The History of Makeup - Max Factor, Elisebeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Development of Women's Makeup from the 1920's to the late 1940's

See Also:
Vintage Make-up Guides - rare downloadables
The History of Lipstick
Shiseido - The Story of Japanese Beauty Makeup in the 1930's
1930's Beauty Guide
Complete 1940's Makeup Guide
The Correct way to apply 1940's Make-up

During the early years of the 20th century, make-up became fashionable in the United States of America and Europe due to the huge influence of Ballet, Theatre and the Movie stars of Hollywood.
Chief amongst the makeup wizards who helped develop cosmetics into a global mass market were Max Factor Sr, Elizabeth Arden, and Helena Rubinstein.

Post World War One , the Flapper look came into fashion and with it came cosmetics: Dark kohl eyes,Red lipstick, Red nail polish and it was fashionable for women to use bleach to keep their skin a pale milky white - in otherwords a good palette for cosmetics !

Of course Coco Chanel helped make the suntan popular and heralded the introduction of fake tan products helping both men and women to achieve that sun-kissed look !
In Asia, skin whitening continued to represent the ideal of beauty.

Max Factor

Truelly the inventor of Glamour !
He invented the term "makeup," based on the verb, "to make up" (one's face).
To millions of women all over the world today, the name Max Factor goes hand in hand with beauty,fashion and above all glamour!
I started collating a timeline of makeup and glamour only to realise that it almost goes hand in hand [ with just a few exceptions] with the inventions of Max Factor Snr.

In 1914 he created the first cosmetic made specifically for motion pictures!
It was a form of thin greasepaint.

In 1920 he developed the "Color Harmony" principles of makeup, which held that "certain combinations of a woman's complexion, hair and eye coloring were most effectively complemented by specific makeup shades."

This principle established for the first time that certain combinations of a woman's complexion, hair and eye coloring were most effectively complemented by specific makeup shades prescribed in "Color Harmony"

He created lip gloss in 1930.

Carole Lombard,Joan Blondell, Jean Harlow, Claudette Colbert and Bette Davis amongst others became regular visitors to his Hollywood Boulevard beauty salon. With stars like these as clients Max Factor's name began to appear in the movie credits.

In 1934 he introduced Liquid Nail Enamel, forerunner of today's nail enamels.

In 1935 he created Pan-Cake, the forerunner of modern cake makeup originally developed for color films.
The name is derived from "pan" because of its small, flat, pan-like container, and "cake" because of the form in which it was made!

Pan Cake later developed into the Pan Stick.
Though today women still puff away with loose powder and liquid foundations, the all in one panstick is present in every makeup bag to this day.

Max Factor's name appeared on many movie credits, and Factor himself appeared in some cameos.
He created many appearances for these actresses, such as Clara Bow's heart-shaped/pierrot lips.
Years later, he exaggerated Joan Crawford's naturally full lips to distinguish her from the many would-be stars copying the Clara Bow look he created.

A few final amusing notes on Max Factors genius .
He was always researching the science of beauty.

Below is the infamous Max factor Beauty Micrometer !

Max Factors Facial Ice Pack

He developed a special bonnet for the benefit of actresses who wished to refresh their faces on hot studio sets without spoiling their makeup, the facial ice pack [ pictured below ] was quickly diverted to another purpose by festive Hollywoodians. The headpiece, adorned with water-filled plastic cubes, is kept in the refrigerator while the water freezes.

Those girls really suffered for the art of glamour !
Photo courtesy of Modernmechanix

Elisebeth Arden

She invented the concept of the "makeover" in her salons.
Arden collaborated with A. Fabian Swanson, a chemist, to create a "fluffy" face cream. The success of the cream, Venetian Cream Amoretta, and corresponding lotion, Arden Skin Tonic, led to a long-lasting business relationship. This revolutionized cosmetics, bringing a scientific approach to formulations.

Other innovations included creating foundations that matched a person's skin tone; creating the idea of the "Total Look" in which lip, cheek, and fingernail colors matched or coordinated; and the first to make a cosmetics commercial shown in movie houses.
During World War II, Arden recognized the changing needs of the American woman entering the work force. She showed women how to apply makeup and dress appropriately for careers outside the home.
Arden also introduced modern eye makeup to North America after her formal training in Paris in 1912.

Helena Rubinstein

"There are no ugly women, only lazy ones."
Rubinstein formed one of the world’s first cosmetic companies and is recognised chiefly for her ability in marketing ! She was especially popular in the glam days of the 1950's.

A vicious rivalry with the other great lady of the cosmetics industry Elizabeth Arden also marked her life. Both Rubinstein and Arden, who died within 18 months of each other, were social climbers.
And they were both keenly aware of effective marketing and luxurious packaging, the attraction of beauticians in neat uniforms, the value of celebrity endorsements, the perceived value of overpricing and the promotion of the pseudo-science of skincare.

The Powder and the Glory (2009) by Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman, details the rivalry between Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden.

So that's the three big names in the development of makeup in the golden age of glamour.
I think you'll agree that Max Factor was the real genius.
I'll leave you with some images depicting the makeup looks of the 1920's,1930's,and 1940's

The 1920's Makeup Look

The 1930's Makeup Look

The 1940's Makeup Look

Vintage Make-up

Visit our definitive Vintage Make-up Guide Site, packed with beautiful downloadable 1920's makeup guides, 1930s make-up guides, 1940s make-up guides and 1950s  make-up guides.

Also Glamourdaze highly recommends Gabriela Hernandez's book Classic Beauty - The history of Make-up

Copyright - Glamourdaze 2010

Lipstick Glamour - The History of Lip Makeup

Thursday, November 26, 2009
Lipstick Glamour - The History of Lip Makeup

A little digging into the history of that popular makeup accessory.

Lip makeup entered mass production after becoming widely popular when the Lipstick was invented by Maurice Levy in 1915 a push up tube within a container essentially similar to the shape used today.
"Natural" lipgloss was also invented, which used bromo acid to create a red effect as it reacted with the wearer's skin.Yikes !!
In the 1920s, Shaping the mouth became an international preoccupation among women.Metal lip tracers, made in various sizes to satisfy the wishes of the wearer, were developed to ensure flawless lipstick application. Helena Rubinstein created Cupid's Bow a product that billed itself as a "self-shaping lipstick that forms a perfect cupid's bow as you apply it."
The development of the mirrored lipstick container in the 1920's also points to the importance of shaping the lips through the application of lipstick.

Images and Adverts of Lipstick from 1920's

Following the success of the Memoirs of a Geisha film, it's easy to see how much the Japanese woman influenced western looks in the 20th century !!
Trends in lip colour and lip shape developed through the 1920's and the popularity of lip cosmetics saw the introduction of other products such as lip gloss, lip liner, and lip balm [ a bomb ???] - created by the genius Max Factor for Hollywood actresses in 1930.

Lipstick Advert from 1930's

Throughout the 1930's and on into the war years of the 1940's lipstick gained popularity as a result of its use in the movie industry, and it became commonplace for women to apply makeup, or "put their face on."
Lippy [ as it is known in Britain and Ireland ] hasn't looked back since.

Images of From Life Magazine - Lipstick from 1930's and 1940's

Lipstick Adverts from the 1940's

Stencil Image courtesy of Modern Mechanix
Copyright -

1930's Fashion - Womens Shoe Styles

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

 See also Gorgeous Shoe Fashions ( Vintage 1936 Film)

1930s Fashion - Glamour of Womens Shoes

In the early twentieth century women demanded more comfortable, flat-soled shoes-- that is until the roaring twenties when higher hemlines encouraged visible, elaborate, high heeked and slender Louis heels. The Depression during the 1930's highly influenced shoe fashion in the USA and Europe as heels became lower and wider. The new heel developed an elegant look and stars’ shoes like Ginger Roger’s white and glittery heels began to challenge the influence of French shoe fashion .Here you see some examples of shoe styles from the 1930s as worn by various Hollywood Sirens like Carole Lombard,Bette Davis, Garbo [ she of the apparently big feet] and more.
Also some great images from Life Magazine, which now has its back catalogue online.
Enjoy !

Vintage 1940s Makeover Film - What NOT to wear !

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another helping of Miss Ratherly Sterns vintage 1940's fashion makeover for young women.
Courtesy of the Prelinger Archive.

The Corsetiere - Professional Corset and Girdle fitting

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Corsetiere - Professional Corset and Girdle fitting in the 1930's and 1940's

Thought i'd post this interesting feature on The Corsetiere.
These corsetieres worked for the major firms that supplied conventional foundation garments to the vast majority of women for many decades in the last century.
Found these wonderful images and accounts on The Corsetiere

Here is one story from Alison

My mother was always very happy, very pleased, to be trying on her new foundations; she loved them. After fitting her, I would sit back on my stool while she looked at herself in the mirror, and she would ask me if I thought she looked good. She did look wonderful and absolutely beautiful in those white satin and brocade foundations. She always asked for ribbons adorning the suspenders and fine lace over the front panels and cups of the long-line bras she favoured so much.

These were very firm and very well boned garments; the bra cups were full coverage, the corselets were long over the thigh, and the bras were quite high backed. But they had a lovely sheen to them, and had the lace and ribbon adornments that made them so feminine; and of course, they produced such a lovely silhouette.

I was always expected to be beautifully turned out, and we would sometimes go out for lunch as a break during the course of our day, or after a morning of product reviews and preliminary measurements. I don’t think this intimacy, yet privacy, normally exists in the family today. I enjoyed these afternoons (but I didn't let on), and she knew it. My father was very proud of his wife's appearance, and his business colleagues always complimented him on how stunning she was. He loved that, so he never complained about the Spencer bills.

Occasionally her lady friends were invited for coffee at 11:30 and I would fit them too. After their first fittings, the new designs and fabrics were discussed in great detail. These were also social occasions, so whilst corsetry was discussed in great detail, decisions would also be made for which foundations would be the most suitable for a forthcoming event, where a particular suit or gown would be worn.

As you know only too well, ladies openly discussed foundations in those days. The personal matters and private aspects or complications of a particular fitting were, though, absolutely confidential, and a special trust existed between me and my mother and her friends.

When I saw an ad to be a Spencer Corsetiere, I applied. When I joined Spencer in 1953 I had to attend a training class given by our local manager. In this class we learned about the product line, how to analyze figure problems, and of course how to fit the girdles using the “Spencer method” and the measuring girdle.

Ultimately I became a "Spencer Consultant" and had a territory, and I visited ladies in their homes and fitted them with custom-made girdles and bras. I liked the job very much and I think my customers did too. All the measuring and fittings were done in someone’s home, and it was a lot more relaxing than going to a store.

1920's Makeup Tutorial

Saturday, November 7, 2009
1920's Make-up and Beauty Guide.

Also see our launch of a rare and definitive guide on women's 1920's make-up and beauty styles. Originally read by 1920s women and written by a famous Flapper.You can also visit Vintage Make-up guides for more details.

See also The History of Makeup
How to apply 1920's Makeup

Step 1

Find and apply a foundation in your skin tone that will give your complexion a creamy, perfect look. You may have to use an older variety, such as pancake, or a cream meant more for theater than for everyday use. To allow your skin to breathe, thin down cream foundation by moistening your sponge before dipping in the base. If your skin is naturally porcelain or alabaster-toned, play it up.

Step 2

Darken and turn your eyebrows slightly downwards with an eyebrow pencil or even eyeliner that is darker than your actual brow color. Thin eyebrows were fashionable in the 20s, so this step works most accurately if your brows are already on the thin side. If not, you don't have to start tweezing away--you can cover your brows with a 1920s-style hat or with bangs chopped straight across as part of a bob cut.

Step 3

Smooth on your usual eye makeup primer before applying a dark eyeshadow from lash line to crease. Pick a gray-based shadow to keep your eyes on the sooty side, which is what you're aiming for. Use a black kohl eyeliner on both top and bottom lash lines. Don't scrimp--you want all the dark tones to meld together. Color top and bottom lashes with blackest black mascara. You want them dark so as to appear like you used paint to blacken them. You may want to use a waterproof formulation for all of your eye makeup to avoid unwanted smudging as much as possible.
Step 4

Find a cheek stain or cream blush with touches of red in it. You are going for a rouged look; if red is too strong for your coloring, raspberry or rose are alternatives. Rub blush into apples of cheeks. Blend away hard edges, but make sure the color is still evident, as though you just walked in from the cold.


Step 5

Apply pale pancake foundation over clean and exfoliated lips. With a waxy dark red lip liner, create a 1920s mouth by exaggerating the cupid's bow on your top lip. Draw your lower lip as slightly plumper than it really is by extending slightly on the bottom. Draw both upper and bottom lips as shorter on the sides. Fill new lip shape in with pencil before layering matching lipstick over it. Copyright Lea WhiteFeather

Vintage make-up guides - 1920s to the 1950s.

Rare and beautifully restored vintage guides for women. 1920s makeup looks, 1930s makeup looks, 1940s makeup looks and 1950s makeup looks.

1930s Shoes - Carole Lombard

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Carole Lombard wearing typical ladies shoe styles of the 1930s

Had an idea recently about collecting together images of Hollywood stars shoe styles
from the 1930s and 1940s.
This is the first - the lovely Carole Lombard who died so tragically young in a plane crash.
[ She was married to Clark Gable ]
And yes - these ARE carole Lombards legs and feet..

A variety of womens shoe styles were available in the 1930s; rounded toes with thick heels; pumps, flats, ankle straps with moderate heels; slip-ons, lace ups, buckled; spectator and two tones.
The new fad for outdoor activities brought sandals back into fashion. Black was most common for day shoes but wine, maroon, and navy were also seen. For evening plain court shoes were seen gadding about with asymmetrical trims, peep toes and sling back heels.

Greta Garbo next !
She was meant to have rather large feet, so it will be interesting if I can find any decent snaps !