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Title:
HAIR MOISTURIZING PROCESS AND APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method for sealing moisture into hair, by cooling the hair. The method may be after a shower and/or during styling. The hair may be cooled by applying a gas or a plate cooled to below room temperature. The air may be cooled by reducing the pressure of a pressurized gas. The air may be cooled by heat transfer with a cooled fluid. The plate may be cooled by heat transfer with a cooled fluid. Also disclosed is an apparatus for moisturizing hair, which includes a cooling medium and a heat transfer unit for cooling the cooling medium to a temperature lower than room temperature.


Inventors:
Pruess, Kathryn Lanae Williams (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Application Number:
11/308112
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
03/07/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D7/00
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ADVANTIA LAW GROUP (9035 SOUTH 1300 EAST, SUITE 200, SANDY, UT, 84094, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of sealing moisture into hair, comprising the steps of applying a moisturizing hair care product to the hair and reducing hair temperature by application of a cooled medium to the hair.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the reduced hair temperature is less than a temperature of surrounding air.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the cooled medium comprises a cooled gas.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the gas does not include a hair care product.

5. The method of claim 3, wherein the method further comprises cooling the gas.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the gas is cooled to below a temperature of air surrounding the hair.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of cooling the gas comprises reducing the pressure of a pressurized gas.

8. The method of claim 7, further including the step of cooling the pressurized gas before reducing the pressure of the pressurized gas.

9. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of cooling the gas includes heat exchange with a cooled fluid.

10. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of cooling the gas includes heat exchange with a Peltier junction.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the step of cooling the hair comprises applying a cooled apparatus to the hair.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein the apparatus comprises a plate.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein the cooled apparatus has a temperature of less than a temperature of air surrounding the hair.

14. An apparatus for moisturizing hair, comprising: a medium for reducing a temperature of a hair; and a heat transfer unit for reducing the temperature of the medium.

15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the medium comprises a gas.

16. The apparatus of claim 15, further comprising a pump for expelling the gas from the apparatus.

17. The apparatus of claim 16, further comprising a directing apparatus for directing the expelled gas toward the hair.

18. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the heat transfer unit comprises a pressure-reducing valve.

19. The apparatus of claim 18, further comprising a pressurized gas chamber which includes a gas with a pressure greater than that of atmospheric pressure, and a valve for selectively allowing the gas to escape through the pressure-reducing valve.

20. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein the medium comprises a plate.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to hair moisturizing process and apparatus, and, more particularly, to techniques for moisturizing hair and/or locking moisture into the hair by cooling the hair.

2. Description of the Related Art

Heating hair has been found to have a damaging effect on hair, particularly when a moisturizing product has not been applied to the hair. Cooling the hair without a moisturizing product has also been found to damage the hair. It has been suggested that to lock in moisture, a cool rinse after applying a moisturizing product to the hair. However, many people use a moisturizing product such as a conditioner while showering. To some, a cool rinse of the hair at the end of the shower is undesireable. Even if a cool rinse is used, there may be more that can be done to moisturize the hair and/or lock moisture into the hair from products used after the shower, or without a shower during styling. Further, if extra conditioning is not needed, and a cool rinse is not tolerated by a person, then the current state of the art does not adequately address the problem of moisturizing and/or locking in moisture to the hair.

The current practice of drying hair is to apply a heated stream of air to the hair until moisture is dissipated from the hair. Moisture, however, may be needed for healthy hair. It is believed, but not meant to be limiting, that hair fiber may be constructed of molecular chains of atoms which are folded upon themselves much like accordion pleats. Some hydrogen bonding may occur between the molecules, and between different portions of the same molecules, and that this bonding is responsible for the characteristic known as hair setting. Water may soften hair to such an extent that it can be stretched when totally wet up to several times its initial length without breaking. Furthermore, there is no critical point of full wetness which must be attained before the hair can be so influenced. The ability of hair to be stretched may increase in proportion to the amount of water it has absorbed, either from liquid water, or from water vapor present in the air.

The general structure of a human hair is a cortex surrounded by a cuticle. The cortex is where the moisture of the hair may be found. The cortex includes strands of keratin, lying along the length of the hair. These keratin fibers include low-sulfur keratins which are compressed into bundles of larger fibers, and are held together by a mass of sulfur-rich keratins. The cortex may also include pigment (melanin).

The cuticle includes several (from about 6 to about 10) overlapping layers of long cells. Each cell is about 0.3 μm thick and around 100 μm long. These cells lie along the axis of the cortex as tiles lie on the roof of a house, such that the exposed edge is closer to the end of the hair, and the covered edge is closer to the follicle.

As the hair ages, or is damaged, the cuticle layers are damaged and fall off of the hair. At times, the hair becomes so damaged that all of the cuticle layers are removed from the cortex, and the cortex is exposed. When hair is dried by heat, the cuticle layers tend to stand up, or position themselves more perpendicular to the cortex. When the cuticle is in this position, the hair is less manageable, more susceptible to damage, is less effective at retaining moisture, is less smooth, and exhibits dryness, dullness, brittleness, and/or “frizzyness”.

Some hair care products help the layers of the cuticle to lay flat, thus reducing moisture loss of the hair, making the hair more manageable, smooth, and reducing “frizzyness.” Conditioners help the layers of the cuticle lay flat by providing large molecules with a positive charge (hairs carry a small negative charge), that cling to the hair, smoothing over the cuticle layers, filling in breaks, and so forth. Proteins, dimethicone, and panthenol are also helpful in hair care products. Panthenol, for example, may be absorbed into the shaft and provide moisture to the cortex.

Wetting or hydration of the hydrogen bonds referred to above releases the normal hydrogen bonding attachments within the hair fiber. As a result, moisturization will relax the hair molecular structure by causing the hydrogen bonds to release their hold, allowing the pleats to unfold and the molecules to change position and to bypass each other. One might visualize the hair as a resilient system of fibrous molecules packed together much like the fibers of a strand of hemp rope. Under ambient conditions this system comprises a natural inter-molecular hydrogen bonding mixture of attached hydrogen bonds in equilibrium with some that are not attached. The ratio of the attached to unattached bonds also depends in part on the number of available water molecules within the system. The greater the number of attached bonds (as in dry hair) the harder and stiffer is the system. As more of these hydrogen bonds become unattached (as in moisturized, wetter hair) the system becomes more flexible and more easily stretched.

Several attempts have been made to provide hair care products, processes, and apparatuses that introduce moisture into the hair. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,974,840 to Doyle discloses a portable combination moisturizer and dryer which includes a base, a head supporting assembly, and a head assembly into which the rest of the unit can nest for carrying and for storage. The head assembly includes a generally annular air distribution plenum for receiving moisture-laden or drying air and directing it radially inwardly. In a preferred embodiment, a squirrel-cage blower is contained in an impeller housing disposed in the lower portion of the head supporting assembly, which lower portion is mounted for adjustable pivotal movement with respect to the base. The upper portion of the head supporting assembly terminates in a horizontally disposed manifold constituting a portion of the plenum, to provide for passage of either moisture-laden air or drying air through the head mounting assembly and into the interior of the plenum, while also permitting adjustment of the position of the head assembly with respect to the head mounting assembly. The intermediate portion of the head mounting assembly is divided into two separate sections. The air heater is provided in one of the sections which defines the impeller-driven air conduit, and a steam generator is provided in the other section, along with means for directing the generated steam into the horizontal manifold.

Furthermore, Vaiano discloses, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,863,651 an apparatus for washing, massaging and conditioning hair. The housing, a rigid outer shell, comprises an inner baffle shell provided with means for creating a turbulence when water under pressure is passed therethrough. The inner shell is provided with an elastic band adapted to seal the inner shell watertight when stretched about a user's head. Means for supplying the shells with water under pressure are provided. The apparatus further comprises means for drying and means for conditioning the hair. Automatic switching means for operating the washing, drying and hair conditioning means, in timed relationship are provided.

The existing art, however, does not address the problem of moisturizing the hair and sealing the moisture into the hair. The prior art further does not adequately address the problem of locking in moisturizing products after/outside of the shower.

What is needed is a hair moisturizing technique that solves one or more of the problems described herein and/or one or more problems that may come to the attention of one skilled in the art upon becoming familiar with this specification.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has been developed in response to the present state of the art, and in particular, in response to the problems and needs in the art that have not yet been fully solved by currently available hair moisturizing techniques. According to one embodiment, the present invention has been developed to provide a method of moisturizing hair including the step of reducing hair temperature. The reduced hair temperature may be less than a temperature of surrounding air. The reduced hair temperature may be less than a dew point of the surrounding air.

In one embodiment, the step of cooling the hair may include applying cooled gas to the hair. The method may further include cooling the gas. The step of cooling the gas may include reducing the pressure of a pressurized gas. The method may further include the step of cooling the pressurized gas before reducing the pressure of the pressurized gas.

In another embodiment, the step of cooling the gas may include heat exchange with a cooled fluid.

In yet another embodiment, the step of cooling the gas may include heat exchange with a Peltier junction.

In still another embodiment, the step of cooling the hair may comprise applying a cooled apparatus to the hair. The apparatus may comprise a plate.

In a further embodiment, the present invention has been developed to provide an apparatus for moisturizing hair including: a medium for reducing a temperature of a hair; and a heat transfer unit for reducing the temperature of the medium. The medium may be a gas.

In one embodiment, the apparatus may further include a pump for expelling the gas from the apparatus. The apparatus may further include a directing apparatus for directing the expelled gas toward the hair. The heat transfer unit may be a pressure-reducing valve. The apparatus may further include a pressurized gas chamber which includes a gas with a pressure greater than that of atmospheric pressure, and a valve for selectively allowing the gas to escape through the pressure-reducing valve.

In another embodiment, the medium may be a plate.

In a still further embodiment, the present invention has been developed to provide a method of moisturizing hair including the step of: condensing water from a surrounding gas onto a hair by cooling the hair. The hair may be cooled using a gas. The method may further include the step of cooling the gas to below room temperature.

In another embodiment, the hair may be cooled using a plate. The method may further include the step of cooling the plate to below room temperature.

Reference throughout this specification to features, advantages, or similar language does not imply that all of the features and advantages that may be realized with the present invention should be or are in any single embodiment of the invention. Rather, language referring to the features and advantages is understood to mean that a specific feature, advantage, or characteristic described in connection with an embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, discussion of the features and advantages, and similar language, throughout this specification may, but do not necessarily, refer to the same embodiment.

Furthermore, the described features, advantages, and characteristics of the invention may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize that the invention can be practiced without one or more of the specific features or advantages of a particular embodiment. In other instances, additional features and advantages may be recognized in certain embodiments that may not be present in all embodiments of the invention.

These features and advantages of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order for the advantages of the invention to be readily understood, a more particular description of the invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments that are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a device for moisturizing hair according to one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the exemplary embodiments illustrated in the drawings, and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended. Any alterations and further modifications of the inventive features illustrated herein, and any additional applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated herein, which would occur to one skilled in the relevant art and having possession of this disclosure, are to be considered within the scope of the invention.

Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment,” “an embodiment,” or similar language means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, appearances of the phrases “one embodiment,” “an embodiment,” and similar language throughout this specification may, but do not necessarily, all refer to the same embodiment, different embodiments, or component parts of the same or different illustrated invention. Additionally, reference to the wording “an embodiment,” or the like, for two or more features, elements, etc. does not mean that the features are related, dissimilar, the same, etc. The use of the term “an embodiment,” or similar wording, is merely a convenient phrase to indicate optional features, which may or may not be part of the invention as claimed.

Each statement of an embodiment is to be considered independent of any other statement of an embodiment despite any use of similar or identical language characterizing each embodiment. Therefore, where one embodiment is identified as “another embodiment,” the identified embodiment is independent of any other embodiments characterized by the language “another embodiment.” The independent embodiments are considered to be able to be combined in whole or in part one with another as the claims and/or art may direct, either directly or indirectly, implicitly or explicitly.

As used herein, “comprising,” “including,” “containing,” “is,” “are,” “characterized by,” and grammatical equivalents thereof are inclusive or open-ended terms that do not exclude additional, unrecited elements or method steps. “Comprising” is to be interpreted as including the more restrictive terms “consisting of” and “consisting essentially of.”

As used herein, “dew point” means the temperature to which a parcel of air must be cooled at a constant barometric pressure for water vapor to condense out of the air.

As used herein, “fluid” means a phase of a substance wherein the substance has the ability to flow. Fluids include the phases of liquid, gas, and plasma.

Finally, the fact that the wording “an embodiment,” or the like, does not appear at the beginning of every sentence in the specification, such as is the practice of some practitioners, is merely a convenience for the reader's clarity. However, it is the intention of this application to incorporate by reference the phrasing “an embodiment,” and the like, at the beginning of every sentence herein where logically possible and appropriate.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides an apparatus and/or process for moisturizing hair and/or sealing the moisture into the hair by assisting the cuticle layers to lay more flat. In one embodiment, the method and/or apparatus of this invention may be used in conjunction with other hair care products, techniques, and methods for moisturizing, finishing, managing, conditioning, and treating hair. In another embodiment, the method and/or apparatus of the present invention may be used to enhance the beneficial effects of hair care products, particularly those that moisturize hair, assist in repairing hair, modify the look of hair, and the like.

It has been found that cooling hair to which a moisturizing product has been applied has beneficial effects for the hair. For example, cooling the hair may help the cuticles to lay flat and/or close. Further, cooling the hair may seal the moisturizing product into the hair. As a result, cooling the hair has beneficial effects to the hair. Further, it has been observed that hair that is treated with heat after a moisturizing product has been applied to the hair may reduce the beneficial effects of the moisturizing product. However, if a hair care product is applied to the hair followed by cooling the hair, or drying the hair with a cooled stream of air, the beneficial effects of the moisturizing product are not reduced, and may be enhanced.

The present invention includes a method of moisturizing hair. The method includes the step of cooling the hair. The cooling the hair may take place after a moisturizer has been applied to the hair. As has been described, cooling the hair after a moisturizer has been applied to the hair may have the effect of sealing or locking the moisture into the hair. Further, the method and/or apparatus of the present invention may assist in reducing “frizzyness” and/or increasing the smoothness of the hair by assisting the layers to lay closer to the cortex of the hair.

The hair care product may be one selected from the group consisting of: shampoo, conditioner, spray, mousse, conditioning mousse, gel, straightening gel, forming gel, glaze, hair oil, hair dye, texture modifier, foam, hair cream, pomade, moisturizer, paste, anti-frizz, leave-in treatment, and combinations thereof. In one embodiment, the hair care product is a moisturizer. In another embodiment, the hair care product is a leave-in treatment such as the one sold under the tradename Infusium 23® by Procter and Gamble (Cincinnati, Ohio). In another particular embodiment, the hair care product is a conditioning mousse such as one sold as 3-in-1 Mousse, Maximum Hold, by Clairol (a division of Procter & Gamble, Stamford, Conn.).

It is further theorized, but not meant to be limiting to the present invention, that a surface with a temperature below that of the temperature of the surrounding air will exchange heat with the air immediately surrounding the surface. If the air surrounding the surface has water vapor, and the dew point of the water vapor in the air is above room temperature, the water vapor is not likely to condense out of the air. However, if the air immediately surrounding the surface is cooled to below the dew point of the water vapor in the air, the water vapor will likely condense out of the air onto the surface. Thus, if hair is cooled to below the dew point of the air surrounding the hair, and it in turn cools the air surrounding it to below the dew point, then water vapor will likely condense onto the hair, moisturizing the hair.

It is further theorized that such condensation evenly distributes water condensation onto the hair that is cooled to below the dew point of the surrounding air without manually distributing the moisture to the hair. It should be noted that when hair care products are applied to the hair, in some instances they may not be evenly distributed to the hair. For example, hair care products that are sprayed onto the hair are applied in droplets only to the surface of the hair directed toward the sprayer. Thus, the present invention includes a method of evenly moisturizing the hair without manually applying a hair care product to the hair, by cooling the hair to below room temperature. In another embodiment, the hair is cooled to at or below the dew point of the air surrounding the hair.

The method of moisturizing hair of the present invention may include the step of cooling the hair by applying a cooled gas to the hair. The gas may be cooled by any means known in the art. In one embodiment, the gas is cooled by heat exchange with a second cooled fluid. This is the basic method used by an air conditioner to cool air. In another embodiment, the gas may be cooled using thermoelectric cooling. In another embodiment, the gas is cooled by rapid expansion.

The method of cooling the gas by heat exchange with another fluid is the basic method used by an air conditioner to cool air. In this process, a fluid, such as R-34, Freon, and so forth, is compressed using a compressor. The fluid may be compressed from the gas phase to the liquid phase. The compressed fluid increases in temperature, and so may pass through a heat exchanger wherein the surrounding air is heated by the compressed fluid, and the compressed fluid is in turn cooled by the surrounding gas. The cooled and compressed fluid is then allowed to expand. The expansion may expand the fluid from the liquid phase to the gas phase, or from a higher-pressure gas phase to a lower-pressure gas phase. As the fluid expands, it looses energy, thus becoming cooler. The expanded, cooled fluid passes through a heat exchanger wherein the gas is cooled by the expanded fluid, and the expanded fluid is heated by the gas. The gas may loose enough energy to be colder than room temperature, or colder than the dew point of the surrounding air, or well below the dew point of the surrounding air. The gas may loose enough energy such that in contacting the hair, it absorbs enough energy from the hair such that the temperature of the hair decreases to below the dew point of surrounding air. The heated and expanded fluid may then be cycled again into the compressor, starting the cycle again.

The cooled gas may be cooled to a temperature of below the temperature of the surrounding air. The cooled gas may have a temperature of below the dew point of the surrounding air. Particularly as the dew point of the surrounding air approaches the temperature of the surrounding air, the temperature of the cooled gas may be below, or well below the dew point of the surrounding air.

The cooled gas may then be directed toward hair. The cooled gas may exchange heat with the hair such that the temperature of the hair decreases to below the temperature of the surrounding air. The temperature of the hair may be decreased by heat exchange with the cooled gas to below the dew point of the surrounding air. Thus, as the hair is cooled to below the temperature of the surrounding air, or below the dew point of the surrounding air, water may condense from the surrounding air onto the hair, moisturizing the hair.

The gas may be cooled by thermoelectric cooling. One thermoelectric cooling process is known as the Peltier effect. The Peltier effect occurs when a current is passed through two dissimilar metals or semiconductors (n-type and p-type). The dissimilar metals or semiconductors may be connected together at two junctions, known as Peltier junctions. As the current passes through the junctions, it causes one junction to loose heat (cool) and the other to gain heat. The cooled junction may then be used in a heat exchanger whereby the gas is cooled by the cooled junction, and the cooled junction is in turn heated by the gas. Further, a fluid may be cooled by heat exchange with the cooled junction, and the cooled fluid may then be heated by cooling the gas through a heat exchanger. The cooled gas may have a temperature of below the temperature of the surrounding air. The cooled gas may have a temperature of below the dew point of the surrounding air. Particularly as the dew point of the surrounding air approaches the temperature of the surrounding air, the temperature of the cooled gas may be below, or well below the dew point of the surrounding air.

The cooled gas may then be directed toward hair. The cooled gas may exchange heat with the hair such that the temperature of the hair decreases to below the temperature of the surrounding air. The temperature of the hair may be decreased by heat exchange with the cooled gas to below the dew point of the surrounding air. Thus, as the hair is cooled to below the temperature of the surrounding air, or below the dew point of the surrounding air, water may condense from the surrounding air onto the hair, moisturizing the hair.

In still another embodiment, the gas may be cooled by the phase change of a second substance. The second substance may make a phase change that absorbs energy, such as a change from a solid to a liquid, solid to gas, solid to plasma, liquid to gas, liquid to plasma, or gas to plasma. For example, when water changes phase from a liquid to a gas by evaporation, the gaseous phase has more energy than did the liquid phase, and so it must absorb energy. The energy may be absorbed from the surroundings. This is the principal behind how a swamp cooler cools air. In one embodiment, the second substance undergoes a phase change. In one embodiment, energy from air surrounding the second substance is absorbed by the substance, thus decreasing the temperature of the air. The cooled air then exchanges heat with, and thus cool the gas. In another embodiment, the second substance may exchange heat with, and thus cool the gas. The secondary substance may be water, changing phase from liquid to a gas.

In another example, the gas may be cooled by rapid gas expansion. As a compressed gas rapidly expands to a lower pressure, the temperature of the gas decreases. In one embodiment, the pressure of the compressed gas is well above that of the surrounding atmosphere. The gas is then allowed to expand rapidly to the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere. The expanded gas may be directed as it expands. The gas may be directed toward hair. The expanding gas directed toward the hair may exchange heat with the hair such as to cool the hair.

The greater the pressure difference between the expanded gas and the compressed gas, the greater the temperature difference will be between the expanded gas and the compressed gas will be. As a result, if a compressed gas is allowed to exchange heat with the surrounding air, it will eventually become substantially the same temperature as the surrounding air. As it expands, then, the expanded gas will have a temperature of below the temperature of the surrounding air. Further, the expanded gas may have a temperature of less than the dew point of the surrounding air. Particularly, as the dew point of the surrounding air approaches the temperature of the surrounding air, the temperature of the expanded gas may be well below the dew point of the surrounding air. Further still, as the expanded gas cools the hair toward which it may be directed, the hair may be cooled to lower than the temperature of the surrounding air, or below the dew point of the surrounding air. Thus, as the hair is cooled to below the temperature of the surrounding air, or below the dew point of the surrounding air, water may condense from the surrounding air onto the hair, moisturizing the hair.

In one particular embodiment, the method includes the step of applying a hair care product to the hair before cooling the hair. The hair care product may include a hair moisturizer. The hair care product may be a conditioner meant to be left in the hair such as one sold under the tradename Infusium 23® by Procter and Gamble (Cincinnati, Ohio). For example, Infusium 23® may be applied to the hair, and the hair may then be cooled by any of the embodiments herein described. Further, the hair may be substantially dried by the application of cooled gas to the hair according to any embodiment herein described. It has been found that by applying a hair care product that moisturizes the hair followed by cooling the hair does not decrease the benefits of the hair care product.

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an apparatus for moisturizing hair 100 of the present invention. The illustrated apparatus includes a chamber 102 for holding a pressurized gas. The chamber 102 is connected to a valve 110 for selectively allowing the pressurized gas to escape. The valve 110 is controlled by a lever 104. The lever may include a pivot point 106 connected to the chamber 102 such that when the lever 104 is pushed toward the chamber 102, the valve 110 opens, allowing the pressurized gas to escape. The valve 110 leads to a diffuser 108 through which the pressure of the pressurized gas is rapidly reduced to that of the atmosphere. As the pressure of the gas is rapidly reduced, the temperature of the gas is also reduced. When the device 100 is directed toward hair, and the gas escapes toward the hair, as the gas interacts with the hair, the hair is also cooled. As discussed above, it is believed that as the hair is cooled, water from the air surrounding the hair condenses on the cooled hair, thus moisturizing the hair.

In another embodiment, a cooled apparatus may be used to moisturize the hair by cooling it to below the temperature of the surrounding air, or below the dew point of the surrounding air. The cooled apparatus may be cooled by any of the above-mentioned techniques. Instead of exchanging heat with the gas, the methods may be used to exchange heat with an apparatus to be applied to the hair. For example, the apparatus may include a flat metal plate. A rapidly expanding gas may be directed toward one side of the flat metal plate, thus cooling it to below the temperature of the surrounding air, or below the dew point of the surrounding air. The other side of the flat metal plate may be concurrently, and/or then applied to hair, thus cooling the air to below the temperature of the surrounding air, or below the dew point of the surrounding air. In another embodiment, the heat exchange may be between a cooled fluid and the metal plate. In yet another embodiment, the metal plate may be cooled by a thermoelectric circuit, and/or by heat exchange with a thermoelectric circuit.

In another embodiment, the present invention includes the method of touching-up hair that has become dull, dry, brittle, and/or frizzy. At times, throughout the day, hair may loose its moisture, and exhibit these characteristics. The hair may be touched-up by applying a cooled gas to the hair. Any of the herein-mentioned methods and/or apparatuses may be used to touch-up the hair.

It is understood that the above-described embodiments are only illustrative of the application of the principles of the present invention. The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiment is to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claim rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

For example, although the figure illustrates a single chamber for pressurized gas, it is envisioned that the pressurized gas may be provided by a compressor. The compressor may be powered by electricity. The compressor may include a power cord that coordinates with an electrical outlet to provide power to the compressor. The compressor may be powered by combustion. The compressor may increase the pressure of a gas in the chamber. The chamber may exchange heat with the surrounding air. The gas may be air.

The chamber may be a chamber available for purchase. Such chambers may include pressurized air, oxygen, nitrogen, coolant, chlorine, carbon dioxide, and the like. For example, chambers of pressurized carbon dioxide are available as threaded carbon dioxide cartridges.

Further, the cooling process may include cooling a reservoir. The reservoir may include a fluid. The reservoir may be cooled by any process herein described. The gas may in turn be cooled by heat exchange with the cooled reservoir. The reservoir may capable of absorbing sufficient energy from the gas such that the gas is cooled to below the room temperature, or below the dew point of the air surrounding the hair. Further, the reservoir may be continually cooled, even while the gas is exchanging heat with the reservoir. The reservoir may be cooled by continuously pumping the fluid of the reservoir through a heat exchanger to cool it, and then back into the reservoir.

Additionally, although the figures illustrate a single unit, it is envisioned that the apparatus and/or method may include various units. For example the gas may be cooled by exchanging heat with an expanded fluid, as with a typical air conditioner. There could be one unit for cooling the gas. The cooled gas could then be pumped through a conduit to a second unit for directing the cooled gas to the hair. Alternatively, the cooled gas may be directed toward an apparatus to be applied to the hair.

It is also envisioned that the method may use a combination of the above methods and/or apparatuses to cool the hair. For example, a gas may be cooled by expansion and/or heat exchange with an expanded fluid, and/or heat exchange with a Peltier junction. The cooled gas may be applied to the hair, and/or exchange heat with an apparatus to be applied to the hair.

Although it has been described that the apparatus includes a flat plate, the apparatus may be any capable of heat exchange with the hair. For example, the apparatus may include a diffuser, a waiver, a curling iron, and the like. Further, it is envisioned to combine cooling the hair with an apparatus and a cooled gas. For example, a cooled gas may pass through a diffuser to cool the hair, and cool the diffuser while the gas passes therethrough. The cooled diffuser may contact the hair, thus also cooling the hair.

It should be further noted that the apparatus may be made of any material capable of exchanging heat with the hair. Some examples of such materials may include, for example, metal, alloy, composite, glass, plastic, wood, fibers, and the like.

The method of the present invention may be used to reduce the excess moisture on hair while leaving a portion of moisture in the hair. Typical hair dryers that dry hair by passing a heated or room temperature air over the hair remove substantially all of the moisture from the hair. The current method may be used to reduce excess moisture from wet hair. Fore example, after hair has been washed and/or rinsed with water, the method and/or apparatus of the current invention may be used to remove excess moisture from the hair so that it may be styled, while not removing substantially all of the moisture from the hair. The method may, therefore, include the step of wetting the hair before the hair is cooled.

Further, the current process may be used to increase the moisture content of dry hair. Hair dried by blowing with heated air may dry the hair more than needed, however, the method of the current invention may include the step of drying by blowing with heated air. Further, drying the hair by blowing with heated air may unevenly dry the hair by drying some portions more than needed while drying other portions too little. At times, in order to sufficiently dry all of the hair, some of the hair is overdried. As a result, the hair may be moisturized by cooling the hair according to the present invention. Accordingly, the present invention may include the step of first drying the hair by blowing with a gas, or blowing with a heated gas. The hair may then be dried using the methods herein described. The hair may be cooled until it is sufficiently moisturized without weighing the hair down. In one embodiment, the hair may be dried with heated air, followed by cooling according to any embodiment of this disclosure. In a further embodiment, the hair may have a moisturizing product in it before it is cooled. In yet another embodiment, the hair is at least slightly damp when the cooling step is started. Blowing heated air without a moisturizing product can leave hair damaged, over-dried and brittle. However, warm air can be applied to help dry the hair with little or no damage if a conditioning product is applied, and the method is finished with cooling the hair, thus sealing in the protective moisturizing product, leaving hair more sleek, smooth and manageable. It also may be desireable to use the cool air for most of/or the entire drying process.

Thus, while the present invention has been fully described above with particularity and detail in connection with what is presently deemed to be the most practical and preferred embodiment of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous modifications, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use may be made, without departing from the principles and concepts of the invention as set forth in the claims.