Friday, January 09, 2009

Phillips Norelco Bodygroom+ Product Review: The Shame

by: Zac the intern

[founder's note: Here is the first review in what will hopefully eventually be a series of 3. We were a little premature with our triumphant declaration that we had obtained 3 devices. MAN BEARD BLOG is an international organization, and while our American operation was a success, our Canadian cell has encountered unexpected delays in its attempts to secure two devices. Stay tuned for further updates. -a]

It's like body hair covert ops. Inside the box was my mission, should I choose to accept it—one that would surely challenge the curly fiber of my being. The Philips Norelco Bodygroom+ 2030.

Miyamoto Musashi, the great samurai philosopher and part-time Man Beard, wrote in his Book of the Five Rings that the first step to preparing for war is to understand your enemy. Man Beard has many enemies. One of the biggest, of course, is Baby Face. Often supported by wives and girlfriends, evil Dr. Baby-Face has a vast arsenal of razors, tweezers, trimmers and clippers. With his newest contraption, Dr. Baby-Face hopes to inflict hairlessness on not just Man Beard, but Man Body-Hair. Through great peril, Man Beard Blog has obtained a sample of this implement of torture, and, according to the way of the samurai, my mission is to investigate the new Philips Norelco Bodygroom+.

I will document my experiments with this device now.

From the box, I lift the razor, with all its coterie of grooming gimmicks. With one hand I tear the packaging apart and with the other I shield my eyes from the blasphemy: How vile and feminine are the "hypoallergenic shaving foils" and "five position comb"! I lock the washroom door ashamedly.

Immediately, I'm taken aback by the intelligent design of the bastard. Our enemy is clever: all of the unused attachments and heads fit neatly, hidden away, inside the removable recharger base of the product. It's like the razor itself is undercover, painted black and disguised. Or maybe it too is ashamed.

The first instruction on the box, which I immediately disregard, is to only use the trimmer below the chin. If the tool is good enough for my crotch, I figure, it must certainly be good enough for my face. I attack my dirty goatee with reckless abandon. Hair falls easily and painlessly into the sink and with the interchangeable heads and adjustable trimmer depths, I can take off or leave exactly how much I want.

In the past, electric razors have always been a problem for my neck. They seem to take some hair, but mostly remove layers of skin leaving a bloody, irritated mess. The Philips Norelco Bodygroom+ did not do this. Being gentle enough for the crotch, it's certainly gentle enough for the face and neck.

It crosses my mind that perhaps Philips Norelco doesn't want you to use this product on your face for a number of reasons. First, if you start with your nethers, they don't want to be responsible for you infecting your face with whatever is going on down there. Second, they might be hoping that you'll purchase this product for downstairs and another, more expensive Philips Norelco product for your visage. Or maybe, just maybe, Dr. Baby Face is respecting his long time opponent, Man Beard Blog, and settling for lesser regions of the body. Regardless, I investigate the product further.

Impressed by the ease with which I completely destroyed my Man Beard and the smoothness left in its place, I attack the short and curlies. First, out of the shower, then, as it says on the box, I try trimming in the shower. One of the adjustable heads is a trimmer with two five-position combs. One comb is specially designed to be safer for the delicates—I guess it's not too sharp or pointy. With both trimmer combs, it only takes me two minutes to manscape the places that I want to keep a little furry. For other places that I want completely smooth, I go for it with the electric razor head. To save time and keep edges nice, it comes conveniently with two small trimmers of its own on either side of the razor foil. After a few passes, it leaves nothing but clean, clear skin, with no redness or irritation at all. I'm in awe.

After twenty or so minutes of staring and flexing in the mirror, I conclude that this is an incredible, devastating force. Any and all Man Beards should begin to be terrified.

Days later, the only complaint that I have regarding my situation is that hair does grow back. And much like the face, what once was smooth quickly becomes stubbly. But it's so quick and easy to trim, I can do so as often as I need. The next time that I'm grooming, I leave the face to grow back the beginnings of my new baby Man Beard, but trim down the delicate stubble with my new Philips Norelco Bodygroom+.

Talking points that I neglected to explicitly mention: it's rechargeable, cordless and shower-friendly. In the past, I would never have bought this product or anything like it, but now, after using it for a few weeks, I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy way to manage body hair below the neck. And it's cheap ($49.99 at Target or!"