Realizing that the commonly used grease paint of the stage could not be applied thinly enough to be used for motion pictures, Factor set about perfecting a grease paint in cream form that went on thinner and, unlike theatrical grease paint, would not crack. The new makeup caught on, and soon Factor was receiving calls from Hollywood stars eager to try the new flexible makeup.
Factor is also credited for coining the term “makeup” to refer to cosmetics. He based his new word on the verb phrase “to make one’s self up.”
After his success in Hollywood, Factor’s business only continued to grow, and in 1920 the Color Harmony principles of makeup were developed, stating that certain aspects of women’s faces were better accented by certain makeup shades. Factor continued to break boundaries and create new products, including liquid nail enamel in 1925, lip-gloss in 1930, and the first waterproof makeup in 1971.
Max Factor died in 1938 at the age of 59. His son, Max Factor Jr., expanded the family business, which merged with Norton-Simon industries in 1976. In 1983, Esmark took over Norton-Simon and then merged with Beatrice Foods, placing Max Factor into the Playtex division. Revlon bought Playtex in 1986, and in 1991, Revlon sold the company to Procter and Gamble. In 2010, Procter and Gamble will discontinue Max Factor in the United State to focus on the more successful CoverGirl brand.
Estée Lauder was born in Queens, New York, to a Hungarian mother and a Czechoslovakian father. She later married Joseph Lauder and in 1946 the two created and began selling cosmetics in New York. Starting with only four products, the Lauders sold independently for two years before establishing their first department store contract with Saks Fifth Avenue.
For fifteen years, the Lauders worked on spreading their brand across the United States. Finally in 1960, the business went international, with a contract with Harrod’s department store in London. The company would later open an office in Hong Kong as well.
Estée Lauder stands out as a company because its Clinique brand became the first dermatologist-guided, allergy-free skin system. Clinique also made headlines when it became the first cosmetic company to introduce a line for men.