sarah's own natural garden

updates from our lifestyle block – gardening, chickens, green cleaning and more

Home made sunscreen

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There are loads of diy sunscreen recipes on the internet (see some links which contain further reading below).  The reasons for making our own are to create an organic nano-particle free product that’s cheaper than buying it.  After reading all these recipes I combined a few things and came up with the recipe below.  Proof would always be in the application for me – I burn if I just think about the sun and I didn’t suffer one burn with this.  The downside – without preservatives it needs to be kept in the fridge, it’s not overly water resistant and even after rubbing it in you can still see it a bit on the skin.


  • 40g coconut oil
  • 12g beeswax pastilles
  • 45ml almond oil
  • 15ml carrot oil
  • 1Tb shea butter
  • 60ml warm water
  • 3TB zinc oxide (make sure it’s not nano or microsized)
  • optional – essential oils to disguise the coconut smell if preferred


Melt the beeswax, oils and shea butter together in a double boiler or bowl on top of a boiling pot of water arrangement.

Add the water and whisk well.IMG_6571

Add the zinc oxide and stir in well to get rid of any lumps.  (Use an old spoon to measure it as it doesn’t clean up well and wear a mask to avoid inhaling any of it).


Pour into a glass jar while still warm.

This will give an SPF of about 15-20.  Everyone burns differently so be practical – if you feel like you’re burning you probably are!


  • To extend the life some recipes include citric acid or Vitamin E as a preservative.  I hadn’t got hold of either so my alternative is to keep it in the fridge.  Because the coconut oil sets hard I keep a smaller amount out to use in a separate jar and top it up from the jar in the fridge when running low.  The oils only have a shelf life of 6-12 months so don’t buy and make too much in one go.
  • Adding citronella to make it insect repelling as well could be a good option (I haven’t tried this yet).
  • Carrot oil makes the lotion look very yellow but not when rubbed in.  Add cocoa power to slightly tint it if you’re worried about the white skinned look.
  • Use olive, sesame or flaxseed oil instead of almond.
  • The beeswax adds some water resistance but the lotion will need to be reapplied after a length of time in the water.
  • Coconut and carrot oil have some natural SPF.  The zinc oxide gives the main SPF component – roughly 1TB = 5 SPF (depending on total volume).   To make it 20 SPF the zinc oxide should be at least 20% of the volume.  Don’t just keep adding more and more zinc oxide to make a higher SPF though – it doesn’t quite work that way and it won’t dissolve into the mixture.
  • Leave out the zinc oxide and carrot oil to make a body lotion.
  • I got most of the products from Lotus Oils
  • Here’s some good blogs on why to make your own sunscreen (including plenty of feedback on the pros and cons of conventional sunscreen, lack of vitamin D and so on).  I based mine on these.  They all have great recipes for making your own beauty and cleaning products amongst other things.

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