Lifestyle

Is the new 'Manscaped' body groomer from Shark Tank the best one yet?

Our intrepid writer tried the buzzy trimmer for 'downstairs' grooming to find out.

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I'm not sure when I first became aware of the term "manscape," which apparently means to groom or trim a man's body hair, but Urban Dictionary's top definition dates back to 2003. I also admit that when Reviewed first asked me to test products by the brand Manscaped, made famous by Shark Tank and Instagram, I didn't realize that its Lawn Mower is specifically marketed as a trimmer for a dude's hair, um, down there. (Manscape's mission is to be the "global leader in below-the-waist grooming" and "spark a movement to unlock men’s confidence, allowing them to lead their best lives.")

A few disclosures before I get into the so-called weeds. I'm in my late 40s, married, and not especially vain. My head is mostly bald, and what hair I have on my face and body doesn't grow particularly thick but can get unruly. I'm open to learning new things about grooming because I'm diligent about hygiene.

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What is Manscaped?

The brand, founded by a father-and-son team (feel free to unpack that on your own), sells two versions of a cordless hair clipper, a cordless ear- and nose-hair trimmer, nail-grooming kits, and various grooming products for men's hair and skin—all bestowed with "clever" names—both a la carte and in sets.

In the last couple years, I've tested the Lawn Mower 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0, which are waterproof electric hair trimmers featuring what the company calls "SkinSafe Technology" to prevent nicks. (The 2.0 has been discontinued.)

For this review, I also tried the Crop Preserver, an "anti-chafing ball deodorant," and the Crop Reviver, a "ball toner and refresher," and the Shed, a travel bag to hold all this stuff, and separately I've reviewed Manscaped's Weed Whacker, which is a waterproof electric trimmer for ear and nose hair.

What does Manscaped cost?

Manscaped Perfect Package 3.0 in box
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Perfect Package 3.0 comes boxed with all of the accouterments on display.

Like many of these subscription-model startups, Manscaped's pricing is, well, a little convoluted. Allow me to try to break it down:

  • The Lawn Mower 4.0 retails for $89.99 on Manscaped.com, or $84.99 if you sign up for the "Peak Hygiene Plan" to receive two replacement products of your choice (such as more blades or any of the so-called Formulations) every three months for which you're charged $14.99. (Manscaped recommends popping on a new blade that frequently "for optimal performance and hygienic operation.")
  • The Lawn Mower 3.0 sells for $79.99, or $69.99 with the Peak Hygiene Plan.
  • Crop Preserver, $12.99, or a recurring $9.99 for each shipment with a subscription; you can choose to receive it every one, two, three, or six months.
  • Crop Reviver, $10.99, or a recurring charge of $8.99 with a subscription
  • The Shed travel bag, $39.99 (or free with certain sets).

A note about the Peak Hygiene Plan: Previously, this subscription plan covered only the replacement of the ceramic blade, which meant that you'd be charged $14.99 every three months and get one new blade. Now, Manscaped allows you to choose two products for the same $15, one of which can be a new blade. You can also mix and match and change your selections before each shipment. Do you want one blade for the Lawn Mower and another for the Weed Whacker? No problem. Want a new mower blade and a refill on the ball toner? Cool.

Manscaped.com also sells several sets that bundle the trimmers with other products, offering a significant discount from what you'd pay a la carte.

The Perfect Package 4.0 comes with the Lawn Mower 4.0, a bottle each of Crop Preserver and Crop Reviver, the Shed bag, "anti-chafing" boxers (Dear Universe: Shouldn't all boxers be anti-chafing?), and a three pack of Magic Mats, or disposable, recyclable-paper mats that look like a newspaper for placing on the floor to catch clipped hair (now that we no longer read actual newspapers that could be used for this purpose and instead have to buy mock newsprint is perhaps a sign of the apocalypse ... but I digress, again). The Perfect Package 4.0 costs $109.99, or $99.99 with the $14.99 quarterly Peak Hygiene Plan.

The Performance Package 4.0 is all of the above plus the Weed Whacker ear- and nose-hair trimmer. This bundle costs $129.99, or $119.99 with the $14.99 quarterly Peak Hygiene Plan.

Purchased separately (and without the various subscriptions), the items in the Perfect Package would run you about $178 and those in the Performance Package about $218. So, if you want and will use all or most of those items, buying one of the packages is a no-brainer.

However, most of the products are also available on Amazon without the obligation to get a subscription. The Lawn Mower 4.0 is priced at $89.99 (at the time of publication) from Manscaped and fulfilled by Amazon (or cheaper via some third-party vendors). The Lawn Mower 3.0 costs $69.99 with no further purchase required—so it's actually a better deal on Amazon.

However, neither the Perfect Package 4.0 nor the Performance Package 4.0 is available from Amazon. Instead, you can grab a bundle called the Perfect Package 3.0 for $99.99. It comes with the older model Lawn Mower 3.0, Crop Cleanser ("refreshing all-in-one cleanser" for "post-trimming in the shower"), Crop Preserver, Crop Reviver, the Shed, Magic Mat, and a five-piece stainless steel nail kit called the Shears 2.0. Confusingly, the items in this set are somewhat different from what Manscaped sells in the Perfect Package 3.0 directly on its website. That version has the Lawn Mower 3.0, Crop Preserver, Crop Reviver, Magic Mat set, Shed, and Manscaped Boxers for $89.99.

After all that, are you still with me? Deep breath.

Does Manscaped work?

Lawn Mower 4
Credit: Reviewed / Arun Kristian Das

The Lawn Mower 4.0 feels good in the hand with its octagonal shape.

For my first test "down there," I stepped into the tub, opened the shower faucets, and went to mow the lawn under the stream of water.

The wet environment made keeping my skin taut and guiding the blade through my water-flattened hair more difficult but looking down at the hair-covered shower floor told me I was making progress.

I found it worked best without using the plastic comb attachment because the unencumbered blade lifts and cuts wet hair more easily that way. Also, I only did some light mowing, so to speak, while under the shower because of the overall reduced visibility.

Later, I repeated the manscaping exercise while dry. This time, I stood in front of a body-length mirror on the bathroom door so I could better see what I was doing. I stepped onto some actual newsprint (yes, I still get the paper on weekends) and gave it a go below my waist.

I easily guided the trimmer around my sensitive areas, being mindful to keep the skin taut and moving the trimmer only in the direction the blade points, as per the well-illustrated guide that came in the box.

The Lawn Mower 4.0 features a small LED just below the blade, which helpfully lights the way. I was happy to see this innovative feature from the 3.0 carry over to this latest generation.

The answer to your inevitable question: No, I didn't nick myself in either test. Yes, I was very careful, but the trimmer is light (just over four ounces) and easy to maneuver so I wasn't really worried that I'd get hurt. Several of the bad reviews on Amazon are from users claiming they cut themselves using the trimmer. (A couple of reviewers even posted … photos. Oh, my eyes.) Of course this is a risk—even Manscaped includes the disclaimer in its quick-start guide that "nicks, cuts, or other injury may occur" and advises you to "mow low and slow." But after my experiences testing three versions of the Lawn Mower, I have to wonder what those users did to draw all that blood.

Can you use Manscaped on your face?

Arun Face
Credit: Reviewed / Arun Kristian Das

The Lawn Mower 4.0 made pretty quick work of removing my beard.

Although Manscaped markets the trimmer for groin and body grooming, a post on Manscaped's blog states that the Lawn Mower "can be safe and effective for grooming your face." (Your face is part of your body, no?)

But the company advises you to use one blade for your face and a separate blade for the rest of your body to prevent bacterial cross-contamination. I decided to try the trimmer on my face first for this reason. But also, two more reasons: 1) I wanted to see how it performs as a beard and mustache trimmer because I personally don't want to have to buy a different device for every corner of my person and I'm sure many of you don't, either. So if it does a decent job there, too, cool. And 2) If I don't shave for a long time, my beard gets quite long, curly, and wild, which presents a perfect additional challenge for testing the Lawn Mower's mowing power.

After letting my beard grow out for about four weeks, I fired up the Lawn Mower 4.0 and pushed it into the unruly growth with the goal of clipping everything off. I shaved one half of my mug in under two minutes and paused to capture my Two-Face look on camera (see image above). Then I finished the job in just about another minute. This left me with a very short, soft buzz, which is what I like. You can either stop there, if you're like me, or you can switch to a razor to then quickly give yourself a closer shave. And here's the fun fact: I did all this in my backyard, without the benefit of a mirror. I felt a pinch just under my lip and again near my Adam's apple but that has happened to me with dedicated beard trimmers, too, so I won’t hold it against the Lawn Mower.

Can you use Manscaped for other body grooming?

Arun Leg
Credit: Reviewed / Arun Kristian Das

The Manscaped Lawn Mower has a good feel in the hand and trims hair closely to the skin, as seen on this lower leg. (It's a G-rated site, mmkay?)

Yes. Trimming my chest hair in the shower was quick, though I don’t have a ton of torso hair in the first place. The only hang-up was that hairs tended to stick to my skin rather than fall away, which made it harder to tell where I’d trimmed. Still, the results were good. The more I test Manscaped products, the better I get at using them. When I was a manscaping novice, I missed some spots, go figure, both on my chest and down below. But by now, I'm much more comfortable guiding the devices on my real estate to achieve smoother and neater results.

But remember—the Lawn Mower is a trimmer, not a shaver, so it can only snip your hair so short. If you're looking to go hairless, you'll want to go over your skin again with a men's disposable razor like our top pick, Gillette Mach3 Turbo or try one of Manscaped's razors, (The Plow 2.0 for le visage and the Crop Shaver for the groin—or book a waxing appointment and skip the home trimming altogether.

How do you clean the Manscaped Lawn Mower?

One benefit of the device's waterproofing is that, even if you don't use it in the shower, you can clean it under running water. After I rinsed it clean of hair, I popped off the blade attachment, gently tapped it and the unit to shake out loose hair, and then brushed them with a toothbrush. (The tiny brush that comes with most electric trimmers is pretty useless because it's hard to hold and doesn't really sweep enough. I prefer using a soft-bristle toothbrush.)

How long does Manscaped’s battery last?

The Lawn Mower is charged via USB, which was new to me in the personal care space when I first tested it. The 4.0 comes with a USB charger (it looks a lot like an iPhone charger but black instead of white), a braided cable, and a cradle that holds the trimmer upright while it juices up. What's new with this model: The trimmer recharges wirelessly through electromagnetic induction, meaning the trimmer sits in the cradle and charges via contact alone. The cable it comes with is to charge the cradle. This also means that you can try charging the handheld on a third-party wireless charging pad, although Manscaped doesn't guarantee it will work with every generic pad on the market.

To test charging time, I slid a fully drained Lawn Mower 4.0 test unit into its charging cradle and waited. A strip of three blinking lights shows the trimmer's charging progress. (Those lights also indicate the trimmer's approximate charge in thirds.) The mower recharged in just over three hours. Manscaped says the 4.0's fully charged battery gets you up to 90 minutes of use. To test that claim, I let the fully charged 4.0 run with the LED on until the unit died, which took about 70 minutes. I repeated the drain-until-dead test with the LED switched off. This time, the charge lasted 91 minutes.

Remember that your real-world experience will look very different—you'll likely use the device for just a few minutes at a time. But the battery life seems more than adequate to keep you in business for several manscaping sessions before needing to juice up. It's also about the same charge-up and draining time I got when I tested the Lawnmower 3.0.

What’s good about Manscaped?

Manscaped Headlight
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Arguably its best feature: The LED headlight on the Lawn Mower 3.0.

I've appreciated each version of the Lawn Mower's design and build. The 4.0 shaver, which weighs about 4.3 ounces and measures just under six inches long, feels light and great in my hand. With my index finger wrapped under the concave of the shaver's neck, my pinky clutches the rounded bottom while my thumb easily presses the power button, which delivers a nice tactile response when pressed.

Pressing the button three times activates the travel lock to prevent accidental activation (and draining of power) if the trimmer bangs around in the Shed or some other case while you're on the go—a very useful feature that should be on every electronic personal care product.

The LED spotlight is genius. Without this feature—or perhaps some low-angled floodlights in your bathroom—I don't know how you'd see where you need to trim the farther down you go. But when you don't need to shine the spotlight on your work area, you can switch it off by holding down the power button for about two seconds while the trimmer is buzzing.

Another plus is that the Lawn Mower is quiet. You can hear the buzzing just enough to let you know it's charged and working. In fact, for my battery life test, I placed the buzzing unit on a small washcloth on my desk while I worked on my computer and I barely noticed the humming sound after a while.

The 4.0 comes with two comb attachments, a.k.a. trim guards, which is more than enough. Each clicks into two trim lengths, giving you four options: 3mm, 6mm, 10mm, and 13mm. I've had shavers that came with many comb attachments I never used and they ended up being clutter. This is my preference, of course, and you might wish you could have several different lengths. But how many lengths do you need for focused grooming on your chest and groin?

After each test, I didn't notice any itching or signs of ingrown hairs (but to be fair, I couldn't really get that close).

What I didn't like about Manscaped

The placement of the Lawn Mower's power button, while comfortably under a thumb or finger, can be triggered accidentally, as several Amazon reviewers noted. The button on the 4.0 requires deliberate pressure to activate. And yet I accidentally switched off the trimmer three times while using it. This wasn't a problem for me when I tested the 3.0, which leads me to think something may have changed design-wise.

Also, the narrow one-inch trimmer blade, while good for tight places, makes shaving larger areas, like the belly, chest, and face, a more tedious task.

As for those adjustable comb guides: I accidentally clicked the guide completely off the blade once while shaving. I'd done the same thing several times with a guide on the 3.0, so this time I knew to expect this. It would be helpful if removing the comb required a different motion than the same sliding between the two lengths.

Finally, I don't love the price if you just opt to buy the Lawn Mower alone; $90 is a lot for a specialized hair trimmer that serves a niche purpose—and that's $10 more than what the 3.0 cost when that model came out.

But if you're willing to wash it thoroughly and use separate blades for your separate bits, you can get more use out of it. Also, if you go for one of Manscaped's sets, you'll probably appreciate the value you get for a lot of products.

How are the Manscaped Lawn Mower 4.0 and Lawn Mower 3.0 different?

Lawn Mower 3 vs 4
Credit: Reviewed / Arun Kristian Das

Manscaped's Lawn Mower 4.0 has udpated features, including a wireless charging station.

After testing both trimmers, I've concluded that the trimming performance of the 4.0 and 3.0 are very similar. In fact, they use the same ceramic blade and both have a 7,000-rpm motor.

The main differences are in the features. The 4.0 has the travel lock, which is useful if you plan to take it with you on the go. The 4.0 also has a charging and power indicator​. The 3.0 has neither. The new model also has two comb guides giving you four lengths whereas the previous model offers one comb with two lengths. And the fourth-gen unit had wireless charging.

The other noticeable difference is mostly cosmetic. The 4.0 has an octagonal shape; you can feel edges as you hold and rotate it. The 3.0 has an elliptic cylindrical shape with a textured surface; so no edges around the main shaft.

The 4.0 costs more than the 3.0, too, but if you're looking for a device for your manscaping purposes (and have the cash to spend), I say you may as well go for the Lawn Mower 4.0.

Should you upgrade to the Lawn Mower 4.0 if you already have the 3.0?

If you like your 3.0 and it does the job, stick with it. Maybe wait for the 5.0.

Go for the upgrade if any of the following apply to you: you've gotten a lot of mileage out of your 3.0, you like getting new toys, you appreciate the new travel lock and wireless charging features, or you're a hairy beast.

Are Manscaped body grooming products any good?

Manscaped accessories
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Manscaped accessories can be purchased in the Perfect Package 3.0 or a la carte.

I tested two bottles: the Crop Preserver (deodorant) and Crop Reviver (skin toner). I'm a fan of keeping all areas of my body, especially that one, clean and as odor-free as possible. But I can't help but roll my eyes at pricey liquids billed as an "anti-chafing ball deodorant" and a "ball toner and refresher," respectively. I tried both products, which have muted but distinctly pleasant fragrances. And no, they don't sting. (I'm sure every young man has at some point in his life experimented with deodorizing his testicles—with possibly terrifying results.)

I think we can probably survive without spending 10 bucks on a few ounces of some concoction that's probably not that different from using a combination of good soap, standard body lotion, and possibly a shake of talcum powder.

But, hey, you do you.

Who else likes Manscaped?

The Lawn Mower 4.0 doesn't have many Amazon reviews yet. It has an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 across about 420 global ratings. (The 3.0, by comparison, rates an average 4.5 across 51,310 global ratings.)

Many reviewers seem to love the new version, saying they like the travel lock, wireless charging, LED, and more. Others posted complaints about red marks and nicked skin. Men who are already fans of taking time to groom below the waist seem to appreciate the Lawn Mower's design and features. But dudes who are skeptical about bringing an electric-powered blade close to their tender bits are probably not going to be convinced it is worth the trouble and care required.

Should you get Manscaped?

If you're more consistent about manscaping than I am, you will probably like the Lawn Mower, especially if you're single, dating, and actively working to make a great impression on intimate partners.

Still, I asked some friends about their thoughts on manscaping, to be sure I wasn't alone in my assessment. I was a bit surprised.

Carolyn, 38, a social worker, said there's no need to go all lumberjack. "Don't clearcut the forest," she said. "Just pick up the fallen branches and cut back the weeds." Whether she is casually dating or is in a long-term relationship, Carolyn said she hopes a man's habits are consistent. "The presentation matters, and I expect somebody to do the same maintenance I do," she told me.

Angela, 43, a writer navigating the dating waters, is also pro-manscaping. "A man with a well-coiffed beard is sexy. And if he's also groomed below the belt, you know personal self-care is top of mind," she said. "And that's incredibly attractive."
Seriously?

"Seriously, if it looks like an overgrown weed patch down there and I can't find my way around, it's totally a turn off," she said.

Well, OK then. Guys, are you paying attention?

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