Max Factor cosmetics will begin disappearing from U.S. store shelves in early 2010, reports the Wall Street Journal. A sad end for an American "pioneer" of makeup.
Although Max Factor will still be sold internationally, the brand born in Hollywood just wasn't popular enough here in the States. (Max Factor ranks among the top brands in strategically important markets such as Russia and the United Kingdom, corporate owner Procter & Gamble says.) P&G bought Max Factor from Revlon in 1991, but the brand is a classic American success story.
According to John Updike's excellent article last year in the New Yorker, Max Faktor (he changed the spelling later) was a five-foot tall Polish Jewish fugitive who left Russia in 1904 and arrived in California, breaking into Hollywood via manufacturing cosmetics for the film industry. When film changed — from black and white to Technicolor — Factor changed the chemistry and formula of his makeup, and actresses who wouldn't appear under harsh lights — Bette Davis, Carole Lombard, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Norma Shearer, and Claudette Colbert — had new products, which were more flattering. When the company started selling to the public, it often used actresses in its advertising. (Check out some ads below; there are more here.)