A Year in Books/Day 218: Max Factor’s Hollywood Glamour

  • Title: Max Factor’s Hollywood Glamour
  • Author: Fred E. Basten (with Robert Salvatore & Paul A. Kaufman)
  • Year Published: 1995 (W. Quay Hays)
  • Year Purchased: 2003/2004
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: Max Factor isn’t just a name on wands of mascara and tubes of lipstick found in the beauty aisle at your local grocery store. The Max Factor cosmetics line wasn’t invented and branded by impersonal, slick-suited admen in a glossy boardroom. He was a pioneer who not only shaped and defined the aesthetics of classic cinema (from glamour girls to tough guys and everything in between) but he brought make-up to the masses in a way that was, and is, distinctly modern. His genius for invention and marketing, as well as his humble beginnings in Central Europe, make his story a neat parallel to those of the movie moguls who were his contemporaries. He shaped cinema, and the American woman, as much as they did. This dizzying, glamorous account of how he accomplished it is every bit as fascinating as the luscious photos that adorn each page. The rise of humble, rural Hollywood as the movie making capital of the world involved a complex, often fortuitous web of events that preyed on and transcended the mores of early twentieth century America. Max Factor’s contribution was critical to that change.
  • Motivation: Classic Hollywood combined with social and pop culture history is always a winner with me. The old-school beauty hints are a bonus.
  • Times Read: 2 or 3
  • Random Excerpt/Page 80: “The Sales Builders executives discovered that women who bought make-up usually followed a similar pattern. They purchased one brand of face powder, another of rouge, and still another of lipstick. The rather lofty ambition of Sales Builders was to sell them all three products bearing the Max Factor label./By adapting Factor’s “Color Harmony” principle to their companion selling goal, they developed the world’s first “Color Harmony Prescription Make-Up Chart” and began concentrating on sales of powder, rouge and lipstick as one unit. The trick was to provide all three products in specific shades that were complementary to each other and then key them to suit every combination of complexion, hair and eye coloring.”
  • Happiness Scale: 9

3 thoughts on “A Year in Books/Day 218: Max Factor’s Hollywood Glamour

    • If you love old-school Hollywood stuff, then this book is definitely for you! Have you read Edith’s books The Dress Doctor and How to Dress for Success? They are wonderful.


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