A Recipe for Natural Homemade Sunscreen



With spring here, and the anticipation of outdoor adventures on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to start talking about natural protection from the sun!

We all know that protecting our skin — the body’s largest organ — from the sun is super important; but sadly, so many of the commercially-prepared sunscreens on the market are laden with harmful chemicals that could actually end up exposing us to the very toxins we are trying to protect ourselves from.

The good news is…there are ways to make your own natural sunscreens at home — not only will this save you money, but it will give you greater peace of mind in knowing exactly what has gone into making it.

Tips for Natural Sun Protection

One hundred years ago the majority of jobs involved working outdoors yet the sunscreen craze was no where to be found — neither was skin cancer. Sure, there were a few cases, but it’s interesting to me that with the increase sales of sunscreen the rate of skin cancer has also increased.

As just a little side note, my goal here is not to persuade you in your thinking but rather I want to challenge you to begin the research on your own. There are some really great articles out that have helped shape my opinion surrounding this issue, such as this one by Environmental Working Group (EWG) that describes the dangers of chemical sunscreens, and this one, oh…and you may like this one too. Ultimately the decision is yours and my suggestions here are purely for educational purposes. I strongly encourage you to do your own research and follow conventional wisdom.

So what did the people in years gone by know that we don’t? Well, they:

-were a bit more modest in their dress and wore lots of protective clothing.
-they knew to stand in the shade if at all possible.
-they avoided direct exposure to the noon sun.
-their diets were wholesome and consisted of real foods.

Did you know that we can dramatically improve our resistance to the sun’s harmful rays through dietary changes! Yes! Our skin is our largest organ right? So that means, when our immune system is functioning on low due to an over consumption of processed foods we weaken our first line of defense and place ourselves at greater risk. 

I love that seasonal summer foods — such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries (and fruits of all kinds), beans, nuts, and a variety of legumes — are some of the highest antioxidant foods on the planet…just what our bodies’ need for healthy skin and natural sun protection.   

Ingredients that Naturally Protect Us from the Sun

There are natural ingredients, some may be found in our kitchens, that work to protect us from over exposure to the sun. Many are oils that contain SPF properties such as:

  • Raspberry Seed Oil. The highest of all natural ingredients, contains an estimated SPF of 30-50.
  • Shea Butter. An excellent skin protectant with an SPF of approximately 6-10.
  • Carrot Seed Oil. Carrot seed oil is an essential oil and has been estimated to contain SPF levels of 30.
  • Wheat Germ Oil. While super nourishing for the skin, it too possesses a natural SPF of 20.
  • Sesame oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp oil, Avocado oil, Soybean, and Peanut Oil. All contain SPF levels between 4-10.

However, none of these ingredients are necessarily adequate on their own to provide us protection for an all day experience…say, out on the lake.

In order to make your own sunscreen you really should add the natural mineral zinc oxide (and possibly titanium oxide) to your recipe. This will give you real power to reflect the sun’s ray, with minimal negative effects. 


The Recipe

Ingredients
Customize this recipe based on your budget and what you have available.

-1 ounce oil blend (use any combination of the oils listed above)
-1 ounce beeswax (adds waterproof properties)
-1 ounce butter blend (i.e. Shea butter, mango butter, or cocoa butter)
-1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
-0.36 ounces zinc oxide powder
-30 drops essential oils, optional

Method

1. Gather ingredients and kitchen tools. Note: Many of the oils listed above can be found in the grocery store or health food store. I love the quality and cosmetic properties of the oils, essential oils, and butters available from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are my source for these things. Find beeswax here or search for a local source by clicking here.

2. In a double boiler, over low heat, melt the oils, beeswax, and butters.

3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly prior to adding the vitamin E oil, zinc oxide powder, and essential oils. Note: Wear a mask when working with zinc oxide. Although it has not been proven harmful when used topically, inhaling the substance can be dangerous.

4. Stir until zinc oxide is dissolved. Note: Purchase zinc oxide powder here. 

5. Pour into a push-up or roll-up dispenser. This recipe will produce a product similar to a lotion bar or sunscreen stick. You could easily clean out and re-purpose a used deodorant or lip balm container. But, if you want to buy a new one…I love these containers.

6. Allow to cool and harden on the counter overnight and then you’re good to go! During times of heavy sun and swim exposure be sure to reapply often for the best coverage.

Notes

-This recipe contains zinc oxide at 12% which gives it an SPF of around 10-12 (note: this has not been approved or tested). See this awesome chart to reduce or increase the amount of zinc oxide based on your family’s needs. Have a question about it? Ask it in the comments and we’ll figure it out together :)

-Want to reduce your cost of the products used to make this recipe? Call together a group of like-minded friends, ask them if they are interested in making this recipe with you, and split the costs!

-Beneficial, sun protecting essential oils include lavender, myrrh, carrot seed oil, and peppermint. Read more here…

-Want to stick your favorite brand of sunscreen? Don’t feel bad about that! There are a few really good companies out there working hard to provide safe and effective products. Go to EWG’s website to check your commercial sunscreen’s level of chemical contaminants by clicking this link.

-Don’t shun the sun completely! Our fear of the sun has precipitated a societal vitamin D deficiency that is unfortunately taking us by storm — potentially producing an increase rate of cancers, autism, asthma, heart disease, and mental illness, just to name a few. 

-This is the recipe that I have used for my family here in the Arizona desert for years with great results. However, I can not guarantee that yours will be the same experience because it has not been tested in an FDA approved lab. In other words, by sharing this recipe with you, I hope you understand that I will not be held responsible for any adverse reactions, sunburns, or skin cancers.

-Looking for products mentioned in this post? Mountain Rose Herbs is my go-to for all my oil, moisturizing butters, and essential oil needs! Find beeswax here.

Be sure not to miss a post, click this link to receive my free eBook and Frugally Sustainable tips by email.

Read more here:
-Sunshine helps prevent skin cancer while sunscreens promote it
-7 surprising things you’re not supposed to know about sunscreen and sunlight exposure

Not up for another DIY project
but really appreciate high quality, handmade products?
Head over to my little Etsy Shop
and please see my listing for the Natural Sun Stick here
.
Lovingly made by me!

Comments

  1. Andrea, for recipes calling for beeswax, do you thing soy wax could be used? I have soy wax available to me all the time, but not beeswax. Just curious!

    i am so happy you posted this, I was just htinking I wanted to get a recipe for sunscreen!

    • Hi Sharon! You know I’ve never used soy wax, but I do know that it is a vegetable oil and thereby used in some recipes as a moisturizer for the skin. I’d say just be sure that it is from a good, trustworthy source. Putting GMO products on our skin is just a dangerous as eating them.

      Has anyone else substituted soy wax for beeswax?

    • Don’t be so simplistic in your conclusions. The average lifespan of a person 100 years ago was 47. Obviously skin cancer occurs much more today when people live into their 90’s
      You might as well say “did you ever notice people had much fewer wrinkles 100 years ago?”.
      It’s because they were DEAD.

      • Nick, people that were 47 looked like they were 80 a hundred years ago, because they mainly made their living outside in the sun. They may not have had skin cancer, but they didn’t take care of their skin which was like leather. People died more from being exposed to measles, pneumonia, influenza 100 years ago. People now take better care of themselves to keep looking young and live longer.

      • katherine Caldwell says:

        Let’s not forget that the sun’s rays are WAY different than they were 100 years ago, The whole reason we started having to use sunscrreen at all is because the ozone layer that acts as a natural sunscreen, has been diminishing in the last 50 – 60 years due to pollutants in our biosphere. You may have just been a little tyke in the 1970s and 80s when this issue was ALL OVER the news – which is when sunscreen and SPF was all invented. Before that we all used the old coppertone that mellowed the rays but had no real protection. Skin cancer has gone up because the ozone is dissappearing. The companies that are reducing the ozone layer don’t want to remind us of this…and in recent years they’ve been successful in silencing the media. Last I heard 20 years ago the ozone layer was repairing, slowly, as certain regulations were in place. I hope that’s true. If so, then maybe we don’t need as strong a sunscreen now…

      • MissouriMom says:

        Actually, Nick is correct. However, the estimated life expectancy also included infant mortality rates, which were not good back then. Remember too, there were no vaccines against polio, whooping cough, smallpox, tetanus, and a lot of other diseases that are ‘gone’ today. If you could survive the childhood diseases, if young women survived childbirth, and if young men survived war, then your chances of living to 70-75 were quite excellent.

        • Yes! The mortality rates from back ‘then’ are misleading. Just have a look at your family tree. Most all of mine lived into their 70’s or 80’s all the way back as far as I have gone…into the 1700’s. The ones that made it out of their childhoods.

  2. My husband and I were just talking about finding a natural sunscreen just the other day. I am so happy you posted this!

    • Yeah!!! I hope you love it Rebecca, it works great for us :)

      • Montserrat Enciso says:

        Hi Andrea! Is there any way I could make this sunscreen without zinc oxide? My niece is allergic and I’d love to do this for her :)
        Thanks!

        • **Note that the formula also uses zinc oxide – typically not a natural ingredient. Zinc oxide does occur naturally as the mineral zincite but most of the zinc oxide used in products is produced synthetically. [3] The formula avoids all the other chemicals often found in sunscreens. If you are opposed to the use of zinc oxide (somewhat controversial), you can simply omit it from the recipe but be aware that your safe time of exposure will be reduced.

  3. great recipe! thanks! i have a vitamin e oil i got at trader joes. noticed after i got it home that the first ingredient is soybean oil. i’m a little concerned. any thoughts?

    • Hi Jessica! I noticed the same thing with the vitamin E oil from Trader Joes! I was a little disappointed…aren’t you!?! I hate to see anything go to waste, so I’m not sure what to recommend other than to say in the future look for 100% pure vitamin E oil…but you probably already were thinking that ;)

      Anyone else have thoughts on using this product?

  4. OOOh, i just looked up the wax I have and its all-natural, non-gmo.

    Woohoo! I just realized that i used it making your natural deoderant recipe and really liked it. Glad I looked it up and now know that its safe!

  5. Do you know how long this is good for approx? I know that coconut oil has an extremely long shelf life, and I would assume the zinc oxide would be indefinite? I have shea butter, I guess that one would be the one to go off first. Hmmm.

    • It really depends on the oils you use in your recipe. For example, wheat germ has a shorter shelf life than say coconut oil. So generally speaking I’d give it 6 months to a year.

    • Kristin says:

      I made this last year, mid summer, using the Wheat Germ Oil. I pulled it out recently because we’ve had some nice weather, only to find it had molded. I think I’ll make enough for this summer and throw out whatever we dont use by the end.

      • It usually only molds because of water/perspiration getting into the jar or container. Keep it dry and dirt free. Perhaps you can use smaller containers so the whole batch isn’t ruined by some water.

    • Can the product be frozen?

  6. Chrisitna says:

    I am a red head with a young red headed daughter. We tend to burn more than the average person. I always say we have 2 skin colors: transparent and lobster red. Hahaha! I was wondering if anyone had tried this that is a fellow pale person? Or Andrea if you have had any friends or family that are light skined and it was strong enough? I have used comercial products for years, but have to use the highest SPF I can find if I am going to be out in the sun all day. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Christina! The beauty of this recipe is it’s flexibility. You can customize it to your specific needs! Check out the zinc oxide table…here’s the direct link: http://frugallysustainable.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/spf-chart.jpg and you can adjust the amount of zinc oxide to create the coverage that you require.

    • Christina,

      I am all about chemical free products for my kids. I buy organic as much as I can. I even make my own shampoo, laundry soap and household cleaners.

      That said, I also only come in your two shades: transparent and lobster red. In fact, I know the dark side of sunburn and sun damage all too well. I suffered horrid second degree burns all over my back after one particularly bad sunburn as a child. It took literally months to recover and I was treated medically the same as actual burn victims are treated. I still bear the scars of an un-sunblocked youth. Further, one of my parents died at the age of 34 from melanoma and my other parent has had multiple basil cell skin cancers scraped off their face.

      So, like I said, I know sunburn all too well. At my ripe old age of 40, I figure I’ve already done the damage that will likely cause my skin cancer to sprout some day. I might try a homemade sunblock ON MYSELF. But I WOULD NOT try it on my kids.

      The risk of sunburn to those of us with very pale skin is just too high. It carries significant potential for real injury far beyond what most of the people on the planet can imagine. After months of intense pain and suffering and medical treatment for second degree burns from one afternoon in the sun at age 10 that literally disfigured my back and damaged my complexion… to this day and further after losing a parent to skin cancer and watching the other suffer, we must get real. Sometimes the risk of exposure to FDA approved “chemicals” is a small price to pay for a lifetime of health.

      Further just consider it from a “mom” perspective: can you live with yourself if your daughter suffers a horrid sunburn that will disfigure her complexion FOR A LIFETIME? Can you handle her sobs of pain? Can you frost her blistered body with medication, as you would frost a cake while she writhes in pain?

      Sunburn is sadly no joke for people like us. Please do be cautious in your pursuit of a chemical free life.

    • Heather says:

      I’m a red head too so I totally know what you’re talking about! About 2 years ago I started eating 3-4 tbsp of coconut oil before going out in the sun and now I don’t burn! It’s amazing!

      • … so that’s all you do? Eat some coconut oil? Nothing else, not even sunblock? Color me skeptical!

        • I am too one of those ultra pale skinned burn every time people. Last year I only used a zinc oxide based natural sunscreen on my cheeks, shoulders, chest and had a organic healthy diet. Last year was the fist summer I didnt burn. I usually double blister burn at least twice a summer. I also only used a natural mineral sunscreen on my kids. I DID put it all over their chests, back, face, arms, etc.. I didnt want to put them in harms way. No burns!!! For me, my freckles didnt come out as bad and I actually tanned. It was amazing!

  7. Hi all! I happened upon Blue Lizard sunscreen when I was searching for chemical-free sunscreen for my baby. It’s SO great! Expensive, but great. I ordered online. Here’s more info: http://www.crownlaboratories.com/bluelizard/

    I ordered mine from Drugstore.com, I think. Cheapest I could find. Good stuff, really.

    • We used Blue Lizard last summer after I also starting researching the safety of sunscreens. I am a fair, freckled redish-blond. I have 2 red-headed daughters one of whom burns in the shade. I really liked the Blue Lizard. Need to take another look at this issue.

      Thanks for the recipe, Andrea. :-) I’m on the fence about making my own, but I’m glad you blogged about it!

      • There are a lot of questionable ingredients in the blue lizard sunscreen. The whole point of making it yourself is to avoid these. I too have a red headed daughter and need sunscreen year round, especially living in Florida. So, I am interested in making it myself, but still know that she needs at least a 30 SPF. We use Dr. Mercola’s sunscreen on her arms and legs. For face we use Badger Balm’s SPF 30. It’s thicker and lasts longer. A lot of people complain that it’s too thick, like diaper ointment. I’d rather that than lots wrinkles, freckles and cancer. I just hate the price of the commercial sunscreen. So, on with more research to find the best compromise between protection and price.

  8. Ooh, I’m going to have to try this! I’m a redhead and my dh had a genetic mutation making him more prone to cancer than the normal person. Since it’s genetic it means our kids most likely have it too, so I’m always so careful of them in the sun. Do you happen to know of a more liquid version? Would using more liquid oils instead of hard oils and beeswax work?

    • I have not tried this, nor do I really have any experience, but I thought i’d share some thoughts on liquifying it.. I mean the beeswax was to make the sunscreen waterproof right? So if you don’t need the waterproofness, I guess you could just skip it all, and at least that solid part wouldn’t be an issue. I’d also think if you use coconut oil, it will solidify up until 24 degrees celcius, it melts at room temperature, and I guess if you live in a warmer climate that the oil will liquify, but if you live in a colder climate, it would contribute to making the sunscreen solid. Although I think my bottom line is, if you just heat it carefully in a microwave or just scrape some out with your nail and let it melt in your hands (like you’d normally do with coconut oil) that the sunscreen will melt a little.. I wouldn’t heat up the entire thing every time though, only the parts I was gonna use right away. But like i said, i have no actual experience, just some hypothetical thoughts. Good luck! let me know if you try any of it to see if i was right. :)
      I’d love to try this recipe myself, but I have a feeling my mom will think I have really gone nuts.. I try making everything myself these days and she is getting kind of sick of it xD

      • Re. Mari’s comment about microwaving coconut oil: While coconut oil is not damaged or changed by low heat, I have read that heating it by microwaving can cause the oil to break down in ways that you don’t really want (though I read that for coconut oil for food consumption; the alternative suggestion was to heat it by placing the container in warm water). I’m not sure that it matters for external applications, and I am not sure of the accuracy of that statement anyway. Microwaving would, however, not be great if you’re using a plastic container.

        Coconut oil melts readily upon contact with skin, so I think you’d have good luck putting the mixture in a twist-up tube as recommended, and it will liquify and be easy to spread after rubbing it on.

        It’s kind of like some lip balms with high amounts of beeswax are very hard (sometimes I find them too hard to actually apply without shoving my lips into my teeth…), whereas those with a higher oil content are easier to apply. So, I guess don’t be afraid of the ease of application from a twist-up tube! :)

        I’m curious about adding a different ‘carrier’ ingredient or just water to help the mix liquefy (maybe glycerin? http://www.cosmeticscop.com/cosmetic-ingredient-dictionary/definition/638/glycerin.aspx). If you do end up with a liquid mix, I’d think it would be important to shake it well to mix before each use.

        I’m hoping to avoid purchasing ‘regular’ sunscreen this summer :)

        Tiffany

        • I don’t really know too much about chemical reactions with oils and stuff, but I have heard that you shouldnt fry your food with Extra virgin olive oil because the oil cannot withstain the heat, the oil breaks or whatever, but i’ve heard that this doesn’t happen with coconut oil.. But I am no expert, i dont even cook food yet. But yeah, I agree with how you said that since the coconut oil melts at room temperature and our skin is so warm, it shouldnt be difficult to apply the sunscreen stick. When i use my coconut oil, it is semi solid, and the solid parts melts instantly when i put it on my nail. Like literally instantly.
          :)

      • I agree with you Mari, if we are not going to the pool/beach than I think your idea is great and would even be able to put the sunscreen in one of those rolling bottles (like the ones used for perfumes, lip gloss, etc.) and just slip it in our purse or pocket.

  9. Wow I love this article!!

  10. Hi Andrea,
    I have been away on a Sunny Spring Break with no computer. The break was wonderful, but I sure have missed you! This post is perfect! I’ll be making it tomorrow. Thanks!

  11. So happy to have found your site! I can’t wait to read more! Have a great night! Bethany

  12. Sounds nice. I would just pick a zinc oxide powder that has particles that are NOT nano sized…. otherwise it could be harmful.

    • Natalie, I was just thinking the same thing. I just read an article the other day about the lack of research done regarding nano sized particles and the dangers associated with our bodies absorbing things they were never meant to be able to… Andrea, have you got any thoughts on this? Also, do you think the sunscreen would be good enough simply leaving out the zinc entirely?

      • Andrea says:

        Hi Liz! You could totally leave it out.

        • Hi Andrea, I was also wondering about the zinc? what does it do and what are the pros and cons of using it on our skin products?

          • I would NOT recommend leaving the zinc oxide out unless you are in an area with a VERY low UV index or if you do not spend enough time outside to get burned. The zinc oxide provides higher protection against the sun than the oils alone. zinc oxide is safe to use on skin. your skin doesn’t absorb it (I’ve read that even the nano particles aren’t absorbed), and it actually calms irritated skin (which is good if you are already sunburned). it is used in diaper rash cream for babies. it is not harmful, and I would not go as far as to say that the sunscreen would be “good enough” without it. It would depend on what you’re using it for — protection against getting burned while being outside all day or protection against rays while quickly going up the street. Oils alone would be fine for the latter, but if you’re using the sunscreen for the former, then you NEED the zinc oxide.

        • That’s incorrect for best protection one needs the zinc oxide unless one is allergic to it.

  13. Please protect your skin. At age 20,I had melanoma removed and then started wearing a new product with Spf. Now, 3 decades later spf is a common product and I remain healthy. However, 4 members of my family and several friends are dead because of skin cancer. Please protect our skin!
    I am going to try this skin recipe from this blog

  14. I was always leary of sunscreen, I mean it would strip nail polish off, so years ago I started investigating and found out what you have shared. Our ancestors knew not to be out in the sun during the hottest/brightest times of day and they knew not to stay in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. We absolutely need sun exposer, it is what gives us Vit D3 an absolutely essential vitamin which is so much better for you than D2 the type you receive in supplaments. In regards to sun exposure, as with so very many things in this modern culture, we have exchanged knowledge for convenience which means we have greatly compromised our health. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  15. Can you tell me how long this is good for? The shelf life? Thank you, I really enjoy your site!

  16. Bobbie Davis says:

    Hello,

    I love this idea! However, do you have any ideas whta to use instead of Zinc Oxide? I am allergic to it. Just wanted to see if you had any ideas of a substitute that could be used.

    Thanks from TEXAS!!
    Bobbie

    • Hi!

      Same here, I am allergic as well to “zinc oxide”. Please provide the same recipe without it, or does it even work as a sun screen without zinc oxide?

      Thank you!

  17. Hello all. I wanted to give my two cents of something I’ve been using for natural sunscreen. I was watching Dr. Oz and he had a doctor on who was suggesting taking a supplement called Astaxanthin. Its apparently one of the strongest antioxidants there is! Much more than vitamin C! So, I thought I’d try it. I think the brand I got was called Bio-Astin. I ordered it from iherb.com because they are the best! (Try them if you’ve never used them!)
    Anyway, I started taking it and I went to my sisters house to help her and her children and a couple of her friends plant some flowers in her yard. We all worked outside all day (well except the kids…you know how that goes). At the end of the day, everyone was sunburned except me! They asked what I’d done and I said I was just wearing sunscreen, which I do every day! Then they all said they had sunscreen in as well! I just thought maybe they used too low of a strength. Typically I wear 40 spf on my face!

    I didn’t think anymore about it until the following Sunday when I decided to read on my porch. As I got ready for the day I thought about that sunscreen and what I had done differently than the other girls. That’s when I remembered I’d been taking that Astaxanthin every day for a couple of weeks by then! So I wondered if that was what protected me against the sunburn! So, as an experiment, I decided to skip the sunscreen and go outside without any!!! I never do that!

    It was a very sunny and hot day and about an hour after being out there a friend stopped by. She and I sat outside and talked for about thirty minutes when she said she thought she was getting sunburned! She looked at her arms and pulled her tank top strap over and you could see that she was already getting a sunburn! So, we went inside and I told her what I’d been taking and checked my shoulders and NO SUNBURN!!! Not even a little!!! I’ve been outside lots of occasions since while taking this and still no sunburn! So I’m a believer!

    So, though I wouldn’t suggest you go outside without slathering yourself down, I’d definitely suggest trying this supplement! I’ve been talking it since late last summer and I’m anxious to try it out in this hot southern sun we have here! Try it and see what you think!

    Oh, in case you are curious…I take two soft gels per day. Each soft gel is 4 mg.

    • Fascinating. I didn’t know this about Astaxanthin. I’ve read a bit about how it reduces age spots, etc. and that it protects algae from UV rays. I never made the connection that it might act as a sunscreen for people. I sell doTERRA and my husband takes the doTERRA supplements; I checked and there is 1 mg of Astaxanthin in his daily dose. I wonder how much it takes to act as a sunscreen. Any thoughts?

      • Yep, astaxanthin is amazing! My husband and I take it daily, and as soon as our children are able to swallow the gel pill, they will take it too. We live in S. FL, and so the sun is a big part of our lives. I don’t like to use sunscreen, and we rarely do. Other than taking the astaxanthin (which you can read more about at Natural News and Mark’s Daily Apple) we use the cover-up method. We all have hats and long sleeved rash guards that we put on to protect ourselves from the sun. Unless I know we’ll be at the beach all day long, we don’t even worry about sunscreen and we are light skinned blondes.

        As far as dosing, Natural News covers this some in one of his articles on astaxanthin. I think he takes 16mg/day. Hubby and I take 10mg/day, and that seems effective in preventing easy burning in the sun. Astaxanthin also helps with muscle recovery after working-out, so that is another plus for us.

        • I was just wondering that if this stuff comes in gel caps if they could be broken open and put into a smoothie or something of that nature for little kids? Or if it is even deemed safe for small children. Me and my children are redheads, I seem to burn the worst – even wearing high spf sunscreen and it is so irritating to my skin and both my kids have eczema so I am very interested in this supplement.

  18. My daughters and I prepared for an extended trip to Hawaii last year by a) visiting a tanning bed and gradually building a base tan, b) using a homemade blend of oils, including coconut and jojoba, that have a natural spf factor and c) taking an axtathanthin supplement (BioAstin), all on top a nourishing, traditional foods diet with a specific focus on increasing our consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and bone broths. When we got there we used a natural sunscreen (with zinc oxide) only for nose and shoulder areas, tried to limit our exposure during the strong 11a.m.-3p.m.zone and used physical blocks like rash guard shirts and hats. The only real burn that occurred was when I let my own rule about not being on the beach during the 11-3 time be broken and my fair freckled 17yo daughter was the victim.

  19. I am also wondering if this could be adapted into a spray to make it easier to use?

  20. That’s so cool about the SPF in foods- I didn’t know that! Especially foods that are ripe and in season when we need it most- no coincidence there. God provides all we need in nature to keep up healthy. Too bad we don’t take advantage of it (I eat way to many processed foods…something my family is trying to work on!) :) Thank you for the post.

    • That was my favorite part of this post too! God has planned for our natural protection – how cool is that!??! !

  21. artteacherkat says:

    I wish I’d thought to look up sun block recipes 2 years ago when I was worrying about what to put on my son (almost 2 at the time) when we were at the lake. We are headed back this summer and I’m looking forward to trying this recipe out.
    I wanted to ask about the water proof properties of this sunblock. I know these oils are lipids and will help repel water. I am looking for something that will block the water from even hitting my skin. I know this sounds weird but we are going to Glen Lake (MI) and if you spend time in shallow water it is easy to get a case of simmers itch- brought on by a parisite from snails and merganzer ducks. I used to get it so bad as a child that it was far worse than chickenpox. When I was in Jr high I started covering my body in vaseline- which worked but I burnt easily… then came Bull frog- which worked but I would like to avoid using this on myself or my son in the future. I used zinc oxide (as in from the tube for diaper rash) for my son 2 years ago- it worked for both waterproofing and sunblock, but it was so greasy that it was like shake and bake baby with the sand. Do you think that this sunblock will do the trick? I’ll take any suggestions you might have on augmenting the recipe to make it more water proof.
    Thanks!

  22. Really good piece. I had no idea that those oils (carrot seed, etc.) are natural sunscreens. I plan on making my own this year. Thanks so much. You are a gem!

  23. ebsquared says:

    I would also really like to know if there is a substitute for zinc oxide. I’ve had a lot of trouble with this with my kids and we’ve been told by our pediatrician to avoid all products with zinc oxide in them. I will definitely be looking into the Astaxanthin – I’ve never heard of it. We’re of German descent and other than my daughter, fry up quite nicely when we’re in the sun too long. My dad has had 2 melanomas removed and he ALWAYS wore long sleeves and a hat. We spend all summer outside so this is a huge concern for us. We are the ones in hats and long sleeves when it’s 90 outside. Very depressing but practical.

    I love this blog! Thank you so much – and to those who comment as well!

  24. I’m going to have to look into making this. I burn very easily and now have a new baby (4mo) that has unfortunately gotten some rosy cheeks a few times just from going on walks. I don’t like the idea of slathering him in chemicals. Do you (or anyone else) know if this is safe to use on a young baby? My only concern would be oil choices.

  25. I am very excited to try this! I have super sensitive skin and break out into a rash every time I use sunscreen. Interested to see if this recipe will keep me from burning without causing my skin to get angry.

  26. Bethany G says:

    Is it possible to use the cream form of zinc oxide in this recipe? Like the diaper rash cream that artteacherkat used?

    • I would like to know this, as well. Did you ever try it?

      • I made this with diaper rash cream, just increased based on the percentage of zinc in the cream (it was 25% zinc oxide, so I used 4 times what was called for in the recipe). It seemed to work well. I also added some citronella essential oil to keep the bugs away :)

        • Great idea, will try until I can order the zinc oxide because we are going on vacation in a few days so I won’t have time to buy on Amazon and make in time for vacation.

  27. I just wonder.. Because the zinc oxide particles are too big to penetrate the skin, I have heard that it can make your skin looking white … Have you had any problems with your skin being white from using this sunscreen? also, do you think this would be a bigger issue with more zinc oxide to get a higher spf protection? I’m really fair and I’m going to live in Florida for a year and would like a fairly high spf, and I like the idea of making my own, but I don’t want my skin to be whiter than it already is… XD

    • Hi Mari! In this recipe, we are using the zinc at 12% and I find that the “white” is unnoticable. So yes, I think this would be a much bigger issue if one were to increase the amount of zinc oxide in the recipe :) Great question!

  28. Awesome! I am totally all about this. I rarely use sunscreen, even though I am very fair-complected. It freaks people out but I just choose wise times to be outside and I wear a lot of clothes in the sun. I hate the idea of slathering chemical-laden cream every time I want to go in the sun. My mom taught us to drink lots of vitamin-c rich fruit juice and eat lots of fruit when we want to be outside for long periods of time. I do get a little red from time to time, but never really burnt. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and your thoughts on chemical sunscreen.

  29. Elise Thompson says:

    I have continually debated the merits of commercial sunscreen and just staying out of the sun. With a 2 year old staying out of the sun is not a great option however she is a bone marrow transplant survivor and finding a product that is natural and guards against the sun, a stimulate of GVHD, makes me so much happier. I have a new sense of peace after finding this recipe, knowing my daughter can have a safe natural skin protectant. I also agree with your observations on skin cancer prevention before the invention of sunscreen. My daughter has a full body swimsuit and the last thing I needed was a natural sun protectant for her face and feet.

  30. I am hoping to make this soon but was wondering how much this makes? I am going to use an old deodorant stick would it make one or do I need to get more than one container?
    Crystal

  31. Was all set to make this and then I came across people talking about nano particles and how they are so dangerous. Ugh. If it’s not one thing it’s another. I am trying to find out more about zinc oxide nanoparticles and whether it is safe to make your own sunscreen using it, but I am not having much luck. Anyone have an answer to this?

    • Andrea says:

      The zinc oxide that I use is from Soap Goods and it is UPS -2 Zinc Oxide which has a mean particle size of .33 µm / 330 nm

      100 nm is generally considered the upper limit for nanoparticles so their zinc oxide would not be considered a nanoparticle

      Per the discription: “Science overwhelmingly shows that particles of zinc oxide greater than 30nm, when applied to the skin, do not get absorbed into the body, do not enter the bloodstream, and are not a threat to human health.”

  32. Okay, after a bunch of internet searching I found some zinc oxide that does not have nano particles, so it will not be absorbed into the skin. http://www.soapgoods.com/Zinc-Oxide-Powder-USP-p-1431.html Since the particles are larger it will make you look white, though, so if you are worried about the color I read another recipe that suggested adding turmeric and coffee grounds or cocoa powder to help with the color.

    • Melissa,

      Did you make the recipe that had suggested adding tumeric, coffee grounds or cocoa powder to add color to the recipe? I’m looking for one and want to know how it works.
      Thanks:)

  33. Fantastic post and I’d love to use this recipe to make all-natural sunscreen for an outdoor cancer awareness event! Seems quite fitting! My only question: the “ounce” measurements, do are they all weighted ounces, or is any of these fluid ounces, like the oil blend? Thanks for your help, and I love your blog!

  34. Please be careful about the essential oils you use in this recipe. Do NOT use citrus oils.

  35. Hi Andrea!

    I just wanted to say I found your blog today through Pinterest and I love it! I have been searching for some good recipes to make safe home cleaning agents. I bought your book today and I am heading out to the store now! Perfect gifts for my mom also Mother’s Day! Just wanted to say thanks!!!

  36. What oil do you use? I’ve been searching for Raspberry seed oil but can’t seem to find it. Any advice?

  37. Andrea says:

    Wonderful post! I love the idea of making my own sunscreen so I know 100% what is in it. I was just wondering if there is a way to make this a cream instead of a solid? Maybe by using a different butter?

  38. Every store bought sunscreen I’ve tried makes my skin burn and itch like crazy, even baby sunscreen. I can’t wait to try this! Thanks! :D

  39. Love this, Andrea! Thanks!!!!! Sharing on my FB page!!

  40. I love this innovation, I hope to find all the ingredients and get going with this recipe, thank you

  41. I just have to correct one thing. This is actually a sunblock because it has a blocking agent, zinc oxide. A sunscreen is absorbed and does its UVA fighting via chemical reaction but if it absorbs to deeply it can aid the UVA damage instead of preventing it.

    Thank you for sharing. I did know that some oils like coconut oil had natural SPF but you definitely expanded my knowledge.

    I will most certainly try this. And, if I really like it after putting it to the test do you mind if I share it on my Facebook page (Green & Simple) and my blog (mygreen&simpleliving).

  42. Carolyn Willie says:

    There is the company Cleure that sells a natural sunscreen with the ingredients you speak of and I have been using it for 2 years. I am a redhead and I have not had any sunburns since using it. I will never use the sunscreens sold in stores. Too many chemicals for me.

  43. Faheem says:

    Thanks for the Post!!!

    I want to know, what volume will I get using this formulation?

    Regards

  44. Elizabeth says:

    I would also suggest you read through Personal Care Truth for information on not only sunscreens but all other personal care items..http://personalcaretruth.com/

  45. WEll! this is fantastic and I have beeswax from my own bees! My husband refuses to have anything to do with sunscreens he absolutely maintains that it is harmful to the skin. he believes that the lack of light getting to our bodies is more harmful and is linked to all kinds of rather dreadful diseases.MS being the major contender. He just wears light long sleeved shirts and a hat. I shall show this to him.. thank you.. c

  46. Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for the great recipe. I am very much looking forward to trying it. How many containers does this recipe yield? I was curious as I’m planning on a making a few.

    Thank you :)

  47. Michaelann Dahlman says:

    I have been trying for the last 7 years to find a sunscreen that actually works, ever since I moved into the valley (Abbotsford, BC), I am getting a lot of sunburns! I have tried numerous different brnads I fianlly gave up 2 years ago & just try to stay out of the sun when it’s hot out & treat the burns with cool showers & aloe vera gel.

    Last summer I was visiting my (then) fiance in Boise Idaho & decided to try MaxBlock, which is carried by the Dollar Tree. It is fantastic!! And very inexpensive.

    I have looked at your recipe & I might consider it, someday.

  48. Kristin says:

    I love this! Mountain Rose carries an oil called Sea Buckthorn Oil, which seems to have lots of sun protection. Last time I was in Florida, I mixed it in with the all natural moisturizer that I use while at the pool. No sunburn here!

  49. I am an Independent Consultant with NYR Organic I love our 100% mineral sunscreen made with organic ingredients! (We have Champion Status with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics!!) It doesn’t make my face look white or greasy!! With 5 kiddos of my own, I’m excited to try your sunscreen! We live in FL and go through sunscreen like crazy!! While I love my NYR sunscreen, I’m excited to make a big batch of this to have on hand as a back-up for long days at the beach and pool!! Thanks for sharing!

  50. Awesome, this is not something you see recipes for very often! Thanks! In the past I have bought TruKid mineral sunblock, spreads pretty good for being a non-chemical one and smells way better than many. When they go on sale, I get several at a time. Do you know an estimate on how much the total cost is fro one batch of your recipe? Thanks again!

  51. Shelley Shack says:

    I read that article & thought it was fascinating! As a redhead who loves the outdoors, I need to know everything I can about this! Thanks, ladies!

  52. So going to try this! Sunscreen shopping is so hard for me! We have several brands from the health food store and it’s so hard to find a good one. Either they smell funny or are too thick. So thanks for posting this!!!!

  53. Melissa says:

    How is the protection of this sunscreen against both UVB and UVA? Both are highly important.

  54. Kristin says:

    How often do you reapply your recipe? I wanted to put some Shea Butter in mine, but found there are three different types… two refined and one unrefined… does it matter which I use? The unrefined is more expensive, which doesn’t make sense to me….

    THANK YOU for the recipe!

  55. Hey I looked at the chart for changing the percentages of spf, but still confused how to do it, do you just add more zinc oxide powder making it 25 percent of recipe or use a different concentrateformuld
    a ? The one u posted shows 20% which I though was more than 10-12, but maybe I’m just confused. Also how long does the zinc oxide powder last once opened? Thanks!

    • the percentage of zinc oxide in the chart is the ratio of the zinc to the oils. If you do the math, her recipe does come out to 12%. (1oz of oil + 1oz of butter + 1oz of beeswax =3oz so. .36/3 = .12 or 12%. If you wanted 25% zinc oxide, you would need to calculate what number is 25% of 3. So, 3 X .25 = .75, so you would need .75oz of zinc oxide for this recipe to contain 25% of zinc.

  56. Good morning! I have 2 quick questions. Is it possible to mix two of the oil blends? Such as coconut oil and raspberry seed oil. I want the SPF of the raspberry seed oil but also the yummy smell of the virgin coconut oil. Also, the measurements are by volume not by weight correct? So, an oz of oil is actually 2 tablespoons. Thanks for the help and awesome blog post! I’m so excited to try this. I’ve everything ordered and on it’s way!

  57. Are the oils measured 1 ounce of each type or 1 ounce total of all my oils? I have Raspberry Seed, Carrot Seed, Coconut oil, and hemp oil.

  58. My best friend and I made a quadruple batch of this sunblock last week and I LOVE it! It isn’t too greasy and definitely doesn’t leave my kids’ skin looking too pasty/white like some natural sunblocks do. I have yet to try it out during an all-day pool session so I don’t know how often I’ll need to reapply, but so far I’m really, really happy. No more spending $18 for a tiny bottle of my favorite, non-pasty, natural kids’ sunblock!

  59. Please don’t make your own sunblock, people. Yes, Zinc oxide is effective –but–sunscreen is a drug & not a cosmetic–if you make a mistake, there are serious consequences.

    I second Elizabeth’s suggestion to take a look at Personal Care Truth–agreat source of info–articles written by scientists, not hobbyists.

  60. How well does this rub in? I’ve tried many sunblocks with zinc oxide and after I rub them in for a few seconds they start peeling up/flaking off and I worry that I’m no longer being protected. Ha anyone else had that problem?

  61. I think I totally botched this. I used 1 ounce of carrot seed oil which has a *very* potent odor. Obviously, I had to rework the recipe to match oils and will have a triple batch, but that smell! Oy!

  62. How do I know when I’m measuring liquid ounces versus ounces by weight? I want to get those measurements right before I try this! Thanks!

  63. jessjohnston says:

    I found a recipe of coconut oil, tea tree oil, zinc oxide and bee oil. My question is … is the bee oil.the same as.bees wax also the container I have says “for wooden bowls, and other wood.” …? Also the yea tree oil and coconut oil both says don’t use on children. The main reason I decided to make my own is for my children. You seem like you can help. Do I have the wrong stuff?

  64. Elizabeth says:

    Ok I made sunblock using this recipe
    2oz coconut oil
    2oz Shea butter
    2 tbsp zinc oxide
    1/2 oz beeswax
    I modified and added about a teaspoon of vitamin e and some aloe Vera oil.

    We put it to the test today and my husband got very red, he is white but a darker shade of white. I am Latin and I usually never burn but today I got a very redish tan. I wonder why we burned because From where I got the recipe the lady claims she use it all summer with all the family and it worked great.

    Any ideas why this didn’t work.

    • Elizabeth,

      You need a LOT more zinc oxide.

      Roughly speaking your amounts translated to:
      60 grams of coconut oil
      60 grams of shea butter
      12 grams of zinc oxide
      14 grams of beeswax.

      This is REGARDLESS of if your oz were liquid or by weight.

      By weight, your zinc oxide is < 1/20. According to http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Sunscreen/step4/SPF-Table/ This would give you an SPF of about 5. aka useless. Your coconut oil and shea butter alone give you that.

      Multiply the zinc oxide by 3 to 36g and you've got roughly an SPF of 25. Again, very rough, but you get the idea.

  65. I am trying to work out how much Zinc or Titanium to use for the Super high spf. The chart gives % is that the ratio of Zinc to carrier that I would need to work toward?

    Thanks for listing this. I’ve made lotion bars and lotion so I feel confidant I can make this. I am hoping my girls will be happier using it, they fight using the chemical stuff but we burn soooo badly we have to use them.

  66. Well I had hardly any of these things on hand, so I just used pure organic, extra virgin coconut oil. It worked great! I didn’t get burned at all, and actually developed a nice tan. This is a little unusual for me- the month of June is usually when I’m coated in sunburn. I may try adding some fresh aloe vera gel when I’m able to get some, but plain ol’ coconut oil works great on it’s own! :)

  67. This is a great post. I found it really helpful. Thank you :) Important question though… may I ask where you got your SPF chart? I would like to look into that further. I won’t be able to get my friends/family to use my homemade sunscreen unless I can give them really clear evidence that they are getting the SPF protection that the drugstore brand provide. It is so helpful to have sources that back natural products up. If you can share where you got that from it would be great. Thanks so much, Graydon

  68. Thanks for the recipe. I plan to give it a try. But your article started out with you on hour high horse about causes for the sunscreen “craze”. Certainly yore aware that the cause is the result of environmental degradation due to the thinning of the o-zone layer which formerly protected folks from harmful solar radiation.

  69. Hi Andrea…..I made this a while back using your same measurements and ingredients and it is a little hard. I re-melted it and added more oil but it still seems a little hard, not too creamy to apply. Any ideas on how to make it softer so it’s easier to put on the skin?
    THanks a million!!

  70. Hey, I was just wondering if you have to use the zinc oxide. Is it just to increase the SPF levels in the sunscreen, or does it serve another purpose?
    Also, where would you get something like that?

  71. Are these fluid ounces or ounces by weight?

  72. Can you put carrot seed oil directly on skin? I’m wondering if I could just mix some in with some coconut oil and just use that, since we so rarely use sunscreen. We spend lots of time outside and tan gradually, and eating a paleo diet pretty much keeps us from burning, but we do live in central Texas and that sun gets STRONG. We’re going to a birthday party this weekend and I’d like to use something.

  73. There has been some recent research that calls into question the safety of zinc oxide, particularly when exposed to the sun. I still can’t decide what the best approach is, since these recent studies are in vitro and not done on actual human populations. But it’s still worth it to be aware of.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507131951.htm

    • I think it has more to do with the other ingredients included in the commercial sunscreen lotions. This recipe doesn’t contain all the awful ingredients you get when you buy commercial lotions.

  74. This stuff stinks to high heaven. What can I do to make it smell better? I used shae butter, raspberry seed oil, coconut oil, etc. It’s nasty smelling. I spent a lot of money. How can I fix it?

  75. Andrea-
    Where did you find the Raspberry Seed Oil? I can’t find it on Mountain Rose Herbs and I want to try that as it has the most SPF.

  76. Thanks so much for the recipe! I am looking for Zinc Oxide, and so far I can only find it in cream form in my city. Would this work?

  77. Elizabeth,

    You need a LOT more zinc oxide.

    Roughly speaking your amounts translated to:
    60 grams of coconut oil
    60 grams of shea butter
    12 grams of zinc oxide
    14 grams of beeswax.

    This is REGARDLESS of if your oz were liquid or by weight.

    By weight, your zinc oxide is < 1/20. According to http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Sunscreen/step4/SPF-Table/ This would give you an SPF of about 5. aka useless. Your coconut oil and shea butter alone give you that.

    Multiply the zinc oxide by 3 to 36g and you've got roughly an SPF of 25. Again, very rough, but you get the idea.

  78. I got the raspberry seed oil from lotioncrafter.com. Does anyone have any ideas to make it smell better? I think the shea butter makes it smell bad. It is raw unrefined.

  79. Thanks for this discussion. A new study http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507131951.htm shows alarming evidence that zinc may cause cancer. If raspberry oil has such high SPF it would be sufficient w/o the zinc?

    • The absorption of zinc oxide is relative to outside factors, like size of granule… The nano particles have been proven NOT to be absorbed in the Inc oxide that Andrea uses… I recommend using her product suggestion… Also, please remember that in the early 1900s scientists, medical researches thought bleeding people helped to rid them of infection…. New scientific “findings” and theories need to be tested first. If previous research found that nano particles of zinc oxide wasnt absorbed by the skin, in multiple studies trust that… The findings of this research are contingent on many other factors, and may over time be attributed to one of those other factors…

      • It can be attributed to the other ingredients that are found in other commercial sunscreen lotions not the zinc oxide itself.

  80. Could I use a beeswax candle for the beeswax?

  81. Thank you for the recipe. I hadn’t gotten into much natural stuff until after my youngest was born. He has had three allergic reactions to sunscreen. I believe that one of the problems is zinc oxide, he broke out from diaper rash cream, too. So I just made this today using all raspberry seed oil, since you said it has the highest natural spf, and I left out the zinc oxide. It was easier than I thought, I might just get into making my own of other products.

  82. OH HELP!! I’ve started making my own “stuff” and I must shamefully admit that I leave my dbl boiler top and other things sitting for days before taking on the task of cleaning them up. I just made the sunscreen bars! So excited to see how they work, but MAN every time I make something I’m so discouraged about the clean up! I’ve tried hot and even boiling water and can’t seem to make the beeswax mixture come off of things! AHHH!! Does anyone have any thoughts?? What do you guys do?? Thanks!!!

  83. My dishes are still sitting…all in the pot I made the stuff in….no joke…this is getting serious.

  84. Hello Andrea,
    I would like to know how many percentage should be use if mixed titanium oxide and zine oxide? Thanks :o)

  85. Stefanie says:

    Hi Andrea! If I wanted to make this as a lotion, and not a stick, what ingredients would I need to modify, and what would the modifications be?

  86. I love this! I read some articles not to long ago about the dangers in sunscreen and I have been wanting to make my own sunscreen since then! Good post!

  87. I want to make colored sun block sticks. I tried melting face painting sticks and using liquid face paint in the formula, but it’s just tints the mixture. The kids use the store bought sun block sticks and it looks like face paint. Any advice?

  88. I put this to the test today in the Texas July heat, and I am very pleased! I applied it to all 5 of my children (ages 1-15) and we were at the lake (in the sun and water) from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. It was a balmy 100 degrees, by the way! The only sunburn suffered was at the edge of one daughter’s forehead where the sunscreen didn’t get applied!

    I really appreciate your whole site, and have used many of the recipes you share. I have also been wearing the probiotic deodorant (in Texas in July…ahem…) with great success.

    Thank you so much for making it simple, safe, and fun!

  89. Hello,

    I was wondering if this homemade sunblock recipe can prevent tanning?

    Thank You!

  90. I’m a redhead – the kind that tans a dark brick color if I’m out every single day, and grew up in the desert of Southern CA. I never had a single freckle in my life UNTIL sunscreens came on the market and I blame them for my freckled arms and back.
    Flash forward to the present; and I’m in my 50’s and live across country and am never outside. :(
    Today was the nicest day we’ve had in literally MONTHS and I was outside ALL DAY weeding and cleaning. All I used was coconut oil and not even the slightest burn. Just a side note: I also take Astaxanthin.

  91. Sherry Tejada says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I cannot wait to try this! The AZ sun is intense!

    Sherry Tejada

  92. The Trader Joe’s sunscreens I’ve checked out have been high on toxicity levels (www.ewg.org/skindeep) but at least they supposedly don’t use GMOs. A good brand is Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. Not as cost-effective as making your own, but it’s effective and smells great, if you don’t have time, and it’s totally safe.

  93. I just made this recipe not too long ago. I evened all the weight measurements out to 30g of each (about 1oz) and upped the zinc oxide to 30% (27g) because I live in Australia. This would put the SPF at around 25-30 I’m guessing. I used an old deodorant container. I washed it out and soaked it in methylated spirits for ten minutes or so (isopropyl alcohol would probably work too) to kill all bacteria. I didn’t want to boil it because the container is plastic and I wasn’t sure if it could withstand the heat without warping. But after I mixed in everything, I couldn’t get the wind up mechanic to work properly and it took me quite a while to fix it. All the while, my mixture was starting to solidify! Well by the time I got it to work, my mixture was the consistency of a thick lotion, so I tried to just kind of glop it in. it was QUITE messy and looks a bit terrible lol but I think it’ll do. I’ll remember next time to get my container completely ready before I mix everything in. Also I didn’t use any vitamin E because I didn’t have any and it’s really expensive, but I’ll keep my sunscreen in a container in my closet away from humidity and sun, and I think it should last quite a long time then.

    As a side note, I would consider this sun lotion basically waterproof. I went to wash it off my hands, and it felt like trying to clean butter off your hands with only water. I used soap and everything. finally when I wiped my hands dry, it came off on the towel. So I would definitely reapply after toweling off. but it seems like it could be quite waterproof and sweatproof.

    I will know quickly in the Australian sun whether or not this works, but I don’t see how it wouldn’t considering zinc oxide is well known for its sun blocking abilities. But I’ll let you all know how it goes!

  94. My husband and I tried this the other day (him for the first time). The only negative thing about this particular recipe is that, being a solid stick, it’s difficult to apply and rub onto your skin. From the comments, a lot of people felt this way. I figured it’s a sun “stick” not a sun “lotion” because the ingredients used to make it are solid at room temperature. I thought if a liquid oil was added, it would make it smoother. So I experimented a bit and was able to make a creamier, smoother, more lotion-textured sunblock using this basic recipe plus extra virgin olive oil (and adjusted the zinc oxide percentage accordingly), which is said to neutralize free radicals (ie cancer-causing cells) (that the zinc oxide might produce by being exposed to light). It’s been used for centuries as a moisturizer and it doesn’t clog pores.

    My recipe for lotion sunscreen:
    -30g coconut oil
    – 30g beeswax
    -30g shea butter
    -30g EV oilive oil (if you can’t afford EVOO, you could replace this with refined olive oil, but EV is better)
    -36g zinc oxide (30% for the Australian sun)
    -half capful lavender oil

    I wore some today when the UV index was 8 (very high), and no burns! I hope I still won’t have burns after a day in a UV 12 sun! I do look a bit ghostly though but I don’t really mind or care. I love that the base ingredients are very moisturizing and good for your skin!

    To clean, I used an old wet rag and wiped as much of the mixture as I could off the pots and utensils. Then I washed them normally.

    • Wendyl Nisssen’s book “mother’s little helper” has this recipe for sunscreen which sounds like it would be a bit more of a lotion instead of a stick.
      75ml sesame oil
      45g coconut oil or cocoa butter
      15g beeswax
      120 ml water
      2tbsp zinc oxide
      1 tbsp wheat germ oil
      1tsp citric acid (as a preservative)
      20 drops lavender oil

      haven’t made it yet, as its winter here and we aren’t outside much now, but intend to in the spring.
      I was thinking I may add some of the raspberry seed oil and carrot seed oils because of their high natural spf.

  95. I read a few articles that claimed titanium and zinc oxide are potentially harmful to humans. I’ve found many natural sunscreens that would seem to do the job, but I don’t dare to use them because they always include these two “carcinogenic” ingredients.
    I guess I’ll just keep on looking…

    • zinc compounds were used by early humans, in processed and unprocessed forms, as a paint or medicinal ointment, but their composition is uncertain.
      The use of pushpanjan, probably zinc oxide, as a salve for eyes and open wounds, is mentioned in the Indian medical text the Charaka Samhita, thought to date from 500 BC or before.[40] Zinc oxide ointment is also mentioned by the Greek physician Dioscorides (1st century AD.)[41] Avicenna mentions zinc oxide in The Canon of Medicine (1025 AD), which mentioned it as a preferred treatment for a variety of skin conditions, including skin cancer. Though it is no longer used for treating skin cancer, it is still widely used to treat a variety of other skin conditions, in products such as baby powder and creams against diaper rashes, calamine cream, anti-dandruff shampoos, and antiseptic ointments.

    • Titanium dioxide dust, when inhaled, has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, meaning it is possibly carcinogenic to humans.[44] The findings of the IARC are based on the discovery that high concentrations of pigment-grade (powdered) and ultrafine titanium dioxide dust caused respiratory tract cancer in rats exposed by inhalation and intratracheal instillation.[45] The series of biological events or steps that produce the rat lung cancers (e.g. particle deposition, impaired lung clearance, cell injury, fibrosis, mutations and ultimately cancer) have also been seen in people working in dusty environments. Therefore, the observations of cancer in animals were considered, by IARC, as relevant to people doing jobs with exposures to titanium dioxide dust. For example, titanium dioxide production workers may be exposed to high dust concentrations during packing, milling, site cleaning and maintenance, if there are insufficient dust control measures in place. However, the human studies conducted so far do not suggest an association between occupational exposure to titanium dioxide and an increased risk for cancer. The safety of the use of nano-particle sized titanium dioxide, which can penetrate the body and reach internal organs, has been criticized.[46] Studies have also found that titanium dioxide nanoparticles cause inflammatory response and genetic damage in mice.[47][48] There is some evidence the rare disease Yellow nail syndrome may be caused by titanium, either implanted for medical reasons or through eating various foods containing titanium dioxide.

      Aliyah, pls. do more research before creating doubt in readers minds.
      Andrea, thanks for sharing this natural recipe – any given day better than commercially available ones – me being a guy though am interested in it too :) – and adding a note of caution that it’s the “fumes” of zinc and titanium oxides which are harmful and needs careful handling not their topical use!

      Thanks & regards,
      Dinesh

  96. hi, amazing blog!
    i just wanted to know, if i wanted to make the consistency of your recipe a bit more creamy, what ingredient would i need to add more of?

  97. I’m a 62 year old, and I’m just now starting to learn to make my own cosmetics and sunscreens. This reciepe sounds awesome. The zinc oxide amounts have been confusing not only to me but to others as well. Does anyone have this reciepe refined to make it a lotion ( in the old ways… tablespoons, teaspoons, etc.) how many tablespoons of each item, including the zinc oxide to make a 30 spf?
    Alice

  98. can you assure me that this really works and its not harmful in any of the ways?

  99. This recipe sounds great! Just curious as to how much it yields?

  100. I went onto the link for Mountain Rose Herbs and I cannot find a product called “Raspberry seed oil”. Please help as I am very interested in ordering the necessary ingredients and trying this out. :) thanks

  101. I may consider making this this summer, thanks for posting! I started doing a little sunscreen investigating last summer when my son was 6mo. My husband’s father died of melanoma in his 30s, uncle died of it, other uncle had stage 3, cousin had stage 3, grandmother has had several cancerous moles removed and he’s had several questionable ones removed….so melanoma is a super huge concern in our family. I will say, that I burned more with a zinc oxide based sunscreen last summer than I did when I mixed my natural lotion with 1/2 coconut oil and that’s it. Very interesting. I would still be scared to try it on my 1yo, commercial sunscreen is marketed so well and seems like the “good parent thing to do” but I would for sure try it on myself and maybe do short test runs with him.
    thanks for posting!

  102. My friend send to me link to this post. Nice try…. You miss a couple main ideas of good sunscreen. It’s better then commercial chemistry garbage, but your recommendations wrong specially on- sun protections, sun stability, safe concentration, solubles and safety use. Yes, safety! This amount of bees wax and butters will close your pores “forever”. Your skin need to breeze and sweat, specially under the sun. Butters with oils will oxidase and need to be removed. How to do it with this waxy coverage? I don’t even talk about essential oils and sun combination. Some times even more dangerous then sun along. Raspberry seed oil do not have 30-50 sunscreen, read more about it, specially European researches. Only red raspberry seed oil protect from UV-A and UV-B, but not more then 20 and it has a short shelf life. I recommend to you check aroma-zone for more information on it.

  103. Eating loads of TOMATOES or tomatoe puree will help to protect your skin. That was tested!!
    The substance lycopene found in tomatoes does the trick!

  104. hi i like your recipe for sunscreen but i cant find zinc oxide anywhere what can i use instead please respond soon

  105. Corielle says:

    Does it stay solid even in triple digit temperatures?

  106. How could I modify this recipe to make it more like a lotion and not a stick? Decrease or eliminate the beeswax, or add something else (aloe gel maybe)? Thanks! :)

  107. +check this guy out. it’s a surfer that spends a lot of time in indonesia and making his own sunscreen.
    http://korduroy.tv/shows/health-nuts/sunburn-basics

  108. I just mentioned today on my blog that I needed to find a DIY sunscreen, perfect timing! Thank you.

  109. Hi this is a very informative blog about chemical sunscreens vs the natural essential oil, this is why as a formulator of carols beauty products after all my research of chemical sunscreens and peoples lifestyle and there asethetic image, i formulated a sun tanning enhancer oil and a cream, the tannnig oil contains the carrot seed oil, almond oil, wheat germ oil, sunflower oil and carrot oil for the tanning enhancer effect, my tanning cream has all the essential oils with the bees wax for the moisturising and emolient effect, i have had a great response my products are certfied organic by the ACO Australia.

  110. Darlene says:

    can this sunscreen be used on babys

    • I am wondering the same thing. I jsut made a batch, I think it turned out alright. I’d like to use it on my babe, but am nervous with the whole zinc oxide debate.

  111. Linda PV says:

    Is there any reason I can’t use zinc oxide cream or ointment in this? The type that lifeguards wear on their noses.

  112. Brandie says:

    Quick Question: if I don’t have a MIX of oils and a MIX of butters is that ok? I was just going to use coconut oil and shea butter for my first try?

  113. I just made a batch of this and I’m not sure I did it correct. I ordered $25 worth of Red Raspberry Seed oil (Only 8oz for $25!) and used all organic ingredients except the Zinc Oxide. This stuff is so waxy and gross feeling that I don’t know how to get it off. I put it on for a ‘test run’ while I cleaned my horses stalls and worked in the garden. So much dust and particulate and……stuff got stuck to my arms that when I used a paper towel to wipe it off, the paper towel was filthy! Has anyone else had this experience?

  114. When you say 1 oz of shea butter is that before or after melting? Or does it matter?

  115. Andrea, I just want to say “thanks” for not only disclosing the recipes for your products but for also having them available for sale on Etsy. You are providing a wonderful service to your readership. I also love the posts and input from your readers. It is a vast and wonderful resource.

    Thanks again, I think you are awesome!
    Eileen

  116. michael says:

    Hello- I like your natural sunscreen idea but don’t want to make my own…do you still have the sunscreen available on Etsy? if so how long will this last, it looks like a fairly small stick? thanks

  117. JustJoannie says:

    Awhile back, I decided to switch over to all natural sunscreen. I didn’t like how the other stuff made my skin feel, but still wanted protection from the sun. So far, I’ve had less sun burn and my skin has been far less greasy. Great choice!

  118. So question: Do you add up all the SPF factors for the individual ingredients and that gives you your total SPF for this sunscreen?

  119. heather says:

    Andrea, thank you for sharing so many wonderful recipes! And for making the products available on etsy for those of us still tentative about making our own of everything. A couple questions for when I take the plunge. Does the red raspberry seed oil need to be diluted? Do you know of a good source for it?

  120. Michelle Patterson says:

    Thanks for sharing! Where do you find zinc oxide powder?
    #oils4everyone

  121. Lizmarie says:

    Hi, mi daughter is allergic to zinc oxide, does it work without this ingredient? She is allergic to all types of sunblock out there and I live in Puerto Rico where the beach is all year long. Any suggestions are welcome, thanks!

  122. I constantly spent my half an hour to read this
    web site’s posts every day along with a cup of coffee.

  123. Hello! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if
    that would be ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  124. I’ve read that the nano zinc oxide is dangerous since it absorbs into the blood stream. Is there an alternative?

  125. HI, I just wanted to let you know that your Etsy link and your besswax link are not working right now.
    Otherwise, thanks for great article and I can’t wait to try this recipe. With other natural sunscreens going for $20 for less than 4 oz, I was looking for a cheaper alternative, especially since the experts suggest applying an ounce each time.

    Thanks! Charm
    http://gardentraining.com/blog/

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