US 20010050089 A1
In an applicator, in particular a mascara brush, comprising a plurality of bristles that are secured between at least two twisted wires, it is provided, with a view to the possibility of implementation of completely new properties without the need of giving up the proven manufacturing processes and associated equipment, that in addition to the bristles a stiffening element is provided that extends in the region of the freely projecting bristles and is interspersed with the bristles.
1. An applicator, in particular a mascara brush, comprising a plurality of bristles that are secured between at least two twisted wires, wherein in addition to the bristles (2) a stiffening element (7) is provided that extends in the region of the freely projecting bristles and is interspersed with the bristles (2).
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5. An applicator comprising a stiffening element according to
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 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention is directed to an applicator, in particular a mascara brush, comprising a plurality of bristles that are secured between at least two twisted wires.
 2. Background Art
 Applicators of this type are used for many application purposes. One important area is the application of mascara fluid to the eyelashes, or of hair dyes to hair.
 With mascara brushes of this type it is particularly important that they posses sufficient transfer capacity to remove a specific amount of mascara fluid from a reservoir container during each immersion and apply it to the eyelashes, and this application shall be even and without clumping, and the lashes shall be combed and separated in the course of the application.
 To adapt the applicators to a given very specific composition and viscosity of the mascara fluid or to attain certain make-up results, numerous modifications are known concerning the selection of the bristles and the bristle composition. Specifically, it is known to mix hard and soft bristles and/or to create the trim from short and long bristles so that one portion of the bristles can assume particularly application functions and another portion can assume particularly combing functions. The possible modifications in such conventional applicators are limited, however, for production-related reasons.
 The diameters of conventional bristles are within a range from 3 mils upward.
 With this as the point of departure, the invention has as its object to improve an applicator of the above type in such a way that completely new properties can be implemented without having to give up the proven manufacturing processes and associated equipment.
 This object is met according to the invention in such a way that, in addition to the bristle trim, a stiffening element is provided that extends in the region of the freely projecting bristles and is interspersed with the bristles. This stiffening element is advantageously designed like a helical spring that may be composed particularly of metal or plastic, and the diameter of which is smaller than the diameter of the bristle trim. The cross-section of the helical spring may be round or, in deviation there from, rectangular.
 A spring element of this type reinforces a conventionally twisted applicator in such a way that both a small number, as well as very fine and soft filaments may be used, which could not fulfill the required application and especially combing properties without such a stiffening element. The combing function in particular is significantly increased by the relative hardness created by the spring coils.
 The inventive design furthermore makes it possible to work with a small number of and/or thin filaments and, with concurrent use of thicker wire diameters for the wire center, to enlarge the wire core for the applicator in its diameter, whereby the previous undesirable build-up of mascara compound around the wire core of the applicator can be countered successfully as the individual bristle spirals, which are then situated further apart, are stabilized by the elastic spring element between every two adjacent spirals. This reduces a clumping and smearing build-up of mascara compound around the wire core, as well as deposits of unused compound.
 An inventive applicator of this type can be adapted to the given specific application purpose far better than conventional types since the design, diameter and strength of the spring element can also be varied now via the previously known parameters concerning the properties of the twisted wire and bristles as such.
 A secondary solution provides for the use of an inventive helical stiffening element itself as an applicator, i.e., without an associated brush. Conceivable designs include both those with a supporting core, as well as those in which the spring element has a sufficient inherent stiffness so that a core is not required.
 In the latter design it is advantageous to provide a central stem in the reservoir container originating from its bottom, in order to prevent an excessive take-up of mascara compound in the interior of the helical element, i.e., a type of inner wiper is provided.
 The invention will be explained in detail below based on a preferred embodiment in conjunction with the drawing, which shows a schematic section through an inventive applicator with a stiffening element.
 An applicator 1 in the form of a mascara brush shown in the drawing comprises a plurality of bristles 2 or a band of bristles, which are secured in a wire core 3 that is formed by two twisted wires.
 A free end 4 of the wire core 3 that has not bristle trim is fixed in a cutout 5 of a wand 6.
 An inventive stiffening element 7, in the exemplary embodiment, is designed as a helical spring. In the variant shown in the upper portion of the drawing, a helical spring of metal is provided that has a wire with a round cross-section, whereas a plastic helical spring having a rectangular “wire cross-section” is used in the embodiment shown in the lower portion of the drawing. Furthermore, the diameter of the twisted wires is larger in this embodiment and the bristle trim is less dense.
 The stiffening element has a diameter approximately half as large as the diameter of the brush 1 and is slipped onto the applicator 1 after the same has been manufactured in the usual manner. Preferably this is done, as shown in the upper half of the drawing, with a frictional engagement on a tapered section 8 of the wand 6.
 On the reservoir container for mascara fluid, which is not shown in the drawing, a wiper 9 is provided with elastic wiper lips 10 in such a way that the diameter of the free passage between the wiper lips 10 is somewhat smaller than the diameter of the stiffening element 7.