Friday, November 13, 2009

Philips Bodygroom Shaver Disappointing

PhilipsNorelco BG2020 Bodygroom ShaverPhilips Bodygroom Shaver claims to to be able to trim and shave all body zones. The TT2021 model I purchased recently doesn't do either very well. The unit cost AU$66.44 at BigW, but I have since seen units offered at the Shaver Shop for AU$49.95 (some with a cash back offer from Philips as well).

As I discussed in December it would be useful to be able to do hair cutting and shaving with one gadget. When travelling, having to carry a razor to shave and electric clippers to trim my hair is an annoyance. Philips Norelco BG2030 Professional BodyGrooming SystemThere are some grooming kits such as the Phillips (Norelco in the USA) BG2030 Professional BodyGrooming System, which have a common motor body with separate clipper and shaver heads. Instead the TT2021 uses the one head for both.

The TT2021 looks like small oscillating electric razor with a trimmer on each side of the foil. It is not a rotary razor, like the usual Philips ones.

This design is a compromise. The foil area is relatively small and so it takes a long time to use it for shaving. The foil is relatively coarse and does not give a close shave (more of a five o'clock shadow look). The cut hair falls from the foil, making a mess and is not retained in the unit as with shavers.

The two trimmers are close to the foil surface and are activated all the time. This is useful as you can use the trimmers to cut longer hairs with one sweep and the adjust the angle of the unit slightly and cut the short hairs with the foil with the next sweep. However, on any concave curve of the body, either or both of the trimmers come in contact with the skin when you don't want them to, causing uncomfortable scraping.

The two trimmers work well on short relatively stiff hair. They do not work well on longer hair, such as on the head. The teeth of the trimmers are finer than those of hair clippers. If the combs are used these become clogged and have to be cleaned frequently.

I found the
TT2021 only useful for cutting longer hairs on my neck before using my regular shaver. I did not find it usable for cutting hair anywhere else on the body. The unit is not suitable for trimming and shaving all body zones, as claimed by Philips. With this unit you will still need a set of clippers for the head and a razor for the face and other parts of the body. Instead of having one all in one unit, you will end up with an extra unit.

The unit has good points, being well shaped to fit comfortably in the hand and water proof so it can be used in the shower. The charger stand works well. The battery life is very long, but I unfortunately found that out this morning when the switch stuck on and I could not turn the unit off. I will be returning the product to BigW for a refund.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hair cutting and shaving with one gadget

Philips Norelco BG2020 Bodygroom ShaverWhen travelling, having to carry a razor to shave and electric clippers to trim my hair is an annoyance. With their BG2020 Bodygroom Shaver Philips (Norelco) claim to have a razor which can be used for saving and hair cutting.

I have to carry two devices which essentially do the same thing: cut hair (and two battery chargers). Why can't one device be used to do both? But razors and electric clippers perform two different tasks: razors cut very short tough hairs (and collect them). Clippers cut long hair. If you don;t mind having a five-o'clock shadow look, then you can use clippers to shave. But the process is messy: you end up with hair everywhere and not very comfortable, as clippers are not designed to be pressed to the skin.

The Philips BodyGroom looks like an oscillating electric razor with a trimmer on each side of the foil. It is not a rotary razor, like the usual Philips ones. There are clip on combs for cutting hair. Unlike the Wahl All In One Rechargeable Trimmer, where the shaving head is swapped for a hair trimming one, the Philips system just has clip on combs. The same cutting mechanism is retained on the unit, when cutting short or long hair, making for fewer parts to break.

Philips Norelco BG2030 Professional BodyGrooming SystemPhilips also have the BG2030 Professional BodyGrooming System, which looks similar to the BG2020, but has a separate clipper head.

With all of these combination units, keep in mind that they are primiarly design for cutting "body hair" and so will not do as good a job as a specifically design razor for the face, a beard trimmer or hair clippers.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Local Store Cheaper than Online

Vollco Sharpening Heads for Norelco Smart Touch and Speed-XL Models using HQ9 headsThe blades on my electric razor were blunt, so I searched online for new ones. But I found they were cheaper (and more environmentally friendly) at the local store.

First I looked for a sharpener online. Vollco Sharpening Heads are available for rotary razors by Phillips/Norelco and Remington. The sharpeners consist of a plastic disks with abrasive material in the bottom. You replace the foils of the razor with these and run the razor for a few seconds, to sharpen the blades. I have used this on a previous razor and it worked okay, but these units are not approved by the razor makers and are controversial.

As I had a new razor (a Phillips Speed-XL Model using HQ9 heads), I needed a different set of sharpening heads. The blades for different model razors are different shape. The sharpener is cheaper than replacement blades (conventional wisdom seems to be you can sharpen the blades two or three times). But I found that my previous razor did not last past one resharpening.

Replacement blades are available for foil and rotary razors. One catch with rotary razors in the number of heads. My razor has only two heads but most of the replacements are sold in packs of three.

Taking into account the shipping cost and the exchange rate, I found it was cheaper to get on my bicycle and go down to the local shaver shop and buy the blades there. I found they sold replacement heads one at a time. So I was able to buy just two replacements. The shop also offered to install the replacements for me, but it was easy enough to do myself. Apart from the lower cost, there was also the benefit of lower environmental impact, as hopefully the shop's stock came by an efficient ship, whereas the online order would have come by air.

The replacement blades still cost about one third the price of a new razor, which sounds excessive. Perhaps someone would like to set up a business sharpening razor blades? ;-)

See also


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Monday, June 23, 2008

Trim your own hair when traveling

Philips Norelco G270 Multi-Trim All Purpose GroomerAfter a few weeks travel to Malaysia, Turkey and Greece, started to look a bit shaggy and so bought some hair clippers. These cost 10, and so paid for themselves with one haircut. I didn't take my electric hair clippers on a trip as they are mains powered and would be difficult to use in hotel bathrooms (especially where these were shared).

There are a bewildering range of hair clippers, beard trimmers and dual purpose shavers for cutting hair. The mains powered hair clippers tend to have several attachable guides for different length hair, whereas the battery ones and beard trimmers have adjustable guides built into the clippers.

The units with attachable guides generally to have guides for longer hair: up to Number 4
comb (.5 inch or 13 mm). The hair clippers units with built in guides and the beard trimmers cut to 7 mm or less. Also the beard trimmers are narrower and so cut a narrower strip of hair.

Scalpmaster Pro Cord / Cordless Rechargeable Professional Hair TrimmerI ended up with the Zowael ZRC-009 hair clippers, which are rechargable and cut from 1 to 7 mm, with a built in guide. They are not perfect, particularly in not being waterproof. Also being rechargable is a disadvantage for traveling, as I either have to carry the charger (and an adapter for the local power), or hope they have enough charge to last the trip (the manual claims one hour's cutting on a full charge). I couldn't find this unit on, but it appears similar to the unfortunately named
Scalpmaster Pro Cord / Cordless Rechargeable Professional Hair Trimmer. These seem to contain an AA size rechargable battery and a simple charging circuit.

I would have preferred a set of battery clippers, which can use either disposable or rechargable AA batteries. The best I saw was a Phillips battery powered beard trimmer for about 15 duty free. But I then could not find a set outside the one duty free store (the other stores only sold more expensive rechargable units). There is a similar, but higher priced, rechargable Philips Norelco Multi-Trim All Purpose Groomer.

There are a range of all in one combined hair and beard trimmers offered. There seem to be few combined shavers and beard trimmers, as these functions are not necessarily compatible (hair clippers will not give a close shave and will tend to uncomfortably scrape the skin). One brand of clippers suggests these can be used to cut the beard to a three day growth, which should work okay.

MANGROOMER Do-It-Yourself Electric Back Hair Shaver Looking on, one of the more odd items I noticed was the "MANGROOMER Do-It-Yourself Electric Back Hair Shaver". This appears to be an electric razor on a long folding handle, so it can reach the middle of your back.

Another odd unit I saw in the duty free store were the Philips Norelco Accu-Vac Beard and Moustache Trimmer. This has a small fan and air filter built into the body so it vacuums the cut hair off the face. While cutting hair can be messy, this does not sound a good solution. The unit is much large than others, due to the need for the fan. Also you would have to empty and clean the hair from the unit.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cut your own hair

Remington HC-912 Precision 100 15 Piece Haircut Kit CordedI decided to follow the advice of John Birmingham and Dirk Flinthart in their book "How To Be a Man". Not all the advice in the book is to be taken seriously (such as "How to land a jumbo jet"), but that on hair seems sound: when a gentleman's hair starts to thin, do not try and hide it; go for a very short haircut (Number 3 with the electric clippers).

But why pay $AU10 to have someone run a set of electric hair clippers over your head? So I bought a Remington hair cut kit for $AU14 from the supermarket. There are similar units on Amazon starting from $US11. The clippers come with a set of attached combs to set the hair length. These are numbered one to four and cut from 1/8 Inch for Number 1, to 1/2 Inch for Number 4 (the numbers seem to indicate the hair length in eights of an inch).

I went for the longest (Number 4) and following the instructions with the clippers: starting at the back, cutting upwards. Then I did the sides, similarly cutting up and then the front. I then changed to the Number 3 and did the back of my neck and sides, to create a slight layered effect.

The instructions say to remove the comb to trim the line across the back of the neck. There are many web sites saying how this should be shaped. Worried about creating a jagged line and taking chunks out of the hair, I found I could put one hand over the hair I wanted to keep on the back of the neck (with a thumb just under one ear lobe and foe finger under the other) and use this as a guide for the clippers.

manual hair clippersA simple set of mains powered electric clippers seems the simplest. Replacement blades and combs seem to be readily available. If you have someone else doing the clipping, you might save some energy by using a manual set of clippers.

Sideburns were also an issue. But I wear glasses and found that putting them on created a guideline I could cut parallel to. Cutting your own hair is a hot topic of conversation on the web.

vacuum cleaner powered hair clippersCutting hair creates a mess. One proposed solution I am not sure about is the Fowbee, vacuum cleaner powered unit. If you are going to cut in the bathroom or outdoors, keep in mind that mains powered electric clippers should be kept away from wet areas for safety. A rechargeable battery operated set might be good alternative.

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