Title:
Flocked wire mascara brush
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mascara brush and a method of making a mascara brush having a twisted wire core with flocking applied to the core, and bristles retained and gripped by the twisted wires of the core. Flocking may be adhered to just the brush portion of the twisted wire or the entire twisted wire. The flocking is formed from fiber strands having a diameter of about 0.0002 inch to about 0.0020 inch; and a length of between about 0.020 inch to about 0.150 inch, preferably about 0.040 inch to about 0.080 inch, and most preferably about 0.045 inch to about 0.060 inch. A plurality of radially extending bristles is retained between the wires of the core. The bristles have a diameter of about 0.003 inch to about 0.012 inch and a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 50 bristles per turn, and more preferably, a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 25 bristles per turn.



Inventors:
Kearney, Thomas (Middletown, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/100180
Publication Date:
10/12/2006
Filing Date:
04/06/2005
Assignee:
Crown Packaging Technology, Inc., United States
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D40/26
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050000535Nozzle combJanuary, 2005Kim
20020059940Protective closing cover for nailsMay, 2002Cain-kozma
20080168999Anti-releasing treating method of cap net for wigJuly, 2008Hong
20090217935BRUSH WITH DETACHABLE HANDLE FOR HAIRDRESSING SALONSeptember, 2009Akerman
20090065022Decorative Top Hair PieceMarch, 2009Park
20080142034Cosmetic Product applicator With Multiple Typically Oriented ElementsJune, 2008Manici et al.
20080295855Disposable Corn and Callus Remover ToolDecember, 2008Nguyen et al.
20090229625HAIR CLAMPING DEVICESeptember, 2009Shyu
20050150513Cosmetic mirror detachably affixed to lipstick carrierJuly, 2005Taylor
20050284493Hair setterDecember, 2005Allen
20090194126Article for precise application of makeupAugust, 2009Cassese



Primary Examiner:
STEITZ, RACHEL RUNNING
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ST. ONGE STEWARD JOHNSTON & REENS LLC (STAMFORD, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A brush for applying mascara to eyelashes, comprising: a twisted wire core, said core having a brush end and a handle end, said brush end of said core having flocking adhered thereto; and a plurality of radially extending bristles retained by said twisted wire core.

2. A brush in accordance with claim 1 wherein said flocking comprises fiber strands having a length of about 0.020 inch to about 0.150 inch.

3. A brush in accordance with claim 1 wherein said flocking comprises fiber strands having a length of about 0.040 inch to about 0.080 inch.

4. A brush in accordance with claim 1 wherein said flocking comprises fiber strands having a length of about 0.045 inch to about 0.060 inch.

5. A brush in accordance with claim 1 wherein said flocking comprises fiber strands made from a materials selected from the group of nylon, rayon, and polyester.

6. A brush in accordance with claim 1 wherein said bristles have a diameter of about 0.003 inch to about 0.012 inch.

7. A brush in accordance with claim 1 wherein said bristles have a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 50 bristles per turn.

8. A brush in accordance with claim 1 wherein said bristles have a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 25 bristles per turn.

9. A brush for applying mascara to eyelashes, comprising: a twisted wire core, said core having a brush end and a handle end, said brush end of said core having flocking adhered thereto, said flocking being formed from fiber strands having a length of about 0.020 inch to about 0.150 inch; and a plurality of radially extending bristles retained by said twisted wire core, said bristles having a diameter of about 0.003 inch to about 0.012 inch and a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 50 bristles per turn.

10. A brush in accordance with claim 9 wherein said flocking comprises fiber strands having a length of about 0.040 inch to about 0.080 inch.

11. A brush in accordance with claim 10 wherein said flocking comprises fiber strands having a length of about 0.045 inch to about 0.060 inch.

12. A brush in accordance with claim 9 wherein said bristles have a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 25 bristles per turn.

13. A method for making a brush for applying mascara to eyelashes, comprising: applying adhesive to at least a portion of a wire; adhering flocking to said portion of said wire by exposing the adhesive to flocking; forming the wire into a U-shape having two leg segments; placing a plurality of bristles between the two leg segments of the U-shape wire, at least some of said bristles being placed along said portion of said wire having flocking adhered thereto; twisting the wire to retain the bristles in the twisted wire.

14. A method in accordance with claim 13 wherein said flocking comprises fiber strands having a length of about 0.020 inch to about 0.150 inch.

15. A method in accordance with claim 14 wherein said flocking comprises fiber strands having a length of about 0.040 inch to about 0.080 inch.

16. A method in accordance with claim 15 wherein said flocking comprises fiber strands having a length of about 0.045 inch to about 0.060 inch.

17. A method in accordance with claim 14 wherein said bristles have a diameter of about 0.003 inch to about 0.012 inch.

18. A method in accordance with claim 17 wherein said bristles have a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 50 bristles per turn.

19. A method in accordance with claim 18 wherein said bristles have a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 25 bristles per turn.

20. A method in accordance with claim 13 wherein said portion of said wire where said flocking is adhered contains all of the bristles retained in the twisted wire.

21. A method in accordance with claim 20 wherein said wire has a length, and said flocking is adhered along the entire length of said wire.

22. A brush in accordance with claim 1 wherein said bristles are solid or fully or partially hollow, and have cross sectional shapes which are circular, non-circular, oval, square, rectangular, or polygonal.

23. A brush in accordance with claim 9 wherein said bristles are solid or fully or partially hollow, and have cross sectional shapes which are circular, non-circular, oval, square, rectangular, or polygonal.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a brush for applying cosmetic products, in particular, mascara, to eyelashes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Twisted wire brushes for application of liquid-type cosmetics, such as for application of mascara to the eyelashes, are well known in the art. The brushes are designed to pick up and hold a supply of mascara from the cosmetic container, and then deliver the mascara to the eyelashes as the brush is combed through the lashes by the user.

Twisted wire brushes conventionally are manufactured by disposing a plurality of individual lengths of bristles transverse to and between substantially parallel, slightly spaced-apart thin metal wire lengths, such that the wire lengths generally bisect the filament lengths at their midpoints. Most typically, the parallel wire lengths comprise the two substantially equal leg segments formed from bending a single length of wire into a U-shaped configuration. The wire lengths are then twisted together to form a helical core, causing the bristles disposed between the wires to be clamped therebetween at about their midpoints. In the twisting and clamping, the segments of the bristles on either side of the clamped midpoint are caused to flare radially outward from the core and so form an elongate bristle brush portion of generally circular cross-section. The bristles are usually comprised of nylon filaments. The bristles serve the function of collecting mascara from a reservoir and holding the mascara until it is applied to the user's eyelashes The brush is generally affixed to a rod which is mounted to a cap or other closure for the cosmetic container.

It is known in the art that this helical wire twisting method for forming cosmetic applicator brushes typically leads to a brush configuration in which the bristles tend generally to follow the helical pattern of the twisted wire core, i.e., whereby the tips of the bristles define a helix. Standard mascara brush designs of the 1960s and 1970s used smaller diameter bristles in fairly large numbers of bristles per turn. The state of the art then evolved to a somewhat larger diameter bristle, as defined in U.S. Pat. No. 4,887,622 entitled “Brush for the Application of Mascara to the Eyelashes.” The patent discloses a mascara brush having a reduced number of bristles, said to be 35% to 80% less than in conventional mascara brushes, ostensibly of larger diameter, than the bristles employed in conventional mascara brushes at the time. This was believed to provide a better application of mascara and separation of lashes. The patent specifies mascara brushes having a bristle diameter from about 0.10 to 0.25 mm (e.g. about 0.004 to 0.010 inch) (4 mil to 10 mil) and with from approximately 10 to 40 bristles per turn of the helix. The concept of a mascara brush having larger diameter fibers was further discussed in a recent PCT application no. PCT/US01/04555. This application is directed towards mascara brushes made from filaments that are relatively large but soft. Specifically, the application describes mascara brushes having preferably having 7-14 bristles per turn. The bristle filaments are defined as preferably being from 0.010 inch to 0.013 inch (10 mil to 13 mil). Most critically, the bristles are defined as being relatively soft being made of a thermoplastic elastomer having a durometer of between 62 Shore D and 82 Shore D, but most preferably about 72 Shore D. PCT application PCT/US01/04555 essentially defines a mascara brush made with a duPont Filaments filament sold under the trademark “Supersoft.” The “Supersoft” filaments have a durometer of 72 Shore D and are available as solid filaments or as triocular filaments having three hollow voids.

Mascara, which is typically highly viscous, tends to clump when applied to eyelashes. The clumps of mascara are typically combed out as a finishing step to the application process. Stiffer bristles are thought to be better suited for combing out clumps and properly separating lashes. However, the combing and separating functions are thought to be better accomplished with brushes a having relatively open bristle envelope or brush surface, i.e., an envelope or surface that has numerous or wide clearances or spaces between bristles to make the brushes more ‘comb-like’. This function is not well served by traditional mascara brush designs having smaller diameter bristles with higher bristle density. A mascara brush with softer, more numerous bristles has been generally thought to be well suited for applying mascara but less well suited for combing out clumps and separating lashes. Conversely, a brush with stiffer, fewer bristles has been thought to be well suited for combing and separating lashes but less well suited for applying mascara to lashes. While a separate brush can be used for each function, i.e., a soft brush for application and a stiff brush for combing, a single brush that can both apply mascara and comb out clumps is preferable.

An example of a brush said to provide good application and combing characteristics is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,238,011 to Gueret. The Gueret patent discloses bristles made of a soft material having a shore hardness of 20 A to 40 D (as noted above, a conventional bristle typically has a durometer of over 85 D), and a large diameter in a range of 0.004 inch to 0.014 inch (4 to 14 mil) (0.10 to 0.35 millimeter). As disclosed by Gueret, the diameter is said to be sufficiently large to prevent too high a degree of suppleness. The resulting brush is said to have the same degree of suppleness or softness as a conventional softer brush.

Nevertheless, there can be a perception of bristle hardness to the mascara user arising from such large diameter bristles. The prior art approaches have not provided a brush with a combination of all the desirable features for a mascara brush, namely, a good combing effect as well as high mascara loading without a consumer perception of that the bristles are excessively hard.

What is desired, therefore, is a mascara brush having a twisted wire stem and outwardly extending bristles, which has an increased surface area for carrying mascara, which picks up cosmetics in a uniform manner, and which picks up and carries a satisfactory amount of mascara without repeated reintroductions into a reservoir of mascara, but which also provides good combing and lash lengthening effects without creating a perception of excessive bristle hardness.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a mascara brush having nylon bristles and an increased surface area, when compared to conventional mascara brushes, suitable for carrying mascara.

It is another object of the invention to provide a mascara brush which picks up and applies the mascara in an even manner.

It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a mascara brush which lengthens, thickens, builds, curls, and/or combs a user's eyelashes.

A mascara brush in accordance with the invention comprises a core formed of at least two wires twisted together with flocking applied to the wire core, and bristles retained and gripped by the twisted wires of the core. In one embodiment, the twisted wire core has a brush end and a handle end, and flocking is adhered to the brush end. In an alternative embodiment, flocking is adhered to the entire length of the wire. The flocking is formed from fiber strands having a diameter of about 0.0002 inch to about 0.0020 inch; and a length of between about 0.020 inch to about 0.150 inch, preferably about 0.040 inch to about 0.080 inch, and most preferably about 0.045 inch to about 0.060 inch. A plurality of radially extending bristles is retained between the wires of the core. The bristles have a diameter of about 0.003 inch to about 0.012 inch and a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 50 bristles per turn, and more preferably, a bristle density of about 7 bristles per turn to about 25 bristles per turn.

The flocking provides an increased surface area for carrying mascara, when compared to conventional mascara brushes, together with brush bristles at a density suitable for lash lengthening, thickening, building, curling, and/or combing.

A method for making a brush for applying mascara to eyelashes, comprises applying adhesive to at least a portion of a wire; then adhering flocking to the portion of the wire by exposing the adhesive to flocking. The wire is formed into a U-shape having two leg segments and a plurality of bristles are placed between the leg segments of the U-shape wire, with at least some of the bristles being placed along the portion of the wire having flocking adhered thereto. The wire is then twisted together to retain the bristles in the twisted wire. In one embodiment of the method, the portion of the wire where the flocking is adhered contains all of the bristles retained in the twisted wire. In another embodiment, flocking is adhered along the entire length of the wire.

The invention and its particular features and advantages will become more apparent from the following detailed description when considered with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a flocked mascara brush in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the flocked mascara brush of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3A-3E are a series of schematic views illustrating methods of manufacturing a flocked mascara brush in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, a flocked mascara brush, or applicator, is shown and generally designated by the reference numeral 10. It should be noted that for the sake of clarity not all the components and parts of brush 10 may be shown and/or marked in all the drawings. Brush 10 comprises a central twisted wire core 12 having a handle end 14 and a brush end 16 extending from handle end 14 along central core 12. A helical array of regularly disposed bristles 24 is retained in the twisted wire core 12.

Core 12 can be made of any suitable material, but is preferably made of a malleable wire 18, made from a materials such as steel, stainless steel, bronze, copper, aluminum, or plastic. The core 12 is a twisted wire core typically made by forming wire 18 into a “U” shape having leg segments 20 and 22. A plurality of bristles 24 are placed between the leg segments 20 and 22 of wire 18. The leg segments 20 and 22 are then twisted around each other along a longitudinal axis to clamp bristles 24 at approximately the midpoints of the bristles 24. The bristle ends extend radially from the twisted wire core 12 in a helical or spiral manner.

Flocking 30 is adhered to core 12, by any suitable means, preferably by a suitable adhesive. The preferred adhesive is an epoxy adhesive. Flocking 30 is adhered to at least a portion of core 12 at brush end 16, or it may be adhered to the entire core 12. Flocking 30 is composed of short fiber strands, such as pulverized fiber, or a fiber such as cotton, wool, silk, rayon, nylon or polyester. Preferably, the flocking is a short monofilament fiber made of nylon, rayon or polyester. The flocking is formed from fiber strands having a diameter of about 0.0002 inch to about 0.0020 inch; and a length of between about 0.020 inch to about 0.150 inch, preferably about 0.040 inch to about 0.080 inch, and most preferably about 0.045 inch to about 0.060 inch.

A plurality of bristles 24 are regularly disposed about brush end 16 of core 12. Bristles 24 are made of materials suitable for combing eyelashes and carrying and applying mascara to achieve the desired payoff effect to the lashes, such as lash lengthening, thickening, building, curling, and/or combing. Bristles 24 are preferably made by cutting short segments from spools of filaments. The filaments are preferably formed from nylon or polyester, or another suitable material. Other suitable materials may include any type of synthetic material, including polyamide, polyolefins and the like. Preferably bristles 24 are made of nylon, and most preferably made of 6-12 type nylon. The filaments will typically be circular solids in cross-section, but alternatively may have non-circular cross-sectional shapes, such as ovals, square, rectangular, or polygons (including hexagons); or the bristles may be hollow or have voids therein, thus, the term “diameter” as used herein to refer to “bristle diameter” is intended to mean the maximum distance between any of the possible opposite positions on the outer surface of a bristle 24 filament. Preferably the bristle 24 diameter is about 0.003 inch to about 0.012 inch.

The bristle 24 density is in the range of 7-50 bristles per turn; depending on the bristle diameter and the viscosity of the mascara product. In one preferred embodiment, the bristle density is about 7-25 bristles per turn. The number of bristles per turn can be determined by several methods. One method involves counting bristle ends in one 360 degree turn of the brush and dividing by two to arrive at a count of bristles per turn. Another method involves counting the total number of 360 degree turns of the bristles 24 of the brush along the length of the brush, then counting the total number of bristles 24, and dividing the total bristle count by the total turn count, to determine an average of bristles 24 per turn. It is contemplated that in a basic brush, there will be a substantially constant bristle density along the length of the brush, with a small variations depending on manufacturing precision. However, it is also possible that the bristle densities are an average bristle density, with greater variation in the bristle density between different zones (such as the ends versus the middle zones of the brush). As used herein, “bristle density” encompasses both definitions.

After the bristles 24 are mounted to the wire core 12 the brush 10 can be trimmed to have any desired shape, for example, cylindrical, tapered, conical, curved, etc.; or if desired, the bristle ends may be processed by grinding, heating, or other techniques. The bristle lengths may be slightly longer than is usual in conventional brush designs, but this is not a necessary requirement for effective use of the invention.

The brush 10, when fabricated, is then assembled together with a rod 26. In one embodiment, the handle end 14 of the brush is mounted to rod 26. The rod 26 will typically be mounted to a container cap that mounts to a mascara-containing container. Brush 10 is adapted in size and shape to fit into a neck of the mascara-containing container so that the brush is stored in the container when not in use, or when necessary to pick up mascara for application.

A method for making a brush 10 is schematically shown in FIGS. 3A to 3E. The method as shown in FIG. 3A begins with applying adhesive 50 to at least a portion 52 of a wire 18, then as shown in FIG. 3B, adhering flocking 30 to the portion 52 of the wire 18 by exposing the adhesive to flocking 30. In one embodiment, adhesive and flocking may be applied to an entire length of a spool of wire. In other embodiments, adhesive and flocking may be applied in repeating sections to an entire spool of wire. In such cases, short lengths of wire would be cut off of the spool of wire to make the twisted wire core of the mascara brush of the invention. In an alternative embodiment, as illustrated in FIGS. 3A to 3E, the wire may be cut into short lengths of wire 18 first, and the short lengths of wire 18 are processed by application of an adhesive and flocking prior to twisting of bristles into the wire core. In such case, the short lengths of wire 18 could be processed by application of an adhesive and flocking either prior to or after bending of the short length of wire 18 into a U-shape as described below.

In one preferred embodiment, adhesive 50 is applied to the wire by a spray gun, however the adhesive may be applied in any way, including dip methods, brushing or rollers. The flocking 30 is applied by imparting a static charge to the flocking contained in a enclosed chamber 56 and placing or conveying the wire or short lengths of wire 18 through the chamber so that the flocking 30 adheres to wire or short lengths of wire 18 at the portions where the adhesive 50 has been applied thereto.

As seen in FIG. 3C, wire 18 is formed into a U-shape having two leg segments 20, 22. As seen in FIG. 3D, a plurality of bristles 24 are placed between the leg segments 20, 22 of the U-shape wire 18, with at least some of the bristles 24 being placed along the portion 52 of the wire 18 having flocking 30 adhered thereto. As seen in FIG. 3E, the leg segments 20, 22 of the U-shape wire 18 are then twisted together to retain the bristles 24 in the twisted U-shape wire 18. In all embodiments of the method, the portion 52 of the wire where the flocking 30 is adhered contains at least some of the bristles 24 retained in the twisted wire. In a preferred embodiment of the method, the portion 52 of the wire where the flocking 30 is adhered contains all of the bristles 24 retained in the twisted wire. In another embodiment, as described above, flocking 30 is adhered along the entire length of the wire 18.

As described above, preferably, the flocking is a short monofilament fiber made of nylon, rayon or polyester. Preferably, each strand of flocking is generally tubular in shape and has a diameter of about 0.0002 inch to about 0.0020 inch; and a length of between about 0.020 inch to about 0.150 inch, preferably about 0.040 inch to about 0.080 inch, and most preferably about 0.045 inch to about 0.060 inch. Also as described above, the bristle 24 diameter is about 0.003 inch to about 0.012 inch and the bristle density is in the range of 7-50 bristles per turn, and preferably is about 7-25 bristles per turn.

While the invention has been described and illustrated as embodied in preferred forms of construction, it will be understood that various modifications may be made in the structure and arrangement of the parts without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention recited in the following claims.