Title:
PACKAGING AND APPLICATOR ASSEMBLY FOR APPLYING A COMPOSITION
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An assembly for applying a cosmetic composition, the assembly having an applicator and a drive system for driving a closure cap. The applicator having a closure cap for closing a container, the closure cap having first fixing means configured to cooperate with second fixing means of the container for fixing the closure cap on the container, and the applicator has an applicator member. The drive system having a motor and means for securing together the applicator and the drive system, and for enabling the motor to rotate the closure cap and the applicator member.



Inventors:
Gueret, Jean-louis (Paris, FR)
Application Number:
12/936103
Publication Date:
05/05/2011
Filing Date:
04/07/2009
Assignee:
L'OREAL (PARIS, FR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
132/286
International Classes:
B65D69/00; A45D40/18
View Patent Images:



Foreign References:
WO2006090343A12006-08-31
Primary Examiner:
KALACH, BRIANNE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLIFF PLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. An assembly for applying a cosmetic composition, the assembly comprising: an applicator comprising: a closure cap for closing a container, comprising first fixing means configured to cooperate with second fixing means of said container for fixing the closure cap on said container; and an applicator member; a drive system for driving the closure cap, the drive system comprising: a motor; and means for securing together the applicator and the drive system, and for enabling the motor to rotate the closure cap and the applicator member.

2. An assembly according to claim 1, said means comprising a first coupler member on the applicator, and a second coupler member on the drive system, arranged to co-operate with the first coupler member.

3. An assembly according to claim 1, the drive system being arranged to be fastened on the cap by clamping, by crimping, by snap-fastening, by screw-fastening, by magnetic attraction, or by any combination of said means.

4. An assembly according to claim 2, the drive system including tabs that are suitable for snap-fastening on a chimney of the cap.

5. An assembly according to claim 1, the drive system including a housing in which the applicator is engaged in part.

6. An assembly according to claim 1, the drive system including a casing that comprises two half shells that are connected together via one or more hinges.

7. An assembly according to claim 1, the drive system including an electric contactor for initiating operation of the electric motor, the control surface on which the user presses for engaging the contactor being situated on the side of the drive system.

8. An assembly according to claim 1, the drive system including means that make it possible to hold the closure cap axially on the drive system, said means being distinct from the means used to transmit the torque for rotating the cap.

9. An assembly according to claim 1, the cap including an inlet shaft and the drive system including an outlet shaft, the inlet shaft and the outlet shaft being arranged to be engaged one inside the other when the cap is put into place on the drive system.

10. An assembly according to claim 9, the inlet shaft being molded integrally with a transverse wall of the closure cap.

11. An assembly according to claim 9, the inlet shaft being molded integrally with a mounting skirt and/or a chimney for fastening the drive system.

12. An assembly according to claim 1, the drive system including a vibration source, or being arranged to receive such a vibration source, said vibration source possibly being removable.

13. An assembly according to claim 1, the applicator member presenting a side surface having a distance to the axis of rotation that is not constant in a plane that is perpendicular to the axis of rotation.

14. An assembly according to claim 1, the closure cap comprising at least one of a threaded skirt configured to cooperate with a receiving thread on the container, a skirt comprising a relief configured to snap fasten on a receiving surface of the container, a skirt configured to be fixed on the container via a baionet like cooperation.

15. A packaging and applicator device including a container and a closure cap that is arranged to be coupled to a drive system including an electric motor, the closure cap being made with first coupler means that may co-operate with second coupler means of the drive system.

Description:

The present disclosure relates to packaging and applicator assemblies for applying a cosmetic composition.

Mascara applicators including a handle housing an electric motor for rotating a stem provided at its end with an applicator member are known. At its end remote from the stem, the handle includes a selector making it possible to select the direction of rotation of the applicator member. The handle is for screwing on the threaded neck of a container containing the composition for application. Such a device is of relatively complex construction since the handle must close the container in a leaktight manner, whilst also allowing the stem to rotate relative to the grip surface of the handle.

US application No. 2007/0272269 A1 discloses another device of that type, in which the applicator member is detachable.

US application No. 2007/018694811 describes a rotary mascara applicator, in which the stem is rotated relative to the closure cap.

WO 2006/130642 A1 discloses a vibrator applicator.

DE 199 50 665, FR 2 884 122 and WO 2007/094552 disclose a rotary applicator.

A problem that may exist while using a rotary applicator is that of depositing composition in satisfactory manner, without any risk of eyelashes being pulled out by being caught too strongly by the applicator member.

There exists a need to improve still further applicators for applying cosmetic compositions.

In one of its aspects, the invention provides an applicator assembly for applying a cosmetic composition, the assembly comprising:

    • an applicator comprising:
      • a closure cap for closing the container; and
      • an applicator member;
    • a drive system for driving the cap, the drive system comprising:
      • a motor; and
      • means for securing together the applicator and the drive system, and for enabling the motor to rotate the closure cap and the applicator member.

The closure cap is thus constrained to move with the applicator member and in particular with a stem, the distal end of which supports the applicator member.

The means may comprise a first coupler member on the applicator, and a second coupler member on the drive system, arranged to co-operate with the first coupler member.

The assembly may include the container on which the closure cap is mounted in order to close it.

The closure cap may be releasably mounted on the drive system or may not be releasably mounted.

The closure cap is releasably mounted on the container.

The closure cap may comprise a first fixing means (e.g. a threaded skirt) configured for cooperating with a second fixing means (e.g. receiving thread on the container), a skirt comprising a relief configured to snap fasten on a receiving surface of the container, or a skirt configured to be fixed on the container via a baionet like cooperation.

The closure cap may be provided with first fixing means that necessitate a rotational movement for disengaging the closure cap from the container, for example a thread or a baionet like fixation. The second fixing means on the container may comprise a thread or any groove or projection allowing a baionet like cooperation.

The first fixing means may extend around or inside the container, for example around or inside a neck of the container.

The closure cap may comprise a prehension surface that remains apparent when the applicator is secured to the drive system.

The closure cap may comprise a transverse wall supporting the stem supporting the applicator member, and such transverse wall may be void of orifice.

The motor may be an electric motor.

Initially, the assembly may be supplied to the user within a single package that may be of any type, e.g., a box, a blister pack, a bag, a case. The applicator and the container may be made available to the user assembled together, and assembly of the drive system may involve mounting on the applicator. The drive system may also be pre-assembled on the applicator. A plurality of different applicators may be made available within a single package, together with a drive system that is suitable for being mounted on at least two of the applicators, e.g. on each of the applicators.

By means of the invention, the closure cap and the drive system thereof may be made very simply, without any complex device for closing the container in leaktight manner when the drive system and the container are secured together, since sealing may be provided in conventional manner by the cap.

The closure cap may be arranged to be fastened on the container by clamping, by screw-fastening, by snap-fastening, by crimping, by magnetic attraction, or by any combination of said means, or in some other way.

The closure cap may comprise a tubular skirt provided with an internal thread. The closure cap may comprise a transverse wall to which connects the tubular skirt on one side. The other side may support a coupler member.

The closure cap may extend over a neck of the container to which it is secured when the container is closed. The closure cap may be fixed around part of the container and/or inside the container.

In an embodiment of the invention, the drive system includes a housing in which the applicator is engaged in part. In a variant, the closure cap includes a housing in which the drive system is engaged in part.

The drive system may be fastened in optionally-removable manner on the cap by clamping, by snap-fastening, by screw-fastening, by magnetic attraction, or by any combination of said means, and said fastening may be capable of transmitting torque. The means for securing together the applicator and the drive system may also include adhesive or heat-sealing when the drive system does not need to be removable.

The assembly may include at least a second applicator that is different from the first, and the drive system may be coupled selectively to the corresponding cap. This makes it possible to use a single drive system with different applicators.

The length of the drive system is preferably less than or equal to the length of the applicator. This may make it easier to handle the device during application, and may enable the user to manipulate the assembly more or less like a conventional applicator.

The drive system may include a casing that comprises two half shells for example, that are connected together via one or more hinges for example, that may be film hinges that are molded out of thermoplastic material integrally with the half shells.

The drive system may include a power supply that is constituted by one or more batteries of the button or round type.

The drive system may also include an electric contactor for initiating operation of the electric motor.

The electric contactor advantageously presents momentary contact, and the control surface on which the user presses for engaging the contactor may be situated on the side of the drive system so as to enable the user to press thereon, e.g. with the thumb or index finger, while the applicator member is in contact with the zone being made up.

The drive system may include means that make it possible to hold the closure cap axially on the drive system. These means may be distinct from the means used to transmit torque. The torque transmitted is enough for applying makeup, and possibly for enabling the closure cap to be screwed on the container by manually turning the drive system relative to the container until it is closed in leaktight manner.

The cap may include an inlet shaft (also named input shaft) and the drive system may include an outlet shaft (also named output shaft). The inlet shaft and the outlet shaft may be engaged one inside the other when the cap is put into place on the drive system. For example, the inlet shaft may be hollow and may be molded out of thermoplastic material integrally with at least a portion of the cap. By way of example, the outlet shaft is metal. The inlet shaft and the outlet shaft may present cross-sections of corresponding shape that are not circularly symmetrical, e.g., each includes a flat or at least one spline.

The co-operation between the inlet shaft and the outlet shaft may ensure that torque is transmitted, the closure cap possibly being held on the drive system by distinct means, e.g. resilient tabs made with one of the drive system and the cap, the tabs snap-fastening onto a corresponding portion in relief of the other one of the drive system and the cap. In some embodiments of the disclosure, the holding means may not themselves prevent the cap from rotating relative to the drive system.

The closure cap may present an outside surface that substantially continues an outside surface of the drive system when the closure cap and the drive system are coupled together. This may contribute to the appearance of the assembly.

The drive system may include a skirt that comes to cover a major portion, or indeed all, of the closure cap once said closure cap is in place in the drive system. This may reduce the risk of the user holding the cap during application, thereby hindering rotation.

The cap may be arranged to be held axially in the housing defined by the skirt via portions in relief that co-operate with the skirt and with the cap, the portions in relief comprising grooves, beads, or annular shoulders, for example, on one of the cap and the skirt.

The drive system is preferably mounted on the cap in removable manner so as to make it easy for the user to separate them if need be, e.g., to reduce the bulkiness of the assembly, or to change applicator.

The drive system may include a vibration source, or it may be arranged to receive such a vibration source, said vibration source possibly being removable, where appropriate.

The vibration source makes it possible to subject the applicator member to vibration while the composition is being applied, and that may improve the makeup result.

By way of example, the vibration frequency lies in the range 0.5 Hertz (Hz) to 1000 Hz, better 1 Hz to 500 Hz. By way of example, the vibration may be oriented parallel to the axis of rotation, or transversally relative thereto, e.g., perpendicularly to the axis of rotation, or at an angle of inclination that may be adjusted by the user.

The vibration source may be specifically for use on the drive system, or, in a variant, it may also be suitable for mounting directly on an applicator, on a finger, or on a container. Where appropriate, the assembly may be arranged so as to make it possible to modify the orientation of the vibration relative to the axis of rotation, thereby possibly varying effects and adapting to different applicators, for example.

The speed of rotation of the applicator member lies in the range 3 revolutions per minute (rpm) to 1500 rpm, for example, or in the range 4 rpm to 200 rpm, better in the range 5 rpm to 120 rpm, e.g. being about 60 rpm.

The drive system may comprise a variable speed drive allowing the user to select a speed.

The drive system may include a torque limiter.

The applicator member, in particular when it is for coming into contact with the eyelashes, may present a side surface having a distance to the axis of rotation that is not constant in a plane that is perpendicular to said axis of rotation, so that rotation causes the eyelashes to be raised or lowered. Such movement may improve the contact between the eyelashes and the application surface. The term “side surface” should be understood to mean the envelope surface defined by the free ends of the bristles when the applicator member includes flocking or brush bristles.

The invention also provides a packaging and applicator device including a container and a closure cap that is arranged to be coupled to a drive system that includes an electric motor.

The closure cap may be made with first coupler means that may co-operate with second coupler means of the drive system, e.g., an inlet shaft that is molded integrally with the closure cap.

By way of example, the inlet shaft is molded integrally with a mounting skirt of the closure cap, via which, said closure cap is mounted on the container.

The closure cap may present a rear portion, remote from the stem supporting the applicator member, that presents a shape that is not circularly symmetrical, so as to make it easier to transmit torque.

The closure cap may include a chimney inside which the inlet shaft extends. The inlet shaft may be hollow and may present a section that is not circular, e.g. with a flat.

The applicator member may be flocked or not flocked, and may have a shape that is not circularly symmetrical. The applicator member may be void of teeth or recesses.

The applicator member may be molded e.g., from plastic, or may be made in metal or other inorganic material.

The vibration source may be configured to be mounted in at least two different orientations relative to the applicator. For example, the closure cap may comprise two housings in which the vibration source may be received with two different orientations relative to the applicator member. One housing may be axially oriented and the other housing may extend perpendicularly to the rotation axis.

The presence of flocking, combined with rotation and/or vibration may make application gentle and avoid removing composition that is already present on the eyelashes. Rotation makes it possible to spread the composition along the eyelashes, and to curl them or to extend them.

In addition, flocking may avoid catching the eyelashes too strongly, sticking to them, or pulling them, thus limiting the risk of eyelashes being lost in use.

A conventional method of applying flocking electrostatically makes it possible to distribute bristles randomly and relatively evenly on the body of the applicator member, if so desired.

When the applicator member includes flocking, the lengths of the flock bristles lie in the range 0.2 millimeters (mm) to 2 mm, for example. The bristles may have a linear density lying in the range 0.7 decitex (dtex) to 3.3 dtex, e.g., 0.9 dtex. As a function of the length of the flock bristles, the linear density may be different. For example, flock-bristle lengths of 0.2 mm, 0.5 mm, 1.2 mm, and 1.5 mm have respective linear densities of 1.7 dtex, 0.7 dtex, 3 dtex, and 3.3 dtex.

The applicator member may be flocked with a least two different kinds of flock bristles.

The applicator member may comprise foam having cells that are open or closed, the cells possibly being of various sizes, the foam optionally being flocked.

The applicator member may also comprise a woven fabric, a non-woven fabric, a membrane, or a paint brush, optionally with flocking on said elements.

The closure cap may have a mounting skirt that is relatively short for mounting on the container, the applicator being gripped by means of the drive system. By way of example, the length of the mounting skirt is less than or equal to 20 mm.

In another of its aspects, the invention also provides a method of applying makeup, in particular to the skin, the lips, the nails, or the eyelashes, more particularly the eyelashes, in which use is made of the applicator of an assembly as defined above.

The applicator member may be rotated by the motor, while the user holds the drive system in stationary manner between at least two digits of one hand.

The applicator member may be rotated on being brought into engagement with the region being treated, or after such engagement.

The user may apply makeup to a single region of the body or of the face, e.g., the eyelashes, by alternating between using the applicator with rotation and without rotation.

The applicator member may be brought into contact with the region being treated, in particular the eyelashes, via its side surface, its axis of rotation X being oriented substantially perpendicularly to the eyelashes, for example.

Where appropriate, while turning the applicator about its own axis by means of the drive system, the user may also move it along the eyelashes, e.g., towards the tips thereof. It may turn out to be preferable for the applicator member to rotate towards the tips of the eyelashes.

The applicator member may present a side surface having a distance to the axis of rotation that is not constant in a plane that is perpendicular to the axis of rotation. Thus, when the applicator is rotated, the eyelashes that are in contact with the side surface may oscillate because of the variation in the distance to the axis of rotation of the application surface, said oscillation occurring essentially in a plane that is perpendicular to the axis of rotation.

The applicator member may be rotated with or without vibration generated by the vibration source, if any.

The applicator member may present a flocked surface that is used for application.

The flocked applicator member may present a body made of a preferably flexible thermoplastic material having a section that is not circular, e.g., generally polygonal, in particular generally triangular, with a mixture of bristles as flocking, for example. The body may be made of thermoplastic elastomer. The body may also be made of metal, wood, or glass, or of thermosettable materials. The mixture may include bristles of different lengths and/or of different diameters.

The applicator member may be used to apply the composition, but said composition or another composition may have already been deposited by means of another applicator.

The applicator member may include heater means.

The applicator member may be magnetizable or magnetized, e.g., with a body including a magnet or a dispersion of particles having magnetic susceptibility that is not zero.

At its end, the applicator member may include a tip for drawing a line. Rotating the point about its own axis, in alignment with the axis of rotation, may improve the deposition of composition while the line is being drawn.

In another of its aspects, the invention also provides a device for applying makeup to the eyelashes, the device comprising:

    • a flocked applicator member, in particular including a mixture of flock bristles; and
    • a motor for rotating the applicator member.

The device may include a vibration source.

The applicator member may present one of the above-mentioned characteristics.

The body supporting the flocking bristles may be made of a thermoplastic material, with or without localized portions in relief.

In particular, the body may present a cross-section that is circular, polygonal, optionally tapering or flaring, ribbed, optionally off-center, optionally solid, with or without a concave surface.

The invention also provides a method of applying makeup to the eyelashes in which a composition is applied to the eyelashes by means of a flocked applicator member that is rotated, the flocking being supported by the body of the applicator member and not by bristles of a twisted-core brush. The applicator member may be subjected to vibration during application.

The invention also provides a packaging and applicator device including a container and a closure cap that is arranged to be coupled to a drive system including an electric motor, the closure cap being made with first coupler means that may co-operate with second coupler means of the drive system.

The invention may be better understood on reading the following detailed description of non-limiting embodiments thereof, and on examining the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevation view showing an embodiment of a packaging and applicator assembly made in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 shows the drive system and the applicator of FIG. 1, in their uncoupled state;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary view of the closure cap of the FIG. 2 applicator, shown in isolation;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section on IV-IV of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary and diagrammatic axial section of the FIG. 2 drive system;

FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic cross-section on VI-VI of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 shows the applicator and the drive system of FIG. 2, in their coupled state;

FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic and fragmentary plan view showing an embodiment of the drive system, the casing thereof being open;

FIGS. 9 and 10 are diagrammatic and fragmentary longitudinal sections, respectively showing two embodiments of the top portion of the container;

FIG. 11 is a view similar to FIG. 7, showing a variant embodiment of the drive system;

FIG. 12 is a view similar to FIG. 11, showing a variant embodiment with a vibration source fitted thereon;

FIG. 13 shows, in isolation, an example of a vibration source that is suitable for being mounted on the FIG. 12 drive system;

FIG. 14 shows a variant embodiment of the drive system with a vibration source integrated therein;

FIG. 15 shows a variant embodiment of the coupler means for coupling together the closure cap and the drive system;

FIG. 16 is a cross-section on XVI-XVI of FIG. 15;

FIGS. 17 and 18 respectively show two other variant embodiments of the coupler means for coupling together the closure cap and the drive system;

FIGS. 19 and 20 are front views on XIX and XX respectively of FIG. 18;

FIGS. 21 and 22 show another variant embodiment of the coupler means for coupling together the closure cap and the drive system;

FIGS. 23 and 24 show other variant embodiments of the coupler means for coupling together the drive system and the closure cap;

FIG. 25 is a section on XXV-XXV of FIG. 24;

FIGS. 26 to 35 show variant embodiments of the applicator member;

FIGS. 36 to 49 show variant embodiments, in cross-section, of the applicator member;

FIGS. 50 and 51 show the possibility of using mixtures of bristles to make the flocking of the applicator member;

FIGS. 52, 53 and 53A to 53E show other variants of applicator members;

FIG. 54 is a diagrammatic elevation view showing a variant of a device;

FIG. 55 is a fragmentary and diagrammatic longitudinal section showing the FIG. 54 device;

FIG. 56 shows a variant of an applicator;

FIG. 57 shows a detail of the FIG. 56 drive system;

FIGS. 58 and 59 are fragmentary and diagrammatic views showing an assembly constituting a variant embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 60 is a fragmentary axial section of the drive system of FIGS. 58 and 59;

FIG. 61 shows another example of an applicator member;

FIG. 62 shows a variant embodiment; and

FIGS. 63 and 64 show variants of fixing means for fixing the closure cap on the container.

FIG. 1 shows a packaging and applicator assembly 10 comprising a packaging and applicator device 20 and a drive system 30.

The device 20 includes an applicator 21 that comprises, for example, a stem 22 that is provided at one end with an applicator member 23, and at its other end with a closure cap 24 that is arranged to close, in leaktight manner, a container 26 containing the composition for application, e.g. a mascara.

As shown in FIG. 9, the container 26 may include a neck 27, e.g. an externally-threaded neck. The cap 24 may be fastened on the neck 27, e.g. by screw-fastening.

The container 26 may be provided with a wiper member 28, making it possible to wipe the stem 22 of the applicator while the applicator member 23 is being removed. In a variant, as shown in FIG. 10, the neck 27 of the container 26 need not be provided with such a wiper member.

In the embodiment in FIG. 9, the wiper member 28 is in the form of a separate part, fitted by friction and/or by snap-fastening in the neck 27. The invention is not limited to a particular wiper member 28, and said wiper member may be made in various shapes. The wiper member may be molded out of a thermoplastic material, in particular an elastomer, or it may comprise a foam. Other examples of wiper members are disclosed in particular in publications FR 2 888 007 and FR 2 894 792.

The drive system 30 makes it possible to rotate the cap 24 and the applicator member 23 about an axis of rotation X while the applicator member 23 is in contact with the zone being treated.

In the embodiment shown, the stem 22 is rectilinear and may be of longitudinal axis that is parallel to, better that coincides with, the axis of rotation X.

In the embodiment shown, the drive system 30 includes a contactor 33 that enables the user, by pressing thereon, to control rotation of the applicator 21.

In the embodiment under consideration, the drive system 30 includes a casing 31, and, at rest, the contactor 33 projects from the side surface of the casing 31 in such a manner as to enable the user to hold the drive system 30, e.g. between the thumb and the index finger, as shown in FIG. 7, while pressing on the contactor 33 if so desired, so as to initiate rotation of the applicator.

By way of example, the casing 31 is made by assembling two half-shells 42 and 43, as shown in FIG. 8. The half-shells 42 and 43 may be interconnected by one or more hinges 45, e.g. film hinges made by being molded integrally with the half shells 42 and 43.

By way of example, one of the half shells may carry the contactor 33, and the other half shell may house an electric motor 48 and an electricity source constituted by one or more batteries 49, e.g. 1.5 volt (V) batteries.

In FIG. 8, the electric contacts and conductors forming the electric portion of the contactor 33 and connecting said contactor to the batteries 49 and to the electric motor 48 are not shown for the purpose of clarity of the drawing.

Where appropriate, and as shown, the motor 48 may be associated with a speed-reducing gearbox 50 that includes an outlet shaft.

The gearbox 50 may be arranged in such a manner that the speed of rotation of the outlet shaft 51 lies in the range 1 rpm to 300 rpm. Where appropriate, an electric motor is used without a gearbox, e.g. a stepper motor. By way of example, the power supply voltage of the motor 48 is less than or equal to 6 V, e.g. lying in the range 3 V to 6 V.

The drive system 30 may be arranged to be fastened on the closure cap 24, while enabling said closure cap to rotate relative to the casing 31.

In the embodiment under consideration, the casing 31 includes tabs 53 that may be snap-fastened on at least one portion in relief 55 of the closure cap 24, thereby ensuring that the closure cap 24 is held axially on the drive system 30, while enabling said closure cap to rotate relative to the casing 31. The tabs 53 hold the closure cap 24 loosely enough not to prevent the cap 24 from rotating relative to the casing 31.

By way of example, the fastener portion in relief 55 is in the form of an annular bead that projects from a chimney 57 of the cap 24. In a variant, the fastener portion in relief is not continuous, e.g. being made up of fins that are separated angularly from one another.

By way of example, the chimney 57 is made integrally with a mounting skirt 60 and a transverse wall 61 by molding a plastics material. The transverse wall may support the stem 22 that may be molded integrally with the transverse wall 61 and the mounting skirt 60, for example. In a variant, the stem 22 may be made integrally with a sub-cap that is fastened inside the cap 24.

The length of the mounting skirt 60 may correspond substantially to the height of the neck 27, e.g. lying in the range 10 mm to 20 mm.

The mounting skirt 60 may be internally threaded in such a manner as to screw on the neck 27, and, by way of example, the container may be closed in leaktight manner by means of a cone-shaped portion 66 of the stem 22 bearing against the wiper member 28 that may be made of an elastomer material that is conducive to obtaining leaktight sealing. In a variant, the above-mentioned sub-cap may include a thread, and may be made of a material that presents deformability that is sufficient to obtain leaktight sealing when the sub-cap is screwed tight to the neck 27.

By way of example, the casing 31 is made with a plurality of tabs 53 that are four in number, for example.

The tabs 53 are separated by slots 80 and each tab may include a portion in relief 83, such as a groove or a tooth, enabling the tab to catch on the portion in relief 55.

The cap 24 may be made with an inlet shaft 190 that is hollow, for example, and that presents a shape that matches the outlet shaft 51, e.g. a circular shape with a flat 93, so as to ensure that torque is transmitted.

The inlet shaft 190 may extend axially beyond the chimney 57, as shown in FIG. 3, but, in a variant, the inlet shaft 190 is set back from the chimney 57.

In FIG. 5, the outlet shaft 51 may be set back from the tabs 53, but, in a variant, the outlet shaft 51 extends beyond the tabs 53.

By way of example, the inlet shaft 190 is molded out of thermoplastic material integrally with the above-mentioned transverse wall 61.

The contactor 33 is preferably a contactor having momentary contact, and the user may have to exert pressure on the contactor in order control rotation of the motor 48. In a variant, the contactor is of the permanent-contact type or of the two-way type.

In the embodiment in FIG. 8, the batteries 49 are button-type batteries, but, in variants not shown, it is possible to use other electricity sources, e.g. round batteries or a rechargeable battery.

The drive system 30 preferably makes it possible to replace the batteries 49 when said batteries are flat, e.g. by opening the casing 31 by separating the half shells, or, in a variant not shown, by removing an access flap for access to the batteries.

Where appropriate, the drive system may be recharged by placing it on a stand.

The drive system 30 may cause the applicator 21 to rotate in a predefined direction when the user presses on the contactor 33. In a variant, the user may select the direction of rotation by reverser means 90, as shown in FIG. 11, the reverser means being present on the side surface of the casing 31, for example, and being offset by about one fourth of a turn relative to the contactor 33, for example. In another variant, the contactor 33 has at least three positions, and enables the user to select the direction of rotation. The reverser means 90 may be electrical or mechanical.

Where appropriate, the drive system may be arranged so as to make it possible to adjust the speed of rotation. Adjustment may be gradual, e.g. depending on the degree to which the contactor 33 is depressed, or it may be by selecting a speed from a plurality of predefined speeds, e.g. by means of a selector.

The drive system 30 is advantageously arranged for receiving a vibration source 100 that is shown in isolation in FIG. 13. The vibration source 100 may include a contactor 102 that, when actuated by the user, initiates operation of a vibrator. By way of example, the vibrator comprises a motor that rotates an off-center fly-weight.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 12, the vibration source 100 is mounted in removable manner on the drive system 30, thereby making it possible to use the drive system 30 independently on other applicators.

At its rear, on its end remote from the stem 22, the drive system 30 may include a housing for receiving a portion 103 of the vibration source 100. Where appropriate, the casing 31 may include a cutout 104 for receiving the contactor 102, at least in part.

In the variant shown in FIG. 14, the drive system 30 integrates the vibration source and may include two contactors, namely the contactor 33 that initiates operation of the motor for rotating the applicator, and the contactor 102 that initiates operation of the vibration source.

In a variant not shown, the vibration source operates automatically when the user presses on the contactor 33, the vibrator of the vibration source being electrically connected in parallel with the motor 48, for example. Other examples of vibration sources are given in FR 2 882 506 and WO 2006/0903343A1.

The vibrator may also include a fly-weight that is rotated by the same motor as rotates the cap 24. In this event, the fly-weight may be rotated by the motor upstream from the gearbox.

The drive system 30 and the applicator 21 may be coupled together other than by being snap-fastened together as shown in FIG. 2.

As shown in FIG. 15, and by way of example, it is possible to use a drive system 30 that includes a drive portion 110 that is rotated by the motor. The drive portion 110 is situated at one end of the grip surface that remains stationary in the user's hand.

The drive portion 110 may present very diverse shapes, e.g. a ring shape as shown. In this event, a rear portion 112 of the cap 24 may be engaged in the drive portion 110.

The drive portion 110 may be fluted or crenellated on its surface that is used to transmit torque, e.g. its inside surface, as shown in FIG. 16.

The rear portion 112 of the cap 24 may present an outside surface of corresponding shape, so as to enable torque to be transmitted between the drive portion 110 and the cap 24.

In the variant shown in FIG. 17, the drive portion 110 includes drive portions in relief on its outside surface.

The cap 24 may be arranged to be mounted on the drive portion 110. By way of example, at its rear, the cap 24 includes a housing 117 in which the drive portion 110 may be received, at least in part.

In the variant shown in FIGS. 18 to 20, the drive system 30 includes, at one end of the casing 31, a drive wheel 120 that carries one or more magnets 122, and, on its rear end face 126 remote from the stem 22, the cap 24 includes one or more magnets 128 of opposite polarity, such that the cap 24 may be held by magnetic attraction against the drive wheel 120.

Additional central portions in relief 130 and 131 may be formed on the facing portions of the drive system 30 and the cap 24, so as to ensure that the cap 24 is centered relative to the axis of rotation X, and possibly also ensure that torque is transmitted.

In a variant not shown, coupler means, having VELCRO®-type hooks and loops, are used instead of magnets, for example.

As shown in FIGS. 21 and 22, the drive system 30 and the cap 24 may also be coupled together by means of an intermediate part 150, e.g. in the form of a sleeve, that may be engaged by friction for example, firstly on a rear portion 151 of the cap 24, and secondly on the above-mentioned drive portion 110.

By way of example, the intermediate part 150 is made of an elastomer material so as to ensure that torque is transmitted by friction on the drive portion 110 and on the cap 24.

In the variant shown in FIG. 23, the cap 24 is arranged to be screwed on the drive portion 110, which is therefore internally-threaded for example, the direction of the thread of the cap 24 being opposite to the direction of rotation of the portion 110, so as to avoid the cap 24 unscrewing during use, and in particular while the cap 24 is being screwed on the container 26.

FIGS. 24 and 25 show a variant embodiment in which the outlet shaft 51 and the inlet shaft 190 are fluted.

Torque may be transmitted between the drive system 30 and the applicator 21 with or without torque limitation in the line of transmission between the motor 48 and the cap 24. By way of example, the maximum torque on the outlet shaft 51 of the drive system 30 is less than or equal to 350 millinewton-meters (mN·m).

The drive system 30 is advantageously arranged in such a manner as to enable removable coupling with the applicator so as to enable the user to use a single drive system 30 with a plurality of different applicators 21.

In a variant, the drive system is connected to the applicator in permanent and non-detachable manner, e.g. by adhesive, heat-sealing, or in some other way. The stem 22 rotates with the cap 24.

The drive system 30 is preferably made in such a manner as to make it easy for the user to fasten it on the applicator 21, e.g. by simple interfitting.

In a variant, the drive system 30 and the applicator 21 may be coupled together in more complex manner, e.g. with the user actuating a locking mechanism.

The applicator member 23 may be of any type adapted to the composition for application and to the region being treated.

The applicator member 23 may be connected to the stem 22 in permanent or in removable manner.

The applicator member 23 may be molded integrally with the stem 22, or it may be fitted thereon.

The applicator member 23 may be for applying makeup to the eyelashes, and may comprise a brush or a comb, e.g. a brush having a twisted core, with bristles that are held between the turns of the core, or a comb comprising teeth that are molded integrally with the core.

The applicator member, brush or comb, may present an envelope surface of shape that is substantially spherical.

It is possible to use any type of brush or any type of comb as applicator member.

It is possible to use brushes having relatively few bristles on the core.

It is possible to use brushes having a twisted core or having an injected core.

It is possible to use applicator members having teeth that form a V-shape or that are offset, applicator members presenting an envelope surface that is circularly cylindrical or of cross-section that is polygonal.

The applicator members used may include bristles of the same length or of different lengths; they may have rows of bristles of the same type or of different types.

The applicator member 23 may extend longitudinally, in full or in part along the axis of the stem 22, said stem preferably having a longitudinal axis that coincides with the axis of rotation X.

The applicator member 23 may also extend along a longitudinal axis that forms an angle with the longitudinal axis of the stem.

The applicator member 23 may include flocking and may be used in contact with the eyelashes, with or without rotation about the axis X. When it includes flocking, the applicator member may include a body that is molded out of a thermoplastic material, in particular a thermoplastic elastomer, e.g. a polyolefin, e.g. polyethylene (PE), or polyurethane (PU), ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), Hytrel®, Pebax®, styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene/styrene-isoprene-styrene (SEBS-SIS), vinyl, butyl rubber, silicone rubber, SANTOPRENE®, latex, . . . .

By way of example, the flocking bristles may be made of acetate, cotton, silk, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), rayon, polyamide, in particular Nylon®, linen, hemp . . . .

As shown in FIG. 26, the applicator member 23 may be covered by flocking over its entire length and over its entire circumference. This could be different without going beyond the ambit of the invention.

The applicator member 23 may be for coming into contact with the region being treated, e.g. the eyelashes, via its side surface. The side surface is advantageously not circularly symmetrical so that rotation of the applicator member 23 may cause the eyelashes to be move on contact therewith, e.g. in a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation, in manner similar to the movement of a member along a cam path.

FIG. 27 shows the possibility of the applicator member 23 presenting a longitudinal axis that is curvilinear. The distal end of the applicator member 23 may optionally be situated on the axis X.

It can be seen in FIG. 28 that a proximal portion of the applicator member may extend along the axis X, and a distal portion of the applicator member may extend along an axis that forms an angle β with the axis X.

FIG. 29 shows a variant of the FIG. 28 example, with a proximal portion that is shorter.

The applicator member 23 may be made with one or more annular grooves 23a, as shown in FIG. 30, the groove(s) 23a serving to modify the effect of the vibration from the vibration source 100 on the applicator member 23, for example.

The applicator member 23 may also include a recess 23b, as shown in FIG. 31, e.g. in order to impart behavior to the applicator member 23 that is anisotropic in response to the vibration coming from the vibration source 100.

The applicator member 23 may present a side 23c that extends parallel to the axis X, and that substantially extends the side surface of the stem 22, for example, as shown in FIG. 32. The same applicator member 23 may present an opposite side 23d that forms an angle with the axis X. The applicator member 23 may extend entirely rectilinearly, forming an angle with the axis X, as shown in FIG. 33.

The applicator member 23 may be made with a portion 23f for coming into contact with the eyelashes, having for this purpose, portions in relief that are suitable for separating the eyelashes, e.g. helically shaped portions in relief as shown in FIG. 34, and the applicator member may also include an endpiece 23g at its distal end, e.g. a flocked endpiece, that is provided for drawing a line on the eyelids.

The applicator member 23 may be molded integrally with an endpiece 23i for inserting into a corresponding housing at the end of the stem 22, as shown in FIG. 35.

When the applicator member is flocked, the body of the applicator member may be molded integrally with such an endpiece 23i, e.g. using a thermoplastic elastomer. The applicator member 23 may also be fastened on the stem 22 in some other way, e.g. by the stem 22 being inserted into a corresponding housing of the applicator member 23.

Regardless of how it is arranged relative to the axis X, the applicator member 23 may present a cross-section that is optionally circular about the axis X, e.g. with one or more sharp edges.

FIGS. 36 to 41 show a few examples of cross-sections for a flocked applicator member.

The section may be polygonal, optionally regular, e.g. triangular as shown in FIG. 36, or with a greater number of sides as shown in FIG. 38, or oval as shown in FIG. 37.

The section may also present extensions 23h extending the sides, as shown in FIGS. 39 to 41.

The extensions 23h may be in the form of splines that extend along the applicator member 23 extending the adjacent faces, the splines possibly having a height that is greater than the height of the flocking bristles.

All of the extensions 23h may be oriented in the same circumferential direction about the longitudinal axis of the applicator member. The extensions may be oriented in the direction of rotation of the applicator member or in the opposite direction, depending on the desired result.

The sections in FIGS. 36 to 41 can be used for the envelope surfaces of other applicator members 23 that are not flocked.

FIGS. 42 to 49 show other examples of cross-sections that concern optionally-flocked applicator members 23.

The applicator member 23 may be of cross-section that is trapezoidal as shown in FIGS. 42 and 44, lens shaped as shown FIG. 43, trough shaped as shown in FIG. 45, cross shaped as shown in FIG. 46, or square as shown FIG. 47.

The applicator member may present four concave faces 23j that form ridges at their junctions, as shown in FIG. 48.

The applicator member 23 may present a longitudinal axis that is off-center and that may coincide with the core of the applicator member 23, where appropriate, as shown in FIG. 49. Rotation may be performed about the longitudinal axis.

When the applicator member is flocked, any type of flocking may be used, with bristles of the same diameter and same length for example, or with a mixture of bristles, e.g. bristles of different materials, bristles of different thicknesses as shown in FIG. 50, and/or bristles of different lengths as shown in FIG. 51. The body of the applicator member 23 that supports the flocking may present any type of portion in relief, such as teeth, rings, or screw threads, for example.

The invention is not limited to an applicator for the eyelashes, and the drive system may be used for rotating an applicator for coming into contact with the lips, as shown in FIG. 52 for example, or a paint brush for applying a composition to the nails, as shown in FIG. 53.

The applicator member 23 may also include a foam in a variant not shown.

The applicator member 23 may have a substantially spherical shape, as shown in FIGS. 53A, 53B and 53C.

The applicator member 23 may have an envelope surface E defined by the free ends of projecting members that is substantially spherical. The applicator member 23 may be a twisted wire core brush, as shown in FIGS. 53A and 53B and the projecting members may be bristles 23z secured to the core.

The applicator member may be a comb with teeth 23y integrally molded with a core 23w made of plastics material, as shown in FIG. 53C.

The term “substantially spherical” should be understood to mean that the protuberance defined by the envelope surface of the applicator member is spherical to within 20%, better to within 15% or even 10%, in particular along its distal portion beyond a peak ridge of the protuberance. The protuberance may be substantially spherical over its entire length measured along the longitudinal axis of the core.

The envelope surface E may include an elongated portion 300, that may be cylindrical of circular cross-section, relative to which the protuberance 301 projects, as shown in FIG. 53D. The protuberance may be of circular cross-section, at least at its peak ridge.

As shown in FIGS. 53A to 53D, the envelope surface E may have a transverse dimension that increases and then decreases, from the distal end to the proximal end of the applicator.

A distance j between a transverse plane containing the peak ridge 302 and the distal end of the envelope surface may be about 5 mm, for example.

The angle α formed between the slopes 304 and 305 of the envelope surface E that are respectively situated on either side of the peak ridge 302 may be significantly greater than 120°, as can be seen in FIG. 53E.

As shown in FIG. 53E, each slope 304 or 305 is defined by the straight line that passes via the peak ridge of the envelope surface E, and that fits as closely as possible to the outline of the envelope surface in a longitudinal-section plane, over a distance of 1 mm along the longitudinal axis of the core, on the corresponding side of the peak ridge.

In the example of a biconical envelope surface, the slopes are respectively the slopes of the two cone portions. In the example of a spherical envelope surface that is symmetrical about the plane containing the peak ridge 302, the angle α is closer to 180°.

It is not beyond the ambit of the present invention when the envelope surface E is not a surface of revolution, and when the envelope surface presents, at least one point along the core, a cross-section that is not circular, e.g. because of the presence of at least one facet.

The shape of the envelope surface E in the embodiments of FIGS. 53A to 53D makes it possible to use the applicator for applying makeup to the eyelashes, in multiple orientations.

For applying makeup, it is possible to use bristles that are situated on the core between the transverse plane where the transverse section is greatest and the free end of the applicator, e.g. by orientating said applicator with the distal end of the stem directed towards the set of eyelashes. In a variant, it is possible to use bristles of the brush that are situated further back, e.g. with the longitudinal axis of the stem being oriented substantially parallel to the set of eyelashes.

During use, the applicator member 23 may be driven in rotation, as shown in FIG. 53B.

The envelope surface E may define a maximum cross-section of radius rmax. The peak of radius rmax may be situated at a distance l from the free end of the applicator, as shown in FIG. 53D. The ratio l/rmax may be less than 1.5.

The applicator member may include any one of the features disclosed in US 2008/0283077 A1 and US 2008/0251093, which are incorporated therein by reference.

FIGS. 54 and 55 show a variant of a device of the invention. In this variant, the drive system 30 incorporates a vibration source 100 that vibrates with vibration that is oriented perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of the device. In a variant shown in FIGS. 56 and 57, the vibration source is angularly offset by one fourth of a turn relative to the configuration shown in FIG. 55, so as to generate vibration that is oriented parallel to the longitudinal axis of the device. By way of example, the vibration source 100 is disk shaped.

By way of example, the speed of rotation of the applicator lies in the range 50 rpm to 70 rpm, e.g. close to 60 rpm.

By way of example, the container 26 is made in accordance with application EP 1 584 260 A2, and also by way of example includes two portions 26a and 26b that are suitable for turning relative to each other in order to create a flow of composition inside the container.

The contactor 33 may switch on both the motor 48 and the vibrator 100.

The contactor 33 may also serve to reverse the direction of rotation, where appropriate.

In a variant, the device may include separate reverser means, or it need not include reverser means. In a variant, the vibrator may be switched on separately from the motor by means of a specific contactor.

It can be seen in FIG. 56 that the cap of the applicator may be made with resilient tabs 200 that snap-fasten in the drive system 30 so as to hold the applicator axially on the drive system.

As shown in FIGS. 58 to 60, the drive system may be made with a skirt 205 that defines a housing 206 in which at least a major portion, if not all, of the closure cap 24 may be received, as in the embodiment shown in the figures.

Thus, when the closure cap is coupled to the drive system, it is possible that only the stem 22 extends beyond the drive system 30, as can be seen in FIG. 59.

The skirt 205 presents an inside diameter that is greater than the outside diameter of the cap 24 so as to be able to receive the cap in its entirety, in the embodiment shown.

The closure cap 24 may be held axially optionally by means of the skirt 205. For example, said skirt may include an annular portion in relief, e.g. a groove, a bead, or an annular shoulder, on which there is snap-fastened a corresponding portion in relief formed on the cap 24. In a variant, it is the cap 24 that includes a groove, a bead, or a shoulder, on which there is snap-fastened at least one portion in relief that projects from the inside surface of the skirt 205.

Or else, the cap 24 need not be held axially by means of the skirt 205.

Axial retention may be achieved other than by snap-fastening a portion in relief of the cap on the skirt 205 or vice versa.

FIG. 61 shows an applicator member 23 which has an envelope surface E with a shape such that an envelope E lies within short distance to the inner surface 26i of the container 26 when the applicator member 23 is housed in the container 26.

The applicator member 23 is shown in the embodiment of FIG. 61 in the form of twisted wire brush but could be a molded applicator with teeth or flocking or made in metal or other inorganic material.

The greatest diameter Db of applicator member may be equal or greater then the inside diameter Dr of the container 26 or may be as shown on FIG. 61 slightly smaller. The applicator member may have surface envelope E of any shape, for example substantially spherical as shown or cylindrical or otherwise.

The length Lb of the applicator member 23 may vary for example from 5 mm to 35 mm.

The cross section of the applicator member 23 may occupy at least 70% of internal cross section of the container along at least part of the path of the applicator member along the container during the extraction of the applicator member.

The difference |Dr−Db| may be less than 3 mm, better less than 2 mm, still better less than 1.5 mm or 1 mm or 0.5 mm.

The internal surface 26i may be substantially cylindrical with a cross section that is circular and may extend along a length that is for example equal at least to Lb, better at least twice Lb.

The volume of product, vm which is corresponding to the difference between the volume of product contained in the space of the height h when the applicator member is in the storage position less the volume defined by the envelope surface E, may be less than the volume of the applicator member, better less than ¾ of this volume better of this volume. h is the length of the applicator member.

Db ranges for example between 6 and 20 mm, better 7 and 16 mm. The quantity of product within the container 26 is for example greater than 3 ml, better greater than 5 ml, for example ranging from 3 ml to 10 ml.

The fact that the applicator member extends at a relatively short distance from the internal surface 26i of the container 26 may allow the applicator member to behave like a piston within the container which results in movement of the product within the container during movement of the applicator member.

FIG. 62 shows another embodiment of the present invention in which the drive system 30 may be connected to applicators 21 and 21′. The applicator 21′ comprises a closure cap 24′ which is mounted on a container 26′.

The container 26′ may comprise a product that is different from the one contained in the container 26.

The drive system 30 may comprise two motors that are not shown, the contactor 33 enabling the user to select the motor which he wants to turn on, i.e. the one that drives the applicator 21 or the one that drives the applicator 21′.

The motors may turn in the same direction or in opposite directions.

The containers 26 and 26′ may be similar, i.e. each comprising two parts that can be turned relative to the other to move at least one internal web to force the product to flow from one chamber into another chamber within the container.

The applicator members associated to the applicators 21 and 21′ may be similar or different.

FIG. 63 shows a closure cap provided with a baionet like groove for securing the closure cap to the container.

FIG. 64 shows a closure cap provided with an internal groove for snap fastening on the container. Alternatively, the closure cap may comprise projections that snap fasten on the container.

The present invention also relates, according to one of its aspects to an assembly comprising:

    • a first applicator and a second applicator, each applicator comprising:
      • a closure cap for closing a container; and
      • an applicator member, the assembly comprising a drive system for driving the cap of each of the two applicators, the drive system comprising a motor and means for securing together the applicators and the drive system, and for enabling the motor to rotate a selected closure cap and the corresponding applicator member.

The expression “comprising a” should be understood as being synonymous with “comprising at least one”.

The characteristics of the various embodiments shown may be combined within variants that are not shown.

In particular, the applicator member 23 that is shown only very diagrammatically in FIG. 1 may be any one of the applicator members shown in FIGS. 26 to 35, 52 and 53. For example, the applicator members shown in FIGS. 26 to 30 may have a cross-section with any of the shapes shown in FIGS. 36 to 41, for example.

The applicator member 23 may also be one of those mentioned in WO 2006/090343 A.

The vibration source may be other than a fly-weight driven in rotation, e.g. a rattle or with an electromechanical or piezoelectrical device.

The motor and the possible gearbox may have any shape, a shape that is not circularly symmetrical making it easier to keep it stationary within the drive system. The motor may be mounted on a system that damps vibration, e.g. made of elastomer.

The motor may be a motor other than an electric motor, including a spring, for example.





 
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