Chanel Turns to 3D Printing to Craft the Perfect Mascara Brush

While it may be early days for 3D printing, there’s no doubt that this emerging technology is poised to transform manufacturing. In fact, futurist Ray Kurzweil, known for his accurate predictions on the rise of personal computing and the internet, has estimated that by 2020, there will be a host of product available for purchase to 3D print straight away, and it will become the norm for people to have 3D printers in their homes. While it may be years before garments can be printed at the ready, French company Chanel is leveraging the technology in their beauty department.

This month, Chanel announced the debut of Le Révolution Volume mascara, a mascara that will use a 3D printed brush. The wand has been in development in the brand’s lab since 2007, but will become available for purchase this fall. The brush is manufactured by the printing of successive layers of a polyamide powder polymerized with a laser beam.

Chanel collaborated with Erpro 3D Factory, a company specializing in additive manufacturing, to bring the project to life. The Volume Révolution de Chanel mascara uses SLS technology (selective laser sintering) and went through 100 prototypes until the shape was just right. Chanel first filed a patent for a 3D printed wand in 2007.

According to The Kit, notable features of the mascara include a granular texture, so as to improve how the formula adheres to lashes; micro-cavities at the core of the wand to preempt double-dipping; and a bristle-grid separated by millimetres to prevent clumping.

The 3D-printed mascara is expected to be available this June 2018 in North America.

Amanda Cosco
Amanda is a freelance journalist and consultant focused on the intersection of fashion and technology and the founder of Electric Runway.

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