When we told you about the Philips Bodygrooma few months ago, reaction to the product and to the whole concept of Philips’s marketing message “shave everywhere” was mixed. Some people hailed the product as an idea
who’swhose time had come, often invoking the rationale that since women had been removing their body hair to make themselves more appealing in the buff for generations, it was time that the guys returned the favour. Others felt that men should stay au naturel and that nothing said ‘manly’ more than fully furry body parts.
This post isn’t going to revisit that debate, and I suggest that if you still want to weigh in on the matter by all means do so here.
Better yet, if you want a laugh and haven’t already checked out Philips’s hysterical Bodygroom website – take a look, you’ll be glad you did: www.shaveeverywhere.ca
Instead, I’m going to give you my impression of the Bodygroom now that I’ve taken the machine through its paces.
The Bodygroom is a completely waterproof, rechargeable hair trimmer and razor. An 8 hour charge will give you approximately 50 minutes of shaving time. The unit is intended for use everywhere on a man’s body except the face and head. At least that’s what the instructions say. Having owned at least 4 different versions of these devices over the years, I can tell you there’s no design reason why the Bodygroom couldn’t shave or trim the hair above the neckline. But, as any guy who has shaved his face with the same razor his spouse or girlfriend just used to shave her legs will tell you, heed the instructions.
The Bodygroom comes with a recharging stand, a small brush for cleaning the cutter block and a set of three combs that attach to the trimmer’s head. These vary in length and offer a good range of options – from guys who just want to take a little off the top – to the very brave who want the smooth-all-over look.
Making the trimmer rechargeable was a great idea, and a necessary one given that they also made it waterproof. And while there have been other waterproof shavers on the market, this is the first all-over body hair trimmer that I’ve found that can survive a shower. This is where the Bodygroom truly shines. Trimming body hair is messy. The only places to do it that let you clean up easily are the shower or bathtub. So having a waterproof trimmer makes a ton of sense. Not only do you have the choice of trimming and shaving while wet, but cleaning the trimmer when done is a breeze – just run the whole unit under running water. Nothing could be easier and, if I had my way, all razors and trimmers would clean up with just water – I just don’t have the patience to get in there with that tiny cleaning brush after every use.
So what’s the catch? Well in this case the catch is literal. While the Bodygroom is a capable trimmer and makes the whole job much easier, shaving with this device must be done with great care. When using the the Bodygroom as a shaver, your skin is in close contact with the trimmer teeth. The instructions encourage you to keep your skin stretched while shaving, and this is good advice. However the manual fails to warn you that even the most diligent stretching will not keep the trimmer from catching (and cutting) the skin around the groin area. I learned this the hard way. I suppose I should have known that it was possible to cut the skin while shaving, but I was lulled into a false sense of security by the instructions’ promise of “a safe, gentle, quick and smooth shave for every body part below the neckline”.
So gents, if you decide to “shave everywhere”, I implore you – do so cautiously. As with any shaver or trimmer, the Bodygroom will not protect you 100% from getting cut, despite the fact that its intended use is for some of our most delicate and <gulp> sensitive body parts.
Update May 6, 2010:Philips Bodygroom R.I.P.
I suppose it had to happen sooner or later. Today, my Philips Bodygroom gave up the ghost. After more than two years of keeping my body from frightening fellow sunbathers, the Bodygroom that was so generously given to me by Philips for review, will no longer turn on.
It’s not the battery’s fault – even a week ago it was providing more than enough power to deal with routine abuse to which I subjected it. No, in the end it was the power button, hidden behind its protective waterproof rubber membrane, that refused to cooperate with my repeated thumb-mashing. I’m not sure exactly what happened to cause the switch to become unresponsive, but of this I am sure: the device is no longer covered by a warranty.
It’s been fun Bodygroom. You introduced to me to world of manscaping that I had previously been ignorant of, and though she’ll never admit it, my wife clearly prefers the ‘new’ me. There have only been two sour notes in our relationship BG: the first I think I’ve amply described in my review above, the other happened today when I called your manufacturer to see if they would take you back in order to give you a proper burial (read: recycling). Sadly, Philips Canada seems to have discontinued this eco-friendly option.
So to Philips I say: “Please resume taking back your products at the end of their lives. It’s the right thing to do.”
And to my wife I say: “Father’s Day is around the corner and Philips Bodygrooms are available at many fine retailers.”