Most helpful positive review
87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Do it yourself & save a bundle
on April 6, 2009
For me, getting a haircut has always been a bit of a hassle--taking time off work, driving half-way across the city to the barber shop, getting into the shop only to find that half a dozen other people are ahead of me, hoping that the available barber doesn't leave me looking any more ridiculous than I already naturally look, etc. When the owner of my regular barbershop recently passed away and his shop closed as a result, I was all of a sudden in the market for a new barber. I was a little surprised at how difficult it is to find an old-fashioned, no-nonsense barber. It seems that the vast majority of men's haircutting joints these days are "stylist" operations. They want to fluff, puff, gel and otherwise pamper your hair, with the end result being that you wind up looking like an androgynous rock star, all for a hefty price. Not my style--I'm a conservative guy and I want to look that way when I get out of the barber chair.
After not having much luck finding an old-time barber, and doing a little online research, I decided to give the Wahl self-cut clipper a try. My biggest complaint about barbers is that when I tell them I want my hair cut "short," they almost never cut it short enough to suit me. I'm not sure whether they are afraid that they will cut it too short, or whether the name of the game is to get me back into the shop as soon as possible. In any event, I figured that this self-cut trimmer would at least solve that problem in that I would be in control of my hair length.
The kit in question includes an ergonomic, L-shaped trimmer with a unique four-position rotating head, the latter of which allows the user to easily reach every part of the head. It has a comfortable padded handle and is powered by rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries, so there is no inconvenient cord in the way. A red light-emitting diode on the handle illuminates when the unit is charging. According to the instruction manual, the trimmer can be left plugged into the wall outlet without danger of overcharging, so it will always be ready for use (although Wahl recommends that the unit be periodically charged and discharged to prolong the life of the nickel-cadmium batteries). The trimmer can be operated on batteries or, if the batteries are discharged or low, using the included charger/adapter. Also included are: ten clipper guides (which attach to the trimmer's cutting blade and which regulate the length of the cut), ranging in size from 1/8" to 1", including left and right ear taper attachments; a pair of scissors; a blade cleaning brush; blade oil; a styling comb; a nice cloth storage case, and, needless to say, operating instructions.
Wahl divides the head into three cutting zones: the lower part of the head (running from the bottom of the hair line to the top of the ear); the middle part of the head (running from the top of the ear to the top of the head); and the top of the head (hereafter referred to as low, middle and top). You start cutting the lower zone first, using the largest (#8, 1") guide. If that guide doesn't cut your hair short enough, you then go over the same area using the next smallest guide (#7, 7/8"). You keep doing this until you find a guide that cuts the hair to the desired length. Once this has been established, you simply increment the guide length by one size for the middle and top zones. For example, I found that the #4 (1/2"), #5 (5/8") and #6 (3/4") guides for the low, middle and top zones, respectively, produced just the right length of haircut for me. It is VERY important that you start with large guides and work your way down to the size that produces the desired result, taking off a little at a time. Starting with a guide that is too small will result in hair that may be too short for your taste (or even an unintentional scalp job!). Once you establish which guides produce the best haircut for you, you can use those guides thereafter with no need for further experimentation. Wahl has a free online instructional video on its Web site ([...] so you can see the product in action.
My experience? While I was initially worried about doing a scalp job on myself (if this happened I figured I could give myself a buzz cut and tell everyone that I was a Marine), I was very pleasantly surprised with the haircut that this self-cut trimmer produced and I'm now a believer. In my opinion it resulted in a haircut that is at least as good as one that I would have received in a barbershop. Not only is my hair cut to the length that I want, it looks neat, tight and conservative--just the way I like it. I also have the added satisfaction of saving a bundle on haircuts. Where I live, a basic haircut can easily set you back $20 (more for so-called "stylists"). At that rate, and if you get your hair cut at least once a month or so, it doesn't take long to recoup the cost of the trimmer. When I told my male co-workers about this trimmer, they looked at my hair and then asked me where they could buy one (several have), so I guess that the haircut can't be too bad. I'm also now cutting hair for the male members of my family using this trimmer--they get just as good a haircut as they would get from a barber and they save $20 or so in the process. I'm very happy with this product and definitely recommend it.