Max Faktor (or Faktorowicz), born in Łódź in 1877, has come to be regarded as the father of modern day cosmetics. As one of ten children he was forced to take an apprenticeship at the age of eight so as to help make ends meet. Working under the stewardship of doctors and pharmacists he soon showed a fascination with mixing various substances and as he grew older he opened his own shop in Moscow selling wigs, creams and fragrances. His cosmetics and techniques, used by Russian ballet groups, so impressed the Russian Royal family that he was appointed their official cosmetic consultant. Seeking to broaden his horizons he emigrated to the United States in 1904 where he adopted the surname Factor. He eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1908, founding the company bearing his name the following year.
Factor began creating cosmetic products for the film industry and developed a new type of greasepaint especially for use on-screen under lights. Within years his products were being used by the Hollywood stars of the day with the likes of Bette Davis and Jean Harlow regular clients at his beauty salon where Factor would create individual looks for each of them using the skills he had learned and the products he had developed. Lauded by the A-list celebs Factor’s cosmetics became known as ‘the make-up used by the make-up artists’. He died in 1938, but the business continued to grow and was passed through 2 generations until the 1970s when it left the control of the family. The brand still lives on today and is owned by the Proctor & Gamble group.