FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to a method and system for applying mascara to eyelashes and shaping the eyelashes during application.
Consumers use mascara brushes to coat their eyelashes with mascara. In addition to the mascara brush's ability to coat eyelashes, certain features of the mascara brush influence the shape and look of the eyelashes once they have been coated. In fact, mascara brushes are designed differently to achieve a variety of desired results in terms of shape, thickness, length and style. These mascara brushes are in turn marketed for their ability to produce such variably different and desirable results. Examples of such desired results include eyelashes that look longer, thicker, separated, curled and more defined.
In addition to the formulation of the mascara and the form of the brush's bristles, the technique used during application also affects the look of the eyelashes. Hence, methods of applications have been suggested to mascara consumers. These suggestions have come from product instructions, magazine beauty tips, and makeup artists.
Techniques for applying mascara generally pertain to the manner by which the eyelashes are stroked. One technique is to start at the base of the eyelash and move the brush upward in a zigzag pattern through the tips of the eyelashes. This motion encourages the eyelashes to become positioned in between the bristles in order to coat not just the front but also the sides of each lash. This zigzag technique also establishes the friction needed to push the lashes up, causing the eyes to appear larger and more dramatic.
Another technique is to look down while brushing the lashes up, again creating resistance to push lashes up. An almost closed upper eyelid creates resistance from the base of the lash all the way to its end.
A lessor known technique is to roll the brush in order to apply a fresh coat of mascara to the lashes. Although cumbersome, this technique coats the lashes evenly across the length of the lash and allows the consumer to use pressure to roll the lashes up and back. Basic stroking of the lashes causes the lashes to converge, adhere and ultimately bind together, also referred to as clumping. By rolling the brush instead, the lashes are simply coated with mascara and left dispersed.
Traditionally, mascara is sold in a tube that comes equipped with a standard mascara brush. The mascara brush is typically comprised of a handle portion, a rigid rod, and a brush end portion consisting of brush bristles. While the designs of the bristles and the formulation of the mascara itself have evolved, minimal improvement to the rod has been achieved with success.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,937,871 (1999), U.S. Pat. No. 6,145,514 (2000), U.S. Pat. No. RE37,605 (2002), and U.S. Pat. No. 6,450,178 (2002) Clay show mascara brushes that rotate the head of bristles from inside the handle. This arduous design is burdensome for the user as it calls upon the user to synchronize and properly correlate the rate at which the bristles rotate with the time it takes those bristles to travel across the length of the lash.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,137,038 (1992) to Kingsford shows a mascara brush that can be adjusted by a user from straight to curved and vice versa. The brush head is manipulated within the applicator handle. This brush changes its shape by manipulation of the handle before application, and is not designed to react or change during application of mascara.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,508,603 (2003) to Vasas shows a mascara brush that has a rod that is bent in order to collect formula from the corners of a mascara container. The design consists of bristles deployed for sweeping product from the sidewall of the container and a rod that has a distal end positioned centrally with respect to the continuous sidewall of the product reservoir. This rod is rigid and is not designed to change its form during application.
Current mascara brushes have three major drawbacks. First, the rigid rod does not encourage the bristles of the brush to become interspersed with the eyelashes. Currently, the eyelashes tend to rest on top of the bristles. Secondly, only one side of the brush comes into contact with the eyelashes during application. Therefore, as the mascara is stroked onto the eyelash one side of the brush becomes dry while the other side maintains a fresh coat of unused mascara. Consequently, when lashes are stroked they tend to converge, adhere and bind together. And upon reapplication of mascara, current brushes tend to build up clumps as the user attempts to drag fresh mascara across the length of an already coated lash. Lastly, the rigid rod and stationary head of bristles do not allow the user to place consistent pressure on the lash from the base of the lash to their tips so that one might push the length of those lashes up and back. These major drawbacks prevent the common mascara brush from accomplishing desired results without skilled application procedures.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Therefore, a need exists for a method and system for mascara application that will allow the brush to become interspersed with the eyelashes, that will apply even pressure to the lashes, and that will roll a fresh coat of mascara onto each lash.
The invention, an improved mascara brush, has a head of bristles and a rod with a flexible region. One end of the rod attaches to a handle. The flexible region has a means for allowing the brush to flex relative to the handle such that when normal force is applied to the brush end, with the handle end being held fixed, the brush end will deflect.
One alternative embodiment of the invention is a mascara brush where one end of the rod is comprised of a spindle that serves as an axis of rotation for the head of bristles.
In yet another embodiment of the invention a mascara brush comprises both a flexible region on the rod and a spindle serving as an axis of rotation for the head of bristles.
One function of the invention provides a means for encouraging eyelashes to interlace between bristles without stroking the eyelashes. This provides the ability to cause the user's eyelashes to curl up while applying a fresh coating of mascara to the eyelashes by simply pressing against the lashes and stroking along the lashes. Further features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the drawings and description.
In one embodiment, a mascara applicator has a handle configured for user operation, a rod connected to the handle and having a flexible portion configured to deflect, and a head connected to the rod and having radially extending bristles configured to hold mascara, wherein the head is configured to deflect along with the rod. In another embodiment, the flexible portion is configured to deflect when a force is applied radially to the head, as in when a user applies mascara held by the brush to lashes. In yet another embodiment, the flexible portion may be configured to deflect proportional to the pressure applied to the extending bristles. Also, a deflection of the flexible region may correlate to the pressure applied to the bristles. In addition, the flexible portion may be able to rotate when mascara is applied to eyelashes.
In another embodiment, a mascara applicator has a handle, a rod connected to the handle, and a brush connected to the rod and configured to rotate in a controlled manner. The head of bristles may rotate when brought into contact with an eyelash. Furthermore, the rotation of the head of bristles may be in proportion to a pressure applied to eyelashes. Also, the brush may be configured to rotate with resistance when pressure is applied while applying mascara to lashes. The brush may be configured to rotate with predetermined resistance when pressure is applied while applying mascara to lashes. In addition, the brush may be configured to rotate with predetermined resistance based on the type of materials used to make the head and the spindle when pressure is applied while applying mascara to lashes. The brush may also be configured to resistively rotate according to frictional means between the head and the spindle when pressure is applied while a user applies mascara to lashes.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In another embodiment, a mascara applicator has a handle, a rod connected to the handle, the rod further containing a flexible region, a spindle connected to the rod, and a rotary head of bristles positioned over the spindle. And, the flexible region may deflect when brought into contact with a surface. Additionally, a deflection of the flexible region may be in proportion to the pressure applied to the surface. Furthermore, the head of bristles may rotate when brought into contact with a surface. And, the rotation of the head of bristles may be in proportion to the pressure applied to the surface.
FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a mascara brush constructed in accordance with the invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective partial view of the brush of FIG. 1 shown during use.
FIG. 3 is an illustration of another embodiment of the mascara brush constructed in accordance with the invention.
FIGS. 4A and B are illustrations of an embodiment of the engagement features of a removable brush component of the mascara brush constructed in accordance with the invention.
FIGS. 5A and B are illustrations of the mascara brush in use according to the invention.
The invention is directed to methods and systems for applying mascara. In one embodiment, a flexible region of the rod of a mascara brush responds to pressure by deflecting when brought into contact with eyelashes. The flexible region provides variable resistance slowing the brush down and encouraging the eyelashes to position themselves between the bristles. The mascara brush responds resiliently to pressure generated during application.
In another embodiment of the invention, the brush rotates as a result of stroking the eyelash with the brush. As the brush rotates a fresh coat of mascara is continuously provided to the eyelashes. Furthermore, as the brush portion rotates it becomes easier to follow a curved path thus facilitating the curling of the eyelashes. The mascara brush is designed to spin as a response to the pressure applied to the brush during application, the opposing pressure pushes the lashes up and back.
In yet another embodiment the flexible region of the rod is combined with a rotating brush.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, however, that embodiments of the invention may be implemented in other applications where a substance is applied to a surface, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, which is defined in the appended claims and their equivalents.
Referring to FIG. 1, one embodiment of the invention, a mascara brush having a deflectable and/or rotating rod, is illustrated. The mascara brush 100 includes a handle 102 for holding the brush 100 by a user. The brush further includes a rod 104, that may include a rigid portion 106 and a flexible resilient portion 108, (or that could be entirely flexible). A bristle brush 110 has radially extending bristles 111. In this embodiment, the brush 110 is removably disposed onto a brush shaft 116. The brush is prevented from spinning off the shaft by a brush stop 118, or by a similar apparatus configured to hold the brush onto the shaft. In operation, referring now to FIG. 2, the brush may be moved along lashes 122 in a direction 124. The flexible portion 108 is configured to deflect to an extent to allow the bristles 111 to interpose themselves between the lashes 122 to coat them with liquid form mascara (not shown) that is located on the bristles. In one embodiment, as the brush is moved in the direction 124, the flexible portion may also rotate in a direction 126, allowing the bristles 111 to interpose themselves within the lashes 122 while moving in a stroking motion along the length of the lashes. Alternatively, there may be a separate spring device not shown that allows the brush to rotate according to a spring constant, allowing the bristles 111 to interpose themselves within the lashes 122 without stroking along the length of the lashes. In another embodiment, the brush may substantially freely spin, allowing a user to freely stroke along the length of the lashes, while the brush turns along with the motion. In yet another embodiment, the brush may also substantially freely spin, but with a resistance to limit the spinning of the brush. For example, the interface between the brush and the shaft can be configured with one of several conventional types of friction means to control the spinning of the brush, giving a user control of the brush position and pressure applied.
The brush may be configured for use by a user applying mascara to his or her own lashes, or may be configured for use by another person, such as a makeup artist, to apply the mascara to a client's lashes. In either case, the invention provides a means to apply mascara to eye lashes, and to sculpt, tease, or otherwise manipulate lashes into a position that is desirable to the user. In one embodiment, the invention provides an improved means allow a user to apply mascara in a manner that lightens the pressure applied radially against the eye lashes by a person applying the mascara onto the lashes, preventing undue pressure of the brush onto the eyelashes and/or allowing a user to bend the brush out of view during use and can deflect the brush at a radial angle to the handle. As a user applies pressure, the rod is configured to deflect to a degree, resulting in less pressure being applied by the brush against the eye lashes. This limits the pressure that forces the bristles against and through the eye lashes while the mascara is applied. In addition, the invention provides the ability for the brush to rotate in response to the movement of the brush along the length of the eye lashes. This avoids stroking the eye lashes with the bristles, smearing the mascara along the lashes, which may cause the coated lashes to stick or clump together. The invention provides these two features that, when used together or apart, provide a means to more effectively apply mascara to eye lashes.
A user would hold the handle 102 and stroke eyelashes with the rotary head of bristles 111. Thus the invention, a mascara brush with a resilient flex region and spinning head dynamically encourages eyelashes to curl up and be coated properly without unnecessarily arduous applications.
Referring to FIG. 3, one embodiment of the invention, a mascara brush having a deflectable rod, is illustrated. The mascara brush 300 includes a handle 302 for holding the brush 300 by a user. The brush further includes a rod 304, which includes a rigid portion 306 and a flexible resilient portion 308. A bristle brush 310 has radially extending bristles 311. In this embodiment, the brush 310 is removably disposed onto a brush shaft 316. The brush may be prevented from free spinning on the shaft by an optional brush stop 318, and also optional corresponding brush end cap 320. Those skilled in the art will understand and agree that there are other means of holding the brush onto the shaft 316, which would not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention.
In operation, referring again to FIG. 2, the brush may be moved along lashes 122 in a direction 124. The flexible portion 308, FIG. 3, is configured to bend to an extent to allow the bristles 311 to interpose themselves between the lashes 122 to coat them with liquid form mascara (not shown) that is located on the bristles. As the brush is moved in the direction 124, the flexible resilient portion 308 also rotates in a direction 326, allowing the bristles 311 to interpose themselves within the lashes 122 without stroking along the length of the lashes. Alternatively, there may be a separate resistive device [not shown] or other functionally similar means that allow the brush to rotate according to a spring constant, allowing the bristles 311 to interpose themselves within the lashes 122 without stroking along the length of the lashes. In practice, there will typically be a degree of friction between the rotating brush and the rod onto which it is mounted. In practice, the flex rod may spin to prevent dragging the brush bristles along the length of the eyelashes. It preferably would not freely spin on its own, because it may be difficult for a user to control, and a user may loose the ability to use pressure to push the lashes up.
Referring to FIG. 4A, an illustration of an embodiment of the engagement features are shown as an alternative to keying feature 318 (FIG. 3), where a removable brush component of the mascara brush is constructed in accordance with the invention. FIG. 4 A shows a side cut-away view of a system 400 that is made up of the brush head assembly 402 and a rod assembly 404. The head assembly includes brush bristles 406 and the casing 408 where the bristles are attached. Inside the casing, holding nubs 410 are formed in a manner to allow a proper mating of the head assembly and the rod assembly 404. The rod assembly 404 includes complementary nubs 412 formed on rod 414. In practice, the head assembly is configured to snap-fit onto rod assembly. In use, the mascara brush may be configured so that the snap-fit configuration allows a user to remove and clean or replace the head assembly. Referring to FIG. 4B, a perspective and cut-away view of the rod and brush head assembly is illustrated. This embodiment shows more clearly the holding nubs, which are illustrated as solid rings 410 on the head assembly configured to snap-fit with complementary rings 412 located on the rod assembly, where the rod is attached to handle 416, and where the rod is shown separated at 418 for illustration. The nubs 410, 412, may be configured alternatively as semispherical nubs located on the surfaces of either the head assembly or the rod assembly. Those skilled in the art, such as in the ink pen industry where pen caps are snap-fitted onto the heads of pens for protection of the pen head, will understand that various well known configurations are possible without departing from the invention.
Referring to FIGS. 5A and 5B, an illustration of one embodiment of a mascara brush 500 configured according to the invention is shown. Referring to FIG. 5A, a rod 502 and brush 504 assembly is illustrated, where the rod is configured to be controlled by forces 506, 508, that are resistive to turning the assembly in a direction 510, that may be in a direction illustrated about the longitudinal axis or in an opposite direction. The forces may be applied axially to the rod as shown, or in a similar manner to control the rotation of the brush 504 when mascara is applied to lashes as discussed above. The forces may be applied via pressure surfaces 512, 514, where a user applies pressure against the rod in a manner to control the rotation of the rod. Referring to FIG. 5B, an embodiment is illustrated with a handle 516, configured to receive forces 518, 529 against points on the handle surface 522, 524, in a manner to deflect the handle and make contact with the rod 502 with the deflected handle material 526, 528. Those skilled in the art will understand that other material and contact means can be used to make contact with the rod in order to control the rotation of the brush 504. The invention is directed to providing a means for resisting the substantially free rotation of the brush resulting when mascara is applied to eyelashes. In operation, a user may hold such a mascara brush handle at points 518, 520, applying pressure in a manner to stop, release, and generally control the rotation speed and articulation while mascara, being on the bristles of the brush, are applied to lashes in a manner similar to that described in connection with FIG. 2. As a user presses and releases the handle, the rotation of the rod, and likewise the attached mascara brush can be controlled to allow for a controlled rotation of the brush, and thus controlled application of the mascara to the user's lashes.
The invention has been described in the context of a mascara application system, where a mascara brush having a flexible handle allows a user to control pressure and rotation of the mascara brush against the lashes, and the controlled twisting motion of the mascara brush allows for further control of the application process. Those skilled in the art will understand that there are other means in which to embody the invention that are within the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their equivalents.