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 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.