Modern Makeup


The Two Fathers of Modern Makeup

Stage makeup today has many forms; crèmes, powders, and even latex to paint the entire body blue. However, most of the basic makeups used by actors everywhere owe their basis to two men, Ludwig Leichner and Max Factor.

Ludwig Leichner, a Wagnerian opera performer and chemist in 1873, wasn’t the first to create the type of makeup known as greasepaint. That credit belongs to fellow German actor Carl Budin (Brittanica). What Leichner created was an easy way to sell and use it-the stick greasepaint ( Bennet,greasepaint). These sticks came in a variety of colors and thicknesses, allowing actors to create an entire look, from ethnicity to age, more simply and easily than with the previous powdered makeups, allowing for more realistic looks, especially under the brightness and heat demands of gas lamps and limelight . Leichner also created the numbering system still used by all makeups today, with the lightest makeups having low numbers and increasing with the intensity of the colors(Bennet, greasepaint).

Following on from Leichner in 1914, Max Factor created Pan-chromatic makeup for the film industry. This greasepaint was lighter and made to be less shimmery under the new incandescent light, while also formulated to show the correct colors under these new lights to photograph correctly on Panchromatic black and white film (Bennet, Panchromatic). From that, in 1938 Factor created Pan-Cake, a new formulation in a dry powder for use in color film, again to color correct for incandescent light, but since it was formulated for natural color it became popular on the stage and for everyday use as well (Bennet, Pan-cake). Pan-Cake and similar products became the basis for modern foundations, with only minor changes to make them less harsh on skin and easier to remove. Makeup moguls and designers, for stage, screen and everyday life, owe the foundation of their livelihoods these two men.


Encyclopædia Britannica.

“stagecraft.”. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. <>.

Bennet, James. “Greasepaint”. Cosmetics and Skin, 2013. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.

Bennet, James. “Panchromatic Make-Up”. Cosmetics and Skin, 2013. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.

Bennet, James. “Pan-Cake”. Cosmetics and Skin, 2013. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s