Thursday, June 19, 2014

DIY Natural Sunscreen

Just in time for summer! Experiment number two... homemade sunscreen! :) I got the basic recipe from my favorite natural blogger Wellness Mama! I highly recommend her blog, she knows her stuff.

I wanted a more natural product for myself and my kids to use this summer, and one that won't pollute any water source with chemicals, etc. Those little beeswax pastilles take a while to melt, but all in all, it took less than 30 minutes to make including gathering the ingredients and materials to finished product.  Makes 1/2 pint jar worth of sunscreen (approx 1 cup).

This sunscreen is a "Physical Sunscreen". What that means is that this will block or reflect the UVA and UVB rays instead of absorbing them. According to
"Physical sunscreens: Physical sunscreens reflect or block the sun’s rays. There are two physical sunscreens: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide is the gentler of the two and offers superior sun protection. Physical sunscreens tend not to clog pores and stay effective all day long, no matter how long you are in the sun. However, products with physical sunscreens are drying to the skin, and due to the physical nature of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, most brands go on white and leave the skin looking pale."

We have addressed the drying factor with the natural oils used in this mixture, and also when I applied it to my hand there was no white residue.  I am very pleased with the feel, texture and appearance of this sunscreen. 


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4)
  • 1/4 cup beeswax (or Emulsifying wax, Soy wax, Carnauba wax or Candelilla wax)
  • 3 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide (This is a non-nano version that won’t be absorbed into the skin. Be careful not to inhale the powder). 
  • 2 tablespoons Shea Butter (natural SPF 4-5)
  • 1 tsp coconut extract for scent


  1. Combine ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I have a quart Ball jar that I keep just for making lotions and lotion bars (or you can use a double boiler.)
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
  3. Place jar in the pan with the water. (unless you are using a double boiler, then use as directed by manufacturer.)
  4. As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted (beeswax will take the longest to melt), add the zinc oxide, stir in well and pour into whatever jar/container you plan to use.  I used a pint sized jar.  (this makes just over 1 cup)
  5. Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.
  6. Use as you would regular sunscreen. Best if used within six months.


This sunscreen can be applied immediately before sun exposure and will last all day unless it gets wet. It should be reapplied after sweating or swimming. This sunscreen should have an SPF of approximately 20+.  Please use caution as always while in the sun and test yours for desired use.

Updates: I added vegan wax options for use instead of bees wax, and for those who may have bee allergies.  Also, while Zinc-Oxide is bad for you internally, the non-nano versions will not be absorbed into the skin.  Like any powders you need to be careful not to breath it in as it will stick to the lining of the lungs. If you touch this with your finger you can feel the "stickiness" of it. Once it is in the lotion it no longer poses any risk... Unless you eat it?? it does smell yummy, after all. :) OH.. and don't accidentally snort your lotion while smelling how yummy it is. ;)

My Angel used it yesterday for swimming at her friend's house from about 1pm to late in the day.  She is darker skinned, but didn't burn. She said the water beaded up on her skin where she applied the sunscreen and stayed that way for over an hour of swimming.