Title:
Low Stress Attachment of Hair Extensions
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cosmetic hair extension for low stress attachment to existing scalp hair has a strand of extension hair with an upper end gathered and bound together with an adhesive, a crimpable or otherwise collapsible attachment tube for receiving and retaining strands of existing scalp hair in a collapsed condition of the tube, and a low stiffness, pliable link such as a short length of thin thread connecting the gathered upper end of the extension strand to the attachment tube. The pliable link at least partly isolates the attachment tube and scalp hair from swinging, twisting and other movement of the suspended extension hair thereby reducing stress on and damage to the scalp hair when the extension is worn.



Inventors:
Tokko, Ryan (Walnut, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/850017
Publication Date:
03/05/2009
Filing Date:
09/04/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41G5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
STEITZ, RACHEL RUNNING
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICES OF NATAN EPSTEIN (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hair extension for attachment to existing scalp hair, comprising: a lock of extension hair gathered at a extension lock end; a crimpable tube having an interior tube opening between opposite tube ends for receiving strands of said existing scalp hair and retaining said scalp hair in a crimped condition of said tube; and a link of relatively thin readily flexible material thread having one link end fastened to said extension lock end and an opposite link end attached to said tube, said link being operative as a strain relief to substantially dampen transmission of relatively small bending and twisting movement between said extension lock and said tube.

2. The hair extension of claim 1 wherein said link is much thinner than said extension lock end

3. The hair extension of claim 1 wherein said link comprises a length of relatively thin thread.

4. The hair extension of claim 3 wherein said thread is cotton thread.

5. The hair extension of claim 1 wherein said extension hair is bound together with an adhesive at said extension lock end.

6. The hair extension of claim 4 wherein said adhesive is a flexible adhesive.

7. The hair extension of claim 1 wherein said opposite thread end is wrapped and tied about a side wall of said tube.

8. The hair extension of claim 1 wherein said link is selected and sized such that relatively small lateral displacement of said extension hair strand end transverse to a longitudinal dimension of said tube is not substantially transmitted by said link to said tube such that said link serves as a strain relief between said extension hair strand and said tube.

9. The hair extension of claim 1 wherein said link is selected and configured to substantially interrupt transmission of lateral mechanical force between said extension lock and said tube.

10. The hair extension of claim 1 wherein said link is colored similarly to said extension hair.

11. The hair extension of claim 1 wherein said link and said tube are colored similarly to said extension hair.

12. A hair extension for attachment to existing scalp hair, comprising: a lock of extension hair gathered together at an extension lock end; a crimpable tube having an interior opening between opposite tube ends for receiving strands of said existing scalp hair and retaining said scalp hair in a crimped condition of said tube; and a relatively thin thread adhesively secured to said extension lock end and tied to said tube for attaching said extension hair strand to said crimpable tube, said thread providing a readily pliable link between said extension hair and said tube to reduce transmission of movement of said extension hair to said tube.

13. The hair extension of claim 12 wherein said thread and said tube are colored similarly to said extension hair.

14. In a hair extension for attachment to existing scalp hair of the type having a lock of extension hair gathered at a extension lock end attached to a strand of existing scalp hair, the improvement wherein said extension lock is attached to said existing scalp hair by means comprising a low stiffness readily pliable link, said link being operative as a strain relief between said extension lock and said scalp hair.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention pertains to the field of cosmetic hairpieces and more particularly relates to hair extensions of the type which are attached to existing scalp hair on the head of a recipient person to achieve an appearance of greater hair density.

2. State of the Prior Art

The use of collapsible tubes as attachment devices for hair extensions has come into common use and offers significant advantages over previously used methods and devices. The typical implementation of this approach involves a strand of extension hair inserted into the attachment tube and fastened to the tube by one of several possible means, including adhesives or weaving and tying of the hair to the collapsible tube. The other end of the attachment tube receives a strand of existing scalp hair, although the strand of scalp hair is typically much shorter than the hanging strand of extension hair. The strands of extension and existing scalp hair typically pass through the attachment tube in opposite directions but in side by side relationship. The attachment tube is collapsed either mechanically or by heat shrinkage to capture and retain both strands of existing and extension hair, thereby attaching the extension hair to the scalp of the recipient. The strand of extension hair hangs from the small attachment tube and mingles with the existing scalp hair on the head of the recipient person, creating an appearance of a more abundant head of hair.

A problem with such hair extensions is that the recipient's hair, both existing scalp hair and extension hair, is subject to movement and manipulation in the normal course of the recipient's daily activity, and during brushing and washing and other handling of the hair. The suspended hair extensions place substantial stress on the relatively small strands of existing scalp hair from which they are suspended. In conventional hair extensions the strand of extension hair is directly inserted into and compressed within the collapsed attachment tube. As a result, movement of the hanging strands of extension hair is mechanically coupled and transmitted to the attachment tube, which also moves with the extension hair. Over the course of time this movement of the attachment tube wears against the relatively short scalp hair captive in the tube. The attachment tube pulls and wears against the scalp hair, eventually breaking or otherwise damaging the existing scalp hair particularly at the point where the scalp hair enters the tube. The collapsed attachment tube containing strands of extension hair and scalp hair tightly bound together and extending from opposite ends of the tube creates a relatively stiff assembly, which readily transmits movement of the extension hair through the tube to the existing scalp hair, damaging the latter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention seeks to alleviate the aforementioned difficulty by providing a hair extension having a yielding, pliable, readily flexible link between the strand of extension hair and the collapsible tube, so as to avoid or reduce mechanical transmission of movement of the extension hair through the attachment tube to the existing scalp hair of the installed hair extension.

The hair extension according to this invention has a strand of extension hair bound together at an end of the extension hair strand, a collapsible tube having an interior tube opening between opposite tube ends for receiving a strand of existing scalp hair and retaining said scalp hair in a crimped condition of said tube, and a link of relatively thin readily flexible material thread having one link end fastened to the extension strand end and an opposite link end attached to the tube, such that the link operates as a strain relief to substantially reduce transmission of relatively small bending and twisting movement of the extension hair strand to the tube.

The extension hair strand may be bound together at the strand end with an adhesive, preferably a flexible adhesive such as a silicone adhesive, at the extension lock end. The link may be secured to the extension hair with an adhesive, for example, the same adhesive used to bind together the extension hair strand end. The opposite link end may be wrapped and tied about a side wall of the tube, and may be further fastened to the tube with adhesive.

The link may be of any configuration or material that provides a low stiffness, flexible, readily pliable or limp connection between the bound together end of the extension hair strand and the collapsible tube. In a presently preferred form of the invention the link is much thinner than the thickness of the extension lock end, such as a length of relatively thin thread, for example a cotton thread.

The link is selected and configured to substantially interrupt transmission of lateral mechanical force, such as swinging or twisting of the extension hair strand to the tube. Generally, the link is configured such that relatively small lateral movement swinging or twisting movement of the extension hair strand end, transverse to a longitudinal dimension of the tube, is not substantially transmitted by the link to the tube, so that the link serves as a strain relief between the extension hair strand and the tube and the link at least partially isolates the tube from movement of the extension hair strand.

The collapsible tube may be a crimpable tube collapsible by application of mechanical force. Alternatively, the collapsible tube may be a heat shrinkable tube collapsible by application of heat.

The link and the tube may each be colored similarly to the extension hair to better conceal the installed extension on the recipient's head.

In more general terms, this invention is a hair extension for attachment to existing scalp hair of the type having a strand of extension hair gathered at an extension strand end which is attached to a strand of existing scalp hair, improved in that the extension strand is attached to the existing scalp hair by an attachment which includes a low stiffness readily pliable link operative as a strain relief between the extension hair strand and the scalp hair.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a typical hair extension according to this invention attached to existing scalp hair on the head of a recipient person;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view showing the bound together upper end of the extension hair strand connected to the collapsible hair attachment tube by a pliable thread link, the tube being shown in an initial open condition;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged view as in FIG. 2 showing how the pliable thread link yields to various movements of the extension hair strand and largely prevents transmission of such movement to the attachment tube and thereby reduces potential damage to the scalp hair captive in the attachment tube;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view as in FIG. 2 showing a strand of existing scalp hair drawn into and through the collapsible tube of the hair extension; and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view as in FIG. 4 with the hair attachment tube shown in collapsed flattened condition for retaining the existing scalp hair and thereby attach the hair extension to the scalp of the recipient.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the accompanying drawings in which like elements are designated by like numerals FIG. 1 illustrates in schematic fashion the back of a recipient person's head H on which a hair extension 10 has been installed. The extension 10 includes a collapsible hair attachment tube 12, a strand of hair extension 14 and a pliable link 16 which connects the extension hair 14 to the attachment tube 12, as better seen in FIG. 2. The attachment tube 12 receives and retains a strand of existing scalp hair 15, and the extension hair is suspended from the attachment tube 12 by the pliable link 16.

The collapsible tube 12 may be of copper, aluminum, tin or other relatively malleable metal or material.

A pliable link 16 in the form of a thin thread of readily flexible, pliable, generally limp material is looped around the tube wall between the upper end 12a and lower end 12b of the tube 12 and is tied at the lower end 12b with a knot 18, leaving two end portions 20 of the link thread 16 hanging from the attachment tube 12.

A strand of extension hair 14 is gathered and bound together at an upper end 22 by application of an adhesive 24, below which the rest of the strand of extension hair hangs freely. The adhesive 24 binds together a short bound portion of the extension strand 14 adjacent to the upper end 22, e.g. ¼ inch to about ½ inch of the extension strand 14 measured from the upper end 22. The remaining length of the extension hair in strand 14 below the adhesively bound portion is loose. The end portions 20 of the link thread are fastened to the upper end 22 of the extension hair strand. The presently preferred manner of fastening the extension hair 14 to the link 16 is by mingling the ends 20 of the link thread with the hairs of the extension strand at the upper end 22 prior to application of the adhesive 24. The adhesive 24 is applied to the combined and commingled thread ends 20 and the upper ends of the extension hair strand. After the adhesive 24 sets the link thread 16 is securely bound to the extension hair strand 14, as shown in FIG. 2. A presently preferred adhesive is a polyurethane-based adhesive because of its flexibility and resilience after setting. However, other kinds of adhesive may be used, including hard setting adhesives such as cyanoacrylate adhesives.

The link thread 16 serves as a strain relief between the hair extension 14 and the attachment tube 12. FIG. 3 illustrates how the link thread 16 bends and yields in response to elevation or lifting of the extension hair strand 14 along arrow A, thereby essentially preventing transmission of this lifting force to the attachment tube 12. The link thread 16 similarly interrupts transmission of other kinds of movement of the extension hair 14 to the attachment tube 12. For example, twisting of the attachment tube suggested by arrow B in FIG. 3 is likewise largely absorbed by twisting of the link thread 16 without significant transmission of the movement to attachment tube 12. Lateral swinging or oscillation of the extension hair along an arc suggested by arrows C-C is also isolated and decoupled from the attachment tube 12 by flexing of the link thread 16. In general, the link thread 16 provides a low stiffness, flexibly yielding link between the extension hair strand 14 and the attachment tube 12 so as to largely prevent transmission of relatively small bending, twisting and lifting movements of the extension hair strand 14 to the attachment tube 12 and thence to the existing scalp hair 15 retained in the attachment tube 12. To the extent that the material of link 16 is somewhat elastic, and even cotton thread is slightly elastic, a degree of isolation against pulling force of the extension hair strand 14 is also obtained.

While a thin thread, particularly cotton thread, is a presently preferred material for the link, other kinds of thread and other materials and forms of strain relief links may be substituted.

FIG. 4 illustrates how the hair extension 10 is installed on the scalp of the recipient's head by first drawing a strand of existing scalp hair into and through the interior of the attachment tube 12, such that the scalp hair strand 15 lies alongside the interior portion of the looped link thread 16 in the attachment tube. The strand of existing scalp hair 15 is pulled through attachment tube 12 with the aid of hand tools developed for this purpose in the trade, such as a pulling-needle or a loop needle. The attachment tube 12 is then collapsed so as to capture and retain the strands of existing scalp hair 15 inside the tube 12. In the case of an attachment tube 12 collapsible or crimpable by application of mechanical force, the tube 12 may be crimped to a flattened condition, as illustrated in FIG. 5, with the aid of hand pliers such as are used in the trade for this purpose.

Alternatively, attachment tube 12 may be heat shrinkable and collapsible to a reduced inside diameter by application of heat for tightly encompassing and retaining the strand of existing scalp hair in the shrunken tube and thereby attaching the extension strand 14 to the strand of existing scalp hair 15 and thus to the head H of the extension recipient.

A benefit provided by this invention is that smaller attachment tubes can be used as compared to the previous method of attaching hair extensions by pulling both strands of existing scalp hair and extension hair into an attachment tube and then collapsing the attachment tube to capture and retain both these strands in side by side adjacent relationship. In the present invention the link thread fastens the extension hair to the attachment tube, and the link thread is much thinner and takes up less space inside the tube 12 than a strand of extension hair would. For this reason, smaller diameter attachment tubes can be used. In the previous method, where both hair strands are pulled through the attachment tube, attachment tubes of 2.5 to 4.5 millimeter outside diameter, or even larger, are commonly used. Use of a thin link thread 16 makes practical the use of 2.2 mm outside diameter attachment tubes 12. Smaller attachment tubes 12 are easier to conceal and less visible when installed on the extension recipient's head among existing scalp hair. Also, it is normally desirable to match the color of both the attachment tube 12 and the link thread 16 to the color of the extension hair 14, which itself is usually matched to the existing scalp hair 15 to blend together the extension 10 with existing scalp hair 15 on the recipient's head H. The adhesive 24 may be also color matched to the extension hair.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been described for purposes of example and clarity it will be understood that various changes, modifications and substitutions will be apparent to those having only ordinary skill in the art without departing from the present invention as defined in the following claims.