After immigrating to the United States in 1904 Max Factor moved his family and business to Los Angeles, California, seeing an opportunity to provide made-to-order wigs and theatrical make-up to the growing film industry. Besides selling his own make-up products he soon became the West Coast distributor of both Leichner and Minor, two leading theatrical make-up manufacturers.

During the early years of movie-making, greasepaint in stick form, although the accepted make-up for use on the stage, could not be applied thinly enough, nor where did colors work satisfactorily on the screen. Factor began experimenting with various compounds in an effort to develop a suitable make-up for the new film medium. By 1914 he had perfected the first cosmetic specifically created for motion picture use — a thinner greasepaint in cream form, packaged in a jar, and created in 12 precisely-graduated shades. Unlike theatrical cosmetics, it would not crack or cake. It was worn for the first time by actor Henry B. Walthall, who served as the model for screen tests.

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