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Publication numberUS20090226238 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/094,258
PCT numberPCT/GB2006/004388
Publication dateSep 10, 2009
Filing dateNov 23, 2006
Priority dateNov 25, 2005
Also published asEP1951083A2, WO2007060438A2, WO2007060438A3
Publication number094258, 12094258, PCT/2006/4388, PCT/GB/2006/004388, PCT/GB/2006/04388, PCT/GB/6/004388, PCT/GB/6/04388, PCT/GB2006/004388, PCT/GB2006/04388, PCT/GB2006004388, PCT/GB200604388, PCT/GB6/004388, PCT/GB6/04388, PCT/GB6004388, PCT/GB604388, US 2009/0226238 A1, US 2009/226238 A1, US 20090226238 A1, US 20090226238A1, US 2009226238 A1, US 2009226238A1, US-A1-20090226238, US-A1-2009226238, US2009/0226238A1, US2009/226238A1, US20090226238 A1, US20090226238A1, US2009226238 A1, US2009226238A1
InventorsMelinda Sue Lane, Michael John Hawker, Michael John Oakes
Original AssigneeMelinda Sue Lane, Michael John Hawker, Michael John Oakes
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Applicator
US 20090226238 A1
Abstract
A mascara applicator in the form of a tube (10) has an applicator brush (22, 24) captive in the cap (12). To enable the brush to be moved within the body of mascara (16) in the tube, a mechanism is provided which produces movement of the brush relative to the mascara-containing tube, before the cap is released from the tube. Various different mechanisms, which will produce this movement, are described. The invention is not limited to use for mascara application.
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Claims(11)
1. An applicator comprising
a tubular container for a viscous material,
a brush mounted to the cap so as to be located within the container, and
a cap for the container, the cap incorporating a spring-loaded push-button linked to a finger running in a helical track so that as the button is pressed, the brush is both rotated in the tube and moved axially along the tube to load the brush with viscous material.
2. An applicator as claimed in claim 1, for mascara, wherein the brush is a brush for applying mascara to the eyelashes.
3. An applicator as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the helical track is a groove formed on an end of a brush shaft extending within the cap, and the finger is formed on a neck of the tube so that as the button is pressed, the brush shaft moves relative to the tube neck to cause the brush to rotate as it is being moved axially in the tube.
4. An applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the spring-loading causes the brush to be moved in rotation and axially when the button is released.
5. An applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the button is mounted in the cap, so that it can be pressed into the body of the cap
6. An applicator as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the button is formed by the body of the cap sliding over an inner neck of the cap.
7. An applicator as claimed in claim 2, wherein the brush can be housed in a cylinder attached to the cap, and the mascara can be contained in an outer housing which can be moved up and down along the cylinder, the cylinder having openings through its wall over that part where the brush is positioned so that the mascara is moved past the cylinder openings and onto the brush.
8. An applicator as claimed in claim 7, wherein the cap has a rotatable portion, separate from the attachment of the cap to the tube, with a finger running in a helical track so that as the button is pressed, the brush is rotated in the tube and moves axially along the tube.
9. An applicator as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the cap is a screw-fit onto the container and will be unscrewed from the container to remove the brush from the container.
10. A mascara container comprising a mascara containing tube with a cap which carries a captive brush, the tube having a narrow neck which divides the main length of the tube from a product containing portion at the end of the tube remote from the cap, with the brush being arranged so that it is located within the product containing portion when the cap is in place on the container.
11. A container as claimed in claim 10, wherein the neck is of a diameter such as to remove excess mascara from the brush as the brush is drawn through the neck, so that excess mascara stays in the end portion of the tube and is not spread along the whole length of the tube.
Description

This invention relates to an applicator, particularly for applying mascara to the eyelashes. The applicator is not however restricted to this particular use but may find uses in other contexts.

Mascara is a viscous substance which is conventionally applied to the lashes using a specially shaped brush with a relatively long shaft and relatively short bristles. The mascara is usually contained in a tube and, when not in use, the brush is housed in the tube with the bristles in contact with the mascara. Moving the brush around in the tube coats the brush with mascara so that when the brush is withdrawn from the tube, it is loaded with mascara which can then be applied to the lashes.

To ensure good loading of the brush with mascara, many users pump the brush up and down in the tube before withdrawing it, with the aim of loading the brush more heavily than would be the case without this pumping action. However the pumping action has two major disadvantages. Firstly, it causes air to be drawn into and to circulate in the tube which hastens drying out of the mascara in the tube. Secondly there is a danger with vigorous pumping that the brush is accidentally wholly withdrawn from the tube and the user then ends up with mascara on the hands.

According to the invention, there is provided an applicator comprising

a tubular container for a viscous material,

a brush mounted to the cap so as to be located within the container, and

a cap for the container, the cap incorporating a spring-loaded push-button linked to a finger running in a helical track so that as the button is pressed, the brush is both rotated in the tube and moved axially along the tube to load the brush with viscous material.

The applicator is preferably for applying mascara to the eyelashes, and in this case, the viscous material will be mascara, and the brush will be designed for this purpose. Conventionally, such brushes have a relatively long shaft and relatively short bristles extending radially from the shaft, at one end of the shaft.

The brush may have separate bristles, or the shaft may be a plastics moulding with bristle-like fingers moulded onto the shaft.

The cap is preferably a screw-fit onto the container and will be unscrewed from the container to remove the brush from the container.

In a first embodiment, the cap incorporates a spring-loaded push-button linked to a helical track passing through a stationary surface or surfaces so that as the button is pressed, the brush is both rotated in the tube and moved axially along the tube to load the brush with mascara.

The helical track may be a groove formed on an end of a brush shaft extending within the cap, and the stationary surfaces can be formed on a neck of the tube so that as the button is pressed, the brush shaft moves relative to the tube neck to cause the brush to rotate as it is being moved axially in the tube.

The spring-loading will cause the brush to be moved in rotation and axially, in the opposite direction, when the button is released.

The button may be mounted in the cap, so that it can be pressed into the body of the cap, or may be formed by the body of the cap sliding over an inner neck of the cap.

In a second embodiment, the brush can be housed in a cylinder attached to the cap, and the mascara can be contained in an outer housing which can be moved up and down along the cylinder, the cylinder having openings through its wall over that part where the brush is positioned so that the mascara is moved past the cylinder openings and onto the brush.

In a third embodiment, the cap may have a rotatable portion, separate from the attachment of the cap to the tube, with a finger running in a helical track so that as the button is pressed, the brush is rotated in the tube and moves axially along the tube.

One problem arising with existing mascara containing tubes is that the volume of mascara in the tube is less than the volume of the tube. Typically a mascara tube container contains about 5 ml of product. This product is spread over the length of the tube, and this makes it difficult for the brush to reach all the mascara, and the container may, for practical purposes, appear empty because the brush cannot access any more product when in fact there is still a significant quantity of the product in the tube.

To overcome this problem, it is proposed, in accordance with a second aspect of the invention, to form a mascara containing tube with a narrow neck which divides the main length of the tube from a product containing portion at the end of the tube remote from the cap, with the brush being arranged so that it is located within the product containing portion when the cap is in place on the container.

By confining the product to one small area of the tube, more of the product can be accessed by the brush because less will be spread over the walls of the tube.

The neck may be of a diameter such as to remove excess mascara from the brush as the brush is drawn through the neck, so that excess mascara stays in the end portion of the tube and is not spread along the whole length of the tube.

The invention will now be further described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a view of a first embodiment of a mascara applicator according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-section through the applicator of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a view of a second embodiment of a mascara applicator according to the invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section through the applicator of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a cross-section through a third embodiment of a mascara applicator according to the invention;

FIG. 6 is a cross-section through the applicator of FIG. 5, in a different position of use;

FIG. 7 is a cross-section through a fourth embodiment of a mascara applicator according to the invention;

FIG. 8 is a cross-section through a fifth embodiment of a mascara applicator according to the invention;

FIG. 9 is a cross-section through a sixth embodiment of a mascara applicator according to the invention;

FIG. 10 is an external view of the applicator of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a detail exploded view of part of the embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4;

FIG. 12 is a view corresponding to FIG. 11, but on a larger scale;

FIG. 13 is a detail of another part of the embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4; and

FIG. 14 is a view of a container insert “as moulded”.

Mascara applicators are typically long thin tubes with a cap which unscrews or pulls off, and a brush at the end of a shaft or wand which dips into the mascara at the bottom of the tube when the cap is in place and which can be removed with mascara on the bristles of the brush, so that the mascara can be applied to the eyelashes.

FIG. 1 shows an applicator according to the invention which has a mascara container 10 and a removable cap 12. In this case the cap is designed to screw off from the container. In this FIG. 1 embodiment, the cap has a push-button top 14.

FIG. 2 shows the interior of the applicator of FIG. 1. The container 10 contains a volume of mascara 16 at the bottom of the container. Mascara is a thick, viscous composition which, initially, is placed in the bottom of the container 10. The cap 12 has an internally threaded portion at 18 which screws onto a threaded neck 20 of the container 10.

The other main component of the applicator is a brush 22 at the end of an elongate shaft or wand 24. In FIG. 2, the container 10 has an insert 26. The insert 26 has a narrow neck 28 through which the brush 22 must pass when it is removed from the tube. The neck 28 scrapes off excess mascara from the brush before the brush travels up the tube.

The insert 26 is fitted into the mouth of the container 10 and also carries the screw threaded rim 20 onto which the cap 12 is screwed.

Within the cap 12 is a mechanism which allows the push-button 14 to be pushed in and released to move the brush 22 up and down and in rotation within the body of mascara 16, to ensure that the bristles of the brush 22 are properly coated.

At its top end, the shaft 24 has a portion 30 moulded in the form of a helix (see also FIGS. 11 and 12). The helix engages with a neck 32 which is part of the cap 12. A compression spring 34 acts between a shelf 36 which is part of the cap 12 and the underside of the helix portion 30.

When the cap 14 is depressed, the helix portion 30 passes through the neck 32, and in doing so the helix portion and the shaft 24 are all caused to rotate. The spring 34 is compressed when the button 14 is pushed and when the button is released the spring 34 will return the button and the brush 22, 24 to their starting positions.

It will be seen also from FIG. 12 that the top end of the shaft 24 has a pair of flexible wings 38 which, on assembly of the applicator, snap into a recess 40 in the button 14, but allow relative rotation between the button and the shaft so that as the shaft rotates, the button 14 does not have to rotate. Any suitable snap-fit connector can be used provided it allows relative rotation between the connected components but prevents axial disengagement.

FIG. 2 also shows that the cap 12 has an annular groove 42, and a skirt of the button 14 slides in and out of this groove as the button is pressed.

Also in FIG. 2, it would be seen that there is an O-ring 44 just above the shelf 36. This O-ring makes a seal with the shaft 24 to prevent air being drawn into the container when the button 14 is pressed.

In use, the user will hold the applicator in one hand and press the button 14 with the thumb (much like extending and retracting the tip of a ball-point pen). This will cause the brush 22 to be moved up and down in the mascara 16, and rotated within the mascara. This will ensure mixing of the mascara and thorough coating of the bristles. The cap 12 can then be unscrewed from the container 10 and withdrawn with the brush; the brush passing through the neck 28 so that excess mascara is scraped of the brush before the brush is removed from the container. The mascara can then be applied to the eyelashes.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show a largely similar embodiment with the exception that in this case the button 114 is external and moves up and down over the cap 112. As can be seen in FIG. 11, the button 114 has internal splines 116 which mate with splines 118 on the cap 112 so that the button does not rotate as it is pushed up and down.

Other parts of the embodiment shown in FIG. 4 are the same as the equivalent parts in FIG. 2 and the same reference numerals are used.

In FIGS. 5 and 6, the cap 214 has no internal moving parts. The container 210 has an internal tube 250 which contains the mascara 16, and the bottom end of the internal tube 250 is connected to a pump base 252 which can be moved up and down between the positions shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. The base 252 can have a soft-feel rotating grip which is able to rotate relative to the tube 250. The tube 250 has an external helical groove 254, and a feature on the interior of the container 210 ensures that the tube 250 rotates as the tube 250 is pulled in and out of the outer container 210. The base 252 has a projection 256 which locates in an annular groove 258 on the outside of the tube 250, so that the base does not rotate when the tube 250 is pulled in and out. The tube may pull in and out against a spring action (spring 260 is shown in FIG. 5), or without a spring as shown in FIG. 6. In both cases, as the tube 250 is moved in and out of the outer container 210, the brush is moved through the mascara to coat the bristles of the brush with mascara. The container 210 has a neck 261 to wipe off excess mascara as the brush is removed from the container after unscrewing the cap 214.

FIG. 7 shows another embodiment. In this case the cap 314 again has no moving parts and the brush 322, 324 is attached to the cap. In this case the brush 322 is stationary within an inner tube 354. An outer sleeve 362 surrounds the tube 34 and has agitation fingers 363 which project through slots (not shown) in the inner tube so that when the outer sleeve 362 is moved up and down on the tube 354, the fingers 363 agitate the mascara to move it away from the walls of the tube so that it can be loaded onto the brush. Some mascara may escape into the outer tube, but O-ring seals 365 prevent leakage to the outside.

FIG. 8 shows a simpler embodiment where the cap 414 has an internal feature which engages in a helical groove 464 in an upper part 430 of the brush shaft.

The upper part 430 can move backwards and forwards into a socket 466 in a lower cap portion 414 a. In this embodiment there is no return spring, and the movement of the brush 422 in the mascara just takes place as the lid is rotated in one or other direction. The helical groove 464 combined with the internal feature in the upper cap portion 414 produces a linear movement (but in this case no rotational movement) of the brush in the mascara.

FIGS. 9 and 10 show an embodiment in which the container 510 is divided by a neck 568 into a container base 510 a and an upper portion 510 b. The mascara is held and retained in the base 510 a, and the brush can be moved in and out and rotated within this portion 510 a by any of the mechanisms previously described.

In FIG. 9, a mechanism similar to that shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 is illustrated. The neck 568 may incorporate an insert 570 with a throat which scrapes off excess mascara as the brush is withdrawn from the container. This ensures that excess mascara is not removed from the base portion 510 a but remains in that portion, so that it is accessible to the brush.

Blow moulding may be a suitable technique for manufacturing the container 510.

FIG. 10 shows a detail which would enable the cap to be locked down onto the container 510, when the applicator is not in use. This is by way of a bayonet type fitting 572 at the top of the container 510. In this case the cap 514 will have an internal projection which will engage in the bayonet slot when the cap is pushed down and rotated. This can help to prevent the cap becoming inadvertently unscrewed or to prevent other objects in, for example, a handbag becoming entangled between the cap and the container.

FIG. 12 shows more detail of the manner in which rotation can be produced between the components, for example, in FIG. 2. The helical portion 30 is a plastics moulding with a helical land running around the moulding which is substantially square when taken in cross-section at any point along its length. The helical portion 30 engages with four surfaces 33 in the neck 32 which is part of the cap 12. The edges of the neck in the cap 32 between the engagement surfaces 33 are relieved at 74 so that the corners of the helical lands do not have to make contact with any part of the cap. The materials of the helical portion 30 and the cap 12 will be chosen to minimise friction between them so that as the helical portion 30 is pressed down between the surfaces 32 and into the cap 12, there is as little resistance as possible to rotation of the shaft 24.

FIG. 13 is a cut-away view of part of the embodiment of FIG. 2 showing in particular a tapered projection 25 extending radially from the shaft 24. The projection is resilient so that it can be pushed through the shoulder 36 when the applicator is being assembled, but will prevent the shaft from being drawn back through the shoulder. The top of the projection 25 is brought into abutment with the underside of the shoulder 36 when the spring 34 urges the shaft upwards.

Finally, FIG. 14 shows the insert 26 prior to assembly. This insert is a one-piece clam-shell moulding which is moulded in the condition shown in FIG. 15, with a plastics hinge 602 which is closed after moulding to make the lower half of the moulding a complete cylinder.

The components of the applicator described here are designed to be moulded in plastics, and suitable plastics will be chosen both for aesthetic and functional considerations.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8122895Apr 2, 2008Feb 28, 2012L'oreal S.A.Applicator for applying a composition to the eyelashes
US8851087Apr 2, 2008Oct 7, 2014L'oreal S.A.Applicator for applying a composition to the eyelashes
US20120012131 *Oct 12, 2010Jan 19, 2012Three Apples Cosmetics Co., Ltd.Mascara brush with controllable brush length
Classifications
U.S. Classification401/129, 132/218
International ClassificationA45D40/26, A46B11/00
Cooperative ClassificationA45D34/048, A45D40/265
European ClassificationA45D40/26C2