IZ Cleanser with 12% Glycolic Acid
200 ml for $35
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:03.19.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This water-soluble cleanser is meant to remove the zinc oxide–based sunscreens Invisible Zinc sells. It contains 12% glycolic acid, which Invisible Zinc states will diminish signs of sun damage. It doesn’t work well in either respect; in fact, it’s not a remarkable cleanser for any purpose.

This cleanser for normal to dry skin has a soft, milky texture, but simply doesn’t cleanse well enough to remove the “barrier” that zinc oxide leaves on your skin, or to clean anything else off your skin either. For best results, when you’re ready to wash off a sunscreen that contains a high amount of zinc oxide, use a well-formulated cleanser or body wash with a washcloth.

As for the 12% glycolic acid, this cleanser is formulated at a pH that allows it to exfoliate, but in a cleanser it’s wasted because it is rinsed down the drain before it has a chance to work. You could leave this cleanser on your skin for longer than called for, but generally cleansers should be rinsed quickly, on left on skin for several minutes.

Note: Although the ingredient list for this cleanser doesn’t mention fragrance, it has an unmistakable coconut scent.

  • Soft, slightly creamy texture smoothes over skin and leaves it feeling soft.
  • Expensive.
  • The 12% glycolic acid is rinsed from your skin before it has a chance to work.
  • Cannot on its own remove Invisible Zinc’s zinc oxide–based sunscreens.

With 12% Glycolic Acid, IZ Cleanser is designed to remove your INVISIBLE ZINC barrier protection, makeup and daily residue without irritation or dehydration leaving skin smooth and soft. May help diminish the signs of photo-ageing, sun damage, and the appearance of dark spots. Best used to treat troubled skin or skin beginning to show the first signs of UV ageing.


Active: Glycolic Acid (12%) Other: Deionised Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Benzyl Alcohol, Ceteth-20, Polysorbate 60, PEG-100 Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Dehydroacetic Acid, Disodium EDTA

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.

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