Homemade sunscreen is a great way to protect your biggest organ (your skin!) and avoid all the nasty chemicals in the store-bought version.
Usually we skip sunscreen. Because—for real—why would you want to block all of the amazing benefits of the sun? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Stop right now and read this article first!
But as much as I’d rather frolic in the sun all day with no sunscreen, there are times (like spending the whole day at the beach) when we’ve needed to use a bit of sunscreen to make sure we don’t turn into burnt lobsters.
But there’s just one problem: most commercial sunscreens are chemical barrier sunscreens loaded with toxins. Those toxins are endocrine disrupters that the skin absorbs. From there, they enter the blood stream. Yuck. No thank you. There are some good natural sunscreens on the market now, but they can be expensive, and not nearly as much fun as making your own!
But if you’re not a DIYer and would rather just pick up a natural sunscreen alternative, never fear (though I’m not really sure why you clicked over to this post). I have a list of my top picks of sunscreens you can pick up from the store that are not filled with nasty toxins in this post!
Zinc Oxide: Need to Know Info!
Some of the ingredients in this recipe offer some natural skin protection, albeit just a bit. The coconut oil and shea butter both have an SPF of approximately 4. The real secret sauce in this recipe is the zinc oxide powder. We are using the zinc oxide to form a barrier type of sunscreen as opposed to a chemical barrier which most store-bought sunscreens are.
Now, a word (or two) about zinc oxide powder.
- It’s extremely important you purchase a non-nano, non-micronized, and non-coated zinc oxide powder (this is the one I prefer). Many people like the nano, micronized zinc oxide sunscreens because they don’t leave the white film on the skin. But they are problematic because the super fine nano particles may penetrate your skin. These tiny particles can cause health problems we’re looking to avoid by making our own sunscreen!
- You need to be very careful not to inhale the zinc oxide powder. Also be sure no little people are around when you make this. We highly recommend you use a mask!
Let’s get to the recipe…
DIY Homemade Sunscreen
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup shea butter
- 2 tablespoons sweet almond or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons zinc oxide powder use a non-nano brand
- 30 drops essential oils: lavender, and/or peppermint essential oils are recommended optional for fragrance; do not use citrus essential oils as they increase skin sensitivity
- Cocoa powder to desired color optional for use to tint your sunscreen
- Add coconut oil, shea butter, and sweet almond or olive oil to a double boiler with 1-2 inches of water in the bottom. If you don't have a double boiler you can put the ingredients in a metal or glass measuring cup, or a small mixing bowl that you can place over a saucepan. Then place your cup or bowl in or over the saucepan which is filled with a couple inches of water.
- Heat mixture over low heat until the shea butter is melted.
- Remove the top of the double boiler (or take out the measuring cup or bowl, using hot mitts) and allow to cool a little.
- Carefully, being sure not to inhale any of the powder, measure out and stir in the zinc oxide powder. It's recommended that you use a mask to cover your nose and mouth during this step.
- Add the optional essential oils, and optional cocoa powder. Stir well to combine.
- Store sunscreen in a small airtight jar.
Homemade Sunscreen Tips for Success!
- Are you looking for more sun protection? Increase the amount of zinc oxide powder used in the recipe. Add an extra tablespoon and see if that gives you the coverage you’re looking for.
- This sunscreen is not waterproof. Be sure you reapply frequently if you’re in the water or profusely sweating!
- Store sunscreen in a cool dry place. You might even want to place this sunscreen in the refrigerator when you’re not using it. If it gets too warm it might liquefy. If you’re making a trip to the beach or pool, consider taking a small cooler you can keep your sunscreen in.
- Don’t want to look like a white ghost? Try adding a little cocoa powder to help. You’ll have to eyeball it to see how much cocoa powder is right for your skin tone.
- Reapply often! When you’re out in the sun all day, I’d recommend you reapply every 1-2 hours.
Happy summer, friends!