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1. WO2020201585 - FLUID EFFICIENT MULTIUSE MULTIPART HAIR TREATMENT DEVICE AND METHOD

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

Title

Fluid efficient multiuse multipart Hair Treatment Device and Method

Field

This disclosure relates to a hairbrush and more particularly to a hairbrush adapted to apply a treatment product to hair. The disclosure also relates to a kit for treating lice infestation in hair comprising the hairbrush and to a method of treating hair with a treatment product.

Background

It is known to apply treatment products to hair for cosmetic and/or medical purposes. For example, hair conditioners, detanglers (hereinafter referred to collectively as detanglers) and the like are often applied to hair to improve the texture of the hair for styling purposes. However, conditioners are also recommended for use in the treatment of lice infestation where it is necessary to first detangle the hair before removing lice from the hair with a fine comb. Moreover, despite the availability of pesticides in the form of medicated shampoos to remove lice, it has been found that complete removal of lice can only be achieved through the use of a fine comb necessitating the application of a conditioner to detangle the hair to enable fine combing of the hair.

Lice infestations can be particularly problematic in emergency situations where refugees and the like are forced to live in close proximity in emergency accommodation such as refugee camps or temporary accommodation where sanitation and hygiene conditions are poor. Moreover, where lice infestations do occur they can be difficult to control due to a lack of availability of water for cleaning and washing purposes. For example, water in relatively large quantities is required to apply concentrated conditioners and/or medicated shampoos to infected hair which prevents the effective treatment of infestations in such situations. Diluted conditioners in the form of leave-in detangling liquid sprays are also available which do not require large volumes of water during application. Numerous solutions have been proposed in the past, such as those disclosed in patent publication numbers CN202980752

(Yamg); US2007/0017538 (hurwitz) and US5,762,533 (Cary) and http://www.reminqtonready.eom/post/2015/09/11/Shower-Conditioning-Brush-Review.aspx.

However, in general, such sprays are provided in relatively large volume/heavy containers which can give rise to significant transport and distribution costs which is undesirable in emergency situations. In addition, due to the limitations on the size of such containers, the containers in general are only sufficiently large for two applications which is inadequate in refugee situations.

An object of the invention is to overcome at least some of the problems of the prior art.

Summary

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided, as set out in the appended claims, a hairbrush adapted to apply a treatment product to hair comprising:

a bristled housing;

a squeezable cap mountable on the bristled housing at a cap mounting, and a treatment product carrier and activation system between the bristled housing and the squeezable cap actuatable in response to squeezing the squeezable cap to discharge activated treatment product from the hairbrush.

Preferably, the treatment product carrier and activation system comprises a two-part treatment product carrier and activation system. More preferably, the first part of the two-part treatment product carrier and activation system comprises a treatment product carrier and the second part of the two-part treatment product carrier and activation system comprises a liquid carrier.

In one embodiment, the treatment product carrier comprises concentrated treatment product. Suitably, the treatment product carrier comprises dried treatment product.

Advantageously, the treatment product carrier and/or the liquid comprise a sponge. Preferably, the sponges comprise natural sponges.

In one embodiment, the treatment product carrier and activation system comprises a treatment product carrier chamber in the bristled housing. Preferably, the chamber comprises a treatment product carrier retainer to retain the treatment product carrier in the chamber. More preferably, the treatment product carrier retainer comprises a first retaining ridge.

Suitably, the treatment product carrier and activation system comprises a liquid carrier cavity in the squeezable cap. Preferably, the cavity comprises a liquid carrier retainer to retain the liquid carrier in the cavity. More preferably, the liquid carrier retainer comprises a second retaining ridge.

Suitably, the bristled housing comprises discharge holes.

Optionally, the bristled housing comprises bristles of varying sizes and/or thicknesses.

In one embodiment, the bristled housing is hingedly connected to the squeezable cap at a hinge so that the bristled housing and the squeezable cap are hingedly movable between an open position and a closed position. Preferably, the squeezable cap and the bristled housing are hingedly movable to an intermediate partially closed position between the open and closed positions. More preferably, the hinge comprises a living hinge.

Suitably, the living hinge is formed on a hinge mounting. Preferably, the hinge mounting comprises a web defining a bristled housing frame for receiving the bristled housing and a squeezable cap frame for receiving the squeezable cap.

In one embodiment, the cap mounting comprises a snap-fit mounting. Preferably, the snap-fit mounting comprises a snap-fit ring on the bristled housing and a complementary groove in the squeezable cap.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the hairbrush is adapted to apply a lice treatment product to hair. Preferably, the lice treatment product is a conditioner. Alternatively or in addition, the lice treatment product comprises a pesticide.

In another embodiment, the invention also extends to a kit for treating lice infestation in hair comprising a hairbrush as hereinbefore defined and a comb. Optionally, the kit further comprises a bag for holding the hairbrush and the comb.

In a further embodiment, the invention also extends to a method of treating hair with a treatment product comprising employing a hairbrush having a bristled housing; a squeezable cap mountable on the bristled housing at a mounting, and a treatment product carrier and activation system between the bristled housing and the squeezable cap, applying a liquid to the treatment product carrier and activation system, and actuating the treatment product carrier and activation system by squeezing the squeezable cap to discharge activated treatment product from the hairbrush through discharge holes in the bristled housing.

Preferably, the liquid comprises water.

In one embodiment, the treatment product carrier and activation system comprises a two-part treatment product carrier and activation system. Preferably, the first part of the two-part treatment product carrier and activation system comprises a treatment product carrier and the second part of the two-part treatment product carrier and activation system comprises a water carrier.

Suitably, the treatment product carrier comprises concentrated treatment product. Preferably, the treatment product carrier comprises a dried treatment product.

In one embodiment of the method of the invention, the treatment product carrier and/or the liquid carrier comprise a sponge.

In a preferred embodiment of the method of the invention, the treatment product is a lice treatment product. Preferably, the lice treatment product is a conditioner.

In one embodiment of the invention, the method further comprises the step of combing the hair to remove lice.

The hairbrush and method of the invention facilitate the distribution of treatment products such as a conditioning solution throughout the hair by means of a treatment product carrier and delivery system made up of the liquid carrier and the treatment product carrier in the form of a two-sponge system. One sponge is permeated with dried treatment product and the other sponge is dry so that by adding liquid such as water to the dry sponge and pressing the squeezable cap of the brush, the dried treatment product is activated by the water and distributed throughout the hair e.g. to condition and detangle. In particular, the liquid contacts the sponge permeated with treatment product such as dried and concentrated conditioner to form a solution which is pushed through the sponges by squeezing the squeezable cap to exit through small discharge holes in the hairbrush onto the hair. The living hinge ensures the brush stays open when not in use to aerate and dry the carriers such as the sponges thus avoiding bacterial growth on the carriers.

The hairbrush of the invention is of particular utility in the treatment of lice infestation in emergency situations such as refugee camps where water is at a premium as the hairbrush of the invention minimises the amount of water required to adequately condition the hair for fine combing to remove lice. Accordingly, the hairbrush of the invention minimises the environmental impact of head lice removal.

By minimising the quantity of water required to apply conditioning solution to hair, the hairbrush of the invention can be used in resource-scarce environments to effectively and efficiently treat head lice without a need for large quantities of water. Following use, the hairbrush can be opened easily to dry and air the two-part treatment product carrier and activation system to avoid any bacterial contaminations and dry the before subsequent uses.

The compressibility of the resilient material of the squeezable cap such as silicone allows for water to be pushed through the treatment product carrier.

The treatment product carrier can contain a large quantity of solution and can be used multiple times to apply conditioner to the hair with low levels of water being required to effectively adhere to the hair for treatment.

Brief Description of the Drawings

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

Figure 1 is a perspective view from above and one side of a hairbrush of the invention having a bristled housing hingedly connected to a squeezable cap at a living hinge in a hingedly open position with a treatment product carrier and activation system in the hairbrush made up of a highly absorbent liquid/water carrier sponge and a treatment product carrier sponge containing treatment product in the form of highly concentrated and dried conditioner with the sponges being partially removed from the hairbrush for clarity;

Figure 2 is a perspective view from above and one side of the hairbrush of Figure 1 in a partially closed position with the squeezable cap hingedly separated from the bristled housing by the living hinge to maintain the hairbrush in the partially closed position to aerate and dry the sponges in the hairbrush after use;

Figure 3 is a side elevation of the hairbrush of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is a cross-sectional view along the line IV-IV of Figure 3;

Figure 5 is a top plan view of the hairbrush;

Figure 6 is a plan view from below of the hairbrush;

Figure 7 is a perspective view from below and one side of a differently shaped squeezable cap of the hairbrush in which the squeezable cap is dome-shaped;

Figure 8 is a side elevation of the squeezable cap of Figure 7;

Figure 9 is a cross-sectional view along the line IX-IX of Figure 8;

Figure 10 is a plan view from below of the squeezable cap of Figure 7;

Figure 1 1 is a perspective view from above and one side of the web-like living hinge mounting for supporting the bristled housing and the squeezable cap;

Figure 12 is a top plan view of the living hinge mounting of Figure 1 1 ;

Figure 13 is a plan view from below of the living hinge mounting, and

Figure 14 is a side elevation of the living hinge mounting.

Detailed Description of the Invention

All publications, patents, patent applications and other references mentioned herein are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties for all purposes as if each individual publication, patent or patent application were specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference and the content thereof recited in full.

Definitions and general preferences

Where used herein and unless specifically indicated otherwise, the following terms are intended to have the following meanings in addition to any broader (or narrower) meanings the terms might enjoy in the art:

Unless otherwise required by context, the use herein of the singular is to be read to include the plural and vice versa. The term "a" or "an" used in relation to an entity is to be read to refer to one or more of that entity. As such, the terms "a" (or "an"), "one or more," and "at least one" are used interchangeably herein.

As used herein, the term "comprise," or variations thereof such as "comprises" or "comprising," are to be read to indicate the inclusion of any recited integer (e.g. a feature, element, characteristic, property, method/process step or limitation) or group of integers (e.g. features, element, characteristics, properties, method/process steps or limitations) but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers. Thus, as used herein the term "comprising" is inclusive or open-ended and does not exclude additional, unrecited integers or method/process steps.

Exemplification

As shown in the drawings, a hairbrush of the invention for applying a treatment product contained within the hairbrush to hair is generally indicated by the reference numeral

1 and is made up of a bristled lower housing 2 and an upper squeezable cap 3 detachably mounted on the bristled housing 2. The squeezable cap 3 is hingedly connected to the bristled housing at a living hinge 4 formed on a web-like living hinge mounting 5 that supports the bristled housing 2 and the squeezable cap 3 so that the squeezable cap 3 is hingedly movable between an open position as shown in Figure 1 , a closed position in which the squeezable cap 3 is engaged with the bristled housing

2 at a snap-fit mounting 8 and an intermediate partially closed position as shown in Figure 2 in which the squeezable cap 3 is hingedly separated from the bristled housing 2 by the living hinge 4 to maintain the hairbrush 1 in the partially closed position to aerate and dry the contents of the hairbrush 1. Internally, the hairbrush 1 contains a two-part treatment product carrier and activation system 23 between the bristled housing 2 and the squeezable cap 3 having a liquid carrier 6 adapted to receive and retain liquid and a treatment product carrier 7 adapted to store treatment product prior to use. As shall be explained more fully below, in use, the two-part treatment product carrier and activation system 23, suitably comprising the liquid carrier 6 and product carrier 7, can be activated so that activated treatment product is discharged from the hairbrush 1 and applied to hair with the bristled housing 2. The liquid carrier 6 and product carrier 7 can be embodied as any suitable device configuration that can be used to store a liquid or treatment product and when ready to be used can be activated such that the treatment product is readily and easily applied to a desired area, i.e. hair.

The bristled housing 2 is made up of a substantially oval-shaped bottom wall 9 having a sidewall 10 upstanding therefrom. Externally, the bottom wall is provided with bristles 11 of various lengths and thicknesses for efficient and versatile use with different hair types and thicknesses while the bottom wall 9 is also provided with spaced apart treatment product discharge holes 12 through which activated treatment product can be discharged from the hairbrush 1 onto hair.

The sidewall 10 is provided with a secondary rim 13 upstanding from the sidewall 10 which defines a laterally extending snap-fit ring 14 which forms a first part of the snap-fit mounting 8 for securing the bristled housing 2 to the squeezable cap 3.

Internally, the bottom wall 9 and the sidewall 10 of the bristled housing 2 define a treatment product carrier chamber 15 forming part of the treatment product carrier and activation system 23 for receiving and retaining the treatment product carrier 7. A treatment product carrier retainer in the form of a first retaining ridge or shoulder 16 is defined on the sidewall 10 to retain the treatment product carrier 7 in place in the treatment product carrier chamber 15.

The squeezable cap 3 is made up of a substantially oval top wall 17 having a cap sidewall 18 depending therefrom. Externally, the cap sidewall 18 is provided with a tab 19 for assisting in opening and closing the squeezable cap 3. Internally, the top wall 17 and the sidewall 18 define a liquid carrier cavity 20 also forming part of the treatment product carrier and activation system 23 for receiving and retaining the liquid carrier 6. The liquid carrier 6 is retained within the liquid carrier cavity 20 by a liquid carrier retainer in the form of a second retaining ridge or shoulder 21 defined on the internal surface of the cap sidewall 18. The internal surface of the cap sidewall 18 is also provided with a groove 22 complementary with the laterally extending snap-fit ring 14 on the bristled housing 2 to form a second part of the snap-fit mounting 8.

Figures 7 to 10 show an alternatively shaped squeezable cap 3 functionally similar to the squeezable cap 3 of Figures 1 to 6 so that like numerals indicate like parts. Flowever, in the present embodiment, the squeezable cap 3 is more rounded than the

squeezable cap 3 of Figures 1 to 3 to define a substantially dome-shaped squeezable cap 3.

Figures 11 to 13 show the web-like living hinge mounting 5 for supporting the bristled housing 2 and the squeezable cap 3. As shown in the drawings, the living hinge mounting 5 is made up of a ring-like bristled housing frame 24 shaped and sized to receive and hold the bristled housing 2 and a ring-like squeezable cap frame 25 shaped and sized to receive and hold the squeezable cap 3. The living hinge 4 is disposed between the bristled housing frame 24 and the squeezable cap frame 25 so that the squeezable cap 3 is hingedly movable with respect to the bristled housing 2 about the hinge 4.

The liquid carrier 6 can formed from any materials suitable for absorbing liquids. In the present embodiment of the invention, the liquid carrier 6 is a sponge 6 such as a natural sponge which exhibits high absorbency. Similarly, the treatment product carrier 7 is formed from material suitable for high absorption of treatment product. Again, natural sponges are particularly suitable. Where the hairbrush 1 of the invention is intended for use in applying conditioner to hair, e.g. in the treatment of head lice, conditioning solutions can be concentrated and impregnated into the treatment product sponge 7 and dried for subsequent activation and release in use.

Operation and use of the invention will now be described in relation to use of the hairbrush 1 in the treatment of head lice. The hairbrush 1 is generally supplied to a user in the hingedly closed position with the squeezable cap 3 securely attached to the bristled housing at the snap-fit mounting 8 and the two-part treatment product carrier and activation system 23 including a liquid carrier sponge 6 and a conditioner impregnated sponge 7. The user then moves the squeezable cap 3 to the hingedly open position and charges the squeezable cap 3 with water so that the liquid carrier sponge 6 receives, absorbs and retains the water. The squeezable cap therefore serves as a cup when pouring water resource into the treatment product carrier 7, cradling the water while it is absorbed into the treatment product carrier 7 to avoid wastage. If desired, the squeezable cap 3 can be removed from the squeezable cap frame 25 of the living hinge mounting 5 when charging with water.

The user then moves the bristled housing 2 to the closed position about the living hinge 4 and secures the squeezable cap 3 to the bristled housing 2 at the snap-fit mounting 8. The snap-fit mounting 8 seals the hairbrush 1 closed so that water does not escape from the hairbrush 1 at the snap-fit mounting 8. The user then squeezes the squeezable cap 3 so that water from the liquid carrier sponge 6 activates the dried conditioner in the conditioner sponge 7 by forming a conditioner solution which is discharged through the treatment product discharge holes 12 under the squeezing action. Using a brushing motion, the conditioner solution is distributed through the hair by the bristles 11 to detangle the hair for easy combing with a fine comb to remove lice.

The hairbrush 1 can be provided in kit form with a fine comb and replacement liquid and treatment product carriers 6,7 if desired. However, it is envisaged that the liquid and treatment product carriers would be suitable for re-use over a number of weeks. The kit can also include a ventilated bag to assist in drying the hairbrush 1 between uses.

Where the hairbrush 1 is used in the treatment of lice, it has been found that the hairbrush can be sized and dimensioned so that conditioning and detangling can be effected using only about 88 ml of water thus facilitating lice removal with minimal quantities of water. Moreover, little or no water is wasted due to the controllable squeezing action employed to discharge the activated conditioner solution in use.

The hairbrush 1 of the invention can be formed from any suitable materials. For example, the squeezable cap 3 can be formed from any suitable resilient materials such as silicone which facilitates effective squeezing whilst allowing for easy cleaning and drying between uses.

The bristled housing 2 can be formed from plastics materials while the bristles 11 can be formed from polypropylene, Hytrel (Trade Mark) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and the like which allow the use of thin bristles which can flex and brush hair with minimal damage.

As indicated above, the liquid and treatment product carriers 6,7 of the two-part treatment product carrier and activation system 23 can be formed from absorbent materials such as natural sponges. However, if desired synthetic sponges and other alternative absorbent materials can also be employed while the treatment product carrier and activation system can include additional components e.g. can be a three, four or more treatment product carrier and activation system by including additional carriers as required.

The invention is not limited to the embodiments hereinbefore described but may be varied in both construction and detail.