The Mad Scientist of Make-Up

September 25, 2010 at 11:48 pm (Photo Gallery)

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Did sinister science lurk behind Hollywood’s glamorous beauties? Was it a dark, twisted genius that created their make-up? Were horrors of agony the price of a lovely face? The answer in each case is… no. Not really.  But there was a certain science to the art of Hollywood make-up. Weird science.

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It was all so simple in the early days. Here, Betty Compson (right) shows off her make-up kit to Marceline Day, between scenes of Lon Chaney’s The Big City. 1927.

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From Modern Mechanix, January 1933.

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From Modern Mechanix, January 1935.

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Chemists at the Max Factor lab in Hollywood test a new lipstick on the shaved stomach of a guinea pig. “The under skin of the baby pigs is ten times as sensitive as that of the human being and is used to test all [of] Factor’s makeups.” January 1939.

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From Mechanix Illustrated, April 1947.

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– – – Christopher Snowden

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3 Comments

  1. Joan said,

    Free the pig! Free the pig!

  2. Dorothy Sebastian said,

    Joan —

    Your last name starts with a “C” … don’t it ?

    So WHAT if Betty Compson WASN’T what ya’d call yer Saint Catherine of the Medicheese … and, yes, everybody knows she lied about being a WAMPUS Baby …

    But I think “PIG” is REALLY crossin the line, specially when the gal can’t defend herself on account of bein pre-deceased.

    At least ya never heard no rumors that B E T T Y won another frickin’ Charleston cup by “accidently” kicking other dancers, now didja ?

    Yeah … well … sometime we really oughta get together n’ catch up on all them old times we had… (like that 2 hundred bucks I lent you in 1931 … ?)

    Enough dish,
    I gotta dash,
    Dot

  3. Jennifer said,

    They should test the lipstick on the shaved stomach of a Max Factor scientist!

    Somewhere in my files I have a photo of Jean Harlow getting her hair tested – and certified – as platinum, by means of Westinghouse and their special machine. =D

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