max-factor-adIt’s sad news for vintage lovers and beauty addicts alike: legendary make-up brand Max Factor will cease trading in the US – but continues selling make-up elsewhere. We take a look back at the man behind the brand, a true cosmetics pioneer who helped found and continuously innovated a whole industry.

Born of Jewish descent in Lodz, Poland in 1877, Max Faktor worked as a child with a dentist and pharmacist. As an apprentice he spent long hours mixing a variety of potions and became fascinated with the human face. Later, as a young man in Moscow, Russia, he established his first shop where he sold perfumes, skin cremes and wigs.

A theater group wore some of his makeup while performing before Russian aristocrats, which led to his being employed by the Royal Family as its makeup consultant. He was also engaged by Russia’s national opera.
In 1904 Max, his wife Lisa and their three children left Europe and emigrated to America, arriving with less than four hundred dollars to their name. Upon arrival in the US,  the spelling of his name was Americanized into “Max Factor” during his immigration proceedings.

That same year, he worked at the St. Louis World’s Fair selling skin cremes and perfumes and then moved on to the theater district in Los Angeles four years later, where Max opened the Max Factor beauty salon, thinking he might have the opportunity to work in the newly emerging movie industry in Hollywood.

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9 Responses

  1. Karen

    I always remember Max Factor as the makeup from ‘I Love Lucy.’ The end credits always had it spelled out in particularly large font.

  2. Sydney

    Such an icon in the golden age world of beauty and glamour! I still use some of his produts today, sad news……..


  3. Elise

    If your ever in LA – I would recommend going to the Hollywood Museum in the old Max Factor building – they have a small section on the ground level that use to be his make-up studio

  4. Elizabeth M

    I love Max Factor makeup and hate that I can’t “window shop” it anymore in the stores. has it, though, so I have stocked up.

  5. Vivian B

    Does anyone know where to buy vintage Max Factor makeup? I remember those little white pots of clear lip gloss that were sold in the 60-70’s?

  6. Glenda

    I too remember the Max Factor little white pots of clear lip gloss in the late 60’s and 70’s!! I LOVED it!! I have been looking for it, too. PLEASE if anyone knows where I can find it, let me know. Max Factor brought it back in a tube with a wand in the early to mid 80’s. It had the same shine and smell!! I would settle for finding that, if possible.

  7. ariayla

    Hi. I have just inherited some unused 1969 Max Factor UltraLucent ‘Whisper Tint’ Limoges Ivory semi sheer complexion stick make up & Ultra Lucent Pastel Glow brush on complexion colouring. I was wondering if they are worth anything to anyone. I would gladly sell them if I can make a bit of money. Please let me know if anyone knows the value of these 2 products.

    • Mike

      Hi Ariyala,
      I know this comes three years too late, lol, but, do you still have those MF products that you wanted to sell? I might be interested…. Where are you located?