For as long as people have understood that the reflection they see belongs to them, they have been interested in what they can do to improve upon it. That attention becomes more dominant as basic needs are met and more free time and resources can be dedicated to beautification. While the idea about what is beautiful has changed drastically over time, the desire to attain whatever the current fashion is remains strong, no less in men than in women. One particular area of fascination has been with our eyes which are, after all, purportedly the windows to our souls.

The Egyptians painted their eyes with kohl, creating strong black outlines which some speculate helped to reflect the sun away from their faces, much as the lines painted under the eyes of football players, and, as is so often the case, the necessary becomes fashionable. Since then, mostly women but also some men have been working to paint around their eyes. Over the course of centuries various recipes for coloring eyelashes were developed and many women mixed up their own formulas using ingredients such as elderberry and ash. In the 1830’s all of this changed with the introduction of chemical dyes developed first by BASF, known as aniline dyes, which were discovered accidentally as a byproduct of pharmaceutical research. Not only did this lead to bright, stay-fast colors becoming fashionable in clothing, but many realized the potential for creating synthetic dyes to replace the homemade and natural eye makeup recipes that were available.

In the 1930s a product known as Lash Lure and eyebrow dye was introduced, but it contained a chemical called Paraphenylenediamine that was highly toxic. Particularly unfortunately, our eyes are relatively sensitive and the chemicals that were in these eyelash dyes caused cases of blindness and even one death. As a result, stricter laws were finally passed in 1934, although they have not been updated since then.

Another innovation, and one that was decidedly more beneficial, in the application of eyelash dye was the introduction in 1917 of a type of cake mascara, produced by Maybell Labs, called Maybelline which was sold with an applicator brush. This was followed by the tube design and spiral brush, introduced by Revlon, which became the standard packaging and application mechanism for most mascara. Makeup producers have continued to make changes to color, formula composition, and the applicator brush, some of which are purely marketing and some of which impact the application and wear of mascara, and the product continues to be as popular as ever with a tube of Maybelline mascara being sold in the US every two seconds.

Now, Chanel is harnessing the potential of 3D printing to enhance their makeup line with the addition of a 3D printed mascara brush. This is not the first interest there has been in connecting the makeup industry with the power of advanced manufacturing; there have been hopes for the creation of skin and hair for makeup testing, the production of powders and gels, and even for the application of makeup itself. This isn’t just a gimmick either; Chanel insists that the micro cavities that can be directly printed into the shape of the brush’s bristles themselves ensure smooth and even application. The form of these bristles should help relieve issues with clumping and allow the user to build up mascara without having to constantly ‘redip’ the brush in the mascara tube.

The mascara is called Le Volume Revolution and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this product and whether or not other makeup manufacturers follow in Chanel’s footsteps. Whether this is a one off or the beginning of a new way of producing makeup, only time will tell, but it certainly opens the doors wide for makeup in the 21st century.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Source: Vogue]

 

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