In the never-ending quest to get my boyfriend David’s face smooth and ingrown-free, I gave him a bottle of Zia Men’s Hydrashield Shave Cream.With Zia’s claim that “this rich, fragrance-free shave cream softens your beard while grape seed oil and aloe fight razor burn and redness,” David and I thought that we had found the one-true elusive bottle that would soften his skin, alleviate his razor burn, leave him smelling great...and save him from the wincing and muttering that usually accompanies his daily shave.

I can say with pure confidence that not only did we find a product which failed to do anything it claimed to do, but we may have actually come across one of the worst products I have ever reviewed. What follows is a transcription of our experience with the product.

A few days after giving David the bottle of shave cream, I received a phone call:

Me: Hello handsome, what’s up?

David (confused): Is this bottle of shaving cream a joke?

Me (lovingly worried): What do you mean? What is wrong with it?

David (irritable and now running late for work): Well, for starters, I turned the bottle over and half of its contents spewed out and ran through my fingers down the drain.After I managed to trap some of the shaving "cream” in my hand, I applied it to my face. It didn’t even come close to lathering and felt like rubbing sour milk on my skin. And, for a fragrance-free shave cream, it smelled like a cross between a lemon-flavored candy necklace and Mr. Clean. This stuff is disgusting.

Me: Oh boy, that does not sound right. I'll see if I can get to the bottom of it.

Concerned that something had happened to this particular sample of Hydrashield, I notified Zia of the problems and asked them to please ship another bottle. Silence. As much as I had hoped that our experience was a fluke, Zia's lack of response, I presume, is tacit assent to an inferior product. Now, after having tested the cream myself and verified the consistency and smell (I detected more Pledge than Mr. Clean), I thought that it was time to write a review to warn consumers of this product.

If you browse Zia's website, you might, like us, marvel at the chic packaging and be impressed by multiple awards from MensHealth and Better Nutrition. But the accolades end there. Though dismayed at the ingredients list (jammed with a trifecta of parabens, phenoxyethanol, and tetrasodium EDTA), we still held out hope that Hydrashield could be a face savior. But, just as the contents of the bottle quickly disappeared down the bathroom drain, so did our dreams of an effortless and smooth shave. Unless you are given complete assurances from Zia that they have reformulated the product, avoid their Men’s Hydrashield Shave Cream. You have been warned.


Aqueous infusion of fucus vesiculosis (seaweed) extract, sodium cocoyl isothionate, stearic acid, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, cetearyl alcohol, matricaria chamomilla (chamomile) extract, glycerin, decyl glucoside, aloe vera gel, tetrasodium EDTA, tocopherol (Vit. E), phenoxyethanol (&) methylparaben (&) isopropylparaben (&) isobutylparaben, algae extract, hydroxypropyl guar, polyether 1, citric acid, sodium copper chlorophyllin.