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."