Title:
Single fiber brush having multiple characteristics and method of manufacture
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A brush for applying mascara or the like, having an array with two visibly distinct portions, each portion made of the same type of fiber wherein one portion has been subjected to a treatment process and another has not; each portion for respectively performing a different function.



Inventors:
Schrepf, Volker (East Islip, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/079509
Publication Date:
10/09/2008
Filing Date:
03/27/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
15/207.2, 300/21
International Classes:
A45D40/26; A46D1/00; A46D3/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050011895Cosmetics container having outstanding appearanceJanuary, 2005Lin
20090107518HAIR STYLING IRON WITH RAISED FINSApril, 2009Cohen
20040112399Single unit direct transfer mascara applicator/container deviceJune, 2004Chant
20090194125ULTRASOUND HAIR TREATMENTAugust, 2009Anderson et al.
20060260628Nail care apparatusNovember, 2006Chan
20030234028Eyebrow stencilDecember, 2003Edell
20090126754Method Of Curl Retention In Hair And LashesMay, 2009Popescu et al.
20040187887Disposable angled toothbrush, periodontal aid and floosing deviceSeptember, 2004Beckman
20060070635Cosmetic brush comprising bristles having external depressionsApril, 2006Dumler et al.
20070212309HAIR MOISTURIZING PROCESSSeptember, 2007Pruess
20050257806Floss outNovember, 2005Hay et al.



Primary Examiner:
SCRUGGS, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COOPER & DUNHAM LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A brush comprising: an elongated core having a rectilinear axis; and an array of bristles projecting away from the core and having free tips, the array having: (1) a proximal end and a distal end spaced along the rectilinear axis, (2) a first region of fibers with a first characteristic, and (3) a second region of fibers with a second characteristic, the second region of fibers being treated fibers.

2. The brush of claim 1, wherein the first region of fibers and the second region of fibers comprise the same type of fiber.

3. The brush of claim 1, wherein the treated fibers are sand-blasted fibers.

4. The brush of claim 1, wherein the first characteristic and second characteristic affect the application of a cosmetic material by the brush.

5. The brush of claim 1, wherein the fibers of the first region are stiffer than the fibers of the second region.

7. A method of making a brush having a first region of fibers with a first characteristic and a second region of fibers with a second characteristic comprising the steps of: (a) positioning the brush for treatment of the second region to obtain the second characteristic; and (b) treating the second region without treating the first region.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the positioning step further comprises the step of covering the first region with a mask.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the mask is a sleeve.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the sleeve comprises one or more slots.

11. The method of claim 7 wherein the treatment is sand-blasting.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein the sand-blasting comprises the step of firing particles at a velocity sufficient to reduce the rigidity of the fibers in the second region.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the particles comprise hollow glass beads having a diameter of less than 0.0127 millimeters.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/921,762 filed Apr. 4, 2007, hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to brushes for applying mascara wherein the properties of one or more of the fibers have been altered so that the altered fibers are suited for different mascara applying functions than the unaltered fibers.

The typical type of brush with which the invention is specifically concerned is a mascara brush having an axially elongated twisted wire core with a multiplicity of fibers such as bristles clamped at their midpoints in the core and extending radially outwardly therefrom to form a brush bristle array surrounding the core over a substantial portion of the length of the core, typically to the outer (distal) end of the core. The core is constituted of two runs of wire, which may be initially separate, twisted together into an axially rectilinear helix to hold the bristles between them. This combination of a twisted wire core and a radiating array of bristles clamped in the core provides a simple, low-cost and effective brush structure for application of mascara.

Such mascara brushes are well known and widely used in the cosmetics industry. Commonly, the proximal end of the brush is mounted within the threaded cap of a mascara container, so that the brush projects into the container when the cap is in container-closing position. Upon removal of the cap, the brush carries a quantity of mascara out of the container, and is manipulated to deliver and apply the mascara to the user's eyelashes, the cap serving as a handle for the brush.

In many conventional mascara brushes of the described twisted wire and bristle construction, the overall profile of the brush bristle array (such profile being the notional envelope defined by the bristle extremities) is cylindrical and/or smoothly tapering, with progressively shorter bristles, toward the distal end of the brush, although other bristle array profiles have been proposed, for example in U.S. Pat. No. 5,357,987, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by this reference. The bristles within the profile may be arranged in discrete though closely spaced helical rows corresponding to the helical turns of the wire core, or they may be distributed substantially uniformly.

While conventional brushes can be used to apply mascara, it can be difficult to achieve a satisfactory comb-through, which separates the lashes, without using a separate implement such as a small plastic comb. Some mascara brushes, such as the one described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,861,179, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by this reference, solve this problem by combining soft bristles, for applying mascara, and stiff bristles, for combing the applied mascara, in a single spiral mascara brush. Hollow bristles such as the ones described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,733,425, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by this reference, could also be used. The mix of soft and stiff bristles can be either homogeneous throughout the length of the brush or formed by placing different fibers into zones along the length of the brush. However, if the different types of bristles are blended homogeneously, optimal separation of the lashes may be difficult to achieve. Further, if the bristles are arranged into zones along the length of the brush, the location of the different zones may not be readily apparent, thereby causing the consumer to use the brush in an unintended, less efficient manner.

Additionally, blending fibers is costly and inconvenient in part because the blended fibers are typically provided in hanks or coils which do not work well with modern machinery, since modern machinery is designed to use spools of fiber. Since ease of use is a primary goal, the mascara brush must both provide an optimal amount of separation and clearly delineate which portions of the mascara brush are for applying mascara and which portions are for combing of the lashes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a brush for applying cosmetic material such as mascara or the like, which combines diverse applicator characteristics using one type of fiber. Each such characteristic is respectively suited to the performance of a specific function in the application of the cosmetic material. These characteristics are achieved by the present invention by treating one or more of the fibers after the brush is assembled to simulate a multi-fiber effect with only one fiber type.

A further object is to provide a brush that has easily identifiable distinct zones, such as vertical zones which run transverse to the rectilinear axis of the core, which are respectively suited for delivering mascara to a user's lashes and combing delivered mascara through the lashes.

An additional object is to provide a way to manufacture mascara brushes that have the characteristics of dual fiber or multi-fiber brushes but only use a single type of fiber. In one embodiment of the present invention, the cosmetic brushes can be manufactured by selectively treating different regions of the brush by a sand-blasting process so that different soft fiber arrays can be formed. In one embodiment, the different regions can be selected by employing a covering sleeve or mask during the sand-blasting.

To these and other ends, the present invention broadly contemplates the provision of a mascara brush having an elongated core having a rectilinear axis and an array of bristles projecting outwardly around the core, the array including a plurality of bristles attached to the core and having opposed free tips extending radially therefrom, the array having a proximal end and a distal end spaced apart along the rectilinear axis and the tips of the bristles of the array defining a notional envelope wherein one or more of the fibers are selectively subjected to a treatment process, the treated fibers having different cosmetic application characteristics than the untreated fibers.

In one embodiment, the brush has a proximal end having untreated ‘stiff’ fibers, while the distal end has a ‘soft’ fibers created by sand-blasting or other treatment. Each end performs a different mascara-applying function. Specifically, the soft fiber portion can be used for delivering mascara from a container to a user's lashes and the stiff fiber portion may be used for combing delivered mascara through the lashes. Alternatively, the stiff fiber portion can be used to deliver a light application of mascara.

In another embodiment, the region of the brush located away from the handle, the front end, will have the stiff fibers while the region closest to the handle, the back end, will have the soft fibers. Typically, the proximal end of the core engages an end of a stem having an opposite end secured within a mascara container cap.

Further, in accordance with the invention, the transverse cross-section of the envelope can be substantially uniform in dimensions along at least a major portion of the envelope. Also, the envelope can taper toward the distal end of the array with the major portion of the envelope having extended longitudinal edges parallel to the rectilinear axis of the core.

In accordance with the invention, the covering sleeve used to select which fibers to treat during the treatment process, can have openings to define a pattern for defining the treated and untreated regions. Examples of such openings are vertical, horizontal or diagonal slots.

In yet another embodiment, different fibers may be subjected to various degrees of treatment, such as sand-blasting, so that the fibers of the brush have different levels of softness based on the length of and/or type of treatment to which the fibers were subjected. A single brush may therefore employ fibers of numerous different levels of softness.

The brushes of the present invention offer the consumer the quick and easy application that is demanded, yet no special skill or newly-learned technique is involved in using this brush. The mascara product builds up on the soft fiber portion and, to a far lesser extent, on the stiff fiber portion, which gives clearly recognizable heavily loaded and lightly loaded application zones. Additionally, the stiff fiber portion, which is clearly identifiable as such, allows the user to comb through the lashes to separate them without needing to carry a separate combing device. Furthermore, because the stiff fiber portion is stored within the mascara container, there is no risk of damage to the comb or of contamination of other objects with mascara. Finally, the use of sleeves during the treatment process allows for the relatively inexpensive creation of brushes with distinct regions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a mascara brush according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of another mascara brush according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side view of a sleeve placed over the brush during the treatment process according to one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C show side views of sleeves to cover portions of the brush during the treatment process having vertical slots, horizontal slots and diagonal slots respectively, according to embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, one embodiment of the invention is a brush 10 comprising an elongated, axially rectilinear core 12 constituted of two helically twisted-together runs of metal wire, and a multiplicity of fibers or bristles 14, for example nylon fibers, each clamped between the two runs of wire and having opposed free tips extending radially outwardly to form a brush bristle array surrounding the core over a substantial portion of the length of the core. The manufacture and arrangement of such structures are well known in the art, and accordingly need not be further described. The two wire runs may be separate lengths of wire or opposed legs of a single initially U-shaped wire. When the bristles are initially mounted in the twisted wire core, their free ends project for somewhat randomly unequal distances therefrom, and accordingly the brush is subjected to a trimming step. To produce brushes of conventional round, that is having a cylindrical and/or tapering conical profile, brushes are typically rotated through trimmer heads. The core has a proximal end 20 and a distal end 22 to which the bristle array 14 extends. The proximal end of the bristle array is spaced distally from the proximal end 20 of the core 12 so as to leave an exposed proximal length of the core for mounting in the plastic stem 24 of a mascara container cap.

As thus far described, the brush array 14 can be conventional. A conventional brush, however, typically has a continuous, smoothly cylindrical and/or tapering bristle array profile of either identical fibers having the same stiffness or a random or homogeneous blend of different fiber types.

In contrast, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, one or more bristles 18 are selectively treated to a process, such as sand-blasting, after initial assembly with the wire core 12 so that the treated fibers ‘shatter’, that is loose their rigidity, thereby becoming softened. These shattered fibers 18 act like a softer fiber type.

By selectively subjecting different regions of the brush 10 to the treatment process, the fiber array 14 is divided into a first region 16 in which the fibers are left untreated and a second region 18 in which the fibers are shattered. Accordingly, the fibers of the second region 18 are softened and thereby have distinct cosmetic application properties compared with the untreated fibers in the first region 16. In one embodiment, the shattered fibers 18 are adapted to apply mascara whereas the untreated bristles 16 remain stiff and are adapted to comb applied mascara through a user's eyelashes.

When the treatment is sand-blasting, particles are shot at the fibers to soften them during the sand-blasting process. In one embodiment, the particles are very fine hollow glass beads having a diameter of less than 0.0127 millimeters (0.0005 inches). These beads are shot at high velocity inside a sand-blasting booth and are aimed at the bristles 18 of the brush 10 for the purpose of shattering the fibers, thereby giving the blasted fibers different mascara-applying characteristics.

In one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 3, in order to treat only selected regions of the brush 10, a removable covering sleeve 28 is placed over a region of fibers before the treatment process begins, so that these covered fibers 16 will not be subjected to the sand-blasting process. Use of a sleeve 28 simplifies the manufacturing process since the particles which are fired at the brush 10 do not need to be precisely aimed and/or focused on a particular region to be treated.

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, in one embodiment of the present invention, the soft, treated region 18 is located at the distal end of the brush, that is located furthest from the handle, while the stiff, untreated region 16 is located at the proximal end of the brush, that is located next to the handle. In this arrangement, the distal end of the brush may be used for applying mascara while the proximal end may be used to comb mascara through the lashes.

The covering sleeve 28 may be formed with different patterns to expose different regions of fibers on brush 10 to the treatment process. FIGS. 4A, 4B, and 4C show several embodiments of such sleeves. Use of the sleeve 28A shown in FIG. 4A, produces alternating vertical bands of soft and rigid fibers on a brush. Use of the sleeve 28B shown in FIG. 4B produces alternating horizontal bands of soft and rigid fibers. Use of the sleeve 28C, produces alternating diagonal bands of soft and rigid fibers. These patterns are exemplary and are not meant to limit the scope of covering sleeves 28 and the patterns produced by such sleeves that can be employed.

In addition to treating one region 18 to the sand-blasting process while leaving another region 16 untreated, different portions of the brush 10 can be treated with different levels of the treatment such that the brush contains fibers having more than two levels of a desired characteristic, such as softness. In one embodiment, instead of having a distinct sharp transition from soft fibers 18 to rigid fibers 16, a transition region can be formed in which the fibers become gradually softer with increasing distance from the proximal end 20. This transition region can be achieved by, for example, initially covering the entire bristle array with a sleeve 28 when the treatment process, such as sand blasting, begins and then gradually moving the distal end 22 of the brush out of the covering sleeve 28 such that the further from the proximate end 20 that the fiber is, the longer the fiber will be exposed to the treatment process. Alternatively, different regions of the brush may be sand blasted to various degrees of softness using one or more sleeves or other types of dividers, as desired.

A particular advantage of the brush of the present invention is ease of control over the amount of mascara applied to the lashes. When the brush has been withdrawn from the container for transport of mascara to a user's lashes, the treated portion 18 bears a heavy load of mascara whereas the untreated portion 16 bears a comparatively smaller load of mascara because of the fiber characteristics that result from treating or not treating the fibers respectively. Thus the user can selectively apply a minimum or maximum loading of mascara to one's lashes by using respectively either untreated, stiff-fiber portion 16 or treated, soft-fiber portion 18. When delivery/application of the mascara to the lashes is complete, the user can employ the untreated, stiff-fibered portion 16 of the brush to comb the delivered mascara through the lashes. The untreated, stiff fibers of the combing portion 16 provide effective combing action and, because this portion does not carry a large amount of mascara, the combing operation does not overload the lashes with mascara.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the features and embodiments hereinabove specifically set forth, but may be carried out in other ways without departure from its spirit. For example, flocked brushes or other brush constructions in which the fibers are attached to a core differently than with a twisted wire core, can be treated to have the diverse characteristics described above. Also, different treatment methods can be employed to achieve the diverse characteristics, such as for example, coating the fibers with additional material/materials, melting the fibers, etcetera.