The right to Rouge!

Last Wednesday I did my usual ‘I’m just going into to town to pick up a few bits, I’m not going to buy anything other than what I need’ spiel & of course, predictably, I found myself shuffling around the North Laines snooping around the Vintage Boutiques & Flea Markets. It was absolutely freezing that day though so I didn’t stay out too long but in the short amount of time I was out I had bought a 1940’s Wool check jacket, a Pendleton Woolen skirt (I think it’s probably 60/70s but their stuff is always pretty classic), a bamboo shelving unit & an amazing little 1940’s Make up booklett on how to look like the Starletts of Hollywood. Tusk!

I thought I would share some photos that of the booklett as it really is charming plus it spurred me on to delve a little deeper into the world of Max Factor..

Maxfactor makeup 1940s 1950s tutorial

A selection of the most glamorous faces staring back at you

Maxfactor makeup 1940s 1950s tutorialI think it is dated from about 1940, which is fantastic! It’s in pretty good shape but I do keep it tucked away in my dressing table draw for safe keeping. As you can see on the front cover there are all the actresses of the day – Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Frances Dee, Myrna Loy, Andrea Leeds & Rosalind Russel to name but a few. Fortunatly throughout the book these gorgeous ladies are named like the photo below. It also gives a list of what colour they wear depending on hair colour Blonde, Brunette & Titian (red head – which I had to google!)

This ‘Colour Harmonizing’ & ‘how to’ was an innovation of the Max Factor and his Academy.

Max Faktor, one of ten children, started his career as a wig maker & chemist in Russia. He specialised in mostly theatrical make up & later became a favourite with the Russian Royal Family & Nobility. He gave advise on cosmetics & travelled with the Imperial Russian Grand Opera. In 1904, Max Factor and his family moved to the United States. The World Fair in St.Louis gave him the opportunity to try out his products on the American market. In 1908 he moved onto Los Angeles where he knew his training & passion for make up would be appreciated. The film industry was the place for Max to develop his products further & in 1914 he pioneered make up specifically for the movies – it was lighter, didn’t cake up on the skin & translated better for close up shots. This ‘flexible grease paint’ brought stars of the Silver Screen to his studio & by 1920 he released his first widely available product range, claiming in the advertising campaign that ‘every girl could look like a movie star by using Max Factor makeup’.

Maxfactor makeup 1940s 1950s tutorial

Colour Harmony Make Up for Blondes, Brunettes, Brownettes & Titian L to R: Virginia Bruce, Maureen O’Sullivan, Shirley Ross & Anne Shirley

Maxfactor makeup 1940s 1950s tutorial

The beautiful Andrea Leeds & Ide Lupino on ‘Lipstick: How to apply’

The whole way through you are advised on moisturing, cleansing, how to apply Powder, Rouge, Eye Make up & also how to contour (picture below)

Maxfactor makeup 1940s 1950s tutorial

Max Factor giving real advise to normal women on how to enhance your beauty: thin lips, rounded eyes, deep set eyes & small eyes

In 1938 he introduced ‘Pan-Cake’ Make up to the masses & his ‘True Colour’ Lipstick help him become a Global name in the growing world of cosmetics.


Norma Shearer & Joan Crawford for Max Factor

Lana Turner Max Factor

Pretty as a picture: Lana Turner

His belief in individual colour pallets specifically designed for you & providing colour charts gave women the chance to tailor their make up. His ‘Colour Harmony’ techniques are believed to be the foundations of much of the industry today.

Maxfactor makeup 1940s 1950s tutorial

A product list is also featured so you know exactly what to you need to put all your new found knowledge to the test! Handy that..

Maxfactor makeup 1940s 1950s tutorial

Elenore Powell on ‘How to apply your Rouge’

Maxfactor makeup 1940s 1950s tutorial

The stars of the day were eager to become Max Factor Girls – Rita Hayworth, Lucille Ball, Betty Grable, Hedy Lamarr and Veronica Lake to name a few. In return he promoted their movies

I am completely in love with the whole booklett & you can still visit the Max Factor building in Hollywood which is now a vast museum of everything Movies!(one day huh?)

I’ll leave you with a clip from ‘Cover Girl’ with Rita Hayworth, it’s great for giving you a glimpse into a Max Factor make over! Colour Pallet & everything!

Love VV x

‘Every girl has the right to Rouge!’ ~ Max Factor


2 thoughts on “The right to Rouge!

  1. Pingback: Cosmetic Lust #1: Tangee Lipstick | Vintage Vessel

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