What makes us beautiful?


No one is you – and that is your power.

I was recently invited to a dinner with 30 inspiring women. It was a special and very intimate experience for me, in the course of which I learned a lot about others and at least as much about myself. Beauty, and I noticed that once again with astounding clarity that evening, is more than the sum and quality of certain physical traits. Beauty radiates from within. And in many cases it is communicated in the drive that each of these women have, the courage to venture off the beaten track.

30 Women – 30 Stories

To the outside world we communicate confidence, not self-doubt. In our pictures we show our best sides. We tend to inform our followers and the world about our successes, not of our failures. We put in the extra work for the same gain, and make it all look easy. We portray ourselves as strong and self-assured, to distract from our vulnerability. Why do we do that?

Because we do not want to be hurt. And because each and every one of these women, strong as they all are, know all to well what it is to feel weak and vulnerable. We have our strategies to protect ourselves from attacks. In our defense, we use the weapons of women.

Make-up is one of the main tools in our arsenal. Think what you may about make-up, personally I am extremely grateful that it exists. Sometimes I wear my make-up like a protection, that wards off attacks by others on not-so-great days. Sometimes I want to shine into the world the way I feel on the inside. Sometimes I wish to hide from everything. Sometimes I wish to stand out.

Make-up is a part of my life, of my personality, of the daily vibe of being me. And using this tool well makes me stronger in life.

That‘s also how Max Factor saw it – the inventor of what we call make-up and founder of the namesake company who organized this special dinner for us women. The stylist came to the USA in 1904, and soon found himself working in Hollywood. Initially, his job consisted mainly of enhancing the facial features of actors with various kinds of black and white pastes in order to increase the contrast – color film was yet to be invented in those days. But once the movie industry started to bring colors to the silver screen, Max Factor was forced by the new requirements of the medium to develop what we today all make-up. A first milestone was a set of special facial colors in 12 nuances. This product served as a stepping stone for further developments, and the inventor later expanded his product palette and brought it to the wider public. The foundation for what we today know as decorative make-up was laid. From here on out, every woman could look like a movie star.

Every woman could now hide or present herself exactly the way she felt. For Max Factor, it was all about individuality, he saw uniqueness in every woman. His aim was not to make women adhere to prescribed trends, his vision was to bring out and underline the individuality in every woman.

What makes her special?

To really talk about make-up means to talk about individuality. Every woman has entirely unique facial features. Some lines are hard, others soft. Every woman has features she wishes to bring out. I don‘t know a single woman who has nothing beautiful about her. A perfect nose, strikingly heart-shaped lips, high cheekbones, perfect skin or beautiful eyes. Every face is a present.

Max Factor had the gift to align the looks of women with their character. He didn‘t press anyone into stenciled roles, and instead underlined their unique personalities. And that‘s what strikes us as beautiful:
not a certain look, but rather the interplay between looks and character.

Did you ever notice that we consider some people particularly beautiful not because they are flawless but because they are so likable? Few of us are naturally flawless, but we tend to overlook the little imperfections in each other because our attention is drawn to the beautiful aspects of the other.

An infectious laugh, maybe, bright and shining eyes, or little visual quirks like a gap between the teeth or freckles around the nose. These are the things that make us special and truly beautiful.

And this is how Max Factor stood out: he had a way of bringing these individual aspects of beauty to the forefront, and in such a way created distinctive looks for his actresses. In the later course of his life, he passed on his knowledge and apparently also his unique talent to his son: Max Factor Jr.

So, Max Factor Jr. Basically grew up with make-up an art form, and he found a special way to continue the legacy of his father, which was and remains the aim to underline the individual beauty of each woman.

In his studio, Max Factor Jr. set up four rooms which he walked through with every woman whose make-up he was going to do, and he asked the question: which room does this woman shine in the most? Which room suits her best? Each of these rooms was held in a different color: Cool blue, tender pink, warm beige-peach and soft green. This approach had a lasting effect, and it became the basis for the most well-known looks of real Hollywood icons.

Max Factor Jr. gave Rita Hayworth a fiery red mane (green) and transformed one Norma Jean into a certain Marilyn Monroe by dyeing her hair peroxide blonde (blue), thus turning her into a global sex-symbol. Judy Garland (beige) and Elizabeth Taylor (pink) also took the stroll through his studio. These legendary rooms served as inspiration for the pictures in this post. They still exist!

A few years ago I visited the Hollywood Museum, amazed by the range of star he worked with (it reads like a complete “who is who” of glamour and fame), and walked through the rooms myself, mirror in hand.
And what can I say? If I‘m ever faced with the challenge to paint a whole room in only one color, I‘ll know better than to simply pick any color I like. I‘ll make sure to choose the color I shine in the most, the color that frames me best every time I look in the mirror.

Can you guess which room and color suits me best?

These are the Max Factor icons:

Facefinity Foundation (combines primer, concealer and foundation in one product. For a flawless complexion – all day long)

Miracle Touch Foundation  (The innovative formula creates the very en-vogue soft blur effect, maintains the skin‘s radiance and nurtures it gently.)

Lip Butter (The Colour Elixir Lip Butter von Max Factor combines the radiant colors and durability of a lipstick with the precision of a lip-liner and the nurturing moisture of a balm.)

Lipfinity (The Lipfinity Velvet Matte by Max Factor makes it easy to achieve a beautiful matte look. The formula for color intensity and long durability gives the lips a satin-matte finish, which will last all day. Added coconut extracts and vitamin E assure intense and radiant colors and make the Velvet Matte extremely comfortable to wear, )

Masterpiece Max Mascara (The bestseller for full, dense and perfectly defined lashes.)

Max Factor x Edition F „Inspiring Voices“ Dinner (photographs by Paula G. Vidal)

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