I’ve entered a new phase of life: I have joined the approximately 30 percent of men with hair loss before the age of 30. As I was known for sporting a swoopy, GHD-straightened emo fringe as few as nine years ago, this has been a slight adjustment for me.
Visiting the barbers to ask for a trim on whatever’s left seems a bit pointless, and using a razor can lead to cuts and uneven patches. So I was naturally intrigued when Skull Shaver, which got its 90 seconds of fame during a 2019 Super Bowl ad, offered a solution that could free me from the barber entirely. Its patented five-head design enables users to reach all corners of their head, with a grip joined to a battery pack that helps navigate the nooks and crannies of the user’s cranium.
Its latest product, the Pitbull, comes in three key versions:
- The $79.99 Silver which offers 30 minutes of shaving with its Carver blades. The Silver uses a single LED that changes red when the battery runs low.
- There’s the $129.99 Gold that boosts this to 90 minutes of shaving and uses “best in class” Forte blades. The Gold has an LCD-based percentage readout for battery life.
- Then there’s the $249.99 Platinum, which is the same as the Gold but with a sleeker design, a smart travel lock, and the inclusion of a travel case and washing stand.
Inverse went hands-on with the Gold plus the travel case and washing stand. After a week of usage, I felt liberated from the barbers with a gadget that’s easy to use and delivers consistent results.
Getting started is simple. Pressing the top “on” button sets the blades whirring as it came pre-charged, and just fire away.
I say simple, but I’m still not completely at peace with the idea. I kept my hair a short 6mm before, but I trimmed it down to 2mm with my Braun MGK3045 beard trimmer before using the Skull Shaver. I switched on the shaver, placed it on my head, and realized I’d made a terrible mistake. The shaver clearly struggles with long hair, leaving an uneven mess that took far longer than the stated 90 seconds to even out. Had I properly said goodbye to my hair ahead of time, I could’ve maybe plucked up the courage to use a standard razor to give the Skull Shaver a fighting chance. Instead it spluttered along, failing to dent the ground where my luscious locks once stood.
Several minutes later I emerge with my new look. At least it won’t be so hard next time.
I give the shaver a rinse today. The firm recommends running the head through some warm water by holding it on its side. With the rinse stand, it’s a case of filling it with warm water, submerging the blades, and switching it on for 10-15 seconds. Once the time’s up, pivot the holder away from the water and clean away the hair.
I struggle to see why someone would buy the Platinum shaver as it seems like a much higher price for no actual performance benefits, but the bundled rinse stand is great. It means I can pop it on and do something else quick during my morning routine. Skull Shaver sells the stand separately for $19.99, meaning you don’t have to shell out for the Platinum version to get your hands on it, and as it doubles up as a device holder it seems a no-brainer.
Today was a lot faster. I’m very impressed by the design, which makes moving around the contours incredibly simple. If I could make one criticism, is that the pivoting heads don’t angle in quite far enough to reach all sides when moving across the ridges of my head. I have quite an angular skull, and I notice in a lot of situations the central blade is left doing all the work while the other four flail off to the sides. Tilting the shaver to one side helps two of them to make contact, but it’s not the skull-hugging swirl of blades I envisioned.
Oh, and threading the grip through your fingers — like everyone is doing in the company’s ads — is unwieldy. I found it much easier to control the weight by gripping the battery pack, but maybe it doesn’t look as cool.
It’s time to charge! The Pitbull uses a two-pin charger design with a weird kink to charge its 1,400 mAh battery, meaning you’ll need to fork out the $12 for a Skull Shaver-made replacement. Another benefit of the rinse stand is it gives you somewhere to place the Pitbull while it’s charging. Fortunately charging is fast and easy, and seems to charge up faster than my Braun.
Skull Shaver claims it takes 90 seconds to shave, and it performs largely as advertised. The best approach is to use it every other day to avoid the hair getting too long. I find it struggles with too long hair, and although its design enables users to cut their own hair, there’s still the annoying couple of times where I’ve missed a spot and let it grow a tad too long, only to come back to it later.
As you’ve probably guessed, the Pitbull won’t give you the same smoothness as a razor. It is faster, requires a lot less concentration, and never once did I feel any skin irritation or cuts. It’s a fair tradeoff to me, but I don’t mind a bit of stubble. I do use a razor to clear up the edges by my beard, though.
The Pitbull is IPX5 rated, meaning it can withstand water jets of 6.3mm from a nozzle. Today I’ve decided to use it in the shower to see if I can upgrade my morning routine even further. It does the job, but seems like it takes longer without a mirror.
As I come to the end of the week I realize I haven’t used the travel case once, but this is because I haven’t travelled anywhere. It’s a blue hard shell case that offers ample room for the shaver and some other toiletries, but I’m not convinced it’s a must-have like the rinse stand. It all depends on whether you own anything similar already, but it’s ideal for a traveler concerned about the shaver getting crushed or damaged during transit.
The Pitbull has liberated me from the hairdresser. I may come to miss the monthly small talk, but the Pitbull has changed my morning routine for the better, giving me control over my hair once again. As someone that started the week flailing about with a Braun can tell you, the Skull Shaver solves a real and frustrating issue and it does it fantastically.