Throwback Thursday – The Beauty Micrometer

max factor beauty micrometer
While this week’s Throwback Thursday find could easy translate as a torture device (The Jackal, anyone?), this ‘micrometer’ is actually a Hollywood-favoured beauty tool from 1934. I have never come across such a device in all my years as a make-up artist, so I will leave the explanation to the clipping itself…

It reads:
“Recently perfected by Max Factor, one of Hollywood’s most famous beauty experts, a new instrument, designed to aid makeup men, accurately registers actors’ facial measurements and discloses which features should be reduced or enhanced in the makeup process.

Flaws almost invisible to the ordinary eye become glaring distortions when thrown upon the screen in highly magnified images; but Factor’s “beauty micrometer” reveals the defects.

The device, remotely resembling a baseball mask, fits over the head and face with flexible metal strips which conform closely to the various features. The strips are held in place by set screws, allowing for 325 possible adjustments. If, for instance, the subject’s nose is slightly crooked – so slightly, in fact, that it escapes ordinary observation – the flaw is promptly detected by the instrument and corrective makeup is applied by an experienced operator.”


  1. Rouge September 7, 2012

    I really like the content of your blog …


  2. […] This tortuous looking device is a beauty calibrator or “micrometer”, made in 1932 by makeup mogul Max Factor, the father of the modern cosmetics industry. A bizarre union of beauty and phrenology, this one-of-a-kind device was meant to be used as a tool for Hollywood make up artists, who could measure a starlet’s face against “perfect” facial proportions and use heavy make up to correct her facial shape flaws. Made of flexible metal strips, it is held against the head using set screws and will supposedly reveal flaws naked to the human eye that could be exaggerated on the movie screen. (Here are some slightly unsettling images of it in use!) […]

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