Title:
Packaging and applicator device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A packaging and applicator device includes a flask for containing a composition, the flask being made, in a monolithic manner, out of glass; and a removable applicator configured to close the flask and including an applicator element that is housed in the flask when the flask is closed by the applicator, the flask being configured in such a manner as to wipe the applicator element when the element is removed from the flask.



Inventors:
Habatjou, Jacques (Cambrai, FR)
Application Number:
11/349173
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
02/08/2006
Assignee:
L'OREAL (Paris, FR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
401/129, 401/121
International Classes:
A46B11/00; A46B17/08
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HUYNH, KHOA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLIFF PLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A packaging and applicator device comprising: a flask for containing a composition, the flask being made, in a monolithic manner, out of glass; and a removable applicator configured to close the flask and comprising an applicator element that is housed in the flask when said flask is closed by the applicator, the flask being configured in such a manner as to wipe the applicator element when said element is removed from the flask.

2. A device according to claim 1, comprising a stem provided at a distal end of the applicator element, the stem comprising a portion configured to be force-fitted in a neck of the flask.

3. A device according to claim 1, wherein the flask does not have a threading.

4. A device according to claim 2, wherein the portion that is arranged to be force-fitted in the neck includes an annular projection.

5. A device according to claim 1, wherein the flask comprises a body presenting a side wall that is substantially circularly cylindrical.

6. A device according to claim 1, wherein the applicator comprises a handle portion that is made in a monolithic manner with a distal portion.

7. A device according to claim 6, wherein the handle portion comprises a collar arranged to come to bear axially against the top section of the neck.

8. A device according to claim 2, wherein a portion of the stem that is situated outside the flask when said flask is closed presents a length that is superior or equal to the length of a portion of the stem that is inside the flask.

9. A device according to claim 2, wherein the stem comprises a distal portion of truncated cone shape, converging towards the applicator element.

10. A device according to claim 2, wherein the stem comprises an inner recess which opens out to the distal end of the stem.

11. A device according to claim 1, wherein the applicator element is a brush.

12. A device according to claim 1, wherein the composition contained in the flask is for applying to keratinous fibers.

13. A device according to claim 1, wherein the applicator element comprises a flocked endpiece.

14. A device according to claim 1, wherein the flask comprises a neck presenting a wall that is thicker than the wall of the body of the flask.

15. A device according to claim 1, wherein the quantity of composition contained in the flask before it is used for the first time is less than or equal to 3 mL.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This non provisional application claims the benefit of French Application No. 05 50404 filed on Feb. 11, 2005 and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/656,725 filed on Feb. 28, 2005, the entire disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to packaging and applicator devices, and in particular to packaging and applicator devices for containing a cosmetic composition.

French patent application FR 2 515 941 describes a packaging and applicator device for mascara, the device comprising a flask that can be made out of glass or out of molded plastics material, and having a neck that includes a fitted wiper member that can be compressed to a greater or lesser extent by an adjustable ring that is screwed on the neck. Such a device, having a flask that is not made in a monolithic manner since it includes a fitted wiper member, is relatively complex and costly.

French patent application FR 2 733 734 describes a packaging and applicator device comprising a flask that is made in a monolithic manner with a neck out of plastics material, and on which a closure cap can be screwed. The neck presents an inside section that is narrow enough to be able to wipe an applicator element that is connected via a stem to the closure cap.

The presence of the threaded neck imposes a certain outside diameter on the body of the flask and makes the device rather bulky.

In addition, in the absence of the conventionally used elastomer wiper member, it can turn out to be relatively difficult to seal the closure throughout the lifetime of the device, given that it is not intended for single use only.

Patents and patent applications No. U.S. Pat. No. 4,522,224, U.S. Pat. No. 5,466,081, JP 2004-187901, and JP 2001-346626 describe further packaging and applicator devices.

In spite of the number and the diversity of known devices, a need exists to benefit from a packaging and applicator device that is attractive to the consumer and that is capable of being manufactured at relatively low cost.

In one of its aspects, the invention provides a packaging and applicator device comprising:

    • a flask for containing a composition, the flask being made out of glass in a monolithic manner; and
    • a removable applicator configured to close the flask and comprising an applicator element that is housed in the flask when said flask is closed by the applicator, the flask being configured in such a manner as to wipe the applicator element when said element is removed from the flask.

Making the flask out of glass guarantees compatibility with any cosmetic or dermatological composition, whatever of the solvents or active ingredients used. Glass also constitutes an effective barrier against the diffusion of oxygen, air, or solvents. The risk of the composition spoiling during storage is thus reduced.

Furthermore, the use of glass makes it possible to reduce the amount of static electrical charge that accumulate between the flasks on the packaging lines.

The absence of a fitted wiper member reduces production costs and can enable the device to be distributed as a sample, if necessary.

Another advantage associated with the invention is that it is relatively easy to make flask bodies in a variety of lengths and/or with different internal constrictions from the same glass rod, thereby making the flask easily adaptable to various sizes and types of applicator elements.

In addition, the manufacturing tolerances imposed on the flask can be small, thereby making it easier to produce.

The applicator advantageously includes a stem provided, at a distal end of the applicator element, the stem comprising a portion configured to be force-fitted in the neck. The applicator element can optionally be fitted to the stem and can present an envelope surface of section that is greater than that of the stem portion to which it is fitted.

A portion of the stem can provide sealing when the flask is closed by the applicator.

Making the flask out of glass makes said flask relatively hard, thereby making it easy to compress the plastics material of the stem and to obtain the desired sealing.

The applicator can be fixed on the flask in a simple manner, thereby simplifying the production of the applicator and of the flask. In particular, the flask may not have a threading, and the applicator may not have a corresponding closure cap. If so desired, the flask may be made with an outside section that is relatively small.

In a preferred embodiment, the body of the flask presents a circularly cylindrical side wall. This enables the flask to be made easily by using conventional glass-molding techniques, and thus enables the flask to be made at particularly low cost. Furthermore, this can make it easier to remove the composition from the flask, in particular when the composition is mascara and the applicator element is a brush.

The use of glass also imparts an attractive appearance to the device, enables the consumer to see the color of the composition directly, and avoids the use of an additional colored indicator. Furthermore, the transparency of the flask can enable the user to evaluate more easily the amount of composition remaining, and to remove any composition that is situated on the inside surface of the flask.

The invention thus makes it possible to reduce wasted composition, and thus to reduce accordingly the amount of composition presents in the flask, if necessary.

Thus, in spite of the presence of a relatively small amount of composition, the invention makes it possible to makeup the eyelashes completely at least once, e.g. while trying out a new product.

In an embodiment, the portion of the stem that is arranged to be force-fitted in the neck comprises an annular projection. Such a projection can be compressed, indeed flattened when the applicator is in place in the flask, and can thus make it possible to improve still further the sealing and/or to make the flask and the stem with greater manufacturing tolerances.

In an embodiment, the applicator comprises a handle portion that is made in a monolithic manner with the rest of the stem. The handle portion may comprise a collar arranged to come to bear axially against the top section of the neck.

By way of example, the portion of the stem that is situated outside the flask when said flask is closed may present a length that is superior or equal to the length of the portion of the stem that is inside the flask.

The stem may comprise a distal portion of, for example, truncated cone shape, converging towards the applicator element, thereby making it easier to insert the stem through the neck, and thereby reducing the risk of creating excess pressure in the flask while the applicator is being returned, or of creating low pressure while the applicator is being removed.

In an embodiment, the stem may comprise an inner recess which opens out to the distal end of the stem, said inner recess serving to secure the applicator element on the stem, for example.

By way of example, the applicator element may be a brush, as mentioned above, in particular a brush comprising a twisted metal core and bristles clamped between the turns of the core.

The applicator element may also be something other than a brush, in particular it may be a brush that does not have a twisted metal core, its bristles being held by being embedded in holes in the core. The applicator element may also not have bristles and may be constituted by a comb, for example, which may, where appropriate, comprise teeth that are made in a monolithic manner with the stem by molding plastics material.

The composition contained in the flask may be for applying to keratinous fibers, said composition comprising pigments or other fillers, for example, and being constituted by mascara, for example.

The applicator element may also comprise a flocked endpiece. Where appropriate and while being removed from the flask, the applicator element can be wiped in a non-uniform manner, so as to cause, for example, a greater quantity of composition to be left locally on the applicator element.

The flask may comprise a body and a neck, said neck possibly presenting a wall that is thicker than the wall of the body so as to form a narrowing of the inside section of the flask, with said narrowing serving to wipe the applicator element.

Over a major fraction of the length of the neck, the said neck may present an inside surface that is cylindrical, in particular circularly cylindrical.

The thickness of the glass in the body of the flask may be less than or equal to 0.6 millimeters (mm), for example.

The quantity of composition contained in the flask before it is used for the first time may be less than or equal to 3 milliliters (mL), being less than or equal to 2 mL, for example, in particular less than or equal to 1 mL.

In a variant embodiment, the neck includes a throat formed by hot knurling.

The invention also provides a method of promoting the sale of a cosmetic product, in which a sample constituted by a device made in accordance with the invention is distributed, the flask being filled with the product being promoted.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention can be better understood on reading the following detailed description of non-limiting embodiments thereof, and on examining the appended drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic longitudinal section view of an example of a device made in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevation view showing the stem of the FIG. 1 applicator, taken separately;

FIG. 3 is a longitudinal section view showing both the distal end of the stem and the applicator element in a variant embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 4 is a schematic and partial longitudinal section view showing the neck of the flask and the portion of the applicator that is engaged in said flask.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

The packaging and applicator device 1 shown in FIG. 1 comprises firstly a flask comprising a body 2 of longitudinal axis X and a neck 3 that is made in a monolithic manner with the body 2 by turning or knurling a glass rod, and secondly a removable applicator 4 comprising a stem 24, shown separately in FIG. 2, provided with an applicator element 6 that is constituted by a brush in the embodiment under consideration.

The body 2 contains a product P such as mascara, for example, with the volume of product lying in the range 1 mL to 3 mL, for example.

The stem 24 includes a handle portion 7 provided, at its base, with a collar 8 that comes to bear axially against the top section of the neck 3 when the flask is closed by the applicator, as can be seen in FIG. 1, and a distal portion 9 internally provided with a recess 10. In the embodiment under consideration, the recess serves to fixe the applicator element 6, which comprises a metal core 11 constituted by two twisted branches of a wire that has been folded in half, with bristles 12 being clamped between the turns in the core 11.

Over a major fraction of its length, the neck 3 presents an inside surface 13 that is circularly cylindrical about the longitudinal axis X, and of diameter that is adapted to wipe the applicator element 6, e.g. of smallest diameter less than or equal to 4.30 mm.

The stem 24 presents a portion 14 for force-fitting into the neck 3 and that is provided with an annular projection 15 making it possible to improve the sealing of the closure, the projection 15 being situated axially, substantially at the height of the end wall 16 of the recess 10, in the embodiment under consideration.

Apart from at the projection 15, the outside diameter d1 of the portion 14 lies in the range 3 mm to 5 mm, for example, with said diameter being close to 3.95 mm, for example. The inside diameter of the surface 13 lies in the range 3 mm to 5 mm, with said diameter being close to 4.05 mm, for example. The radius of the projection 15, which is semi-circular in section, lies in the range 0.1 mm to 0.3 mm, with said radius being about 0.2 mm, for example.

The thickness e of the side wall 25, which is circularly cylindrical about the axis X of the body 2, lies in the range 0.4 mm to 0.7 mm, with said thickness being about 0.55 mm, for example.

The diameter d3 of the envelope surface of the applicator element 6 is greater than the inside diameter d2, such that the applicator element 6 is wiped while the applicator 4 is being removed.

The inside diameter d4 of the side wall 25 of the body 2 is less than or equal to 1.2 times greater than d3, better less than 1.12 times greater than d3, thereby making it fairly easy for the user to load the applicator element 6 with the product that is present, in particular, near the top of the side wall 25.

Naturally, various modifications can be applied to the invention.

Thus, the invention is not limited to a particular applicator element 6, and FIG. 3 shows an embodiment in which the applicator element 6 is constituted by a flocked endpiece fitted in a housing 18 at the distal end of the stem 24.

In a variant not shown, the endpiece is made integrally with the stem 24 by molding.

In the embodiment in FIG. 3 and by way of example, the applicator element 6 is for applying a product to the lips, e.g. a liquid lipstick or a lipgloss.

While being removed from the flask, the applicator element 6 can be wiped in non-uniform manner, in particular when the applicator element presents a free end 19 that is off-center relative to the longitudinal axis X.

Thus, the top face 20 of the applicator element can be wiped more than its bottom face 21.

The neck 3 can also be made with an external groove 22 formed by knurling, as shown in FIG. 4, the groove 22 defining a constriction in the inside section of the neck, matching the diameter of the stem 24 of the applicator 4.

The device 1 can optionally be for single use only.

The product P can contain fibers or other macroparticles such as glitter, for example.

Throughout the description, including in the claims, the expression “comprising a” should be understood as being synonymous with “comprising at least one” unless specified to the contrary.

Although the present invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.