The Flowbee® is a device that attaches to a vacuum and is used to cut hair. It was invented by a carpenter named Rick Eddy in the 1980s, and it was advertised via infomercials on television for several years as its primary marketing campaign. Its primary advertising campaign is now online on a dedicated Internet website, and its popularity has waned considerably since its inception. The Flowbee® can be used to cut the hair of certain types of dogs as well using a dedicated pet attachment.
A vacuum is necessary to operate the Flowbee® properly. A hose access point must be included on the vacuum so the Flowbee® hose can be attached to it. On the end of the hose, a cutting attachment is affixed. This cutting attachment will cut hairs and immediately suck the cut hair into the hose and eventually into the vacuum. Extensions can be affixed to the cutting head so the length of the cut can be adjusted. A longer attachment will cut less hair, while a shorter attachment will cut more hair. A user can use the device on his or her own hair, or use it to cut the hair of others.
While the Flowbee® initially sold quite well, sales tapered after people realized the limitations of the device, as well as the ridicule the device received in the media and popular culture. The device does not account for the nuances and different lengths of a person's hairstyle, so the cut could often end up being uneven and unattractive. Further, a person cutting his or her own hair could have trouble controlling the device and monitoring which hairs are cut and which are not. The Flowbee® could also be quite loud, since the vacuum would need to be running during the entire duration of the haircutting process.
The device became a pop culture reference in many movies and television shoes, and it was often ridiculed and parodied. This may have ultimately led to the decline in popularity of the device, though units are still sold regularly and competitors even exist that tout similar products. Proponents of the system proclaim the ease of use, durability, and efficiency of the product, though many online reviewers note the quality of the system has declined over the years. This may be due to increasing costs of materials or a decline in company revenue, resulting in a less sturdy product.