122 comments

Get Rich With: The Universal Men’s Grooming Device

Imagine a device so advanced that it can keep any boy or man, from birth to beyond age 100, looking trim, clean and handsome for life. It can sculpt, trim, shape, or completely remove any hair on your body. It will save you hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours of time EVERY YEAR, forever. Over thirty thousand dollars over a lifetime. But yet this device costs less than $50.00.

“Is such a thing possible?”, you may ask.

Well thanks for asking, yes it is!

OK, I will admit I am not the first person to come up with this idea, but I am still its most enthusiastic supporter. You see, I was once your average pay-for-a-haircut type of guy myself. Throughout my childhood, my Mum would take my little brother and I to the barber shop for haircuts every few months. As an older lad, I would walk alone to the manly establishment downtown to get the mop chopped.

I was always quite excited immediately after a haircut because this was when I looked my best. I felt more confident and did more posing in the mirror. But within a few weeks the hair would grow in and I’d lose my edge, and the waiting game would begin – when would the hair be big enough to justify yet another expensive professional haircut?

But then at last, my pain came to an end. A friend informed me of the existence of the Universal Men’s Grooming Device. It turned out that they had been selling these buzzing hair trimmer machines in stores for years, and I just didn’t know about them. I bought one, and I started cutting my own hair immediately and frequently.

From that point on, I never had to lose my edge! I never had to waste time sitting awkwardly around in the barber shop, watching the old dudes talk about hockey. I had gained control over my own ‘Stash of hair.

As I grew older, I realized the UMGD  is the ideal machine for Mustache and Beard work as well. A man can easily carve out a nice choppy set of sideburns, or a flowing Circus-Performer Mustache, or a zig-zag Statement Beard in just minutes at any time of day or night. And there’s more! If he should decide upon the clean shaven look, the UMGD will instantly lop off all facial hair, leaving only a very fine, uniform and protective Manly Stubble across the target region. So much better than the artificial and painful Girlyman Smoothness produced by razors! And so much more Mustachian, both because of the preservation of a base layer of armor, and the savings of an additional layer of cash from the Gillette Marketing machine.

Again we find ourselves at a crossroads in the article. There are a group of you, probably mostly ERE readers, who already cut your own hair and laugh at my naivete for thinking a tip like this could be useful for anyone.

But I still had to write the article, because I’ve seen another side of humanity. I have seen adult men from my own group of friends, not rock stars or presidential candidates, but engineers and everyday office workers, who actually pay to have their short basic haircuts maintained. And lest you assume they must be trust fund billionaires or dot-com angel investors, they are not – these are working people with non-infinite money, some even with car loans!!

I know, I know.. it is hard to believe that precious money could be squandered in such a carefree manner, but I live in a wild area where anything goes, and I haven’t even told you the half of it yet.

So, if I did surprise you with this lesson about the amazing Grooming Device, you might want to pick one up instead of your next scheduled haircut. Watch a video on YouTube if you need a quick lesson on technique, or get your wife or roommate to help you.

I have deliberately left out the Lady’s Perspective on the matter, because I don’t know much about it, but I HAVE heard that it is possible for ladies to cut each others’ hair in a non-salon environment, enabling both bonding and enhanced riches. I may even have a few pictures of this happening in my collection.

But for now, MEN: You have been saved from a lifetime of haircuts, razors, shaving cream, and time-wasting. The only grooming products you will ever need for the rest of your life are: this one single device, a bottle of shampoo, and a good stick of deodorant. The rest of the multibillion dollar industry can completely fade away now and the airwaves can fall silent because there is nothing left to advertise. And you will be more handsome and manly-looking to go along with it.

Congratulations again. Send us pictures of your fancy new Mustache!

 

  • Victor C. September 4, 2014, 2:59 am

    Also my first time commenting here; ran across the site a day or so ago but had seen references in the last couple of weeks (no I don’t remember where).

    For those of us who like (or need) to be clean-shaven, Jeremy’s approach works well; I’ve done the same.

    I currently use a Merkur 180 safety razor with Personna razor blades and an Omega 10048 shaving brush. Use a shallow mug (microwaveable plastic is safer but mine is ceramic and has lasted over a year), and try to find high-glycerine melt & pour shaving soap. Barber towels are optional (needed if you want a hot towel with your shave). Cost per shave of consumables is probably about $0.15, even with a fresh blade every shave. I get a better shave than I did with Gillette Good News disposables, though those are still pretty good, and a great option if you have to fly (since there are restrictions on flying with razor blades).

    High quality soap works well for shampoo if you need it, and doesn’t have strange chemicals. I also use Aubrey Organics B5 Design Gel for my hair (it conditions & helps hold style).

    Shaving gear cost (excluding soap) is about $56 + mug (another $15-20 for a dozen towels for a hot shave)…this includes blades for anywhere from 4 months to multiple years. Soap runs about $4/lb for shaving or other blends (I bought melt & pour because it’s easy to shape your soap and I like round bars); the B5 gel is $11-12/8oz or the 2oz trial size for about $3. Note that if you don’t mind cheap razor blades you can buy 100 for $5-ish; I wanted high-quality so I paid about triple that bonus: they are American-made).

    I probably spend at most $30/year on personal grooming (as described above), not counting haircuts…if I can find a good technique for cutting my own hair with a UMGD it’ll pay for itself in under a year.

    Reply
    • Joggernot September 5, 2014, 5:37 am

      Victor C: I don’t use the universal device because I like a little taper on the sides for a more professional look. I bought a used Flowbee on Craigslist and that allows the tapering I like. Might be what you are looking for.

      Reply
  • Kathy September 18, 2014, 7:18 am

    I started cutting the hairs of all the important men (dad, brothers, boyfriend) in my life about 3 years ago and they all love it. It took me a couple YouTube videos and a few tries to get it right but now they always have the haircut they want. I bought my boyfriend clippers one year for his birthday and he says it’s the best gift ever because it’s “free haircuts for life!” Make your clippers last longer by cleaning and oiling after each use and I recommend the Wahl brand.

    As for me, I have a slight hatred towards hair salons after being swindled into unnecessary treatments (they never mention it cost $$$ extra) as well as being charge extra for having long hair. Isn’t the point of a haircut to trim hair that is too long?? How do you charge extra for that! “oh they use more product and blah blah blah” – yeah not $10 worth more.

    YouTube has countless videos on how to cut your own hair for girls, which is what I do now. Beauty schools have awesome deals on haircuts if you don’t feel brave enough to cut your own hair. The one by my work is $12 and they have instructors who will come around and fix any mistakes that the students may make so don’t be turned off that they aren’t pros yet!

    Reply
  • Margaret September 26, 2014, 7:17 am

    For the past 3 years my 18 year old son has been cutting my (woman) hair using a UMGD, comb and scissors. About every 6 weeks. I have unusually thick and curly so I keep it buzzed on bottom-slightly longer on top.

    My son, ‘#4′ (as in #4 of 6 kids) has always been rather particular about his hair. As a child I buzzed it. But as he got older, and got first a paper route, then a series of minimum wage after school jobs, much of his money went to haircuts.

    Being the observant guy he is, #4 watched carefully while his hair was being cut, and before long was asking to borrow the family UMGD. He would spend hours in the bathroom working on his hair.

    After a time he started to cut the hair of a few of his willing friends. It was around the time I noticed his friends were leaving the house with fairly good haircuts that I volunteered for my first cut. That was about 3 years ago when #4 was 15.

    Now #4 cuts hair a couple of days a week in our kitchen-where the light is good. He advertises only by work of mouth. He cuts the hair of many many of his friends, and on one occasion his friends’ father. The day of graduation and the day of prom are extremely busy. On those days I do not get near my kitchen in the afternoon.

    #4 has gradually built up a decent set of tools to accompany the UMGD in his styling kit. His haircuts are increasingly sophisticated. He now cuts the hair of his brother, #5, who is of Afro-Carribean decent. As both boys are adopted their hair texture is very different from each other as well as mine. He also cuts the “hair’ of my husband who pretty much doesn’t have any. The ultimate “thumbs up” to #4’s hair cutting skill came about a year ago when #3 started having his hair cut by #4. BTW- the rest of the kids are girls and have traditional hairstyles so the UMGD just does not cut it there.

    It is highly unlikely that my son will be able to retire on the proceeds of cutting his friends’ hair in his parents’ kitchen. It has showed him that he can teach himself a skill, and turn it into money with his own resourcefulness. An invaluable lesson.

    Reply
  • Yarrow Morgan October 25, 2014, 10:19 am

    Dear mmm,
    I have read that all index funds are made up of derivatives rather than owning actual stock or bonds? Is that true for
    the Vanguard fund that you recommend (FINX ) and does that concern you. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  • Jonathan Gomez January 24, 2015, 7:16 am

    I guess the benefit to growing up poor is learning some of these frugal habits at a very young age. I’ve been cutting hair since I was about 12 and I’m 23 now. I can even make a little extra money while in college by cutting other people’s hair.

    Reply
  • Tim March 29, 2015, 7:01 pm

    I’m a new reader going from start to finish. Do you have experienced advice for sharpening clipper blades?

    I looked up basic advice from youtube, sharpened my blades on an 800 grit whetstone, and my Wahl Designer stopped cutting entirely. I purchased replacement blades for $20 and it works like new, so it wasn’t user error in reattaching the blades.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  • Mackenzie April 20, 2015, 8:07 pm

    My husband and I have settled on simply not getting haircuts. He hasn’t cut his hair since high school, and it’s at terminal length, which for him is a few inches below the shoulder. I occasionally trim split ends when I see them while combing my hair. I only once paid for a haircut when I was in college, then switched to this method. So far, it’s allowed my hair to reach mid-thigh! I keep wondering when I will hit my terminal length, but for 6 years now it’s just kept getting longer. He has ponytail holders. I have a set of steel Amish-made hairpins.

    Reply
  • Emma June 26, 2015, 7:46 pm

    Interesting. We’ve been seriously simplifying our respective routines. My partner has discovered that an alum block works as an antiperspirant, and a little hair tonic works for his face, hair and deodorant, at less than £8 for a bottle that has lasted a year so far, and only about halfway gone!
    Interestingly, he likes a straight razor because he feels like he is dicing with death a little and is ending up ‘old-school gentlemanly’. It’s also super sensitive for kissing, so there are benefits to having smooth skin. ;)
    The other benefits to straight razors include – not having to replace them, thus having a low, low per-usage cost, much cheaper than the disposables he was using, experience sharpening things on a whetstone – useful for kitchen knives and the chisels and planes he now uses in his woodwork, and much, much less irritation on his face.
    We’ve just got a new trimming razor and doing the back of his head and his more wispy hair is very satisfying. Plus he can keep his manly goatee in check very easily.
    He’s working up the nerve to have me do his hair again, it ended up being straight though considerably shorter last time I tried! He wants to be able to tie it up while he’s doing woodwork, so that’s fair I think, especially as having it long means he can cut down his showers to once every two-three days instead of every day thus saving water and electricity.

    On the other hand, I’m cutting my own hair using a very simple technique I found on youtube, meaning that I can replicate results I’d get in a salon (In 30-60 mins IN THE CHAIR) in less than 5 minutes for a spectacularly well-looking layered look.

    Loving your blog, really making me rethink our whole strategy!

    Reply
  • Markphilips September 23, 2015, 11:17 pm

    Great topic MMM. I started using a UMGD back in 1993 when I got fed up with bad haircuts. So I bought one a slowly taught myself with two mirrors. Then I practiced trimming or buzzing my brothers hair. Eventually, my brothers learned how to trim or buzz their own hair.

    On a side note, I also learned how to use a similar product as UMGD but for DOGS. We have a cockerspaniel and a snauzer and yorkie mix. With the help from YouTube and practice, I learned how to groom my dogs. This saves me $400 per year in grooming expenses

    Reply
  • CHooper November 6, 2015, 2:56 pm

    Reading your fantastic blog through from the beginning, and excited to see you posted an article on grooming! I’ve built a bit of an obsession on minimizing my care routine.

    To add my experience: cutting your own hair as a woman is possible, and I’ve done it successfully for the past several years. There’s some great demonstrations on youtube and the internet at large. My hair is layered using the ponytail method, and trimmed to anywhere between my shoulders and mid-back.

    I had it professionally cut and layered for many years before, and still prefer the results from trimming it myself. Of course, I am generally practical and always hated wasting time on getting a trim at the salon anyways.

    Reply
  • Marisa Stone O'Brien November 8, 2015, 9:44 pm

    I have way more gray hair than I would like so I color it myself. I was really fortunate to be in a beauty supply store and the gave me the formula to mix the developer and color. Costs more about $4/month versus $90 to $200 it costs where I live. Plus the time…I really hate being held captive for a couple hours in a loud salon. I do get a $20 cut a couple times a year. I always fell quite tickled that it looks just as good when I do it myself and saving so much money. I cut dh and the boys hair. My daughter likes long hair so rarely needs a cut(I will do her next cut).

    Reply
  • Frank November 18, 2015, 12:59 pm

    I’ve got an electric trimmer & my cartridge razor that I use to keep my head and face shaved. I found a company that sells dirt cheap cartridges that fit my razor, so a month or so of blades costs me a third of the name brand image supposed to use.

    Reply
  • Isaiah January 23, 2016, 6:57 am

    Great article – finally convincing me to get one of my own.

    However, I have a question for Mr. MM – I am in the Marine Corps which requires a very exacting kind of haircut on a weekly basis – I don’t know if I could do a razor fade by myself without making a mess. Do you simply buzz your own hair and make it happen for a simple cut, or are you able to perform more complex cuts with practice and enough mirrors to see everything? Perhaps Mrs. Money M helps you out?

    I don’t live with my SO, but if I did, I feel like learning to cut each other’s hair well (if she would ever trust me to do that, which might be, uhh, never) could be a really awesome skill set and relationship-badassity-developer.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 23, 2016, 11:14 am

      I think it would be pretty easy to do a Marine haircut to yourself, I can cut my own hair to pretty close tolerances without even looking in a mirror these days. Any MM Marines care to comment?

      Reply
  • Sandra Burkholder January 28, 2016, 10:22 am

    Have been cutting my husband and son’s hair for ages. Even the girls when they were little. Sadly, after a botched attempt at layering my 13-year-old daughter’s hair, she runs for the hills when she sees me coming! My mother was a hairdresser in the 60s and I still have her oh-so-sturdy WAHL clippers. I invested in a pair of $50 high grade hair scissors and a 0.50 hairdressing comb about 10 years ago. The scissors are just getting to the point they need sharpening. I do even better than buzz…#2 clipper cuts on the sides and back and layered hair on top. It took a few cuts to master this, but little boys don’t care too much and my husband put up with the learning curve in the name of frugality. Google is our friend. Youtube as well. I actually learned how hairdressers hold both comb and scissors in one hand (on youtube) while cutting hair. It saves a lot of time. One daughter has a complicated cut and she pays for her own haircuts. The other daughter has long straight hair and I trim it twice a year. My own hair is wildly curly and thick. I trim my own bangs but take the mane to the discount hair cutting outfit close by every few months. Even further in the hair department…I invested in a salon grade waxer since bushy eyebrows on the womenfolk wasn’t going to fly. I started writing the amounts we were saving on the outside of the box it is stored in. By the time a year had gone by the unit paid for itself and now churns out savings every time it is used. It would probably be better to not worry about bushy eyebrows…but the women in the household do what we have to to feel our best while still being frugal!

    Reply
  • churchie March 3, 2016, 5:59 pm

    My brother has cut his own hair for years, he keeps it high and tight as he’s a weekend warrior and works for the public health service. So why not, I’m going to give it a go. I’ll plan on botching it early into my spring break vacation, donning a baseball cap then riding my big arse 29’er down to Great Clips for them to fix. Maybe out of sympathy I’ll ply some tips out of them. You see, they already have a bunch o’ my money. They ran a promo in December for 29% off their haircuts if you bought their gift cards; so I bought 25 haircuts for the kids at once. I tried to convince the owner to give me a better deal if I put down ‘mo money but he said he had no flexibility – but I did get a free haircut that day for plunking down $250. So if nothing else, look for those promos and give fatter cash tips to your stylist.

    Reply
  • D. Kimball March 23, 2016, 11:32 am

    Grew up in a big family. Parents couldn’t afford to pay for a barber so my Dad did all of the haircuts. When I moved to college my Dad would still cut my hair when I would come home to visit. After getting married my wife didn’t like the idea of cutting my hair so we went to Walmart. The haircut wasn’t that great and I didn’t like forking out 17 bucks (including tip). I bought clippers for $30 and told my wife that she could learn how or I was going to take a number 7 to it. She now enjoys cutting my hair, cutting it to the length she likes and the clippers paid for themselves after two uses.

    Reply
  • Clint June 8, 2016, 3:32 pm

    This post really got me thinking! I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on how to cut your own hair with a pair of clippers and honestly it looks pretty straight forward. Currently, I go once a month for $15 + $5 tip = $20 which is $240 per year. I’d have to have around $6000 earning 4% interest just to pay for my haircuts…OUCH! A pair of clippers are in my near future for sure!

    Finally, I started thinking about STUPID razor blades!!! I could go with an electric, but they don’t shave smooth like a razor and they eventually break or the batteries go bad and you are out a good chunk of cash every few years. So…I ordered a medium low end Dovo straight razor, shaving soap w/ brush, and leather razor strop for sharpening. Watched a bunch of videos on YouTube and once again…doesn’t look too hard even though there will be a learning curve. The interesting thing is that this piece of grooming equipment could last you most of your life and stop the dreaded high razor blade costs that just keep going up and up. That is besides the fact that you are not constantly throwing the used blades into the trash! Even as a conservative type of guy…I know that is super wasteful and just plain horrible!

    Mr. Money Mustache, what do you shave with? Have you written an article about the “Art of Straight Razor Shaving”?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache June 8, 2016, 6:39 pm

      Welcome to the club, Clint!

      I actually can’t stand a smooth face, so I “shave” by just trimming my beard to whatever length I need it at the time, using the same machine that cuts my hair.

      Reply
  • Mrs. Picky Pincher June 10, 2016, 7:44 am

    Duuuuuude. Mr. Picky Pincher has finally drank the Koolaid and gotten on the universal grooming device train. Instead of spending $10 a month to get his hair trimmed, we spend a cool $0 on an at-home trim that looks great. Thanks for convincing him with this post. ;)

    Reply
  • Winslow July 20, 2016, 5:42 am

    I’ve been known to go for a year at a time without a haircut. Just this past January I used our household scissors and trimmer to go from shoulder length to an eighth of an inch. I love how much money it saves and this approach resonates with me financially, aesthetically, and philosophically. Onward in the epic quest of dismantling the foundations of Consumertown.

    Reply
  • Lizzie October 17, 2016, 11:55 pm

    I bought a pair of hairdressing scissors very cheaply from my local chemist a few years back, and I cut my own hair, my mother’s hair and my kid’s hair with them. I have got better at it over the years but any little mistakes are easily concealed as we all have quite curly hair. I use the UMGD on my husband and any other friends who ask for help (I have enabled several mohawks to remain mohawk-y over the years.)

    Reply
  • Daft Bald Guy April 5, 2017, 4:44 am

    I got maybe a quarter of the way down before I felt I had to post so maybe someone else brought this up: military men have to shave with a razor MMM. I use a safety razor or a straight razor and that cuts down (pun unintended) on the cost and keeps me safe from the Gillette fools, but there are some segments of the population that have to shave regularly. Otherwise great post. The wife type cuts my hair and shaves my massive noggin about once a week. (Late twenties, going bald, gave up the fight about two years ago, now I just keep a shaven dome) Thanks for the ‘stachely advice!

    Reply
  • dwieland June 16, 2017, 8:32 pm

    Although my wife scissor-cut my hair for a few years in my long-hair “hippie” days, she was never comfortable doing that with the more conventional parted style I’ve worn in recent decades. The senior discount at the relatively low-cost chain salon in my town has kept my haircut cost reasonable for the past decade, and I have no complaints there.

    If my beard grew faster, I might have chosen that style, as my younger son has. But I once spent a week growing a wisp of a mustache and realized that clean-shaven was best for me. As Gillette et al. ramped up the “sophistication” and cost of their shaving products, I lagged behind with the lower cost products, eventually returning to my 1970 safety razor. The blades are still made and are cheap, much cheaper than the Sensor, etc. And I haven’t needed to buy special-purpose shaving soap or cream. With a good shaving brush, any bar of soap makes a good lather.

    Reply

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