Is the 'Manscaped' body groomer from Shark Tank any good?
Our intrepid writer tried the buzzy trimmer for 'down there' 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 2.0 is specifically marketed as a trimmer for a dude’s hair, um, down there. (Manscaped's mission: “to keep every man’s manhood looking and feeling as attractive as possible.”)
A few disclosures before I get into the so-called weeds. I’m in my 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. I’m open to learning new things about grooming because I’m diligent about hygiene.
But I’m a bit skeptical about yet another start-up internet retailer, especially one that generated buzz (see what I did there?) with an appearance on “Shark Tank,” trying to sell men a pricey device and a subscription for endless refills to solve a problem we don’t really have. (Or do we?)
What is Manscaped?
The brand, founded by a father and son team (feel free to unpack that on your own), sells a cordless hair clipper, a safety razor, and various grooming products for men's hair and skin—all bestowed with "clever" names—both a la carte and in sets. The kit that I tested, for which Reviewed paid $80, contained the following items:
- The Lawn Mower 2.0, a waterproof electric trimmer, which has "SkinSafe Technology" to prevent errant nicks, retails for $60 (or $50 with “Peak Hygiene Plan,” to receive replacement blades every three months for which you're charged $15)
- The Plow, an old-school safety razor, $20 (or $15 with a 10-pack replacement blades subscription every three months at an additional charge of $4.50 per shipment)
- Crop Preserver, an “anti-chafing ball deodorant,” $20 (or $10 with monthly subscription charged at an additional $10 per shipment)
- Crop Reviver, a “ball toner and refresher,” $18 (or $9 with monthly subscription charged at an additional $9 per shipment)
- The Shed, a travel bag to hold all this stuff, $40 (or free with certain sets)
These contents differ a bit from the kits being sold right now directly from Manscaped.com as well as from Amazon, despite both kits being called The Perfect Package 2.0. (Confusing.) No matter what, it's certainly a better deal to get a kit, assuming you want and will use all or most of the items inside it.
What is it like to use Manscaped’s 'The Lawn Mower' trimmer?
I tested the Lawn Mower on my face (dry) to see how it performs as a beard and mustache trimmer; on my torso (wet); and around my crotch (dry and wet).
Facial grooming: Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I shaved my beard and mustache almost all off. I was done in less than 5 minutes (although for my beard, a wider-bladed trimmer does the job even faster). My face had a short but soft buzz, which I like.
Body grooming: Next, I stepped into the bathtub to give it a go below my waist, for which the narrower blade makes the most sense. I easily guided the trimmer around my sensitive areas, being mindful to keep the skin taut, as per the instructions on Manscaped’s website (note: the flimsy user guide that came with the device provided no guidance). You may not be able to see everything that you’re doing down there so using a mirror can help.
I waited a couple of weeks and redid the process under the shower. The water made keeping my skin taut and guiding the blade through my wet, flattened hair more difficult.
Trimming my chest hair under the shower was also tricky because the Lawn Mower didn’t easily lift and cut wet, clinging hair. And those hairs that did get cut tended to stick rather than fall away, complicating things more.
I missed some spots, go figure. But my skin felt smooth and neat. Days 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). I didn’t nick myself but I was very, very careful.
Cleaning the device: Cleaning the Lawn Mower was easy. After rinsing it under running water, 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, including this one, is pretty useless. I've had way more success using a soft-bristle toothbrush.)
Battery charging and performance: The Lawn Mower is charged via USB, which is new to me in the personal care space. It comes with a USB cable but not a charger, which may annoy some buyers. But who doesn’t have at least a few USB bricks or even USB outlets around the house these days? I don't need yet another one.
I plugged the Lawn Mower into a charger that came with a powered screwdriver. The instructions say to charge the unit for five hours before first use, which I did. Manscaped also says the fully charged trimmer is supposed to last 60 minutes. I let it run until it died, which took about 55 minutes, according to my stopwatch.
What is it like to use 'The Plow' safety razor?
The Plow is an all-metal safety razor with replaceable blades. Safety razors freak me out because the blades are really, really sharp. If you’re not very careful, you’re liable to slash open your flesh and leave your bathroom looking like an episode of “C.S.I.” But a safety razor can potentially give you a very close, precise shave (if you use it correctly), which piqued my interest.
First, I trimmed my unruly beard and mustache with the Lawn Mower and the 6mm comb. Then I lathered my face with some shaving gel and carefully brought the Plow to my face. I shaved my hair down to a 'stache and goatee in about 14 minutes. (I should have trimmed my beard shorter first.)
The results: A very close, very smooth shave, which my wife immediately noticed, too. But shaving my neck safely was really tricky and I left some red, irritated spots (see photos).
What is it like to use the Manscaped body grooming products?
My set came with two bottles, which I'd be remiss in not giving a go: the Crop Preserver (deodorant) and Crop Reviver (skin toner). I'm certainly 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.)
But 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.
What I liked about Manscaped
I really appreciated the Lawn Mower's design and build. The 4-ounce, 5¼-inch-long shaver 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 (but see also: "What I didn't like..."). It's easy to clean and store.
I liked that it comes with just two double-sided comb attachments so you can choose from four lengths: 3mm, 6mm, 9mm, 12mm. I’ve had shavers that came with many comb attachments I never used and they end up being clutter.
It is also really, really quiet. For a split second I thought maybe I hadn’t charged it enough.
As for the Plow: I liked the overall closeness of the shave but... (see below).
What I didn't like about Manscaped
The placement of the Lawn Mower's power button, while comfortably under a thumb or finger, is too easy to trigger accidentally. When I held the Lawn Mower upside down to groom my body, my thumb hit the button and shut it off. Four times. The button is flush with the casing, so there is no ergonomic cue to stay away from it.
Also, the narrow trimmer blade, while good for tight places, makes shaving larger areas (belly, chest, face) more of a chore.
As for the Plow, it just takes too long to use (at least for me, who is new to safety razors) and requires a lot of attention to, well, safety.
Who might like Manscaped?
The Lawn Mower set has an average rating of 4.2 stars across more than 1,000 reviews on Amazon. Some reviewers seem to love it while others lament various problems, including nicked skin, yanked hairs, and whatnot.
Men who were already fans of grooming below the waist seemed to appreciate the same features I did. Dudes who were skeptical about bringing an electric-powered blade close to their tender bits weren’t always convinced it was worth the trouble and care required.
Should you get Manscaped?
If you are 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.
I see the Plow safety razor as a niche item. The cartridge- and disposable-razor industry is a billion-dollar business for a good reason. The Plow fits in with Manscaped’s image as a brand for the sophisticated, sly, and serious man who spends the time to look and feel good about himself. But if you’re that guy, you’re probably also super-busy and may not have the patience to risk bodily harm. (I’m not joking: the instruction booklet has a 13-point list under the heading “Caution” that includes: “Serious injury may occur when using the Plow.”)
Still, I asked a few friends about their thoughts on manscaping, to be sure I wasn't alone in my assessment.
Robert, 50, a recently married IT pro, told me that he was more diligent about manscaping his nether regions when he was single but still does it from time to time. “I [would] trim with a buzzer very short but only when trying to impress—before a date,” he said. For that, he used a standard electric hair trimmer but admitted that he tried “going bare” once or twice using a razor and shaving cream. "But the itching when it starts to grow back in is maddeningly unbearable!” Robert added.
Well, Robert, you might want to give the Lawn Mower a try.
Robert also pondered, “When you have hairy legs and stomach, where do you stop?”
I asked Carolyn, 36, a social worker, who said she thinks 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.
Guys, are you paying attention?
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.