Title:
FLOCKED COSMETIC APPLICATORS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Flocked cosmetic applicators have a mounting post connected to an applicator tip by a flexing element. The flexing element has a cutaway, reduced diameter portion, which may be provided by horizontal grooves formed on opposite sides of the flexing element, to provide flexibility by reducing its cross-sectional area. The applicator tip has a body and one or more flocked applicator surfaces. Preferred embodiments of the applicator tip include applicator surfaces which are angled relative to the body, and include a doefoot body, a flexible body, and a spatula body. A preferred applicator tip has a convex applicator surface. The design permits use of lower cost materials yet provides the sensation of softness to the user.



Inventors:
Montoli, Antonio (Varese, IT)
Application Number:
11/609613
Publication Date:
08/09/2007
Filing Date:
12/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D40/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KALACH, BRIANNE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ST. ONGE STEWARD JOHNSTON & REENS, LLC (STAMFORD, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An applicator, comprising: an upper mounting element; at least one flexing element connected with said mounting element, said flexing element having a portion having a lesser cross-sectional area than an adjacent portion of said mounting element, said flexing element having at least a partial cutaway in one side thereof; an applicator tip having a body and one or more applicator surfaces.

2. The applicator of claim 1, wherein said applicator tip is flocked.

3. The applicator of claim 1, wherein said applicator tip has one applicator surface extending upwardly from a lower end of one side of said applicator tip body to an opposite side of said applicator tip body.

4. The applicator of claim 3, wherein said applicator tip has a doefoot shaped body.

5. The applicator of claim 3, wherein said applicator surface of said applicator tip is a convex surface.

6. The applicator of claim 3, wherein said applicator tip has a flexible body.

7. The applicator of claim 1, wherein said applicator tip has two applicator surfaces on opposite sides of said body, said two applicator surfaces extending upwardly from a center lower end of said applicator tip body to opposite sides of said applicator tip body.

8. The applicator of claim 1, wherein said one partial cutaway in said flexing element and one said applicator surface are positioned in alignment on one side of said applicator.

9. The applicator of claim 1, wherein said cutaway comprises a horizontal groove formed in one side of said flexing element.

10. The applicator of claim 9, wherein said cutaway comprises a pair of horizontal grooves formed on opposite sides of said flexing element.

11. The applicator of claim 9, wherein said cutaway comprises two commonly aligned pairs of horizontal grooves formed on opposite sides of said flexing element.

12. The applicator of claim 1, said upper mounting element including a lower endpiece having a lower endpiece cross-sectional area, and an upper endpiece having an upper endpiece cross-sectional area, connected by a stem having a stem cross-sectional area which is less than the lower endpiece cross-sectional area and the upper endpiece cross-sectional area.

13. An applicator, comprising: an upper mounting element; at least one flexing element connected with said mounting element, said flexing element having a portion having a lesser cross-sectional area than an adjacent portion of said mounting element; an applicator tip having a body and one or more applicator surfaces.

14. The applicator of claim 13, wherein said flexing element has at least one horizontal groove formed in one side thereof.

15. The applicator of claim 14, wherein there are a pair of horizontal grooves formed on opposite sides of said flexing element.

16. The applicator of claim 15, wherein there are two commonly aligned pairs of horizontal grooves formed on opposite sides of said flexing element.

17. The applicator of claim 15, wherein there are two perpendicularly aligned pairs of horizontal grooves formed on opposite sides of said flexing element.

18. The applicator of claim 14, wherein said applicator tip is flocked.

19. The applicator of claim 13, said applicator surfaces being angled relative to said body.

20. The applicator of claim 19, wherein said applicator tip has one applicator surface extending upwardly from a lower end of one side of said applicator tip body to an opposite side of said applicator tip body.

21. The applicator of claim 20, wherein said applicator tip has a doefoot shaped body.

22. The applicator of claim 13, wherein said applicator surface of said applicator tip is a convex surface.

23. The applicator of claim 13, wherein said applicator tip has a flexible body.

24. The applicator of claim 19, wherein said applicator tip has two applicator surfaces on opposite sides of said body, said two applicator surfaces extending upwardly from a center lower end of said applicator tip body to opposite sides of said applicator tip body.

25. A cosmetic applicator, comprising: an upper mounting element; at least one flexing element connected with said mounting element, said flexing element having a portion having a lesser cross-sectional area than an adjacent portion of said mounting element, said flexing element having a pair of horizontal grooves formed on opposite sides of said flexing element forming said lesser cross-sectional area of said flexing element; an applicator tip having a body and one or more flocked applicator surfaces, said applicator surfaces being angled relative to said body; one of said horizontal grooves in said flexing element and one said applicator surface being positioned in alignment on one side of said cosmetic applicator.

26. The cosmetic applicator of claim 25, wherein said applicator tip has one applicator surface extending upwardly from a lower end of one side of said applicator tip body to an opposite side of said applicator tip body.

27. The cosmetic applicator of claim 27, wherein said applicator tip has a doefoot shaped body.

28. The cosmetic applicator of claim 26, wherein said applicator surface of said applicator tip is a convex surface.

29. The cosmetic applicator of claim 26, wherein said applicator tip has a flexible body.

30. The cosmetic applicator of claim 25, wherein said applicator tip has two applicator surfaces on opposite sides of said body, said two applicator surfaces extending upwardly from a center lower end of said applicator tip body to opposite sides of said applicator tip body.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present invention is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Design Patent Applications Nos. 29/245,935; 29/245,936; 29/245,937; and 29/245,938; all filed 30 Dec. 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of topical applicators for the skin, and particularly, cosmetic applicators suited for loading with a liquid cosmetic such as a colored lip cosmetic, a blush, an eyeshadow, or an eyeliner, and then applying the cosmetic to the skin.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Cosmetic applicators are desirably designed to provide the consumer user with the perception that the applicator is soft in its feel on the skin. In foam applicators, e.g. such as applicators tipped with a latex foam or other foam, the sensation of softness is provided by the resilience of the foam. However, such foam applicators are not as durable as might be desired, and foam, particularly latex foam, is a relatively expensive element for use in a cosmetic applicator. It would be desirable to permit the use of lower-cost, non-foam materials, such as low density polyethylene (“LDPE”) and high density polyethylene (“HDPE”), and polyesters such as HYTREL® polyester, or polypropylene, in cosmetic applicators, if the applicator could be designed to provide a feel that the consumer did not find excessively hard when used on facial skin. Plastic applicators coated with flocking have been used, however, they do not have the same soft feel as foam tipped applicators. In some designs they are perceived by the consumer user as having a hard, unpleasant feel.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the invention to provide a cosmetic applicator that can be fabricated from lower cost materials such as LDPE, HDPE, polyester, polypropylene or other plastics, and which will still provide a soft feel to the consumer's face.

In accordance with the invention, a flocked cosmetic applicator has a mounting post connected to an applicator tip by a flexing element. The flexing element has a cutaway, reduced diameter portion, which may be provided by horizontal grooves formed on opposite sides of the flexing element, to provide flexibility by reducing its cross-sectional area. The applicator tip has a body and one or more flocked applicator surfaces. Preferred embodiments of the applicator tip include applicator surfaces which are angled relative to the body, and include a doefoot body, a flexible body, and a spatula body. A preferred applicator tip has a convex applicator surface. The design permits use of lower cost materials yet provides the sensation of softness to the user.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top, front and left side perspective view of a first embodiment (referred to as the doefoot embodiment) of a Flocked Cosmetic Applicator in accordance with the present invention upon removal from a mold and prior to application of flocking;

FIG. 2 is a left side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 3 is a right side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view thereof;

FIG. 5 is a rear elevation view thereof;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view thereof; and

FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 8 is the top, front and left side perspective view of the first embodiment (doefoot embodiment) of the Flocked Cosmetic Applicator of FIG. 1 after removal of the umbrella element and with flocking applied;

FIG. 9 is a left side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 10 is a right side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 11 is a front elevation view thereof;

FIG. 12 is a rear elevation view thereof;

FIG. 13 is a top plan view thereof;

FIG. 14 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 15 is a top, front and left side perspective view of a second embodiment (referred to as the convex surface embodiment) of a Flocked Cosmetic Applicator in accordance with the present invention upon removal from a mold and prior to application of flocking;

FIG, 16 is a left side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 17 is a right side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 18 is a front elevation view thereof;

FIG. 19 is a rear elevation view thereof;

FIG. 20 is a top plan view thereof; and

FIG. 21 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 22 is the top, front and left side perspective view of the second embodiment (convex surface embodiment) of the Flocked Cosmetic Applicator of FIG. 15 after removal of the umbrella element and with flocking applied;

FIG. 23 is a left side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 24 is a right side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 25 is a front elevation view thereof;

FIG. 26 is a rear elevation view thereof;

FIG. 27 is a top plan view thereof;

FIG. 28 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 29 is a top, front and left side perspective view of a third embodiment (referred to as the spatula embodiment) of a Flocked Cosmetic Applicator in accordance with the present invention upon removal from a mold and prior to application of flocking;

FIG. 30 is a left side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 31 is a right side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 32 is a front elevation view thereof;

FIG. 33 is a top plan view thereof; and

FIG. 34 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 35 is the top, front and left side perspective view of the third embodiment (spatula embodiment) of the Flocked Cosmetic Applicator of FIG. 29 after removal of the umbrella element and with flocking applied;

FIG. 36 is a left side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 37 is a right side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 38 is a front elevation view thereof;

FIG. 39 is a top plan view thereof;

FIG. 40 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 41 is a top, front and left side perspective view of a fourth embodiment (referred to as the flexing embodiment) of a Flocked Cosmetic Applicator in accordance with the present invention upon removal from a mold and prior to application of flocking;

FIG. 42 is a left side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 43 is a right side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 44 is a front elevation view thereof;

FIG. 45 is a rear elevation view thereof;

FIG. 46 is a top plan view thereof; and

FIG. 47 is a bottom plan view thereof;

FIG. 48 is the top, front and left side perspective view of the fourth embodiment (flexing embodiment) of the Flocked Cosmetic Applicator of FIG. 43 after removal of the umbrella element and with flocking applied;

FIG. 49 is a left side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 50 is a right side elevation view thereof;

FIG. 51 is a front elevation view thereof;

FIG. 52 is a rear elevation view thereof;

FIG. 53 is a top plan view thereof; and

FIG. 54 is a bottom plan view thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIGS. 1-14, a first embodiment of a cosmetic applicator 10 in accordance with the invention is shown. In FIGS. 1-7, cosmetic applicator 10 is shown as initially molded; in FIGS. 8-14, the same cosmetic applicator 10 is shown with the umbrella element 30 removed and flocking 70 applied. Cosmetic applicator 10, as shown in FIGS. 1-14, comprises an upper mounting element 20, a flexing element 40, and an applicator tip 60. Cosmetic applicator 10 is molded from LDPE, HDPE, polyester, polypropylene or other suitable plastic material, and in preferred embodiments is formed of HYTREL® polyester, HDPE or LDPE.

Upper mounting element 20 includes a lower endpiece 22 having a lower endpiece cross-sectional area, and an upper endpiece 24 having an upper endpiece cross-sectional area. Lower endpiece 22 and upper endpiece 24 are preferably generally cylindrical in shape. The upper endpiece 24 preferably has an upper conical section 26 tapering to a rod 28. Rod 28, as seen in FIGS. 1-7, is provided with an umbrella element 30, which is removed after molding of the cosmetic applicator, leaving a shortened rod 28 as seen in FIGS. 8-14. A stem 32 connects the lower endpiece 22 to the upper endpiece 24. Stem 32 preferably has a polygonal cross section, and most preferably has a hexagonal cross-section. The cross-sectional area of stem 32 is less than the cross-sectional areas of the lower endpiece 22 and the upper endpiece 24.

At least one flexing element 40 connects the upper mounting element 20 to the applicator tip 60. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-14 there is one flexing element 40; by contrast, in FIGS. 41-54, the cosmetic applicator 410 has two flexing elements 440. The flexing element 40 has a portion 42 having a lesser cross-sectional area than the adjacent lower endpiece 22 of the upper mounting element 20; this is defined by the existence of at least one partially cutaway area 44 in one side of the flexing element 40. In the preferred embodiment, as shown in the drawings, the cutaway area 44 is a horizontal groove 46 formed in one side of the flexing element 40, and most preferably, the cutaway area 44 comprises a pair of horizontal grooves 46 formed on opposite sides of the flexing element 40. In the most preferred embodiment, flexing element 40 is effectively a cylindrical body in which two matching, commonly aligned horizontal grooves are formed on opposite sides of the flexing element 40, leaving a flexing element 40 which tapers from a circular upper segment 48 to a thinner flexible middle segment 50 to a circular lower segment 52.

It should be appreciated however that the flexing element 40 and its portion 42 having a lesser cross-sectional area than the adjacent lower endpiece 22 of the upper mounting element 20 can be formed from a variety of shapes providing a desired degree of flexibility. These may include, for example, any number of tapered shapes in which the cross-sectional area decreases to a minimum then increases along the length of the flexing element 40. For example the tapered shape may have the shape of an hourglass or other symmetrical shape. Such a tapered shape would provide flexibility in 360 degrees surrounding the flexing element, providing flexibility in all directions. The preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-14 has one flexing element 40 provided by the commonly aligned pair of horizontal grooves 46. However, it should be appreciated that there could be one such horizontal groove (or other cutaway shape, e.g., a notch or other structure), or two such grooves on one side of the flexing element 40; or two such grooves on one side of the flexing element and a third groove on the opposite side, or four grooves forming two flexing elements 440 in FIGS. 41-54, or the two flexing elements 440 could be positioned at 90 degrees to each other to provide flexing in two main directions, or at some other angle (such as 45 degrees to each other) to provide different flexing effects. The cross-section could be either symmetrical or non-symmetrical, as may be defined by the presence of at least one partially cutaway area 44.

The effect of the flexing element 40 is to provide the user the feeling that the applicator surface 64 is very soft and resilient, even though the cosmetic applicator 10 is fabricated from a relatively inexpensive solid plastic material such as polyester, LDPE or HDPE. The degree of softness provided by use of the cosmetic applicator 10 can be varied by using materials of different resilience and flexibility, and by varying the thickness of the thinner flexible middle segment 50.

The flocked applicator tip has a body and one or more applicator surfaces. The applicator tip can be a conventional cylindrical body with a flat or rounded end applicator surface which extends generally perpendicularly to the centerline of the body. However, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, the applicator surface is angled relative to the perpendicular to the centerline of the body; or alternatively, is angled relative to the centerline of the body. For example, the body may be a cylindrical solid having a lower surface which is angled relative to a perpendicular to the centerline of the body. In one preferred embodiment, shown in FIGS. 1-14, applicator tip 60 has a doefoot shaped body 62 and, as seen in FIGS. 2,3, 9 and 10, an applicator surface 64 extending upwardly from a lower end 66 of one side 68 of the applicator tip body 62 to an opposite side 69 of the applicator tip body 62.

Preferably, the at least one partial cutaway area 44 in the flexing element 40 and the applicator surface 64 are positioned in alignment on one side of said cosmetic applicator so that the flexing of the flexing element occurs when the applicator surface is placed against the lips or other area to be made up with a cosmetic. This orientation provides the user with maximum feeling of softness and control of the cosmetic applicator 10. However, it is not a required element of the invention, and other relative orientations of the flexing element and the applicator surface may be used.

Applicator tip 60 is flocked with flocking 70. Flocking 70 is adhered to at least the applicator surface 64, and more preferably, the entire applicator tip 60, by any suitable means, preferably by a suitable adhesive. The preferred adhesive is an epoxy adhesive. Flocking 70 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.

Referring now to FIGS. 15-28 a second embodiment of a cosmetic applicator 210 in accordance with the invention is shown. In FIGS. 15-21, cosmetic applicator 210 is shown as initially molded; in FIGS. 22-28, the same cosmetic applicator 210 is shown with the umbrella element 230 removed and flocking 270 applied. Cosmetic applicator 210, as shown in FIGS. 15-28, comprises an upper mounting element 220, a flexing element 240, and an applicator tip 260.

Upper mounting element 220 includes a lower endpiece 222 having a lower endpiece cross-sectional area, and an upper endpiece 224 having an upper endpiece cross-sectional area. Lower endpiece 222 and upper endpiece 224 are preferably generally cylindrical in shape. The upper endpiece 224 preferably had an upper conical section 226 tapering to a rod 228. Rod 228, as seen in FIGS. 15-21, is provided with an umbrella element 230, which is removed after molding of the cosmetic applicator, leaving a shortened rod 228 as seen in FIGS. 22-28. A stem 232 connects the lower endpiece 222 to the upper endpiece 224. Stem 232 preferably has a polygonal cross section, and most preferably has a hexagonal cross-section. The cross-sectional area of stem 232 is less than the cross-sectional areas of the lower endpiece 222 and the upper endpiece 224.

A flexing element 240 connects the upper mounting element 220 to the applicator tip 260. The flexing element 240 has a portion 242 having a lesser cross-sectional area than the adjacent lower endpiece 222 of the upper mounting element 220; this is defined by the existence of at least one partially cutaway area 244 in one side of the flexing element 240. In the preferred embodiment, as shown in the drawings, the cutaway area 244 is a horizontal groove 246 formed in one side of the flexing element 240, and most preferably, the cutaway area 244 comprises a pair of horizontal grooves 246 formed on opposite sides of the flexing element 240. In the most preferred embodiment, flexing element 240 is effectively a cylindrical body in which two matching, commonly aligned horizontal grooves are formed on opposite sides of the flexing element 240, leaving a flexing element 240 which tapers from a circular upper segment 248 to a thinner flexible middle segment 250 to a circular lower segment 252.

The effect of the flexing element 240 is again to provide the user the feeling that the applicator surface 60 is very soft and resilient, even though the cosmetic applicator 10 is fabricated from a relatively inexpensive solid plastic material. As previously discussed, the cutaway area 244 in the flexing element 240 and the applicator surface 264 are positioned in alignment on one side of said cosmetic applicator.

The applicator tip 260 has a body 262 which is a cylindrical solid having an applicator surface 264 which is angled relative to a perpendicular to the centerline of the body. Applicator tip 260 is flocked with flocking 270 as previously described. Applicator surface 264 is preferably a rounded or convex surface as shown in FIGS. 15-28. The convex surface provides the user with a feeling of smoothness when used because the applicator surface 264 provides a gradual transition. In comparison, a flat applicator surface as shown in FIGS. 1-14 can feel less smooth, particularly if the applicator surface is applied to the lips hurriedly. The convex surface applicator surface 264 shown in FIGS. 15-28 may be used on any of the other embodiments of the invention such as those shown in FIGS. 1-14 or 29-54.

Referring now to FIGS. 29-40, a third embodiment of a cosmetic applicator 310 in accordance with the invention is shown. In FIGS. 29-34, cosmetic applicator 310 is shown as initially molded; in FIGS. 35-40, the same cosmetic applicator 310 is shown with the umbrella element 330 removed and flocking 370 applied. Cosmetic applicator 310, as shown in FIGS. 29-40, comprises an upper mounting element 320, a flexing element 340, and an applicator tip 360.

As previously described in connection with the first and second embodiments of FIGS. 1-28, upper mounting element 320 includes a lower endpiece 322 connected by a stem 332 to an upper endpiece 324, which connects to a rod 328 and umbrella element 330.

A flexing element 340 connects the upper mounting element 320 to the applicator tip 260. The flexing element 340 has a portion 342 having a lesser cross-sectional area than the adjacent lower endpiece 322 of the upper mounting element 320 defined by the existence of at least one partially cutaway area 344 in one side of the flexing element 340. Preferably, the cutaway area 344 is a horizontal groove 346 formed in one side of the flexing element 340, and most preferably, the cutaway area 344 comprises a pair of horizontal grooves 346 formed on opposite sides of the flexing element 340. As previously described in connection with the first and second embodiments of FIGS. 1-28, the effect of the flexing element 340 is to provide the user the feeling that the applicator surface 360 is very soft and resilient, even though the cosmetic applicator 310 is fabricated from a relatively inexpensive solid plastic material.

The applicator tip 360 has a body 362 which is a spatula shaped solid having two applicator surfaces 364, one on each side of the body 362, and which are angled relative to the centerline of body 362. The two applicator surfaces 364 extend upwardly from the center lower end 366 to opposite sides of the applicator tip body 362. Applicator tip 360 is flocked with flocking 370 as previously described.

Referring now to FIGS. 41-54, a fourth embodiment of a cosmetic applicator 410 in accordance with the invention is shown. In FIGS. 41-47, cosmetic applicator 410 is shown as initially molded; in FIGS. 48-54, the same cosmetic applicator 410 is shown with the umbrella element 430 removed and flocking 470 applied. Cosmetic applicator 410, as shown in FIGS. 41-54, comprises an upper mounting element 420, a flexing element 440, and an applicator tip 460.

As previously described in connection with the first, second and third embodiments of FIGS. 1-40, upper mounting element 420 includes a lower endpiece 422 connected by a stem 432 to an upper endpiece 424, which connects to a rod 428 and umbrella element 430.

In the fourth embodiment shown in FIGS. 41-54, two flexing elements 440 connect the upper mounting element 420 to the applicator tip 460. The flexing elements 440 each have a portion 442 having a lesser cross-sectional area than the adjacent lower endpiece 422 of the upper mounting element 420 defined by the existence of at least one partially cutaway area 444 in one side of the flexing element 440. Preferably, the cutaway area 444 is a horizontal groove 446 formed in one side of the flexing element 440, and most preferably, the cutaway area 444 comprises a pair of horizontal grooves 446 formed on opposite sides of the flexing element 440. As previously described in connection with the first, second and third embodiments of FIGS. 1-40, the effect of the flexing elements 440 is to provide the user the feeling that the applicator surface 460 is very soft and resilient, even though the cosmetic applicator 410 is fabricated from a relatively inexpensive solid plastic material such as LDPE or HDPE. The use of two flexing elements 440 instead of one such element increases the feeling of softness.

The applicator tip 460 has a flexing body 462 having one applicator surface 464. The flexing body 462 as illustrated in FIGS. 41-54 has an upper end 466 that is a tapered cylindrical shape that tapers to an elongated blade-like end 468 that is sufficiently thin to have a degree of flexibility. Applicator tip 460 is flocked with flocking 470 as previously described.

The present invention provides a unique new cosmetic applicator that is particularly adapted for application of lip cosmetics such as lip color and lip gloss, or for rouge or eye shadow; and may also be used for topical application of medicinal and therapeutic products.