Making Homemade Sunscreen

Well, school is out in less than two weeks and the tents, boats, kayaks, pool noodles, and beach umbrellas are ready to rock! The lazy days of summer with the fam are something I eagerly anticipate all year long. Our schedules are free, our feet are bare, bedtime is negotiable, and the potential for ice cream is always on the table. What is not to like? As wonderful as summer is for thousands of reasons, I do obsess over two things: sunburns and insects. The list of chemicals and known carcinogens in both products are cringe-worthy, not to mention that the host of unpronounceable ingredients have been known to give my tiny beach bums rashes galore.

If you purchase the natural and organic brands of sunscreen, (Seventh Generation and Badger are awesome) I’m sure you know that you come pretty close to making rent with the money put down for these bad boys. Well, the good news is that for a few bucks and about 20 minutes in the kitchen, you can make your own sunscreen that smells great and works just as well as the store-bought versions!

Here is the recipe I have been using for three years running:

diy home sunscreen

Homemade Sunscreen 

  • ¼ cup beeswax pastilles (1 oz.)
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup shea butter or cocoa butter
  • 1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
  • 4 tablespoons zinc powder or natural zinc diaper rash ointment (believe it or not, I got my zinc powder on Amazon. What!?)
  • 5 drops lavender, myrrh, and chamomile essential oils (optional, but these oils have been known to prevent sunburns – heck, the Egyptians used myrrh as sunscreen)

To begin the process, put the beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter, and vitamin E in a large bowl and place in a bain–marie, or double-boiler. Melt all the oils together, stirring occasionally and then add the essential oils and zinc. Stir the essential oils and zinc into the melted oils to blend, then use a hand mixer, stick mixer, or the Baby Bullet to quickly blend all the zinc particles into the melted oils. (Speed is key – don’t hand mix, as zinc LOVES to clump.) The end results should look like a stark white lotion. Finally, place into glass mason jars (I use three 4-ounce jars for a batch this size) to cool, then you are ready to hit the beach!

If you have never made your own sunscreen before, I’m sure you approach these things with hesitation. The last thing you want is to slather your kids up with a DIY-blend, only to find that it didn’t work and your kids are crispy little lobsters. This sunscreen has an SPF of about 30 – if you know the percentage of zinc, you know the SPF! While my kiddos might be the kids on the beach with a slightly whitish-blueish hue from the zinc in the sunscreen, they have never been the kids on the beach with a sunburn!

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About Becky Jha

Born and raised in rural Connecticut , Becky DeMattia-Jha attended Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, and has her M.Ed. She has been teaching high school English for 15 years and currently resides in Massachusetts with her husband, their two children, and their German Shepherd. She spends her precious summer vacations indulging in passions other than literature: serving as a lactation peer coach, practicing herbal medicine, organic gardening, making natural cleansers and cosmetics, and preparing quick and easy organic recipes for her family. She hopes to share her efficient, chemical-free, eco-conscious, frugal, and simplistic homemaking and homesteading tips with you.

Comments

  1. Jaime Patterson says:

    Awesome! I look forward to trying this ^___^

  2. This sounds great and I can’t wait to try it out. How do you store the sunscreen and how long does it last?

    • You can store the sunscreen at room temperature for up to 6 months. I usually keep one in my purse or the diaper bag. Nothing will happen to it if you leave it in the car or expose it to heat, it’s just that the effectiveness of the zinc and oils degrades in heat. If you head to the beach, just throw it in a zipper bag near the cold drinks of something!