ZIIP GX for skin tightening – Better than the NuFACE? | Doctors Review

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Did you know that the cofounder of the ZIIP device, Melanie Simon, is actually an esthetician based in LA that worked her electric magic on Hollywood A-Listers?
So whenever I pick up my ZIIP GX I feel almost like Jennifer Aniston, who, rumor has it, is a fan of the device as well. Could be worse, right?

 

One ZIIP GX with one bottle of Golden Gel. The device is small and white with golden details.
ZIIP GX with one bottle of Golden Gel

 

I have talked about microcurrent for skin tightening and about my experiences with the NuFACE device in depth already, so today let’s take a look at the ZIIP:

What does it do, how long do the results last and how does it compare to the NuFACE?

 

Facts about the ZIIP GX

There are two different ZIIP versions, the ZIIP GX that I have and that is available for 495 $ for device, charger and one bottle of Golden Gel on the website here, and the ZIIP OX, which comes in white and silver instead and which is available in a similar package, but with a bottle of Crystal Gel for 480 $. As far as I can tell, the coloring and the gel they come with are the only difference between the two though, as both use the same waveforms and currents.

 

What does the ZIIP do?

“ZIIP utilizes nanocurrent and microcurrent to deliver skin that gets better every time you use it.” – This is what the website says, and that, to be honest, means everything and nothing.

More precisely it claims to lift and sculpt facial contours, to increase brightness and glow, to define the jawline and to make the face and eyes look more awake. I have also seen people claim online that it targets hyperpigmentation, but despite the “increase in brightness” I don’t know how it would be supposed to do that.

So how does this work?

 

The effects of microcurrent on the skin

Microcurrent devices send an electrical current through the skin which is supposed to stimulate micro contractions in the muscle, leading to an increase in muscle mass and a general toning and lifting effect. They also claim to increase collagen through an increase in ATP production, which is needed for protein synthesis.
While there are studies done on the effects both in vitro, meaning in the lab, and in vivo, meaning on humans, they do not really reflect the way we use these devices at home.

I talk more about that topic in my previous blogpost on microcurrent for skin rejuvenation here.

 

 

What is the difference between microcurrent and nanocurrent in skincare?

On top of using microcurrent, the ZIIP also uses nanocurrent which, at least according to several websites out there, delivers more long lasting results than microcurrent and is responsible for the increase in ATP and enhancement of collagen and elastin.

When looking at electrical currents, the main difference is actually direct current and alternating current, and the ZIIP uses both, as well as different wave forms (sinus vs box). It also claims that it is in sync with the body’s own frequency, which would postulate that the frequency in our bodies either is the same in each individual and in each different state we are in or that it has the means to measure this frequency and adapt. For the latter. there don’t seem to be any sensors, and the former – well.

I did not find any studies done on nanocurrent in regards to skincare, so the only explanation I can offer is that nanocurrent is even weaker than microcurrent in strength, which is why it is called nano.

There is one study looking at nanocurrent in regards to ATP synthesis from 2020 (several years after the ZIIP went into business) looking at the possibility of electron transfer along a protein via nano currents and a magnetic field and it is in the paper itself referred to as “novel research”, so I am going out on a limb here and say: The ZIIP surely uses different wave forms and different intensities of current, but to claim that one is micro and the other nano current and both have dramatically different, scientifically proven outcomes on the skin is a far stretch. As always though I am happy to stand corrected by anyone with more expertise in this field than I have.

 

Close up of the ZIIP GX
These are the probes on the lower side through which the current flows

 

How do you use the ZIIP device?

The ZIIP is very lightweight and easy to grab. It has a charging point on one end – if it needs charging, you will see an orange light near this space during usage that disappears once it is fully charged, and no, you can’t use it while charging – and a button to turn it on and off on the top. You can not change the intensity you use it with, it is just on and off, the intensity is determined by the program you use.

To choose a program, you’ll download the ZIIP app, pick one of the many different versions, sync it to your device and follow the video.
As you can see in the pictures below, there are both programs for the whole face with a duration of between 4 to 14 minutes and programs for specific areas that are shorter, around 3 minutes. You can of course combine different treatments and, what I do like especially, there are also different plans that depending on the goal you have, tell you which program to use on which day to for example look your best for an upcoming event. During these programs the strength will vary, it is usually strongest when you are treating the lower part of the face and the neck and weaker around the eye area and forehead.

What irritated me a little in the beginning is that the vibrations of my device, marking the end of one stroke, weren’t always consistent to the ones in the videos. The company reassured me that this is not a malfunction, but happens because of editing and because the ZIIP only counts the times when it is in full contact with the face with both of the probes here, meaning that if you slightly lift it off on one side, the light goes off and you need to bring both into contact again for it to continue – minimal phases of this, which might happen when gliding over the face, will prolong the time between the vibrations. In the end it isn’t a big issue though, just remember to count the strokes yourself and prepare to use your device for around 30 seconds longer than the video is going.
If you just use it freeform, it will vibrate in regular intervals and always offer the same strength, allowing you to focus on the areas you feel you need it most, but not giving you the different waveforms.

Before you start the treatment, you need to apply a liberal amount of conductive gel to your face and neck both to make it easier for the device to glide without tugging and to let the current actually flow where it is supposed to go.

 

On the left you see an overview of different treatments for the face inside the ZIIP app, on the right you see a plan telling you which treatment to use on which day to achieve a certain goal
Pictures from the ZIIP app

 

The ZIIP conductive gel – Do you need to use it?

ZIIP offers three different versions of their conductive gel: Golden (80 ml for 129 $), Crystal (80 ml for 80 $) and Silver (80 ml for 50 $).

All three offer varying skin beneficial ingredients and the one I tried, the Golden Gel, is beautiful both in texture, scent and in how it performs. But I am going to be completely honest with you: I would most likely not spend 129 $ on a serum, let alone a conductive gel.

The device works just as well with my generic conductive gel and while that one has no additional skincare benefits, I get those through my skincare anyway.

So no, you do absolutely not need to use their gel for their device.

 

Package of the white and golden ZIIP GX device with a bottle of Golden Gel
The starting package comes with both the device and a bottle of their conductive gel.

 

Are there side effects to using the ZIIP and can you overuse it?

If you apply conductive gel liberally, the treatment should be painless. No matter which treatment I tried – and I tried all of them and three of the plans, to really get a feeling for the device – the most I could feel was an intense tingling sensation, usually on the neck or around the hairline.
When used according to manufacturer instructions, no side effects are to be expected, and even if you use your ZIIP daily, that will not cause any problems. Recommended is using it 3-5 times a week.

It is not suitable for use in people with a pacemaker, in people pregnant or in people currently battling cancer (More info here is on their website and as always: When in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider).

 

woman before and after using the ZIIP GX device. The "after" picture shows a slightly more defined jaw and cheekbone
Before the treatment on the left and immediately after the treatment on the right – you do see more definition and lifting after the treatment

 

My ZIIP device before and after

While I do see an instant lifting and smoothing effect when using the ZIIP, the main reason why I like to use it in the mornings, I can’t say I see long term effects I didn’t see when using my NuFace. Which wasn’t to be expected, at home devices will offer subtle results at best, and it would be presumptuous to assume you could see them with the bare eye, let alone on pictures.

Not losing the results I had with the NuFACE is an achievement in itself though, meaning it works just as well for me.

 

How long do ZIIP results last

The instant results do last a few hours, it is hard to say when they stop completely, but by the end of a working day I don’t see them anymore. Long term though I feel like my face keeps its more toned and plumper look.
As I mentioned in my post on microcurrent it is basically exercise for your face muscles, so not permanent in the way that you do it once and then keep the results – just like it is with other workouts it is: “Use it or lose it”.

You will need to use it consistently to keep seeing the effect.

 

NuFace Trinity
NuFace Trinity

 

What is the difference between the ZIIP and the NuFACE

First things first, both devices gave me subtle, but noticeable results and were comfortable to use with no side effects.

Price wise the ZIIP is 100 $ more expensive than the NuFACE Trinity and 250 $ more expensive than the NuFACE mini which, if you ask me, is the one I would get should I ever purchase a NuFACE again.

The ZIIP uses different waveforms and claims to have nano current as well as micro current, but according to the data I could find I am not sure that makes much of a difference and the claim found on the internet that this nano current works on a cellular level increasing ATP for longer lasting results is a far stretch, so that alone wouldn’t be a selling point for me.

While the ZIIP has a maximum strength at the highest intensity of 400 mAmp, the NuFace stops at 335 mAmp, but lets you adjust the intensity yourself whereas the ZIIP adjusts it automatically based on the program used.

What makes me personally reach for the ZIIP over the NuFace Trinity I own is the shape that is easier to grab and the much lighter weight, it isn’t as heavy when you are doing a 15 minute treatment and is much easier to travel with.

Depending on your preferences that might be worth spending the extra money for you – the results are comparable in both.

You can read my full review of the NuFACE Trinity with before and after pictures here.

 

TL;DR

The ZIIP is a microcurrent device that offers different waveforms and strengths of current via several different programs aiming to lift, tone and even out the skin.
To use it, you apply a conductive gel (any brand will do) and glide it across your face either following a program via app or just using upwards, outwards strokes.
It is painless to use and worked just as well for me as the NuFace in terms of delivering instant as well as long term results, which admittedly were subtle.

ZIIP is more expensive than the NuFACE, especially than the NuFACE Mini, but is more elegant in appearance and easier to travel with.

 

ZIIP GX Review Pinterest
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