Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Max Factor Museum"

Max Factor Museum
Hollywood, California
Hollywood Museum, Hollywood.
The Hollywood Museum, located in the historic Max Factor Building just off Hollywood Boulevard, is home to a sizable amount of Hollywood memorabilia, as well as a tribute to the "Make-Up King" himself, Mr. Max Factor. The building is an art deco gem with an impressive facade and a marble entrance still bearing the name Max Factor.

Max Factor Make-Up Studio and Museum, Hollywood.
Originally called the Max Factor Make-Up Studios, and then the Max Factor Museum, the building has gone through several hands before arriving at its current incarnation as the Hollywood Museum, reopened in 2003. The museum has lovingly restored the ground floor to reflect the original look of how Mr. Factor himself designed the space, complete with multiple salons for clients and Hollywood royalty. Today it stands as a testament to a beauty empire as well as a tourist destination just steps away from the Hollywood walk of fame, and helps future generations form an appreciation for this pioneer of beauty.
Max Factor Museum,  Sheer Genius, Hollywood.
By far the most fascinating part of the museum, is the remaining original salons from the Max Factor era of the building. Learning about his history and dedication to glamor is very inspiring.
Max Factor Museum, Vintage Cosmetics, Hollywood.

Maksymilian Faktorowicawas born in Poland in 1877. After achieving success in wig styling in Russia, he migrated to the USA in 1904, settling in Los Angeles, changing his name and forming the Max Factor Company in 1909. Mr. Factor was a savvy business man, and saw an opportunity to provide made-to-order wigs and custom cosmetics to the growing film industry. Up until that point, most actors were using greasepaint, as it worked well on stage and in theater. However with the development and popularity of film, the industry was changing and so was the needs of the actors. He began experimenting with cosmetic compositions to come up with a formulation that would apply smoother and lighter to respond to the evolving technology. He achieved success with this in 1914, and was soon considered the authority on cosmetics, with movie stars flocking to use his product. His list of clients included Gloria Swanson, Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, and Judy Garland. With his growing popularity and reputation he experienced increased success and continued to expand his line of cosmetics at a time when only movie stars and prostitutes wore cosmetics. It wasn't until the 1920's that, under pressure from his sons, Max Factor began to develop commercial cosmetics for public consumption, and began using the term "make-up" for a more mainstream appeal.
Max Factor Museum, Marylin dress, Hollywood.
Thus it was in 1928, with an expanding empire, that Max Factor purchased the building on North Highland, designed by architect S. Charles Lee in the regency art deco style. Though due to to onset of the Great Depression, it would not be until 1935 before the building and its various salons would be open to the public.
Max Factor Museum, Wigs and Beauty Accessories, Hollywood.
One of the more interesting features of the studio is four specialized salons designed in specific colors to best flatter a client's complexion based on hair color. Each room is labeled "For Blondes Only" in shades of blue, redheads done is mint green, brunettes in dusty rose and brownettes in pale peach. Wig styles, make up palettes, and other beauty tools of the era are meticulously displayed. It is here where Lucille Ball entered as an aspiring blonde actress, and exited a redheaded icon.

Max Factor Museum, Lucille Ball make-over, Hollywood.
Also on view are countless photos and advertisements showing the widespread impact Mr. Factor had on the world of beauty, and how his diligence and resourcefulness helped shape the world of glamor and beauty that we know today. He really was a pioneer of beauty, which is clearly illustrated here in what was once his empire.

Max Factor Museum, Wall-of-Fame, Hollywood.
The Max Factor Museum is located in the Hollywood Museum at 1660 Highland Avenue at Hollywood Boulevard. For more info visit their website at:

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