4HR Water Resistant Sunscreen SPF 30+
50 ml for $19.95
Category:Skin Care > Sunscreens (including Kids) > Water-Resistant Sunscreen
Last Updated:03.19.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Despite the "invisible zinc" portion of this brand's name, this sunscreen goes on thicker than most and leaves a telltale white cast owing to the high amount of zinc oxide (the sole active ingredient). Without question this provides great broad-spectrum protection, but the tradeoff is that it looks and feels heavy on skin.This gentle, fragrance-free sunscreen is worth trying if you have dry, sensitive skin and need a reliable sunscreen for long days outdoors. As with any sunscreen, be sure to reapply regularly to maintain protection. This also is suitable for use on babies or children. Please see More Info below for a discussion of the 4-hour water-resistant claims.

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Water-resistant, so is suitable for use if you’re swimming or when you know you’ll be perspiring.
  • Does not look invisible on skin.
  • Feels thick and slightly greasy even long after it sets.
  • Not for blemish-prone skin.

More Info:
The Australian Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA, Australia's cosmetics and pharmaceutical regulatory agency) has its own standards for testing and for the claims it allows for water-resistant sunscreens. The TGA's standards differ from those of the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The 4-hour water-resistant claim is accurate by the TGA testing standard (Source: www.health.gov.au); moreover, because zinc oxide is fairly impervious to rinsing off in water, you can count on it to provide superior water-resistance when you know your skin will be wet, regardless of a water-resistant claim. However, despite the boast of long-lasting water-resistance, all sunscreens must be reapplied as needed to maintain protection. This includes after swimming, perspiring heavily, or toweling off.


Our skin is bombarded daily with damaging levels of UV radiation and environmental pollutants. Invisible Zinc is a physical sunscreen that provides a near-barrier to reflect harmful UVA + UVB radiation away. Suitable for family, sport and active use. Use Invisible Zinc daily to help protect your skin, help reduce the appearance of premature skin ageing and assist in the prevention of excessive degeneration of the cell’s DNA caused by sun exposure.


Active: Zinc Oxide (22%) Other: Phenoxyethanol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Aloe Vera Juice, Disodium EDTA, Isopropyl Myristate, Magnesium Sulphate, Propylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Purified Water, Triacontanyl PVP, Cyclomethicone, Isostearyl Neopentanoate, Isohexadecane, Isopropyl Lanolate, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate

Brand Overview

Invisible Zinc At-a-Glance

Strengths: All SPF-rated products provide broad-spectrum protection via zinc oxide; the form of zinc oxide is micronized rather than nano-sized (there is some concern about the use of nanoparticles of zinc oxide, but the jury is still out on whether the concern is legitimate); good tinted moisturizer and stick foundation with sunscreen; good antioxidant serum; most of the products are fragrance-free.

Weaknesses: Most of their sunscreens do not look (or feel) invisible on skin, leaving a distinct white cast; no truly lightweight options for oily or acne-prone skin; their special cleanser to remove the zinc oxide doesn't work.

Invisible Zinc is focused on sun protection, using only zinc oxide as the active ingredient. Just like the mineral sunscreen ingredient titanium dioxide, zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum sun protection all by itself and is a great option for sensitive skin or for use around the eyes because neither zinc oxide nor titanium dioxide are likely to sting if you get them in your eyes, whereas other sunscreen actives (such as octinoxate or avobenzone) can cause stinging.

Hailing from (and sold primarily in) Australia, Invisible Zinc makes a big deal about the zinc oxide their sunscreens contain, way too big a deal. Although zinc oxide is an excellent sunscreen ingredient, it isn't the only one or the best option for all skin types. In fact, the large amount of zinc oxide Invisible Zinc typically includes in their products coats the skin with a thick, occlusive texture that can feel heavy and exacerbate a person's tendency to break out.

Where Invisible Zinc goes astray is their claim that they use micronized zinc oxide that is "invisible to the naked eye," but that's not the case—their sunscreens are glaringly visible on skin—there's no mistaking the slight to moderate white cast their products leave on your skin! Interestingly, we've seen many zinc oxide–based sunscreens that don't claim to be invisible on skin, but that show nary a trace of a white cast once blended on, but not any from this line.

If the fact that their regular sunscreens and their facial moisturizer with sunscreen are actually quite visible on skin isn't disappointing enough, almost all of these sunscreens feel uncomfortably thick and heavy, especially when applied to the face. Without question they provide reliable broad-spectrum protection, but the application is disappointing.

It also surprised us that supermodel and Australia native Elle Macpherson is the spokesperson for this brand, and that she's clearly sporting a tan on the company's Web site! In a classic example of mixed messages, Invisible Zinc wants you to know their products provide serious sun protection, but you can still get a tan! Granted that Elle's tan may be from a self-tanner, but they don't tell you that—all you see is a gorgeously tan and bikinied Elle.

We had such high hopes for this brand. Many of our Australian readers ask us about it, and we're always thrilled when we find brilliant sunscreens to recommend. It's just that for these products, while the sun protection is assuredly there, the aesthetics fall short. One last comment: We would have rated Invisible Zinc higher if their products contained a good array of antioxidants. Research has made it clear that antioxidants help boost skin's environmental defenses and make sunscreens even more effective.

For more information about Invisible Zinc, visit http://invisiblezinc.com.au/.

Note: All prices are in Australian dollars. Invisible Zinc is sold primarily in Australia, but is available in select U.S. locations as well as in South Africa. It also is available online from various Australian, United Kingdom, and U.S. beauty and personal care Web sites. For a list of locations, please visit the company's Web site listed above and click on "stockists."

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
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Essential Beach Wear

PC's review is correct. It isn't invisible and you will look "pasty white"; however, if you're going to the beach or playing outside sports, toss vanity to the wind and protect your skin with this. I live in Australia- the skin cancer capitol of the world- and find this sunscreen very effective in combating a very brutal summer sun. Prevention is better than cure, so if you're after an effective sun protector, this sunscreen is it.

Reviewed by
Jacquie F
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