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Buzzed, all by yourself

SHOPPING

April 20, 2008|Adam Tschorn | Times Staff Writer

WITH warmer weather upon us, more of you men are trending it like Beckham -- trimming down your shaggy mane to a close-cropped action-figure haircut -- only to realize your maintenance involves biweekly wind sprints to Supercuts, or the risk of nicking your own noggin with barber-grade clippers.

But what if you could buzz the tower cheaply, easily and error-free in the privacy of your own home -- all by yourself? Ah, such is the promise of Remington's new ShortCut, a cordless clipper designed for the shorn legions. It deploys the "world's only curved cutting system" (to conform to the shape of your head), self-sharpening blades and a 40-minute charge (enough juice for the whole rugby team) to make your pate Justin Timber-like. All for $29.99.

Anything advertised with the tag line "You can't mess this up!" (and a Web video of a guy peddling a unicycle and dodging basketballs while taking a little off the top) is begging for a challenge. And, because my own dome is a near desert up top and more densely wooded on the sides, I had the right testing ground.

About the size and heft of a Swingline stapler, the ShortCut got its first test under real-world conditions: the third quarter of a Sunday night Lakers-Wizards game, the tester fortified by Pacificos and leftover Easter candy. After reading the directions and making sure I had the right plastic attachment (Warning: The clipper arrives with the balding comb attached, so you have to switch it out for the adjustable blade, which cuts from one-eighth to one-half inch), I turned on the ShortCut and began to move it along the scalp, back to front, from the nape to forehead. In six, slow steady strokes across the cranium, I was shorn.

Quick? Certainly. Error-free? On the first try, not so much. The resulting pattern of uneven spots in the back looked like mange, and the longer tufts over the ears were reminiscent of Rockhopper penguin plumage. A second attempt -- after the tonsorial test lab had grown back -- proved a much better buzz: a clean, even, divot-free do, three-sixteenths of an inch all the way around in less than five minutes. I even managed to deploy the secondary pop-out trimmer on the sideburns.

What made the big difference was gripping the clipper in the palm like a hairbrush instead of with the fingertips like a salt shaker, and moving slowly and steadily, especially at the sides of the head.

Our verdict: If you're a guy who can stand still, stay out of the beer fridge and follow directions, the ShortCut can keep your coif close-cropped all year long for roughly the cost of a single haircut.

How you break the news to your barber is up to you.

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adam.tschorn@latimes.com

Information, availability and a guy on a unicycle are all at www.remingtonshortcut.com.

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