CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/958,798, entitled “System and Method for Attaching Bi-locking Hair Extensions”, filed on Jul. 10, 2007.
- SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM
- TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a system, and a method of utilizing that system, to attach natural or synthetic hair extensions for the purpose of increasing hair volume, length and/or adding highlights to natural hair growing on an individual's head.
There are a wide variety of methods and techniques that allow individuals to achieve longer, thinker, voluminous hair with the use of supplemental hair extensions. Supplemental hair is use for fashion, cosmetic, or entertainment purposes wherein they are attached to an individual's head as to be interspersed with the individual's naturally growing hair. Many individuals choose to have supplemental hair added to their natural hair because of issues with inadequate hair growth, fine thinning hair, or alopecia (hair loss). The average rate for hair growth is ½″ a month. Thus, in many cases it is difficult to reach a desired hair length or if the desired length is acquired, it lacks the fullness, body, or volume of healthy human hair. Some individuals also seek to add highlights to their natural hair without the use of hair color or other harsh chemicals.
Various devices and techniques are available in prior art and in the marketplace that attempt to satisfy a need and desire for longer, thicker hair or for adding highlights without the use of chemicals. The easiest approach is wearing a wig or hairpieces such as clip-on ponytails. However, they do not present a fully natural appearance. More recently, a variety of more natural hair enhancement techniques have become more popular. These consists of hair weaves, hair braiding, hair infusions and the like, whereby natural or synthetic hair is attached to the scalp or existing hair of a wearer with an array of techniques to achieve longer, fuller, thicker hair. These techniques suffer from several drawbacks as they are time consuming to apply, provide much discomfort for the wearer, are relatively expensive, can be difficult to conceal and/or maintain, or place too much added tension on the wearer's naturally growing hair which causes damage.
Several methods for adding supplemental hair and hair enhancements hair been cited in prior art. These techniques require heat or harsh solvents to reverse the attachment process. U.S. Pat. No. 4,934,387 with shows the use of a thermoplastic glue, U.S. Pat. No. 5,072,745 discloses the use of a hot melt adhesive, U.S. Pat. No. 5,868,145 uses a liquid latex along with a cyanoacrylate adhesive, U.S. Pat. No. 5,575,298 uses a contact adhesive, U.S. Pat. No. 6,405,736 disclose a self adhesive tape for attaching an extension or multiple extensions to the scalp. U.S. Pat. No. 5,107,867 describes the use of thermosetting adhesive in combination with a heat shrinkable tubing. U.S. Pat. No. 5,894,846 describes the attachment of hair extensions to strands of knotted, scalp hair using heat shrinkable tubes. The hair is first knotted and readily trapped in the tubing after heat is applied to cause shrinking of the tubing.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,121,761 describes a method of attaching hair extensions which require gathering multiple strands of hair on which anchor devices are crimped. Extensions are then sewn to the secured anchors using needle and thread.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,752,530 details a process for attaching hair extensions to scalp hair which comprises using a clamping tool to temporarily clamp loose strands of hair extensions to gathered strands of hair near the scalp. First, strands of scalp hair are combined with a strand of hair extensions. A clamping sleeve is slipped onto the loop of a loop catcher. Then the combined strands are inserted into the loop and are pulled into and through the clamping sleeve with the loop catcher. The combined scalp hair and the hair extensions are then preliminarily attached by pre-squeezing the sleeve. After the sleeve is properly placed in the vicinity of the scalp, the sleeve is finally pressed so as to clamp the hair extension to the scalp hair. The sleeve, which is preferably of the same color as the hair, may be removed by prying it open with bent-nose pliers. To undo the process (remove the hair extension) the pointed tips of the pliers are used to unfold the folded sleeve, releasing the compressive forces on the scalp hair and hair extension.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,938,624 explains how hair extensions are applied to natural hair growing on the scalp of an individual using flared copper cylindrical tubes, a threading hook and a specially design crimping tool. The crimped tube allows for application and removal of the extensions without the use of solvents.
U.S. Pat. No. 7,201,171 refers to an invention consisting of a seamless self-adhesive hair extension method. It is comprised of a plurality of either natural or synthetic hair strands attached to a strip support made of polyurethane which has a rectangular strip of double-sided self-adhesive tape with a removable backing as a fastener. The method consists of separating a user's hair along a part line into an upper portion and a lower portion, wherein the upper portion and lower portion are temporarily swept up and away from the part line. Another double-sided rectangular strip of self-adhesive tape is placed along a lower portion part line approximately ¼″ from the scalp onto the user's natural hair, and then alternating ¼″ strands of the user's natural hair are withdrawn from the upper portion of hair above the part line such that the strands will be laid upon the double-sided self-adhesive tape. The removable backing is removed from the tape that is attached to the hair extension or ventilated polyurethane strip, thereby exposing the self-adhesive tape; and the self-adhesive hair extension or ventilated polyurethane strip is applied to the other double face tape on the user's head which contains the strands of the user's natural hair.
Each of the previously referenced documents have problems, both in use and speed of application. These problems are addressed by the current invention. The required use of adhesives, heat, or harsh chemicals described in previous published procedures required in the attachment or removal of hair extensions can be damaging to the natural hair and scalp. In addition, the adhesive materials also retain dirt and natural skin oils making them difficult to clean. Heat shrinkable tubes are difficult to remove, particularly when the hair requires knotting and may require cutting the natural hair to remove the extensions. Other tubular attachment means require additional tools for anchoring the extensions and may be difficult and very time consuming for those skilled in the art to apply and remove. Hair extensions applied with self-adhesive tapes lack longevity. While the hair attachment is relatively simple to apply, the self-adhesive tape provides a less than adequate means to secure strands of natural or synthetic hair to the wearer's natural hair and can become prematurely separated from the self-adhesive tape. The process of removing these hair extensions may also leave an undesirable, sticky residue upon the wearer's natural hair.
As such, it is apparent that there is a continuing need for a new and improved method and device for providing an appearance of longer thicker hair. In these respects, the present invention substantially differentiates from conventional concepts and designs of the prior art by providing a hair extension system and method for utilizing that system that is relatively simple to apply, requires no harsh chemical for removal, and presents minimal damage and tension to an individuals natural hair. The current invention also presents a method for attaching extensions to an individual's hair that allows easy removal of the extensions and re-adjustments of the positions of the extensions relative to the person's scalp. Additionally, the aforementioned patents and commercial techniques do not suggest the present inventive combination of component elements arranged and configured as disclosed herein.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention achieves its intended purposes, objectives, and advantages through a new, useful and unobvious combination of steps and component elements, with use of a minimum number of functioning parts, at a reasonable cost to manufacture, and with use of readily available materials.
The method of the present invention integrates a hair attachment to hair growing naturally from an individuals scalp. The hair attachment that is the subject of the instant invention consists of a quantity of natural or synthetic hair strands that are disposed in a parallel relationship and are attached or secured at one end to a flexible strip of polyurethane, mono, or lace. The polyurethane strip is approximately 2 cm in width with a plurality of supplemental hair ventilated in opposing directions on one side of the strip. The inner side of the strip exposes the polyurethane material where tiny holes approximately 1.8-2.8 mm in diameter line the middle of the polyurethane strip and are spaced in pairs 4-8 mm apart and may incorporate slits approximately ½″ in length joining each adjacent hole. Two rectangular strips of clear double sided adhesive tape with removable backing are attached horizontally, opposite each other above and below the paired holes on the poly strip.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Locking tubes made from copper, aluminum, stainless steel, sterling silver, gold or any other pliable material with at least one aperture are placed on a miniature crochet latch hook needle. The needle is then inserted into the holes and hooks strands of the wearer's natural hair and pulls the gathered strands through the hole. The locking tubes are then withdrawn from the crochet needle and the wearer's natural gathered hair is pulled through the aperture of the locking tube. With the natural hair threaded through the tube's opening, the tube is able to slide along the gathered natural hair to a location adjacent the scalp, and secured to the gathered hair by crimping with specially designed pliers provided with this invention. This series is repeated at each pair of holes on the polyurethane strip. The back of the double sided adhesive tape is then removed and poly strip is folded in half over the secured locking tubes and the wearer's natural gathered hair is sealed between the two pieces of double adhesive tape. Folding the polyurethane material together conceals the locking tubes while anchoring the wearer's natural hair to the supplemental hair extensions.
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and form a part of the specification, illustrate the present invention and, together with the description, further serve to explain the principles of the invention and to enable a person skilled in the pertinent art to make and use the invention.
FIG. 1 shows the back of an individual's head parted horizontally with the hair above the part line being secured with Velcro strips and the hair below the part line hanging freely;
FIG. 2 shows a front view of the current invention with supplemental hair ventilated in opposite directions on a polyurethane strip and small holes lining the center of the polyurethane;
FIG. 3 shows the back of the current invention with supplemental hair ventilated in opposite directions on a polyurethane strip with holes in the center of the poly strip and small slits joining the two adjacent holes;
FIG. 4 shows the double sided adhesive and removable backing;
FIG. 5 shows the individuals hair being pulled through the two adjacent holes with the crochet needle which holds the locking tubes;
FIG. 6 shows a single locking tube and aperture;
FIG. 7 shows magnified view of an individual's natural gathered hair and application of locking tube;
FIG. 8 shows magnified view of individual's natural gathered hair and crimped locking tube;
FIG. 9 shows magnified view of completed row of individual's gathered hair integrated through the poly strip and secured with crimped locking tubes;
FIG. 10 shows back view of individual's hair integrated through poly strip secured with crimp locking tubes and exposed double sided tape;
FIG. 11 shows current invention folded in half concealing the individual's natural hair and locking tubes between two pieces of double sided tape; and
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 12 is a back view of the individuals head with the current invention attached slightly below the part line.
In the following are detailed descriptions of the invention of exemplary embodiments. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, but other embodiments may be utilized and logical, mechanical, electrical, and other changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined only by the appended claims.
In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it is understood that the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures and techniques known to one of ordinary skill in the art have not been shown in detail in order not to obscure the invention.
The present invention integrates a hair attachment to hair growing naturally from an individuals scalp. The hair attachment that is the subject of the instant invention consists of a quantity of natural or synthetic hair strands that are disposed in a parallel relationship and are attached or secured at one end to a flexible strip of polyurethane, mono, or lace. The polyurethane strip 3 is approximately 2 cm in width with a plurality of Supplemental hair 1 ventilated in opposing directions on one side of the strip. The inner side of the strip exposes the polyurethane material where tiny holes 2 approximately 1.8-2.8 mm in diameter line the middle of the polyurethane strip 3 and are spaced in pairs 4-8 mm apart and may incorporate slits approximately ½″ in length joining each adjacent hole. Two rectangular strips of clear double sided adhesive tape 5 with removable backing 4 are attached horizontally, opposite each other above and below the paired holes 2 on the poly strip.
The wearer's natural hair is parted swept up and temporarily secured creating hair above and below the part line. A part line approximately ¼″ wide is made just below the upper portion 7 of the previous part line this hair is swept up and secured with Velcro strips 6. The poly strip is placed on the part line covering a portion of the hair below the part line 8. Locking tubes 9 made from copper, aluminum, stainless steal, sterling silver, gold or any other pliable material with at least one aperture 11 are placed on a miniature crochet latch hook needle 10. The needle 10 is then inserted into the holes 2 and hooks strands of the wearer's natural hair that is secured by Velcro strips 6 above the part line 7 and pulls the gathered strands through the hole. The locking tubes 9 are then withdrawn from the crochet latch hook needle 10 and the wearer's natural gathered hair is pulled through the aperture 11 of the locking tube 10. With the natural hair threaded through the tube's opening, the tube 10 is able to slide along the gathered natural hair to a location adjacent the scalp, and secured to the gathered hair by crimping with specially designed pliers provided with this invention.
This series is repeated at each pair of holes 2 on the polyurethane strip. The back of the double sided adhesive tape 5 is then removed and poly strip is folded in half over the secured locking tubes 9 and the wearer's natural gathered hair is sealed between the two pieces of double adhesive tape 5. Folding the polyurethane material together conceals the locking tubes 9 while anchoring the wearer's natural hair to the Supplemental hair 1 extensions.
In still another aspect, the method of the present invention further includes that after the extension is secured to the wearer's hair, the distance between the locking tubes 9 and the skin increases as the wearer's naturally growing hair grows out. Then, the extension is repositioned closer to the skin by unfolding and detaching the double adhesive tape 5, loosening each of the locking tubes 9, and moving the loosened locking tubes 9 and the extension means closer to the skin. The locking tubes 9 may also be removed and replaced with new locking tubes 9. Each locking tube 10 is re-secured to the respective gathered strands of naturally growing hair. The double-sided adhesive tape 5 is re-applied to the poly strip and the backing is removed from the tape 5 and then folded over to reseal the locking tubes 9 and the wearer's natural hair between the two pieces of tape 5. The strands of hair secured to the ventilated polyurethane strip 3 as referenced earlier can be natural or synthetic and are also available in a variety of textures, colors, and lengths.
The method of the present invention uses a releasable locking tube 10 to bind the strands of naturally growing hair together. The locking tubes 9 also provide an anchor point on the naturally growing hair so that the extension integrates with the wearer's natural hair. The rectangular strip of double-sided tape 5 adds extra security to the hair attachment to prevent slippage. Together both the locking tubes 9 and the double-sided adhesive strips create a bi-locking system for securing the Supplemental hair 1 to the individuals' naturally growing hair for a prolonged period of time. The locking tubes 9 can be easily removed without damaging the naturally growing hair. By loosening the locking tubes 9 on the naturally growing hair, the position of the tubes can be adjusted closer to the scalp to compensate for growth of the naturally growing hair away from the scalp. Thus, the extension can be easily adjusted closer to the scalp every few weeks.
Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for designing of other structures, methods and systems for obtaining the several purposes of the present invention.
Thus, it is appreciated that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variation in size, materials, shape, form, function, and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the above description are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. Furthermore, other areas of art may benefit from this method and adjustments to the design are anticipated. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.