Confession: I have been sitting on this sunscreen recipe post (and not sharing it with all of you) for a loooong time. Whew! I feel better getting that out. So, just exactly why have I been sitting on this post? Well, you know that I keep it real with all of you. So, here goes. I tried my hand at multiple DIY sunscreen recipes last summer. A few were total flops, a few were okay, and a few were pretty good but, I wasn’t completely happy with any of them. So off I went into my laboratory to create my own. Oh, the thrill I get out of creating new awesome DIYs in my laboratory (okay, it’s my kitchen) for my family and all of you.
So, why was I holding onto this recipe for so long?
Well, after the first attempt I was shocked. Honestly (with all modesty out the window), it was perfect in the first attempt (which rarely happens). So, I made another batch (just to be sure). Yup, it really was THAT GOOD. As many of you know, I handcraft my own Pronounce Skincare line, so I didn’t even think about putting it onto the blog… it went straight into my shop so I could offer it to all of you. Selfish? Perhaps… but, it is what it is.
Please, allow me to further explain…
It wasn’t until I published my easy and effective DIY deodorant recipe (with NO baking soda) that I realized just how many people LOVE the idea of DIYs, but simply don’t have either the
So, I created and published my DIY deodorant recipe and it was an immediate hit, here’s the kicker… not only was the recipe a hit, it was a smash hit as a seller in my shop. If you ask me, that is #winning.
The DIYers get to make it and everyone else can simply purchase my healthy deodorant. I recently did the same thing with my Smooth Finish Organic DIY Foundation (with sunscreen). The DIY recipe has been a hit AND it has been a hit in my shop. So, it occurred to me that maybe I should publish this sunscreen recipe.
How Good Is This DIY Sunscreen?
I’ve received loads of wonderful feedback from customers, including this one from Amy:
Best sun screen of all time! My son did not get sun burned one time this summer even after spending 8 weeks at day camp! My husband will even use it! Thank you Scratch Mommy for making these products for those of us who do not have the time and/or talent for making them ourselves, but still want to use products we trust without harsh chemicals and generally yucky ingredients! Amy
Now, why should you make it (or buy it)?
First, the overwhelming majority of sunscreens on the market today are, well… horrific. These are some of the most common ingredients found in sunscreens today…
Mmmm hmmm. Not so good, eh? One thing I hear from many Scratch Mommy customers is that they are happy to have found a sunscreen that is actually safe… not cancer causing. I have a lot of frequent customers who are cancer survivors, and treating them and their bodies is of the utmost importance to me. 1
Americans must choose between “chemical” sunscreens, which have inferior stability, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body’s hormone system, and “mineral” sunscreens, made with zinc and titanium, often “micronized” or containing nano-particles.
*This recipe is not a “chemical” sunscreen, in the way that people typically think of chemicals as being ‘bad’.
*This recipe calls for a particular type of zinc oxide, and I advise you take heed–> Please, Please, PLEASE do NOT purchase inferior zinc oxide. You want to make sure that the zinc oxide you purchase is non-nano AND is NOT coated.2 3 You can read more about zinc oxide at the end of this post (and I hope that you do).
With THIS recipe, you do not have to choose between “chemical” sunscreen and “micronized” particles sunscreen.
DIY SUNSCREEN (8OZ)
- Double-boiler (I make my own with a glass bowl over a simmering pot of shallow H2O)
- Kitchen Scale (this is BY FAR my favorite kitchen scale (very affordable and Amazon Prime); read more about it in this post that I wrote)
- Mask (or hold your shirt over your mouth…you do not want to breathe in the zinc oxide, so make sure little ones aren’t around when you make this)
- Container(s) (I give you a few options below)
- 90g Coconut Oil– Organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil like this (my fav!)
- 65g Carrier Oil– I use organic and unrefined almond oil in this recipe, but jojoba oil or any other liquid carrier oil. You can learn more about carrier oils in this post.
- 28.5g Beeswax– I love these beeswax pastilles (they are MUCH easier to work with than a block of wax)
- 27.5g Shea Butter – Organic, unrefined shea butter like this.
- 40g Zinc Oxide – I suggest this non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide, or you can buy zinc from me in smaller amounts.
- 1/2t Vitamin E – I really like this Vitamin E; make sure you know from where it is sourced (& non-GMO), especially if you have allergies.
- Place your glass bowl on your scale, hit tare.
- Add all ingredients (one-by-one, hitting tare in between) EXCEPT the zinc oxide, which you add at the end.
- Place glass bowl over pot of shallow, slightly simmering H2O. Melt ingredients completely (stir with a whisk to help it along).
- Carefully remove from stove and wipe down condensation on bowl (you do not want H2O getting into your product).
- Place bowl on scale, hit tare.
- Add zinc oxide, slowly, until you get to 40g. Again, add this slooooowly, as the zinc settles the amount will increase on your scale.
- Whisk, whisk, whisk (and whisk some more!) and then carefully pour into container of your choice.
- This will take a few minutes to set up. Just walk away and leave it alone to quietly set up.
*T=tablespoon and t=teaspoon
Want To Know More About Zinc Oxide?
The zinc oxide I use in my sunscreen (and suggest that you use) is uncoated, non-nano, and not micronized. This all means that there are not nano-sized particles entering your body, which many other sunscreens certainly cannot claim. The FDA does not regulate this yet, but I think that they should and I take it very seriously with my sunscreen products.3
Because I use zinc oxide that is not micronized (meaning that the particles aren’t crushed into super small parts that enter our bodies), this sunscreen is like a thick, incredibly soft butter. It melts when it hits your skin and it rubs it in beautifully, but it is not thin and runny like other (‘bad’ chemical-filled) sunscreens. I actually appreciate this very much.
What About SPF?
I do not have equipment to scientifically measure levels of SPF, however, through all of the research I have done, I can tell you that my sunscreen is at least SPF 20, possibly higher. This is a broad spectrum sunscreen and will provide protection from both UVA and UVB sun rays.
The recipe as written here contains approximately 20% zinc oxide (just slightly less, depending on how well you measure 😉 ). This gives you at least a 20 SPF. (Coconut oil has a natural SPF factor, too, so that’s a helpful addition to ‘up’ the SPF).
Speaking of… did you know that the higher the SPF number does not really mean better coverage? Really, it’s true! Do a quick (scholarly) Google search! I have learned that SPF protection does not increase proportionally to an increase in SPF. For example, an SPF of 2 absorbs 50% of UV rays, SPF 15 absorbs 93%, and an SPF of 34 absorbs 97% of UV rays. Interesting, huh?4
Here is a good guide if you wish to change up the level of protection (but remember, adding more or less zinc oxide will change the ‘feel’ of the sunscreen, making it thicker or thinner):
- SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
- SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
- SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
- SPF 20+: Use 20% zinc oxide
How Does This Sunscreen Work & Feel AND HOW Do I Apply It?
*Mineral sunscreens are different than other typical, toxic sunscreens on the market today. This recipe does not contain toxic ingredients that soak into your skin and provide ‘water proofing’. Mineral sunscreens like this do not penetrate your skin. They sit on top of your skin and reflect the sun’s rays. This means that you HAVE to reapply (generously) often.
Just like other mineral-based sunscreens, you should reapply this at least every hour. I add beeswax to this recipe, which helps it stay on in the water, but like many other sunscreens, it will come off with water play (and excessive sweating). For me, reapplying often is a small price to pay to decrease my toxic load. We are bombarded with toxins everyday. Things I can do to eliminate them, I do as often as I can. This is one thing I can do and can do successfully.
Also, this DIY sunscreen will ‘set up’ when in cold temperatures and will ‘melt down’ (some) when really hot. None of this affects the function of the sunscreen. If it gets cold and solidifies, put it somewhere warm and vice versa. Just to drive the point home, “applying half the amount of sunscreen you should use provides only the square root of the SPF, so a half application of SPF 30 only gives you an SPF 5.5.”1
More Possible Questions
Who is ready to D-I-Y!?
*This is a homemade sun protection product. I am simply providing my recipe to you. I also offer SkinShade for sale in my organic skincare shop. That said, I have NOT had this tested in a lab, as that’s a pretty expensive endeavor (but am looking into it). Please, be sure to contact your doctor, naturopath, researcher, ND, etc if you have any questions and or concerns with anything mentioned in this post. I am not a doctor or PhD researcher (I only have a MSEd in Higher Education. I’m now just a crazy researching gal who wants to help my family and others in a more natural manner).