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. (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 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.
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? Read on.
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.
I have tested both the Lawn Mower 2.0 and the Lawn Mower 3.0, which are waterproof electric hair trimmers featuring what the company calls "SkinSafe Technology" to prevent nicks. I also reviewed 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.
What does Manscaped cost?
Like many of these subscription-model startups, Manscaped’s pricing is, well, convoluted at best. Allow me to try to break it down:
- The Lawn Mower 3.0 retails for $79.99 on Manscaped.com, or $69.99 if you sign up for the “Peak Hygiene Plan” to receive a replacement ceramic blade every three months for which you're charged $14.99. (Manscaped recommends popping on a new blade that frequently “to help reduce grooming accidents and promote optimal hygiene.”)
- The Lawn Mower 2.0 sells for $59.99, or $49.99 with 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 monthly subscription
- The Shed travel bag, $39.99 (or free with certain sets)
Manscaped.com also sells a set called The Perfect Package 3.0, which offers a significant discount from what you'd pay a la carte. It comes with the Lawn Mower 3.0, a bottle each of Crop Preserver and Crop Reviver, the Shed bag, Manscaped boxers (a $19.99 value), and a three pack of Magic Mats, 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). The Perfect Package 3.0 costs $99.99 (or $89.99 with the $14.99 quarterly Peak Hygiene Plan). Purchased separately (and without the various subscriptions), these items would run you about $168. So if you want and will use all or most of those items, buying the package is a no-brainer.
Weirdly, most of these items are cheaper on Amazon (at the time of publication) without the obligation to get a subscription. The Lawn Mower 3.0 is priced at $69.99, no further purchase required. Unfortunately, the Perfect Package 3.0 isn't available on Amazon at all. Instead, you can grab the Perfect Package 2.0, which costs $99.99, features the older model Lawn Mower 2.0, Crop Cleanser ("all-in-one body wash, conditioner, and moisturizer"), Crop Preserver, Crop Reviver, the Shed, Magic Mat, and a five-piece stainless steel nail kit called the Shears 2.0.
Are you still with me? Deep breath.
Does Manscaped work?
For my first test ‘downstairs’, I opted to manscape while dry, in front of a mirror where I could see what I was doing. I stepped onto some actual newsprint (yes, I still get the paper on weekends) and faced a body-length mirror on the bathroom door to give it a go below my waist.
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 box the 3.0 came in provided little guidance). The Lawn Mower 3.0 features a small LED just below the blade, which helpfully lights the way.
I waited a couple of weeks and redid the process under the shower. The wet environment made keeping my skin taut and guiding the blade through my water-flattened hair more difficult, but I felt confident that 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. In this situation, I didn’t have the benefit of a mirror, so I relied more on feel and the wisdom from the dry-trim experience weeks earlier.
Because I’m sure you’re wondering: I didn’t nick myself in either test. Yes, I was very careful, but the trimmer is light and easy to maneuver so I wasn't really worried that I'd get hurt. It is worth noting that several of the bad reviews on Amazon are from users claiming they cut themselves using the trimmer. Of course this is a risk—even Manscaped includes the disclaimer in the box: "As always, guys, use with care" and that "nicks, cuts, or other injury may occur." But after my experience, I have to wonder what those users did to draw all that blood.
Can you use Manscaped on your face?
Manscaped markets the trimmer for groin and body grooming but I also tested it on my face for two reasons: 1) I wanted to see how it performs as a beard and mustache trimmer because personally I don't want to have to buy a different device for every corner of my person. 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 I let my facial hair grow out for several weeks (COVID lockdown means I'm not really going anywhere anyway; see photo), I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, clicked on the Lawn Mower 3.0, and pushed it into the unruly growth. In about four minutes, I'd shaved my beard and mustache almost all off (for my beard, a wider-bladed trimmer could do the job even faster). My face emerged with a short but soft buzz, which I like. The trimming process felt pretty easy with very few momentary snags, which pinched but nothing inconsistent with what I've experienced with other hair trimmers.
Can you use Manscaped for other body grooming?
Trimming my chest hair in the shower went really fast. Although the cut hairs tended to stick to my skin rather than fall away, the trimmer itself cleared my chest and abdomen. I missed some spots, go figure, both on my chest and down below. But my skin felt smooth and neat.
How do you clean the Manscaped Lawn Mower?
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 is pretty useless. I've had way more success using a soft-bristle toothbrush. Note: The test unit sent to me didn't include the brush, for some reason.)
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 3.0 comes with a USB charger (it looks a lot like an iPhone charger but black instead of white), a cable, and a cradle that holds the trimmer upright while it juices up.
To test charging time and battery life, I let the fully charged Lawn Mower 3.0 run until it died, which took about 86 minutes, according to my stopwatch. That is just four minutes shy of Manscaped's listed battery life of an hour and a half. Then I inserted it into the cradle to revive it, which took 91 minutes—just one minute longer than advertised. Impressive.
What’s good about Manscaped?
I really appreciated the Lawn Mower's design and build. The 3.0 shaver, which weighs just about four 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. It's easy to clean and store.
It is also really quiet. When I first turned it on, the faucet was running. So for a moment, I thought maybe I hadn’t charged the trimmer enough.
I also liked that the 3.0 comes with just one comb attachment that clicks into two trim lengths: 3.5mm and 7mm, according to my measurements. I accidentally clicked the guide completely off the blade a couple of times—it would be helpful if removing the comb required a different motion than the same sliding between the two lengths. I’ve had shavers that came with many comb attachments I never used and they end up being clutter. This is my preference, of course, and you might wish you could have several different lengths. But, to be honest, how many lengths do you need for focused grooming on your chest and groin?
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).
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, but this seems to be much less likely on the 3.0 than on the 2.0. When I held the 2.0 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. However, the button on the 3.0 feels stiffer, which is a good thing. It requires deliberate pressure to activate. During trimming, I didn't accidentally trigger it even when my thumb was gently resting on the surface.
Also, the narrow one-inch trimmer blade, while good for tight places, makes shaving larger areas (belly, chest, face) more of a chore.
Finally, I don't love the price if you just opt to buy the Lawn Mower alone; $80 is a lot for a specialized hair trimmer that serves a niche purpose. But if you're willing to wash it thoroughly and use it on different parts of your body and/or you go for one of Manscaped's sets, you'll probably appreciate the value you get for what seems like a lot products. (I haven't done long-term testing, so I cannot evaluate its overall build quality and reliability.)
How are the Manscaped Lawn Mower 3.0 and Lawn Mower 2.0 different?
After testing both trimmers, I conclude the 3.0 is a better device. It has a more powerful motor yet, to my ears, is almost as quiet as the 2.0. The LED "headlight" (yes, another pun) is genius. Unless you have low-angled floodlights in your bathroom, I don't know how you'd really see where you need to trim the farther down you go.
Battery life on the newer model is significantly better. As I mentioned above, the 3.0 lasted 86 minutes on a full charge (which took just over an hour and a half) and comes with a charger and cradle. The 2.0 ran down in 55 after charging for five hours and doesn't come with a charger; you have to plug the USB cable into a USB source, which admittedly isn't hard to find (don't we all have a menagerie of USB charging bricks lying around, mostly unused?).
Also, the 2.0 comes with two double-sided comb attachments so you can choose from four lengths: 3mm, 6mm, 9mm, 12mm; you may appreciate the versatility of these combs, but I don't think you'll need them.
So if you’re looking for a device for your manscaping purposes (and have the cash to spend), I advise choosing the Lawn Mower 3.0.
Should you upgrade to the Lawn Mower 3.0 if you already have the 2.0?
That's a harder question. If you like your 2.0 and it does the job, stick with it. If you're a hairy beast, have gotten a lot of mileage out of it, are ready for a better experience, and you like getting new toys, then go for the upgrade. I could argue that the LED headlight alone is worth the cost.
Are Manscaped body grooming products any good?
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 3.0 has an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 across more than 6,800 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.
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, 37, 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 newly 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, 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?
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.