Max Factor - Development of Pan-Cake

Development of Pan-Cake

The development of Technicolor film required the company to develop a new line of products as its existing Panchromatic make-up left a slight sheen on the skin which reflected surrounding colors. As a result of how bad they looked in color many actors and actresses refused to appear in color films. Because Max Factor was recovering from being hit by a delivery van at the time, Frank Factor took the lead in the two years it took to develop a suitable make-up, initially called the "T-D" and then renamed the "Pan-Cake" series. It was sold in a solid cake form and applied with a damp sponge which offered the advantage of concealing skin imperfections under a transparent matte finish. Its first appearance was in the film Vogues of 1938.

It was immediately a hit and its advantages lead to woman stealing it from the film sets and using it privately. Its only disadvantage for every day use was that it could not be used at night as it made the skin too dark under all except under the powerful lights used in film studios. While Max Factor wanted to reserve the product for film use, Frank Factor was open to the commercial possibilities and began developing lighter shades. At the time the company was only able to produce enough to meet studio demand, which delayed commercial release until production could be increased. The company used the release of Vogues of 1938 in August 1937 and five months later The Goldwyn Follies, the second film to use the make-up, to commercially release Pan-Cake to the public, backed by a color based national advertising campaign. It immediately became the fastest and largest selling single make-up item to date, as well as the standard make-up used in all Technicolor films.

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