I am writing this essay to summarise how the hair and makeup industry has been influenced by the film industry. I will begin by exploring the film makeup artist ‘Max Factor’ as I feel that he made a significant contribution to the makeup industry since its beginning. I will then go on to evaluate the makeup industry within film by discussing my favourite movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’. I will look at the director and his style of direction in film, and also discuss in detail my findings of the hair and makeup contributions.
Max Factor is the father of modern makeup (see fig 1). He was one of ten children, born Maksymilian Faktorowicz in Poland in the 1870s. Having been one of so many children his parents could not afford to give him a formal education, which meant he had to go out and work from a very young age. At the age of eight Factor was placed in an apprenticeship to a pharmacist which is where he gained his first knowledge and fascination in cosmetics. A year later he went on to apprentice for a wigmaker and cosmetician, gaining experience that later landed him a role for top hairstylist and makeup creator, ‘Antons of Berlin’. When he was fourteen, he moved to Moscow where he began to work as a wigmaker and cosmetician to the Imperial Russian Grand Opera, and later, he went on to perform his mandatory service in the Russian Army for four years until the age of twenty two.
Upon leaving the Russian Army, Max Factor opened his own store in a suburb of Moscow selling handmade rouges, creams, fragrances and wigs. A travelling theatrical troupe bought and wore Factor's make-up while performing for Russian nobility, and a new door to fame and fortune opened wide for him. The Russian nobility appointed Factor the official cosmetic expert for the royal family and the Imperial Russian Grand Opera, an honour that had strict control over his life. This led him to his marriage to ‘Esther Rosa’, and father three children in secret. In 1904 Factor fled Russia and moved his family to St Louis in the United States. It was here at the 1904 Worlds Fair that he had a huge success selling his fabulous rouges and creams to great acclaim, but later disaster struck when his business partner stole all his stock and profits leaving him penniless. With help from some family members, Factor crawled his way back by going back to barbering, and eventually moved his family to Los Angeles where he opened a shop that sold wigs and cosmetics, for the growing film and theatre industry.
The birth of 'Hollywood' had Max Factor dreaming of movie actors and actresses using his makeup and wigs. The current makeup that was used on stage and in movies would easily crack and cake under the heat of the hot lights, which inspired him to combine his background in pharmacy with his expertise in cosmetics and create a new form of makeup. By 1914, Factor had perfected a new greasepaint makeup made specifically for motion picture use. It came in a thin cream form and in twelve different shades that did not cake or crack. This gained him huge success within the movie world, and he was soon sought after by top movie stars such as Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Judy Garland, all wanting to sample his products, and all becoming regular visitors to his salons (see fig 2). Movie producers would also request the use of his human hair wigs.
In 1918, Factor developed a reputation for being able to customize makeup to present actors and actresses in the best possible light on screen with his ‘colour harmony’ face powder range (fig 3). This allowed him to create make up for each individual based on their skin tones due to the wide range of shades he was able to offer. As a result of this success, virtually every major movie actress became a client of Max Factor, and his name began to appear on many movie credits. He went on to develop false eyelashes, the eyebrow pencil, lip gloss, and pancake...