Title:
Neck strip and nail artist sheet for use in cosmetology services
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention includes a neck and clothing protector, a neck strip and a nail artist sheet and methods of using same that are especially designed for use in the cosmetology industry. Embodiments of the invention may include a rectangular strip of textured, flexible waterproof material of preselected dimensions wherein the body of the material is integral and does not have any scoring or perforations passing through its rectangular surface.



Inventors:
Chard, Linda J. (Sandy, UT, US)
Application Number:
12/383470
Publication Date:
10/08/2009
Filing Date:
03/24/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
132/73, 2/50
International Classes:
A45D29/00; A41D13/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20040163661Hair treatment system and methodAugust, 2004Carlucci
20090095315Anhydrous compositions in paste form for bleaching keratin fibersApril, 2009De La et al.
20050022838Applicator shieldFebruary, 2005Davis
20080142031Versatile, Tri-Fold Compact With Decoupled MotionJune, 2008Francis
20100000556GLOWING ARTIFICIAL NAILJanuary, 2010Fujita et al.
20020112735Nail file with plastic mirrorAugust, 2002Park
20070119471DREADLOCK COMBMay, 2007Svendsen
20090235947Hair Styling Tool and Method of Using SameSeptember, 2009Sparrow
20040089316Methods and systems for hair coloring and highlightingMay, 2004Hamilton et al.



Primary Examiner:
VANATTA, AMY B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eminient IP, P.C. (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for using a neck strip, comprising: providing a neck strip configured as a rectangular strip of textured, flexible, homogeneous and waterproof thermoplastic polymer material having a width, W, in the range from about 2 inches to about 12 inches, a length, L, in the range from about 15 inches to about 24 inches; wrapping the neck strip around the client's neck; crossing widthwise ends of the neck strip flat against the client's skin; wrapping a plastic cape over the neck strip and the client's neck; and fastening the plastic cape in place.

2. The method according to claim 1, further comprising performing a cosmetology procedure.

3. The method according to claim 1, further comprising wrapping an optional towel over the neck strip and around the client's neck before wrapping the plastic cape.

4. The method according to claim 1, wherein providing a neck strip, further comprises a thickness, t, ranging from about 0.0015 inches to about 0.003 inches.

5. The method according to claim 1, wherein providing a thermoplastic polymer material comprises providing at least one of polyethylene, ethylene copolymers, polypropylene, polypropylene copolymers, polystyrene, polystyrene copolymers, polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl alcohol copolymers, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl chloride copolymers, polyvinyl acetate and vinyl acetate copolymers.

6. A neck strip for use in cosmetology services, comprising a rectangular strip of textured, flexible, homogeneous and waterproof thermoplastic polymer material having a width, W, in the range from about 2 inches to about 4 inches, and a length, L, in the range from about 15 inches to about 24 inches.

7. The neck strip according to claim 6, further comprising a thickness, t, ranging from about 0.0015 inches to about 0.003 inches.

8. The neck strip according to claim 6, further comprising a plurality of the neck strips each adjoined along lengthwise edges with perforations to allow for easy separation during dispensing.

9. The neck strip according to claim 8, wherein the plurality of neck strips is configured in a roll for dispensing.

10. The neck strip according to claim 6, further comprising a plurality of the neck strips stacked on top of each other for ease of dispensing.

11. The neck strip according to claim 10, further comprising a box having an opening for dispensing the stacked neck strips.

12. The neck strip according to claim 6, wherein the surface of the neck strip is soft and textured, but is not glossy in order to inhibit sticking to a client's skin.

13. The neck strip according to claim 6, wherein the thermoplastic polymer material comprises at least one of polyethylene, ethylene copolymers, polypropylene, polypropylene copolymers, polystyrene, polystyrene copolymers, polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl alcohol copolymers, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl chloride copolymers, polyvinyl acetate and vinyl acetate copolymers.

14. A nail artist sheet, comprising a rectangular strip of textured, flexible, homogenous and waterproof thermoplastic polymer material having a width, W, in the range from about 10 inches to about 20 inches and a length, L, in the range from about 15 inches to about 30 inches.

15. The nail artist sheet according to claim 14, wherein the thermoplastic polymer material comprises at least one of polyethylene, ethylene copolymers, polypropylene, polypropylene copolymers, polystyrene, polystyrene copolymers, polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl alcohol copolymers, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl chloride copolymers, polyvinyl acetate and vinyl acetate copolymers.

16. A method for using a nail artist sheet, comprising: providing a nail artist sheet, comprising a rectangular strip of textured, flexible waterproof material having a width, W, in the range from about 10 inches to about 20 inches and a length, L, in the range from about 15 inches to about 30 inches; placing the nail artist sheet on a nail artist work surface; and performing nail artist services on a client's nails above the nail artist sheet.

17. The method according to claim 16, wherein the rectangular strip of textured, flexible waterproof material comprises a thermoplastic polymer material selected from the group consisting of: polyethylene, ethylene copolymers, polypropylene, polypropylene copolymers, polystyrene, polystyrene copolymers, polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl alcohol copolymers, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl chloride copolymers, polyvinyl acetate and vinyl acetate copolymers.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This is a Continuation-In-Part patent (CIP) Application of U.S. Non-provisional patent application Ser. No. 11/205,592, issued Mar. 24, 2009 as U.S. Pat. No. 7,506,383. This CIP patent Application further claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of the filing of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/209,701 filed on Mar. 9, 2009, titled “NECK STRIP AND METHOD OF USING SAME”, the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference for all purposes. Additionally, this CIP patent Application claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of the filing of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/209,702 filed on Mar. 9, 2009, titled “NAIL ARTIST SHEET AND METHOD OF USING SAME”, the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference for all purposes.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to methods and apparatuses for protecting salon client and client's clothing during various cosmetology procedures such as shampooing and coloring of hair, manicures, pedicures and the like. One embodiment of the present invention relates particularly to methods and apparatuses for protecting the skin of a nail salon client from bacteria and other chemical contaminants during various nail artist services such as a manicure or pedicure. More particularly, the present invention relates to embodiments of a neck and clothing protector, a neck strip and a nail artist sheet and methods of using same during such cosmetology services.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Most salon styling and coloring procedures begin with a thorough shampooing. When a client's hair is washed by a cosmetologist, the client sits in a chair which reclines toward a specially shaped sink. The sink is shaped to receive the client's head while the client's neck rests on a scoop in the sink that is specially shaped for this purpose. This allows the client's head and hair to extend into the sink basin. A spray nozzle connected to a flexible hose may then be manipulated by the cosmetologist in order to wet the client's hair, shampoo and rinse as desired. In order to fully clean and rinse the hair, the nozzle may be directed up underneath the client's head and toward the client's neck.

Various devices have been used to cover the client in an attempt to prevent water from splashing or dripping onto the client's clothes or the reclining chair. One such device is a towel that may be tucked into the client's collar. While towels are absorbent and can readily be used to dry the client's hair after shampooing, they also tend to become wetted by the shampooing and rinsing procedures. Additionally, the cotton material in towels may wick the moisture and thereby transmit the moisture to the client's clothing underneath the towel. This may be a minor inconvenience for some clients. But, for other clients, especially those wearing dry clean only clothing, it is a serious problem that requires the client or the salon to pay for dry cleaning of the contaminated clothes. Another drawback with using conventional towels is that they must be laundered after each procedure, thus, requiring additional expenditure of time, energy and money on behalf of the salon, which is undesirable.

Another device commonly used in salons is the plastic or vinyl cape which is placed over the client and secured to the client's neck prior to cutting, styling or coloring procedures. These conventional plastic capes typically have a cotton tape edge binding which may be used directly on the client's skin. Alternatively, plastic capes may be used on top of sanitary cotton, tissue or other suitable wicking material, e.g., Sanek® Neck Strips, placed first around the client's neck. The absorbent neck strip combined with the plastic cape might be preferred over the cape alone because of sanitary aspects relating to the reuse of the cape. While this combination of an absorbent neck strip and cape may be suitable for most cutting, styling or coloring procedures, it is generally unsuitable for protecting the client's clothing during shampooing. This is because the capes may be loosely secured about the neck area and, thus, do not provide a water tight seal with or without an absorbent neck strip. Furthermore, the absorbent neck strip can also provide a wicking action similar to the conventional towel and procedure described above. And finally, Sanek® Neck Strips may dissolve or disintegrate when wet, which is undesirable in the shampooing and rinse procedures.

Yet another conventional approach to solving this problem is known as the double drape method which combines the use of a cape with two towels. According to the double drape method, a first towel is placed lengthwise across the client's shoulders, crossing the ends of the towel beneath the client's chin. Then a plastic cape is wrapped over the first towel and fastened at the back of the client's neck. Finally, a second towel is wrapped around the client's neck and the ends of the second towel are again brought together under the client's chin. There are a couple of drawbacks with the double drape method. First, double draping is too bulky for the client and the stylist. The towels become wet and uncomfortable then generally have to be removed for easier access for the service being performed. Second, double draping doubles the amount of towels that must be laundered for each client serviced, thus increasing costs, which is undesirable. A conventional single drape method that eliminates the second towel of the double drape method still fails to solve the problem of welting the client's clothing and also tends to be bulky, though not as much so as the double drape method.

One attempt to solve this problem has been to use thin plastic sheets used to wrap food and the like, which may be placed around the client's shoulders and tucked under the client's collar. This provides a water impervious layer that may have some efficacy in protecting the client's clothing. However, such plastic sheeting materials are generally uncomfortable because they stick to the client's skin. Furthermore, because the plastic wrap readily sticks to itself, the plastic wrap is difficult to dispense and place over the clothing of the client. Generally, such plastic wrap material is not precut to size, thus, increasing the time and energy of the cosmetologist performing the desired procedure.

Other solutions to this ongoing problem have been proposed. U.S. Pat. No. 4,709,420 to Gettinger describes a cape having a separate back splash guard panel that prevents splashing through the open back portion of the cape below the neck line during shampooing. But the Gettinger cape still suffers from the lack of sealing and wicking problems of conventional capes.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,809,568 to Morris-Jones describes disposable bibs made of absorbent material that have a flap which may folded over to provide a neck opening and a second layer of absorbent material. While the Morris-Jones bib could be used in salon procedures, it is not moisture impervious and would leave the problem of protecting a client's clothing during shampooing unsolved.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,491,844 to Kehl et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 4,442,552 to Bolick et al. disclose bibs with layers of liquid impervious materials, thus, improving on the Morris-Jones bib. The Kehl et al. and Bolick et al. bibs could conceivably be used in the salon context. However, the Kehl et al. bib is designed for use in a dental office and does not wrap completely around the client's neck. The Bolick et al. bib has a triangular hole for insertion of the client's head, thus, surrounding the neck. However, the Bolick et al. bib head opening also fails to provide a water tight seal around the neck.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,991,919 to Baggetto describes a stay dry collar that includes a triangular tuck panel that can be tucked underneath the client's collar with end portions that may be tied around the client's neck to secure the Baggetto device in place. The Baggetto device is flexible and moisture impermeable, thus, avoiding the wicking problem associated with the above-described devices and methods. The Baggetto device provides adequate protection directly behind the neck and for the client's clothing that it surrounds. However, the Baggetto device does not protect the client's clothing all the way around the neck. This is a problem immediately after completion of the rinse procedure and as the client sits up from the reclining chair for drying of the hair. Additionally, the Baggetto device may be uncomfortable when tied around the client's neck and the procedure for placing and tying the Baggetto device is time consuming for the cosmetology professional.

It would be advantageous to have a comfortable, neck and clothing protector that is impervious to liquids and, thus, protects the client's clothing during shampooing procedures. It would be advantageous to have a comfortable neck strip that is impervious to liquids and, thus, protects the client's neck from unsanitary conditions on the collar of a conventional cape used during various cosmetology services. It would also be advantageous if this protector or neck strip were capable of being wrapped all the way around the client's neck to provide protection to the front side of the client's clothing as well as the back side. Thus, there still exists a need in the art for an improved neck and clothing protector and method of using same.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention includes embodiments of a neck and clothing protector, a neck strip and a nail artist sheet and methods of using same that are especially designed for use in the cosmetology industry. Embodiments of the invention may include a rectangular strip of textured, flexible waterproof material of preselected dimensions wherein the body of the material is integral and does not have any scoring or perforations passing through its rectangular surface. The invention may be packaged in rolls, boxes or in hermetically sealed plastic packages to prevent contamination prior to use.

An embodiment of a neck strip for use in cosmetology services is disclosed. The neck strip may include a rectangular strip of textured, flexible, homogeneous and waterproof thermoplastic polymer material having a width, W, in the range from about 2 inches to about 4 inches, and a length, L, in the range from about 15 inches to about 24 inches.

An embodiment of a nail artist sheet for use in cosmetology services is disclosed. The nail artist sheet may include a rectangular strip of textured, flexible, homogenous and waterproof thermoplastic polymer material having a width, W, in the range from about 10 inches to about 20 inches and a length, L, in the range from about 15 inches to about 30 inches.

Embodiments of methods of using the neck strip and nail artist sheet disclosed herein are also disclosed according to the present invention.

The foregoing apparatuses, methods and other features, utilities, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following are brief descriptions of the drawings illustrating embodiments of the present invention. Additionally, like reference numerals refer to like parts in different views of the drawings. It should be noted that the elements shown within the drawings may not be shown to scale.

FIG. 1 is a plan view of an embodiment of a neck and clothing protector according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a plurality of the protectors each adjoined along lengthwise edges with perforations to allow for easy separation during dispensing according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a plurality of the protectors disclosed herein each stacked on top of each other for ease of dispensing according to the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart of an embodiment of a method of protecting the neck and clothing of a cosmetology client according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an image of an embodiment of a protector placed onto a client's neck and shoulders as viewed from the back and prior to being tucked into a client's shirt collar, according to a method embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is an image of the protector of FIG. 6 after tucking the protector into the client's shirt collar, according to a method embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the tucked protector shown in FIG. 6, according to a method embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a photographic image of an embodiment of a neck strip and three rolls of such neck strips for use in dispensing the neck strips according to the present invention.

FIGS. 9-11 are right-side, front and left-side views, respectively, of an embodiment of a neck strip applied to a cosmetology client's neck according to the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a drawing of a plan view of an embodiment of a neck strip according to the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a roll of neck strips each adjoined along lengthwise edges with perforations to allow for ease of separation during dispensing according to the present invention.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a box of neck strips for ease of dispensing according to the present invention.

FIG. 15 is a photographic image of two identical embodiments of a nail artist sheet according to the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a photographic image of an embodiment of a nail artist sheet resting on a table with a client's hands resting upon the nail artist sheet ready for manicure services, according to the present invention.

FIGS. 17 and 18 are additional views of a nail artist sheet as it might be used for a manicure, according to the present invention

FIG. 19 is a drawing of a plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a nail artist sheet according to the present invention.

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a roll of nail artist sheets each adjoined along lengthwise edges with perforations to allow for ease of separation during dispensing according to the present invention.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a box of nail artist sheets for ease of dispensing according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 is a plan view of an embodiment of a neck and clothing protector 100 according to the present invention. Protector 100 is designed to be a disposable, single-use neck and clothing protector for use in various cosmetology services, including shampooing, hair cuts, and styling and coloring procedures. Protector 100 may be generally rectangular in shape and formed of a textured, flexible waterproof material having a width, W, ranging from about 2 inches to about 4 inches, a length, L, ranging from about 14 inches to about 18 inches and a thickness, t, ranging from about 0.0015 inches to about 0.003 inches, wherein the protector is integral and does not have any scoring or perforations passing through its rectangular surface. The lack of scoring or perforations prevents leakage of water, chemicals or other contaminants through the textured, flexible waterproof material and provides structural integrity for the intended purpose of protector 100.

The textured, flexible waterproof material may be a thermoplastic polymer material according to embodiments of the present invention. The thermoplastic polymer material may comprise any suitable thermoplastic polymer material, for example and not by way of limitation, polyethylene, ethylene copolymers, polypropylene, polypropylene copolymers, polystyrene, polystyrene copolymers, polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl alcohol copolymers, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl chloride copolymers, polyvinyl acetate and vinyl acetate copolymers, according to various embodiments of protector 100.

Protector 100 may further include a marking 102 (shown in dotted line) running parallel to a lengthwise edge 104 of the protector 100 indicating an approximate fold line for a portion 106 of the protector configured to be tucked underneath a client's collar (not shown in FIG. 1) according to another embodiment of the present invention. The marking 102 may be spaced a distance, d, from a lengthwise edge 104 of the protector 100 according to an embodiment of the present invention. According to yet another embodiment of the present invention the distance, d, may be in the range from about 1 inch to about 5 inches. Protector 100 further includes opposing widthwise ends 108 which may be tucked under a client's chin.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a plurality of the protectors 100 each adjoined along lengthwise edges with perforations 202 to allow for easy separation during dispensing according to the present invention. As shown in FIG. 2, the plurality of protectors 100 may be configured in a roll 200 for dispensing.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a plurality of the protectors 100 stacked on top of each other for ease of dispensing according to the present invention. As shown in FIG. 3, the plurality of protectors 100 may include a box 300 having an opening for dispensing the stacked protectors.

The surface of a protector 100 may be soft and textured, but is not glossy in order to inhibit sticking to a client's skin according to an embodiment of the present invention. This is a particularly desirable feature because it improves over the conventional plastic wrap approach to solving the problem, because conventional plastic wrap is glossy and sticks to the client's skin. Thermoplastic polymer materials formed as closed-cell foam provides a textured, flexible and soft material suitable for protector 100. The thickness, t, of the thermoplastic polymer material used for embodiments of protector 100 of the present invention may range from about 0.0015 inches to about 0.003 inches.

Additional embodiments of protector 100 may be color coded, silk screened with identification or otherwise marked to indicate particular sizes. Various sizes of protector 100, e.g., small, medium and large sizes, may be provided for use with correspondingly sized clients. The use of different colored polystyrene protectors 100, each different color corresponding to a different size would allow for immediate visual identification of the particular size of the protector 100. Of course, marking each protector with a written indictor of size, e.g., silk screened markings, would also be within the scope of embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart of an embodiment of a method 400 of protecting the neck and clothing of a cosmetology client according to the present invention. Method 400 may include providing 402 a protector 100 as described above, i.e., configured as a rectangular strip of textured, flexible waterproof material, e.g., thermoplastic polymer material, having a width, W, ranging from about 2 inches to about 12 inches, a length, L, ranging from about 14 inches to about 18 inches and a thickness, t, ranging from about 0.0015 inches to about 0.003 inches according to an embodiment of the present invention. Providing 402 a protector 100 may include providing a rectangular strip of textured, flexible waterproof material having a width, W, of about 3 inches, a length, L, of about 17 inches and a thickness, t, of about 0.0017 inches according to a particular embodiment of the present invention.

Method 400 may further include wrapping 404 the protector 100 around the client's neck from back to front and tucking 406 a portion 106 of an upper lengthwise edge 104 of the protector 100 under a client's shirt collar according to an embodiment of the present invention. This feature of method 400 more fully protects the client's clothing by the liquid impervious protector surrounding the client's collar, thus, eliminating wetting or contamination by chemicals.

Method 400 may further include folding 408 widthwise ends 108 of the protector 100 under a client's chin according to an embodiment of the present invention. During shampooing procedures there is less need for protection of the front collar portion of the client's clothing. However, immediately after shampooing and rinsing, the client sits up and water or other contaminates could soil the client's front collar portion by simply dripping down along the client's skin. Thus, the protector 100 according to method 400 allows for full protection of the client's clothing, i.e., both back and front.

Method 400 may further include optionally wrapping 410 a towel around the protector and the client's neck. Method 400 may also be practiced without wrapping 410 a towel around the protector and the client's neck. Method 400 may further include wrapping 412 a plastic cape over the protector and the optionally wrapped towel from front to back and fastening the plastic cape in the back to obtain a protected client according to embodiments of the present invention.

Method 400 may further include performing 414 a cosmetology procedure on the client's head according to an embodiment of the present invention. The cosmetology procedure may be, for example and not by way of limitation: cleaning the client's hair by shampooing, rinsing, conditioning and rinsing, cutting the client's hair, styling, coloring, makeup application or any other suitable procedure that might be applied to the client's head whereby protection according to the methods and devices of the present invention is desirable.

When the cosmetology procedure is completed, or at any other time that the client or cosmetologist desires to remove the protector 100, method 400 may further include unprotecting the client by reversing the aforementioned method steps 402-412 to return the client to original configuration according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an image of an embodiment of a protector 100 placed onto a client's neck 500 (see also FIGS. 6-7) and shoulders 502 (see also FIG. 7) as viewed from the back, shown generally at arrow 504, and prior to being tucked into a client's shirt collar (underneath protector 100, and see 700 in FIG. 7). FIG. 5 also illustrates the wrapping 404 step of method 400 (FIG. 4).

FIG. 6 is an image of the protector 100 shown in FIG. 6 after tucking the protector 100 into the client's shirt collar. The client's shirt collar is not shown in FIG. 6, but, it is located underneath protector 100 at neckline 600. The client's shirt collar is shown at 700 in FIG. 7. FIG. 6 also illustrates the tucking 406 step of method 400 (FIG. 4).

FIG. 7 is a side view of the tucked protector 100 shown in FIG. 6. As seen in FIG. 7, the embodiment of protector 100 is of a length that does not wrap completely around underneath the client's chin 702. Other embodiments of protector 100 (not shown) may be of sufficient length that the widthwise ends of the protector 100 could be folded over each other under the client's chin 702 as described in the folding 408 step of method 400. However, the folding 408 step is inherently optional depending on the length and configuration of protector 100 relative to the client's neck size.

FIG. 8 is a photographic image of an embodiment of a neck strip 1100 and three rolls 1102 of such neck strips 1100 for use in dispensing the neck strips 1100 according to the present invention. FIGS. 9-11 are right-side, front and left-side views, respectively, of an embodiment of a neck strip 1100 applied to the neck 1202 of a cosmetology client 1204 according to the present invention. Neck strips 1100 are configured to be placed around the neck 1202 of a cosmetology client 1204. A single neck strip 1100 may be applied from back 1206 to front 1208 around the neck 1202 with ends crossing over at the front 1208 of the neck 1202 along the client's collar bones (not shown). Conversely, as best shown in FIG. 10 (but see also FIGS. 9 and 11), the neck strip 1100 may be applied from front 1208 to back 1206 around the neck 1202 with neck strip 1100 ends 1210 crossing over 1212 at the back 1206 of the neck 1202 of the client.

According to one embodiment, neck strip 1100 is designed to be a disposable, single-use, sanitary neck protector for use in various cosmetology services, including shampooing, haircuts and styling and coloring procedures. According to another embodiment, the neck strips 1100 may be configured for machine washing, in a light cycle with cold water and air dried for sanitary reuse. Another feature of the neck strip 1100 of the present invention is its natural ability to attract clipped hair because of static electricity. Yet another feature is that neck strip 1100 protects the client's clothing from damage caused by the chemicals or cosmetic solutions being used in a given cosmetology service. An important feature of all embodiments of the neck strip 1100 is that the client 1204 using the neck strip 1100 is protected from any bacteria that may be present on the cape 1218 that is used over and over again with multiple clients before it is eventually washed or cleaned. Thus, neck strip 1100 provides sanitary protection from reused capes 1218 which may have come in contact with any number of previous clients 1204.

FIG. 12 is a drawing of a plan view of an embodiment of a neck strip 1100 according to the present invention. Embodiments of neck strips 1100 may be generally rectangular in shape and formed of a textured, flexible waterproof material having a width, W, in the range from about 2 inches to about 4 inches, a length, L, in the range from about 15 inches to about 24 inches and a thickness ranging from about 0.0015 inches to about 0.003 inches. Two presently preferred embodiments of the neck strip 1100 come in a medium and large size. The medium sized neck strip 1100 has dimensions of approximately 2.5″×17″. The large size neck strip 1100 has dimensions of approximately 2.5″×20″. It will be understood that many other rectangular and roughly rectangular dimensions may be used with a neck strip 1100 according to the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the present invention.

The body or rectangular surface of the neck strip 1100 is integral and does not have any scoring or perforations passing through its body or rectangular surface. The lack of scoring or perforations in the rectangular body of the neck strip 1100 prevents leakage of water, chemicals or other contaminants through the textured, flexible waterproof material and provides structural integrity for the intended purpose of neck strip 1100.

The textured, flexible waterproof material may be a thermoplastic polymer material according to embodiments of the present invention. The thermoplastic polymer material may comprise any suitable thermoplastic polymer material, for example and not by way of limitation, polyethylene, ethylene copolymers, polypropylene, polypropylene copolymers, polystyrene, polystyrene copolymers, polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl alcohol copolymers, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl chloride copolymers, polyvinyl acetate and vinyl acetate copolymers, according to various embodiments of neck strip 1100.

Referring again to FIG. 8, rolls 1102 of neck strips 1100 may be perforated along adjoining widthwise edges 1210 for the convenience of easy separation by pulling apart adjacent neck strips 1100. Alternatively as shown in FIG. 13, rolls 1302 of neck strips 1100 may be perforated 1216 (dotted lines) along lengthwise edges 1214 (FIG. 12) of each neck strip 1100 in the roll 1302. FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a plurality of neck strips 1100 each adjoined along lengthwise edges 1214 (FIG. 12) with perforations 1216 to allow for easy separation during dispensing according to the present invention. As shown in FIG. 13, the plurality of protectors 1100 may be configured in a wide roll 1302 for dispensing of individual neck strips 1100 as needed.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a plurality of neck strips 1100 (only one shown) stacked on top of each other for ease of dispensing according to the present invention. As shown in FIG. 14, the plurality of neck strips 1100 may include a box 1300 having an opening 1304 for dispensing the stacked neck strips 1100.

The surface of a neck strip 1100 may be soft and textured, but is not glossy in order to inhibit sticking to a client's skin according to an embodiment of the present invention. This is a particularly desirable feature because it improves over the conventional plastic wrap approach to solving the problem, because conventional plastic wrap is glossy and sticks to the client's skin. Thermoplastic polymer materials formed as closed-cell foam provides a suitable textured, flexible and soft material suitable for neck strip 1100. The thickness, t, of the thermoplastic polymer material used for embodiments of neck strip 1100 of the present invention may range from about 0.0015 inches to about 0.003 inches.

Additional embodiments of neck strip 1100 may be color coded, silk screened with identification or otherwise marked to indicate particular sizes. Various sizes of neck strip 1100, e.g., small, medium and large sizes may be provided for use with correspondingly sized clients. The use of different colored polystyrene neck strips 1100, each different color corresponding to a different size would allow for immediate visual identification of the particular size of the neck strip 1100. Of course, marking each neck strip 1100 with a written indictor of size, e.g., silk screened markings, would also be within the scope of embodiments of the present invention.

Yet another embodiment of the present invention is a nail artist sheet and method of using same. In its most general embodiment, a nail artist sheet provides a sanitary, lint free barrier between the working surface, e.g., a table, inside surface of a soaking tub, or floor, and the client's hands or feet. The nail artist sheet forms a covering on a working surface upon which the nail artist performs a manicure or pedicure. An important feature of all embodiments of the nail artist sheet disclosed herein is that the client using the nail artist sheet is protected from any bacteria that may be present on the table, or other working surface, e.g., pedicure soaking tub or floor, upon which the client's arms/hands or legs/feet may be resting during the cosmetology service being performed. Thus, a nail artist sheet according to the present invention provides sanitary protection for the client during such cosmetology services.

FIG. 15 is a photographic image of two identical embodiments of a nail artist sheet 2100 according to the present invention. FIG. 16 is a photographic image of an embodiment of a nail artist sheet 2100 resting on a table 2102 with a client's hands 2104 resting upon the nail artist sheet 2100 ready for manicure services, according to the present invention. FIGS. 17 and 18 are additional views of a nail artist sheet 2100 as it might be used for a manicure, according to the present invention. More particularly, FIGS. 17 and 18 show a nail artist sheet 2100 on a table 2102 with a nail artist 2106 holding the hand 2104 of a client ready for a manicure service. In the configuration shown in FIGS. 17 and 18, the nail artist sheet 2100 provides a sanitary barrier between the client 2104 and the table 2102. This sanitary barrier formed by the nail artist sheet 2100 prevents the transmission of bacteria present in the hands of either the client 2104 or artist 2106 to the table 2102. The nail artist sheet 2100 also prevents contamination, staining or damage to the table 2102 by various chemicals and service by-products resulting from the cosmetology services, e.g., nail polish remover, nail enamel, abraded skin (epidermis), nail clippings or dust from emery boards or files, etc. Conversely, the nail artist sheet 2100 prevents the transmission of these same kinds of bacteria or contaminants from the table 2102 to the client 2104 or the nail artist 2106.

FIG. 19 is a drawing of a plan view of an embodiment of a nail artist sheet 2100 according to the present invention. Embodiments of nail artist sheets 2100 may be generally rectangular in shape and formed of a textured, flexible waterproof material having a width, W, in the range from about 10 inches to about 20 inches, a length, L, in the range from about 15 inches to about 30 inches and a thickness ranging from about 0.0015 inches to about 0.003 inches. A presently preferred embodiment of the nail artist sheet 2100 comes in width, W, of about 11″ to about 12″ and a length, L, of about 16″ to about 18″. It will be understood that many other rectangular and other polygonal or circular shapes and dimensions may be used with a nail artist sheet 2100 according to the present invention without departing from the scope or spirit of the present invention.

The body or rectangular surface of a nail artist sheet 2100 is integral and does not have any scoring or perforations passing through its body or rectangular surface. The lack of scoring or perforations in the rectangular body of the nail artist sheet 2100 prevents leakage of water, chemicals or other contaminants through the textured, flexible waterproof material and provides structural integrity for the intended purpose of the nail artist sheet 2100.

The textured, flexible waterproof material from which a nail artist sheet 2100 is formed, may be a thermoplastic polymer material according to various embodiments of the present invention. The thermoplastic polymer material may comprise any suitable thermoplastic polymer material, for example and not by way of limitation, polyethylene, ethylene copolymers, polypropylene, polypropylene copolymers, polystyrene, polystyrene copolymers, polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl alcohol copolymers, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl chloride copolymers, polyvinyl acetate and vinyl acetate copolymers, according to various embodiments of nail artist sheet 2100.

FIG. 20 illustrates a roll 2302 for dispensing the nail artist sheets 2100 for use, according to the present invention. Each roll 2302 of nail artist sheets 2100 may be perforated 2216 (shown as a dotted line) along adjacent lengthwise edges 2214 of each nail artist sheet 2100. The perforations 2216 between adjacent nail artist sheets 2100 allows for easy separation during dispensing of the nail artist sheets 2100, according to an embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 20, the plurality of nail artist sheets 2100 may be configured in a wide roll 2302 for dispensing of individual nail artist sheets 2100 as needed.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a plurality of nail artist sheets 2100 (only one shown) stacked on top of each other in a box 2300 for ease of dispensing according to the present invention. As shown in FIG. 21, the plurality of nail artist sheets 2100 may include a box 2300 having an opening 2304 for dispensing the stacked nail artist sheets 2100, one at a time.

The surface of a nail artist sheet 2100 may be soft and textured, but is not glossy in order to inhibit sticking to a client's skin according to an embodiment of the present invention. Thermoplastic polymer materials formed as closed-cell foam provides a suitable textured, flexible and soft material suitable for a nail artist sheet 2100. The thickness, t, of the thermoplastic polymer material used for embodiments of a nail artist sheet 2100 according to the present invention may range from about 0.0015 inches to about 0.003 inches. Another desirable feature of a nail artist sheet 2100 is that it is lint free, unlike when using a conventional towel or other laundered cloth.

Additional embodiments of nail artist sheet 2100 may be colored, silk screened or printed with identification or otherwise marked to indicate particular sizes or identifying information. Various sizes of nail artist sheet 2100, e.g., small, medium and large sizes may be provided for use in various particular applications according to embodiments of the present invention. Of course, the use of colorings and markings for various embodiments of each nail artist sheet 2100 is contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.

An embodiment of a method for using a nail artist sheet is disclosed according to the present invention. The method may include providing a nail artist sheet, comprising a rectangular strip of textured, flexible waterproof material having a width, W, in the range from about 10 inches to about 20 inches and a length, L, in the range from about 15 inches to about 30 inches. The method may further include placing the nail artist sheet on a nail artist work surface. The method may further include performing nail artist services on a client's nails above the nail artist sheet.

The invention, as defined by the claims below, is intended to cover all changes and modifications to the embodiments of the invention as described herein which do not depart from the spirit of the invention. The words “including” and “having,” as used in the specification, including the claims, shall have the same meaning as the word “comprising.”

Although this invention has been described with reference to particular illustrated embodiments, the invention is not limited to the embodiments described. Rather, it should be understood that the embodiments described herein are merely exemplary and that a person skilled in the art may make many variations and modifications without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.