The Max Factor

December 17th, 2013

December 17th, 2013

Max Factor

Max Factor

Known for creating signature looks for Hollywood’s iconic stars such as Ava Gardner, Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich, visionary artist Mr Max Factor is the reason for make-up as we know it today.  Warpaint chats with head MUA Caroline Barnes to find out about The Make-up of Make-up Artists and takes a nostalgic look back at the Father of Cosmetics.

Max Factor at work

Max Factor at work

Take a look in any make-up kit, whether you are a consumer or professional MUA, and it will definitely contain a wand mascara, powder and concealer.  It’s surprising then that these iconic products were created by just one man – Mr Max Factor – who in fact coined the very phrase that we use to describe these colourful cosmetics today – make-up.

Max Factor at work

Max Factor’s first cosmetic product was flexible greasepaint for use on film in 1914, after seeing the heavy stage make-up used on actors which he termed “terrifying” and following this he became the new authority on cosmetics in filmmaking.  Many notable actors went to Factor so that they would look their best on screen.  In 1918, he introduced the Colour Harmony principle of make-up, a term still used today, where shades were co-ordinated to women’s eye, hair and face colouring to best complement their features.  It was in 1920 that Factor introduced Society make-up enabling women of the general public to emulate the looks of their favourite movie stars.

Over the next 40 years even after the death of its founder, the Max Factor brand created many of our favourite beauty products including lip gloss, pan-cake make-up, tru-colour lipstick, crème puff powder cream, erase concealer, and the original mascara wand.  Hi- Fi fluid make-up was another big cosmetic release specifically for colour television’s need, which remained the standard for TV cosmetics until the arrival of HD TV.  The ‘70s and ‘80s saw the introduction of waterproof make-up and the world’s first clear colourless mascara.

Caroline Barnes

Caroline Barnes

The noughties saw the release of Lipfinity, the first 12 hour long lasting non-transfer lip colour and the hero product, False Lash Effect mascara.  Someone who knows about the products first hand is UK & Ireland Brand Ambassador for Max Factor, Caroline Barnes.  Having worked on celebrities including Cheryl Cole, Kylie Minogue, Pixi Lott and Lily Allen among others, Warpaint quizzed the lady herself.

WP:  What appealed to you about Max Factor as a brand before you decided to join the team?

CB:  I actually used to work in Boots, behind the make-up counter and sold Max Factor as I day dreamed one day of becoming a make up artist.  It’s a wonderful brand that I have grown up with and I adore its history and all of its heritage.

product_heritage_Lip_Pomade max

WP:  Max Factor originally specialised in movie make-up and then became a consumer available line.  Why do you think the brand is still so popular?

CB:  It’s so popular as it listens to what customers want and need.  It produces cosmetics that are classic and timeless at a price that most can afford.

WP:  What are the top 5 products you can’t live without?

CB:  Miracle Blush in soft Copper and Soft Pink (£6.99 each), False Lash and Lash Extension Effect mascara (£10.99) and the Hazel Eye Brow pencil (£4.99).

Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara £10.99 Max Factor eyebrow pencil LOW RES

WP:  Do you think the new product releases stay to the original vision of Max Factor products?

CB:  That is the main thought process from the brand, I feel that they update their product textures and shades to compliment trends and customer needs.

WP:  This year is the 60th anniversary of Crème Puff; why do you think the product was so successful originally?  And how do you personally use the product now?


CB:  Crème Puff (£5.99) would have not been so successful if it wasn’t so good.  It’s a cult product, as it has many shades and sets your foundation in place without leaving a cakey complexion.  It works on all skin types and leaves a natural finish on the skin.  Powder is an integral part of any make-up artist kit and I use the translucent shade most to set and mattify skin.

Max Factor Creme Puff £5.99

WP:  How does the brand continue to evolve while remaining true to the core principles?

CB:  By doing lots of consumer research and listening to what their make-up requirements are.  Max Factor has many make-up artists supporting the brand and everyone is allowed to share their thoughts and ideas to ensure the best results are achieved.

WP:  Which do you feel are the strongest trends for Spring/Summer 2014?

CB:  Bright bolts of colour to the lips: it’s such a simple way of updating your look with little expense and not too much skill!

Max Factor Miracle Touch Soft Pink

WP:  What are your predictions for the next three years in make-up?

CB:  That textures throughout cosmetics will become more transparent, lightweight and less obvious on the skin but still hold enough pigment to conceal or add colour to complexions.

WP:  Gwyneth Paltrow has recently been chosen as the face of Max Factor.  How does she embody the brand?


CB:  She really is a modern icon and as well as being a wonderful Mum she also had a sterling career and a healthy lifestyle.  Her look is very natural and appealing which I think most women can only be inspired by.

Gwyneth Pinterest MF

WP:  Max Factor created iconic original make-up products like wand mascara, pan-cake and flexible greasepaint.  What developments do you see for the brand in the future?

CB:  New developments for any brands are always top secret, but what I can share is that the brand is becoming very innovative with new designs and colour creations.  Soon to be revealed!

Images courtesy of,,



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