The fashion industry has been implementing 3D printing technology for some time now, in products from clothes, shoes, and ties to jewelry, purses, and even eye-catching umbrellas. But makeup products have also been going high-tech with 3D printing – we’ve seen 3D printed lipstick applicators before, and now Chanel, which has turned to 3D printed fashion in the past, is introducing the world’s first 3D printed mascara brush to be produced and marketed on an industrial scale.

Chanel Parfums Beauté, together with its French partner, Erpro 3D Factory, is changing up the brush manufacturing process by increasing flexibility and saving time and money by forgoing expensive, time-consuming molds. The two have been working to develop the 3D printed mascara brush for over a decade now, and the hard work has paid off in the debut of its Le Révolution Volume mascara.

Pascale Marciniak-Davoult, Director of Packaging Innovation at Chanel Parfums Beauté, said, “Together, we have taken up many technological challenges to push the boundaries of 3D printing and offer a revolutionary product.”

[Image: Chanel Parfums Beauté]

Erpro specializes in large-scale 3D printing, and has designed a joint production line with Marciniak-Davoult’s department. The line has six 3D printers, which can produce a total of 50,000 brushes per day – this equals out to 250,000 brushes per week, for a total of up to 1 million brushes each month.

According to The Kit, “While Chanel’s fashion arm relies on its storied artisans and Métiers d’Art to craft its most breathtaking pieces, the beauty branch of the brand drew upon the help of Erpro 3D Factory to design the truly awesome brush for the Volume Révolution De Chanel Mascara.”

[Image via The Kit]

Years ago, industrial additive manufacturing was predicted to someday become a major competitor to more traditional but pricier methods of production, like injection molding. In announcing the successful development, and continued industrial production, of its innovative 3D printed mascara brush, Chanel is proving that the technology can be used to produce, as Premium Beauty News puts it, “dramatically disruptive projects.”

The high fashion house has long understood the potential that 3D printing brings to the table, filing its first patent back in 2007 for manufacturing cosmetic products applicators, which included a 3D printed mascara brush. Fabricating the brush via 3D printing introduces flexibility to the production process, as Chanel was able to manufacture as many inexpensive prototypes as needed in order to test out and determine the best brush formula.

Chanel says that it completed more than 100 rounds of trials before the final shape of the 3D printed Le Révolution Volume mascara brush was finalized – 3D printing provided the company with more creative freedom to match its brand.

In the lab: Chanel’s mascara samples for testing. [Image via The Kit]

Production is expected to begin this June, and will follow a “stringent process” consisting of raw material analysis, powder preparation, and cooling, cleaning, and rinsing the brushes, followed by mechanical and quality control tests; this is due to the fact that the products involved will be applied in the sensitive eye area. Several patent applications protect the process, in which layers of polyamide powder are polymerized using a laser beam to 3D print the mascara brush.

The powder 3D printing method allows Chanel to produce the specific shape of the brush, which it wouldn’t be able to do with other, more conventional manufacturing methods. This shape allows the mascara to be distributed homogeneously on the user’s eyelashes, so it’s very important to ensure that it comes out perfectly each time.

The 3D printed mascara brush also features a slightly rough, granular surface texture, which improves how the mascara adheres to the lashes. Microcavities at the core and end of the brush are able to store enough mascara so you don’t ever have to double-dip the brush to get the right amount. Finally, a bristle-grid, separated only by a few millimeters of space, ensures intense volume while at the same time preventing the enemy of eye makeup everywhere – the dreaded clumping.

Chanel’s 3D printed Le Révolution Volume mascara brush will be available in Canada beginning in autumn 2018.

What do you think of this 3D printed mascara brush – would you buy one? Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com, or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

 

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