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Max Factor Shuts Down

Say Bye-Bye to another cosmetic company with fascinating entreprenuerial roots. In 2010, the current owner of Max Factor will discontinue the product in the U.S.

Max Factor was begun by Maximilian Faktorowicz in the early part of this century. His company became really famous during the golden age of Hollywood (1920's and 1930's), where his products were used and promoted by famous actresses such as Judy Garland and Claudette Colbert.

Max Factor's list of innovations in the cosmetics industry is long, including the fact that he actually coined the term "Makeup" to describe making up ones face! But what really interests me is some of the interesting ideas the company had which might have life in them today as a kind of "retro return" to the somewhat greener roots of cosmetics:
  • Nail "Polish" in which beige colored powder is sprinkled on the nails and buffed with chamois to give shine and some tint. This is nail polish without the toxic chemicals and varnishes, a completely green concept that could find legs today. (The product was introduced in 1925 and called Max Factor's Supreme Nail Polish)
  • In a similar vein, they introduced Society Nail Tint in 1927, which was a small porcelain pot filled with a rose colored cream. One applied this to the nails and buffed for a natural rose color.
  • Also, Society Nail White was a tube of chalky white liquid that was applied under the nails and left to dry, similar to a french manicure.
  • Colorless, clear mascara
Hmmm. I always find that looking at the old books on cosmetics, or the innovations of the old companies is chock full of fun, retro ideas.

Kaila Westerman
TKB Trading, LLC
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