I created and used this all last summer and it was epic! It worked, saved us money and I didn’t have to worry about the nasty chemicals on my kids’ skin, which is a far cry from most store-bought sunscreen.
When I looked into making my own, I found that you need non-nano zinc oxide sourced properly to give you full UVA/UVB protection. Essential oils make no claim to be sun protective, although there is popular belief that some EOs have natural SPF. I include carrot seed and lavender to soothe the skin and provide some antioxidant power while skin is exposed to the sun during the summer.
Y’all, don’t even mess with over-the-counter essential oils, they are NOT in the same category. You need ALL of the scientific constituents within every drop of oil for them to work effectively and you don’t want to mess around when it comes to what you put on your skin. A lot of the cheaper oils have fillers and other additives (hence why they are so cheap) that can cause skin reactions. I personally only use Young Living now. You can read more on why I chose Young Living here.
I experimented with 3 different batches of sunscreen. The first was too hard, the second I thought would be softer actually turned out harder than the first, the last one seemed to be the perfect consistency for what I wanted. Feel free to tweak the carrier oils and shea butter to get your desired consistency. This ratio worked best for us!
Awesome DIY Non-Toxic Sunscreen
- 2 Tbs. + 1 tsp. shea butter (unrefined) – you can find it here
- 1/2 cup coconut oil – you can find it here
- 1/4th cup avocado oil (you can use jojoba, olive, grapeseed or almond as well) – you can find it here
- 1/4th cup beeswax pellets – you can find it here (you can use candelilla if you are vegan or allergic to beeswax)
- 3 Tbs. zinc oxide powder (non-nano) – you can find it here
- **20 drops carrot seed oil – you can find it here
- 15 drops lavender essential oil – you can find it here
**If pregnant, trying to conceive or if you have a history of epilepsy, skip the carrot seed oil as it is contraindicated.
In a double broiler or a glass measuring cup sitting in a pot of lightly boiling water, place the first four ingredients in your container. Stir until melted.
Remove and let cool a bit. Then, one tablespoon at a time whisk in the zinc oxide in your glass jar or you can transfer it all to a separate bowl and whisk it that way, whatever works best for you. Make sure to whisk it hard and well to break up any lumps. Then, add your carrot seed and lavender essential oil drops and mix it all in. Essential oils are heat sensitive so make sure the sunscreen mixture isn’t too hot, if it is it will kill the constituents (what makes the oils work) in the oils. Also, be careful not to inhale the zinc powder while working with it. Topical use is fine, ingesting it is not.
Do this next part quickly before it gets too cool and is un-pourable. Take a mini, collapsible funnel and pour your sunscreen into these Go-Gear Silicon Travel Containers or these Multi-Sized Go-Gear Silicon Travel Containers. You can also use a mason jar. The amount will fill approx. 2 3 oz. Go-Gear tubes with a little bit leftover.
Poured it right in with a handy collapsible funnel
Awesome DIY Non-Toxic Sunscreen ready for travel!
A couple of TIPS: This sunscreen is messy to clean up. You have to wipe everything down BEFORE you try to wash it all. So, whatever kitchen equipment you use during this, wipe it all down with a dry, old towel first, you’ll thank me later. 😉
It is definitely waterproof sunscreen hence the mess with trying to wash everything first! If you are out in the hot sun, simply re-apply every few hours just like you would store-bought. Don’t assume because it’s waterproof you shouldn’t re-apply.
Store in the fridge if you have some you want to keep until next year, this keeps the carrier oils stable.
It doesn’t make you look white, I had three testers.
*Update: I have had folks tell me because they are not stabilizers in the sunscreen you need to re-mix it the following year if you’ve kept in the fridge. Simply squeeze it out into your double broiler and warm it slightly so you can re-mix it all and funnel it back in. When in doubt, you can always make a smaller, fresh batch every year.
How the Ingredients Work
Shea Butter: SPF 4 – Africans use it to provide nourishing and moisturizing protection from the sun and tough winds. The property cinnamic acid provides a natural sunscreen.
Coconut Oil: SPF 7 – also incredibly nourishing to the skin, the Pacific Islanders use it to weather their skin to be ready for the sun, it allows the good rays in and keeps the bad rays out
Avocado Oil: SPF 4 – easily penetrates the skin and provides it with deep moisture and a protective barrier, contains the antioxidant Vit E, which is protective against UV rays and can be used as a natural preservative for this recipe
Zinc Oxide (non-nano): SPF 20 (3 Tbs.) – non-nano means it does not absorb into the skin and bloodstream, it is a non-toxic substance from nature that is used as sun protection and blocks UVA, UVB and UVC rays
Carrot Seed Oil: soothing to the skin and high in antioxidants (if you do not particularly care for the smell of carrot seed oil, just skip it!)
Lavender: soothing and repairing to the skin
The Problem With Most Store-Bought Sunscreens
There are so many gnarly chemicals in sunscreen, where do I begin? I’ll keep it short and say this is the biggest culprit: oxybenzone, although definitely check out EWG’s Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals to read up on the rest of the list.
The most problematic of the sunscreen chemicals used in the U.S. is oxybenzone, found in nearly every chemical sunscreen. EWG recommends that consumers avoid this chemical because it can penetrate the skin, cause allergic skin reactions and may disrupt hormones (Calafat 2008, Rodriguez 2006, Krause 2012). Preliminary investigations of human populations suggest a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and its metabolites in the body and increased risk of endometriosis and lower birthweight in daughters (Kunisue 2012, Wolff 2008). – Environmental Working Group
Ditch the toxic ingredients in conventional sunscreen and make your own! Pass this recipe on to folks you know are trying to get unnecessary chemicals out of their life and feel free to join our closed oily FB group here if you want to learn more about how to use essential oils in DIY recipes and household products.
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