Natural Homemade Sunscreen Recipe

Homemade Natural Sunscreen Recipe very moisturizing and easy to make Natural Homemade Sunscreen Recipe

Most sunscreens contain toxic ingredients or endocrine disrupting chemicals that in many cases may actually promote skin cancer growth and free radical production in the body. In fact, in the years since sunscreen use began, skin cancer rates have actually risen, and a 2007 document from the FDA stated that: “The FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer” In fact, many reports show that most sunscreens actually raise skin cancer risk.

Even natural, commercially available sunscreens often have toxic ingredients! Check out your brand here!

Considering many people these days are actually Vitamin D deficient, I consider lack of sun exposure to be a much bigger problem than too much exposure. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many types of cancers including the most deadly types of breast cancer. Lack of Vitamin D has also been linked to problems during pregnancy including pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature labor, and more.

As a society, we’ve literally cut off our nose to spite our face when it comes to sun exposure. To avoid skin cancer, which is not a particularly deadly cancer, especially if caught early, we’ve shunned the sun and the Vitamin D our bodies produce with sun exposure.

On top of that, sun exposure itself is not conclusively linked to skin cancer, and many other factors, such as Omega-6 Vegetable Oil consumption can have a big impact on skin health!

In most cases, my approach to sun exposure is to get adequate daily exposure, without getting close to the point of burning. Since most of us don’t work outside these days, it actually takes effort to get daily sun, rather than to avoid it.

In the event that I’m going to be out in the sun for much longer than my skin is used to, it is often easy enough to just put on a hat or shirt to shield my skin.

If none of these options are available, for instance, on a day at the beach in early summer before I’ve been in the sun much, I will very occasionally use natural sunscreen. I’m yet to use it this year, and hope not to at all, but I wanted to share my recipe so that if you are in the sun for extended periods of time this summer, you have a natural option.

This would also be a more natural alternative for really young children, those taking medication that increases sun burn risk, or those who burn very easily.

Just to clarify, even though this natural sunscreen smells great and is naturally moisturizing, I don’t recommend using it daily since the Vitamin D you get from the sun will be more beneficial in the long run!

NOTE: This is an improved recipe since many people were having trouble getting the temperatures exactly right to get the lotion to emulsify (as per the comments below). This recipe will not have any of those issues!

Natural Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4)
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide (This is a non-nano version that won’t be absorbed into the skin. Be careful not to inhale the powder). This makes a natural SPF of 20+ or more can be added.)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Shea Butter (natural SPF 4-5)
  • Optional: Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference

Note: All ingredients and many essential oils are available here.

How to Make Natural Sunscreen:

  1. Combine ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint sized or larger glass jar. I have a mason jar that I keep just for making lotions and lotion bars, or you can even reuse a glass jar from pickles, olives, or other foods.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
  3. Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water.
  4. As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted, add the zinc oxide, stir in well and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage. Small mason jars (pint size) are great for this. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!
  5. Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.
  6. Use as you would regular sunscreen. Best if used within six months.

Additional Notes:

  • This sunscreen is somewhat, but not completely, waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming
  • Make sure not to inhale the Zinc Oxide- use a mask if necessary!
  • This recipe has an SPF of about 20, though adding more Zinc Oxide will increase the SPF
  • Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen
  • I recommend coconut or vanilla extract or lavender essential oils for fragrance
  • Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge
  • I prefer to store in a small canning jar and apply like a body butter. It will be thicker, especially if you use coconut oil in the recipe.
  • remove the Zinc Oxide and this makes an excellent lotion recipe!

An Even Faster Way To Make Sunscreen:

  • Get a bottle of your favorite lotion (that doesn’t contain citrus oils!)
  • Add a couple Tablespoons of Zinc Oxide
  • Mix well
  • Use as Sunscreen
You can also make Sunscreen Bars by using many of the same ingredients and which are easier to apply!

What do you think? Avid sunscreen user or Vitamin D junkie?

Reader Comments

  1. says

    I tend to fall somewhere in between.  If we are out all day, I will put on an SPF 60 in the morning. That keeps me from burning all day long.  I *might* re-apply after lunch, but usually I forget.

    We just went grain free and for the first time in YEARS I didn’t have a PMS migraine!  Yesterday it was cold and rainy and my feet weren’t freezing cold all day long.  (I don’t know if this is a grain free thing or not but I’ll take it)

    • says

      I saw my menstrual symptoms disappear too, and definitely don’t get
      cold as easily anymore. The most surprising thing though, was that I
      actually don’t burn, at all, and tan really well (definitely a first-
      I’m Irish) so you might also notice that you have a higher sun

      • Amy Smith says

        Hi there Wellness Mama – Just came across your site and was trying to add my email to your list. I hope you get this because I would really enjoy your emails!! :-) Please add me if you can.

    • Elizabeth says

      So if 2 tbsp of the zinc oxide is 20 spf then 4Tbs would be 40 spf and so on? Also is it uvb and Uva or does that matter?

  2. Brittenemily says

    so funny I was just thinking about homemade sunscreen YESTERDAY because I was at my MIL’s house to play in the pool with daddy and baby! we where going to be out all day and while I was slathering us all in sunscreen  I could not help but cringe and think “I need to go home and research a natural alternative!” thanks for saving me the trouble!!

  3. sally says

    What does the grapefruit extract do? Can’t wait to make this as I’m working outside all summer. 

  4. Kristina says

    Great, I’d love to try this…if I can get myself to shop for the ingredients. I tend to be lazy when it comes to searching for unfamiliar stuff :) We don’t use much sunscreen, even when we lived in Miami and went to the beach often. We would go at a nice time of day, not stay long, but if we did I would eventually apply a bit of sunscreen. In fact, I am not sure I burned much the two years we were there, and that was before “real foods” came into my life. Bottom line, we just try not to be out too long, but we do enjoy soaking up the sun!

    Last year at my daughter’s daycare they wanted to apply sunscreen every time the kids went outside! I did not think that was at all necessary!

  5. Tailypoe3 says

    So I bought 40% zinc oxide diaper rash paste as thats the best thing that I could find! The inactive ingredients are: BHA, cod liver oil, lanolin, methylparaben, petrolatum, talc, and water. Think its okay to use this by itself? A lot of natural sunscreens are soooo expensive so I really hope that this can work as an alternative!

  6. Bamared61 says

    I am religious about getting sun daily. I go out in the morning and try to get at least 30-40 minutes. Because i am African-American and naturally brown, I need a little more time in the sun than a fair-skinned person to get adequate vitamin D-making light. After that initial exposure, I rub on sunscreen. Thanks for the recipe! I think I might add shea butter, since I have read that it is has sunscreening properties.

  7. Bigbucketsoflove says

    OMG!  I have hit the mother load!  I want to go check in a motel somewhere and just sit and READ and make lists and get to work making all of my own things!  I am sooooooo excited!  Thank you Wellness Mama!  I’m so motivated and excited!  THANK YOU!!!  (We live on a lake and spend all day, every day in the summertime outside….)

    • Kat says

      I do sit and read these things and make lists of all the ,ore natural and healthy things I want to make on my own…Pinterest makes this super easy! It even gives you the means to catalogue and organize them by topic. My only problem now is finding time to do ALL of the awesome things I’ve found in the last few weeks. A lot of the things I’ve found are on Crunchy Betty’s website. She is an an excellent and humorous writer and a woman after my own heart.

      • Amanda says

        I LOVE CB!!! She has some great stuff. I just found this website and I’m going to try to make this when summer comes :)

  8. Danelle says

    My husband is allergic to Aloe Vera (it makes him itch, A LOT) . Do you have any recommendations for a substitution.

  9. Kat says

    I WANT to make this, but is this oily or greasy on the skin though? I don’t want my face to become an oil slick…

  10. Slu says

    So I see the the Zinc oxide is the main ingredient that really provides the protection from UV rays – but is it safe? I guess it’s safer than the alternative?

    • Austin says

      As long as you use non-nano zinc oxide, which can’t be absorbed into the skin, it will do nothing but form a protective layer on your skin like clothing does.

  11. Allison Johnson says

    This sounds awesome! I love being outside with my baby, and I’m good about keeping his skin covered, but when we’re at the beach or swimming, I’d like to have sun screen on him. Would this recipe be okay for babies, as well?

  12. Michelle Partington says

    I have a question…I recently read that coconut oil is a comedogenic and my concern is using this on your face.  Can it be used on the face?  I have acne-prone skin and I am SO excited about this sunscreen recipe, but the main reason I want to try it is to use daily on my face.  

    • says

      Personally, I would encourage you to do some more research before using sunscreen on your face daily, especially if you aren’t a lifeguard :-). If you are going to use it, I would definitely encourage a natural solution like this one instead of a commercial sunscreen, but in most cases, some sun exposure is a very good thing! That being said, I have oily skin (and pretty acne prone) too and have never had trouble with coconut oil. While it is an oil, it is also antibacterial so it tends to help with acne/

      • Michelle Partington says

        I am definitely not a life guard!  Thank you so much, I’m filling up my Amazon/Mountain Rose Herb carts right now!

  13. LC says

    What is your experience with melasma?  I am not on birth control pills but I will get dark spots on my face with any sun exposure even though I tan very well so that is my reason for wearing a hat and using sunscreen.  Just curious what your thoughts were on that.  Thanks.

  14. Hope says

    We are a family of 6, all of us, with blonde hair and blue eyes. The 4 of us tan really well, the two that are the unhealthiest (from the past), have the harder time getting tan, but, it is improving. I do use coconut oil, try to cover the kids up (shirts & hats) when we’re getting too much (we’re in Fl.), I bring along Aubrey Organics Natural Sun and/or Badger brand sunscreen just in case (1 bottle lasts us about 2 years!), and we eat healthy 98% of the time (meaning grain/refined sugar free/paleo).

  15. Happy2bbusy says

    Taking the easy route… adding powdered zinc oxide to a “bottle” of lotion (like the simplicity) — what size bottle?  I want to get the ratios right!

  16. Charity Adams says

    THANK YOU for this post. I’m a huge vit D junkie. Since I work indoors and can usually only get out on my lunch break (fully clothed) I take a liquid D3 supplement daily. When I am in the sun  I am religious about getting my 15 mins of maximum exposure before starting to cover up. I also cringe whenever I put on sunblock. This is a recipe I can lather on without regret.

  17. Janpvincent says

    Wondering if this homemade sunscreen can be worn under makeup.

    Thank you in advance for your response!


  18. says

    Why didn’t I think of this sooner?  There is an excellent lotion recipe I made for my mom when she was going through cancer treatments.  It would make an amazing sunscreen!  Zinc oxide added to it… thanks for posting this.

  19. Mamameesh says

    Uh Oh! I just made this recipe and had a separation problem. :-( I looked beautiful for the first 15 minutes after I made it, all creamy and pretty, but then when I went to pour it into a bottle, it started separating into creamy clumps and liquid. What am I doing wrong? Please help! 
    Michelle in MN

    • says

      You should be able to either whisk/shake as it cools to keep incorporated, or slowly blend in another teaspoon or so of cold water to re-emulsify… What was the temp of your ingredients?

      • Amy says

        I am having the same problem. It is a little gritty looking (doesn’t feel gritty) and liquid seems to be settling out. Plan to try the bar but wondered what happened. Thanks!

        • Knlrichter says

           I have the same separation problem.  I didn’t check the temperature, I just heated up until the beeswax melted.  I get a hard layer on top and then more than 1/2 a layer of water on bottom.  Tried melting whole thing and mixing better but same thing happened after it sat.

  20. Alana Whelan says

    This sounds Devine!! And is the recipe I have been looking for!! I live next to the beach, I have really fair skin and I always find I literally start to get a bit mental if I don’t get my daily vitamin d, so I go to the beach and sit in the sun for 5 mins before putting on sunscreen. This means I’m using a lot of sunscreen every day though, although I do go later in the afternoon. I’m more worried about wrinkly leathery skin than I sm about skin cancer though which is why I always put sunscreen on! Thank you for this awesome recipe!! :D

  21. HealthYkids says

    I made this sunscreen and have found it impossible to get the zinc powder off the utensils I used. Any suggestions? Also, I ended up getting too much sun when I used this as opposed to the area where I used a store bought high quality product even though I added more zinc than the recipe called for. Am I doing something wrong? Would definitely prefer to use this but don’t want to get burned or get sunspots. I tan very easily but don’t want to get melasma

    • says

      For the utensils… are they metal or wooden or plastic? I usually wipe them down with paper towels and then wash in scalding water with dish soap. How long were you in the sun? This recipe should work at about SPF 20 for several hours… It will, however, block Vitamin D production, so I’d encourage getting some sun before applying (15 minutes or so).

  22. says

    i can’t wait to try this! just a question: could i just use the liquid from inside an aloe plant or is the gel different in some way? i have a huge aloe plant that i’d love to use! thanks! :) lisa

  23. Jeni says

    Hey Mama,
    I tired out your recipe with the coconut oil, omitting the optional extras.  
    Everything mixes smoothly and then cools as a white waxy lump floating in a container of water.
    I have remelted and mixed.  It mixes up smoothly and then separates out again.  I’ve cooled at room temp and in the fridge.  I’m not sure why it continues to separate. 
    If you have any experience with extreme separation, I’d love your thoughts on how to keep in combined.
    Thanks for all your posts!

  24. rhea alice hansdak says

    I Think natural way is the best way for beauty tips,and it will also help to reduse skin cancer which is a very dangerous thing.

  25. says

    Please use all natural sunscreens if you feel you need to use any at all.  I find that if I’m careful about the first few times I stay outside without sleeves and don’t get a burn and let my skin penetrate the suns wonderful Vit. D rays then gradually I can stay out without sleeves for long periods of time and don’t burn. I never use sunscreen.

  26. says

    Please use all natural sunscreens if you feel you need to use any at all.  I find that if I’m careful about the first few times I stay outside without sleeves and don’t get a burn and let my skin penetrate the suns wonderful Vit. D rays then gradually I can stay out without sleeves for long periods of time and don’t burn. I never use sunscreen.

  27. Erikaw05 says

    Can u recommend a good brand of zinc oxide that’s not in the powder brand that can be found more readily available in the store?

  28. Jones*jungle says

    Thank you for this recipe, I doubled it and added an extra tbls. of e wax. 1/4 c. of Coconut oil and 1/4 c. infused grape seed oil. I stirred the Zinc into the oils until well mixed. I warmed the “tea” and aloe a bit and let the hot oils set for about 10 min then used the stick blender. I blended then let it set then blended again about 4 times . Then stirred gently to release the air bubbles. It came out beautifully!  I do believe temperature is a key element here. Oh , not greasy either.  Great recipe with or without the zinc.

  29. Lorie says

    I just tried this recipe today and as I was adding the brewed green tea, it started to separate. Was my tea too cool? I was hand stirring, vigorously and adding the liquid very slowly. Should I have stopped adding the liquid a bit earlier? If I reheat it and stir vigorously, will this help blend it all together again? Thanks for your help.

  30. Colleen says

    Didn’t have time to read all the comments here yet but I was so excited to make this and followed directions I think to a T and the water or tea(I chose to make tea) after I mixed it was sseparated from the wax and oil. Did I do something wrong or what. I don’t see in the directions any indication that will happen. I ended up just pouring the water off and am using it like a body butter. I even tried reheating first again but it did not work. Any suggestions on making it into more of a lotion? 

    • says

      Unfortunately, homemade lotion is very persnickety about temperature. Re-blending with a teaspoon of really cold water might help. I’m going to try to post more detailed temperature directions. In the meantime, the body butter will actually have a higher SPF :-)

  31. says

    I tried this recipe (well – a really similar one that I adapted from your recipe and a few other sites), and so far it’s working really well!  I was afraid it would stay white on my skin, but it rubs right in, and it’s not sticky or anything!  And the best part: I didn’t get burned!!! 

    Here’s the recipe I came up with -


  32. Kyungnam67 says

    Is the aloe vera necessary or could I substitute with something else? Just made the natural bug spray, thanks for the recipe!

  33. Adenner916 says

    Question about the deodorant and sunscreen. I made the deodorant that is arrow root, baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils (lavender is what I used). Can I add zinc oxide to this to make sunscreen?

  34. says

    This is an excellent article. People should not be afraid of the sun just wise at how they get exposure. 
    According to The Essential Oil Handbook, the follow citrus essential oils are not phototoxic: Sweet Orange, Tangerine and Mandarin. The following oils can cause negative reactions if applied to the skin/sun exposure: Bergamot, Lemon, Angelica Root, Grapefruit, Lovage Root and Lime.

  35. I Marandao says

    What happens if there are citrus oils in the lotion. I have a lotion I love and want to add zinc, it doesn’t list any citrus oil but essential oil blend is on the label…….

  36. Lauren says

    I could not be more disappointed in this recipe. I ordered all the ingredients that I didn’t have and was so excited to try this. I ended up with a grainy watery mess. I could not get the ingredients to blend so I poured off the excess liquid, reheated some more and tried again. Same thing. I also tried the suggestion to add a little bit of cold water. Nope. The resulting “body butter” is like white clown paint. Just a dab is enough to make my whole arm completely white. It will not rub in. I wish I would have read the comments before investing in these ingredients :(

    • says

      I’m so sorry you had trouble with it. I didn’t have any trouble at all when I made it so I’m trying to remake several times to see what could be wrong…

  37. Monica says

    My Sunscreen seperated, all the white settled to the bottom and the gel/water mixture is sitting on top.  Any suggestions for what I may have done wrong?

  38. Jenniferh34 says

    Although I like this sunscreen recipe and I don’t like to put chemicals on my skin, my advice to readers is:  do not take advice given on blogs as a substitute for medical advice.  Just ask someone who has lost their nose how they feel about this statement:  “To avoid skin cancer, which is not a particularly deadly cancer”.

    • says

      I’m not saying that skin cancer isn’t horrible or trying to downplay it, I’m just challenging the assumption that it is caused by sun exposure and only sun exposure. In fact, the three people I personally know who have had skin cancer on their face have worn sunscreen everyday for YEARS before that.

    • Ana_900 says

      You are right however, each case is unique. I got the best advices for my kid’s eczema from other moms and blogs. Docs loaded us with steroids and antibiotics till I learned that are other natural ways to fight eczema.

  39. says

    Is there anything that can be substituted for the beeswax? my mom is allergic to all bee products and breaks out in hives from even touching them, so i dont want my baby slathered in bees wax. Thanks! 

  40. says

    I’m a vitamin D junky! I just have to do a couple of short tanning periods at the beginning of summer then I’m good to go for the year, texas summer n all with very little red n no peeling(occasional exceptions like once every couple of years) If I’m at the lake or somewhere with little shade to give my skin a break i might put sunscreen on half way through the day, but I haven’t used any all summer n only got red ones (n it was tan the next day) but texas has had a surprisingly mild summer this year…

  41. Ehughes E says

    What is non-nano version of zinc oxide??  and what is it important to not inhale it if it is safe to put on your skin?  I could no find zinc oxide in powder form but did find zinc caps that are “natural” and chelated. I just opened the capsules until I had 2 tablspoons of powder.   Is this the same?  

  42. says

    I have found just using coconut oil alone is protection against the sun when we are outside swimming. I am one who usually burns easliy. This summer since using only coconut oil on my skin I did not burn at all even after hours in the sun. It has worked for my kids too so me get good vitamin D exposure when we are outside.

  43. Mandy says

    I am currently trying to replace all of the commercial products I currently use with natural ones, and I love sites like these. But you really lost credibility here with comments along the lines of skin cancer not being a particularly deadly cancer. In Australia melanoma is the fourth most common cancer and the ninth most fatal. You really need to research before writing throwaway comments such as that. Melanoma is exceedingly dangerous, especially because it can begin with a tiny spot you never even realise you have.

  44. steve bell says

    I made the mentioned sunscreen and have to be totally honest, that it DID NOT work, i was badly sunburnt in a few hours, so switched to a commercial sunscreen out of desperation. However, as a skin moisturiser, its great.I think i have less chance of skin cancer with a branded sunscreen than one that had no effect.

    • Randy says

      Thank you for letting us know about your results. If I do try this recipe, I will be sure to use extreme caution, and will test it on myself before my Son!

  45. OzzieMillie says

    I work as a fashion photographer and it is not uncommon for me or a co-worker to get burned – lights, props – anything! When these accidents happen, without hesitation, i apply Made From the Earth “Pure Aloe Vera Treatment”. I keep this product on hand at all times. I went to the beach with my children and experienced the worse sun burn i have ever experienced. I fell asleep in the sun. I remembered this product was for burns and i prayed it would work… MAGIC is the best word for this product. It was soothing, fast acting, cooling, long lasting, non-greasy, non sticky.

    I went from being in tears to wearing clothes and leaving the house in 2 days.

  46. stef says

    Hi was wondering if titanium dioxide can be added also or both to create a stronger SPF? I love the sun but am aware of its dangers esp. as im australian and our sun can be scorching although I do believe mainstream sunscreen is worse than the sun….I use coconut (spf 4) or black sesame (spf 8) on body but would like to create a facial and decolletage sun cream for use during summer. Thanks for great info xxx

  47. Jules says

    How do I know the zinc ozide that I buy is safe to use? I read that most is synthetically made and having not used it before I am unsure what to look for. I dont want to replace one bad thing for another. Thanks.

    • Christos Organic Living says

      If it doesn’t say it on the packaging, then you will have to check with the company or the original listing you bought it on. I would definitely confirm that it’s non-nano before applying to your skin.

  48. Senae Smith says

    I made this up, and it mixed beautifully. I saw another comment below that someone’s was a liquid mess. I mixed mine up (with double the zinc oxide) and refrigerated it until it set, and the texture is awesome. Next time, I’m going to whip it in my mixer to make it more creamy, but I think the recipe is great!! :)

  49. says

    I Make A Homemade GoAts Milk Lotion From FresH Milk. if I Take My Current Recipe And Add The Zinc And Coconut Oil Will It Add Sunscrean Qualities. My Lotion Is A Shea Butter Base.

  50. says

    So I live in Southern Arizona and both my boyfriend and my mother burn INSANELY easily, as in we use SPF 100 (conventional sunscreen) every few hours just to make sure they don’t blister. My poor boyfriend can’t even be out in direct sun for more than fifteen minutes without starting to burn. I worry about all the chemicals in sunscreen, but I also worry for their comfort and health. How much Zinc would you recommend to make a sunscreen of about 80 SPF?

  51. Kelly Killeen says

    I did some checking on the zinc oxide that you listed. It seems there may be some question about whether there are actually nano particles in that brand. Do you happen to know of another brand that is non nano?

  52. maddy says

    zinc oxide from what i know is not very natural, its all changed and processed and in organic, very little of it is not. your not suppose to breathe it in, so i am if-y about putting it on my largest organ (my skin). is there any suncreens that dont need metals?

    • Christos Organic Living says

      I made a posting yesterday on my page “Christo’s Organic Living” that shows all the essential oils that have natural SPFs. Carrot Seed Oil has a natural SPF of 38-40, Raspberry Seed Oil has a natural SPF of at least 28. There are many others, too. Check it out :-)

      Non-nano particles stay on the surface of your skin and are either
      sweated off, or washed off when you shower. So, overall, I would say it
      pretty safe, as long as you do not buy nano-sized. The reason why you should not inhale Zinc Oxide is because it will get stuck in your lungs and can cause health problems later. It is best to use a face mask when working with this stuff.

    • Austin says

      You’re not supposed to breathe anything besides air in. :P Zinc oxide is a mineral, just like baking soda and table salt. If you buy non-nano zinc oxide, the particles are too large to absorb into your skin, and will sit on your skin just like clothing does – no worries about your skin absorbing your jeans, right?

  53. Silvia says

    Hi Katie, What brand of Zinc Oxide Powder do you use? The above link no longer works. I’m finding it diffcult understanding what contains nano zinc and what doesn’t. Many thanks!

  54. courtney says

    i will be making this today but im curious what the purpose of the beezwax is? just a thickener? can i just mix the coconut oil and zinc ?

  55. Mary says

    While it is good to get some exposure for vitamin D production we usually cannot get as much as we need. It has also become more dangerous to be out in the sun because we have polluted our air and depleted our ozone layer. This has happened relatively recently and we haven’t evolved yet to combat the extra uv rays. That is why we do need sunscreen and we need to get most of our vitamin D from nutrition.

  56. Sandy says

    I have beeswax in the bar form not the Pastilles. How much in grams of beeswax should I weigh? I can’t figure out how to convert 1/4 cup into grams and its too much of a pain to melt it then measure it. Can you help me?

  57. Senae Smith says

    I’ve been making this and love it. I like it best when I let it cool and then whip it in my kithenaid mixer. I’ve used it, doubling the zinc oxide, and it works great. I do feel like I need to reapply after about 3 hours, which is acceptable. I spent one day last week schooling my kids in the sunshine without sunscreen and accidentally got burnt. So I used the sunscreen to help my skin heal in the days to follow. The ingredients in this are amazing for skin and for even for sun damage, so it’s a total win-win!

  58. says

    I’m going to be in Costa Rica for 3 months and will be out in the sun everyday all day long (I’ll be farming) and really want a natural sunscreen and bug repellent that wont cost me a fortune. Can you combine the natural insect repellant essential oils with this sunscreen recipe so you only need to apply one product???

  59. Brittany says

    So if I add 6 Tablespoons of Zinc will the SPF be estimated at 60? Stupid question I know…LoL

  60. says

    Great recipe. I just made it and added lemongrass essential oil as a bonus since we have an irrigation ditch on our property and have lots of bugs. Is this safe? In your quickie version it says not to use citrus scented lotions. Since lemongrass is an herb does it qualify as a citrus oil?

  61. Hadia Ahmadzai-Faqiri says

    I would like to find where I can buy the non-nano zinc oxide cause the page you mentioned does not really seem to sell that non-nano version

  62. Charity Watson Dunlap says

    HELP!! I just made my first batch of this sunscreen. I think I must have done something wrong. It’s very hard and difficult to smooth on skin. I was hoping for a more “body butter” consistency. It seems to work ok, just not what I thought it was going to look or act like. Any tips or advice would be great! TIA!! :) I’m super excited about this natural sunscreen!!

    • Ana says

      I noticed that more or less beeswax is the trick to change the
      consistency, less beeswax will make it more liquidy. I also found out
      that raspberry seed oil has a very high SPF, so I reduced the coconut
      oil a bit and added the raspberry. Love the fluid consistency and seems
      to work great, I’m in the Florida sun for close to 8 hours each day,
      everyday. I use lots of it, so I was able to twick the formula on each batch

  63. Mindy at Grateful for Grace says

    Another question: where can I get that same zinc oxide in less amount? I don’t really need 1 pound if I only use 2T at a time.

  64. Mindy at Grateful for Grace says

    I really want this to work, but I believe my kiddos are getting redder from it. No protection. Sigh. I added 4 TB of zinc oxide instead of 2. Suggestions? Anyone else alter this and have it actually prevent burning? We live at a high altitude in NM: high and hot.

    • Christos Organic Living says

      Add carrot seed oil to your mixture. It has a natural SPF of 38-40. Raspberry seed oil has a natural SPF of at least 28, so you could put that in, as well.

      Please like my Facebook page at “Christo’s Organic Living”

  65. Samantha Chatman says

    help! Im having a hard time with this recipe. My zinc oxide will not mix in with the rest or it. its clumps up and settles on the bottom

    • Des says

      My batch did that also. The second time It seemed like it mixed in but went to the pool today and I fried with this sunscreen. I want to try it again But I need some suggestions from people out there. Please help because I hurt and I don’t want to burn again.

  66. Jessie Kaitlin Staggs says

    I’m curious, the zinc you linked says nano- but a reviewer said not necessarily since the particles are larger. I may have missed it in the comments, but was it cleared up that it IS non-nano?
    Also, when infusing the oils, what herbs would you recommend? I have Lavender, chamomile, and calendula on hand :) Thank you!

  67. jackie mccabe says

    can you just leave it in the jar you heat it up in? or do you have to transfer it to another one?

  68. Des says

    Help please! I made this sunscreen yesterday And today I went to the pool. And I fried, I’m as red as a lobster. What did I do wrong?

  69. Stephanie Jackson says

    One thing that may be worth mentioning is not to use citrus essential oils, which are photosensitive. Bergamot, for example contains bergapten, which can cause phototoxicity. Citrus essential oils tend to be dermal irritants, if inadequately diluted. Otherwise, loved this post! I will be trying it.

    • Stephanie Jackson says

      Funny thing. I just noticed in the bottom of the article you hinted at this. “Get a bottle of your favorite lotion (that doesn’t contain citrus oils!)”. Guess I should have read the whole thing before commenting. :D

  70. Mary Durand says

    Hi Wellness Mama, I was looking into the option of mixing the zinc oxide into a lotion…and I was thinking of adding it to vanicream. Here are the ingredients: Water (Purified), White Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 20, Sorbitol Solution, Propylene Glycol, Simethicone, Glyceryl Monostearate, Polyethylene Glycol Monostearate, Sorbic Acid (A Preservative), BHT. Is there anything in the cream that I should be concerned about? I am new to the area of making my own things outside of food prep. I would like to take the approach of not using much sunscreen at all…ever, but if we need to, I want to be VERY careful about what goes on our skin. Thank you for the post!

    • Austin says

      Yes. White petrolatum is petroleum. I’m not sure what the rest of it is exactly but I’ve read a lot about propylene glycol being dangerous. I would recommend just making a whipped body butter with zinc oxide added in :) If it makes you look like a clown, try adding a tiny bit of cocoa powder, but use a light hand as it’s easy to add too much.

  71. Brittany says


    I have been trying to get a hold of Zinc Oxide to make this suncreen. But I live in Canada and unfortunately Essential Depot brand does not ship to Canada. Do you know of any other trustworthy brands of zinc oxide?

  72. Sarah Rawson Sprouse says

    I have a question. I made this (with shea butter and lavender EO) and put it in a small stainless steel container. When we were outside at the pool the container would not close, like it was sweating…any ideas why?

      • Sarah Rawson Sprouse says

        Thanks. Maybe it was just the metal. I really like the lotion (even my fair skinned red-headed daughter was burn free!) so I bought a plastic bottle to dump some into. Also, her preschool director was fascinated by this so I made her some too.

  73. Julien Briau says

    I’m vegan, so I don’t want to use the beeswax. Do you know any substitute?
    Thank you for this post.

  74. sheri says

    I always use coconut oil on my four year old daughter for sunscreen. If I mix it with just the zinc powder will that work and increase the spf?????

  75. Lia Fernandes says

    Hey from Portugal :) I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, since going grain-free. We’ve been mostly healthy in our home since my mom is a cook, so I grew on veggies and loads of fresh fish (we lived by the sea) and not so much processed foods. Since I started a family of my own, I started to search for info on decreasing our toxin intake… You’ve been really helpful! That said, I have a few zinc gluconate tablets I no longer use but was thinking… can you use them as a sub for the zync oxyde? Thanks for sharing your knowledge <3

  76. EarthGoddess says

    Love This !
    I ordered some zinc oxide online, and it reads “The powder is pure white and made up of nano + 20%, sized particles (a white fluffy powder like flour). This size particle is perfect for sunscreen. It is not so small that is can be absorbed into the bloodstream, but small enough to turn transparent after sunscreen application.”
    Is This True, and safe to use on skin,? Thanks alot, super love blessings _/|_ <3

  77. Lindsey Walker says

    I’m so excited to try this out! Can you tell me about how much this makes? Does it fit perfectly in a pint jar?

    • Austin says

      The completely oil- and butter-based sunscreen butter will keep for a very long time as long as you don’t introduce water into it. The lotion, as it has water in it, will last only a few weeks until bacteria starts growing, then you need to throw it out.

  78. Tracey Black says

    I’d love to include this post in a round-up post I’m working on featuring DIY, all-natural sunscreens. Ok to include a photo with full credit to you and a link to this page?

  79. Kristine Charbonneau says

    You mention that you can use your favorite lotion as sunscreen by adding zinc oxide to it. Why is it that you have to make sure it doesn’t have citrus essential oil? I just made my sunscreen with the recipe you gave us and used citrus essential oils because that’s the smell I like. Is that going to be a problem? Also, do you recommend anything to make the sunscreen more water proof? Thanks!

  80. Elissa Anjelica says

    Do you know how long the shelf life of the sunscreen would be if you do opt to use Vitamin E to preserve?

  81. Yvette KD says

    Is anyone interested in buying a small amount of the zinc oxide listed in the recipe?
    I bought this one from Amazon, but it’s a huge bag and you only need a little…. so I can split the bag or sell small amount of it…. if anyone is interested, please let me know….

  82. Guest says

    I want to turn a bottle of Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion into sunscreen, but it has citrus sinensis in it. You mentioned not to use a lotion with citrus oils in it…what will it do if the lotion has citrus oils?

    • Austin says

      It’s a mineral, just like salt or baking soda. Non-nano zinc oxide particles are too large to be absorbed by your skin, so they sit on the outside of your body and diffuse the UV rays just like clothes do.

  83. Ashley says

    I love this recipe, it is great for my family. I only have on question, after about a week, the lotion turned yellow. Any ideas?

  84. Roben Villa says

    can I just add zinc to cocoa butter lotion or aloe vera? I get the dollar lotions they work pretty good, could I just add zinc to that? and would the zinc still get into my skin fast? how much would you put in a 20 oz bottle? and if I put enough zinc for full protection well is absorb fast and how much would I have to out?

  85. Yaela says

    Hi Katie,
    I love your website and have a question about a post. In your homemade sunscreen, I didn’t read anything about UV-A vs UV-B sun protection. Would you know if this sunscreen protects against both types?


  86. Aaurelia Vozakski says

    HI! Do you think I could add magnesium to it and get a 2for1 cream?? I’m planning a 3 month trip to southeast asia and I want to figure out everything I can make myself at home before leaving but need to carry as less weight as possible. I was thinking I would be wonderful if I could only cary 1 cream! Thanks and have a fantastic day! :)

    • Austin says

      If it makes your skin appear very white, and you want to reduce that, you can add a very small amount of cocoa powder. If it feels oily, you could maybe add a little bit of cornstarch too it? You don’t need to use very much of the body butter. If your lotion is oily, it’s probably not mixed correctly. One reader refrigerated their mixture until it set, and then whipped it with the water-based ingredients – that worked for them.

  87. Steve Anderson says

    Hi Katie. I sell daylight for a living (solatube skylights) and am putting together a book to educate my customers about sunlight. May I use you home made sunscreen recipe. I will of course credit you and your site. Does the sunscreen stop us absorbing vitamin D?

  88. Megan Greenway says

    Thank you so much for your site – it’s quickly become a favorite! I’m a greenhouse manager and work outside or in a greenhouse almost year-round. I’d like to try this sunscreen recipe for daily use on my face only. What do you think of this plan? Thank you kindly!

  89. ClancySchmancy Gladys-Periwink says

    Has anyone tried raspberry seed oil also? I ordered some organic cold-extracted stuff from Canada and its purported to have an SPF of 28-50, again depending on quality. Carrot seed oil is also said to have an SPF of 38-40. I can’t say I’ve noticed much difference in sun protection between my plain old coconut oil and coconut oil with raspberry seed oil added. Anyone’s thoughts/experience?

  90. Kelly says

    what can you use instead of beeswax? and in what amount? I’ve heard that if using a vegan wax you need half the amount, is this true?

  91. Ian says

    I made the sunscreen based on the recipe this summer and I still got burned. Any ideas? I’m pretty light skinned and I was red all over. I’m going to central america and would like to bring some, but would like to tweak the recipe so I don’t fry. Thanks!

  92. Bebitabita says

    Really enjoyed your article, and will implement the diet and supplements you recommend, but my husband wants to know what about premature aging. You address burning from the sun but not premature aging since it’s caused by a different type of radiation. He really wants to know your take. Thanks I’m advance.

  93. Ame MacDonald says

    As I was searching the Internet for homemade sunscreen recipes, yours happened to have been the first I came across. You are very VERY poorly informed about the fatality rate associated with skin cancer. As a survivor of melanoma, which was discovered at stage 3civ, it is not a less dangerous cancer by any measure, featuring a 5 year survival rate of %53 and no common drug therapy available. Melanoma is a free radical cancer which means that it can travel to any part of the body and establish itself; particularly in the lungs, liver and brain. The fact that you are playing down skin cancer to your readers is COMPLETELY disgraceful and you should be ashamed of yourself. Shame, shame, shame.

    • says

      I am sorry for your struggle, however, as I explained in earlier comments, I wasn’t referring to skin cancer not having the potential to be very dangerous, but to the rates of skin cancer in the general population compared to rates of other types of cancer. It is now estimated that as many as one in three women in my generation might get breast cancer. This is much higher than the rate of people who will get melanoma. Vitamin D deficiency is often found in women with breast cancer. Additionally, people get malanoma in areas that do not get sun exposure, indicating that sun exposure is not the (only) cause of skin cancer. I was trying to make the (obviously lost on you) point that avoiding the sun to avoid skin cancer might put a person at risk for other cancers that occur at higher rates. Also, for what it is worth, I’ve had potential pre-cancerous cells removed from my skin (in my college years of eating vegetable oils) and I still make it a point to get healthy sun exposure.

  94. Jessie says

    Hello, many thanks for your wonderful site. I have gained lots of practical knowledge from reading your articles. My husband and I both surf and spend allot of time in the sun. I made a version of your sunscreen recipe so that it was thicker and more water resistant with slightly more zinc (quite opaque) so it stays on in the surf. Its worked a treat, actually better than commercial zincs I have tried. Next I would like to swap out the store bought facial cleanser I use and try the cleansing cloths. Although I don’t think they will cut it when it comes to removing the zinc. Any suggestions for a facial cleanser recipe to successfully remove sunscreen?

  95. says

    Hi. I ordered supplies to make your sunscreen. I’m just curious though, can you tell me why no citrus oils allowed when making the simple sunscreen lotion?
    Also, I was wondering if you have a rough idea of how long both sunscreens will last, particularly the first more complex one. Thanks.

  96. Bethy says

    Hi, Katie! I came across your site when googling coconut oil as a sunscreen. I have heard bits and pieces here and there lately about coconut oil being a good sunscreen, but somehow it just didn’t seem right to me.
    Your recipe makes sense to me, and I would like to try making it.

    Is it okay to use it as a lip balm as well–one that is broad spectrum?

  97. cheryl a quarles says

    I want to know what brand/where your find it of the vanilla extract that you use. the only one i found was mixed with jojoba oil and it did not smell like vanilla. you aren’t referring to the organic vanilla extract used for cooking, are you???? that would be great but i guess that probably isn’t the case!

  98. Sils says

    Can I add hempseed oil or substitute it? I recently doscovered it and love it. I would like to use it in more ways can consumption and as a mousturizer. I read that its has really good SPF.

  99. Izabella says

    my toddler 2 1/2 has echzema on her face and get an allergic reaction to sun, do you think this sun block will be ok for her, for now I only use coconut oil for sun protection.

    thank you

  100. Lindsey says

    I made this last year and I thought I had read somewhere that it expired after 6 months but now I’m not finding that. Did I make that up or is it true? If so, why does it expire? I have a lot left from last year that I’d like to use now. Thanks!

  101. CiCi says

    How many ounces is 1/4 cup of beeswax? I see they sell them in bars, little pellets or gel type, which would you prefer?

  102. Joyce says

    Quick question…the zinc listed in the recipe (essential depot brand) is that the correct one? I saw another post in the comments where a different zinc oxide was linked and it said you had verified with the company it was non-nano. I was a little confused on which one is right. Thanks for the info!

  103. Karen says

    What type of almond oil do you use in this recipe? Do you know anything about the zinc oxide from bulkapothecary?

  104. Sunjammer says

    Can I use only shea butter and leave out the coconut oil? My skin can’t seem to tolerate any kind of oil besides the shea butter which has a comedogenic rating of 0.

  105. Shauna says

    Both of my kids(4yo and 16 months) are in daycare and I need to send sunscreen with them. I would prefer to use a natural and safe option. In your article you said, that this should not be used daily. What is a good daily option?


  106. Krystal says

    For those that are vegan can substitute the beeswax for candelilla wax. Also don’t use soap in your legs, arms and chest after after sunbathing. The oil needs 48 hours to be absorbed to our bloodstream.

  107. Kathleen says

    Was wondering if you can use a couple tablespoons of diaper rash cream if you don’t have any zinc on hand?

  108. Pam says

    I made this sunscreen last weekend and I must have done something horribly wrong. I’m sure I followed the ingredient list amounts correctly, but I looked like a lobster after being in the sun for two hours. I usually don’t burn, but this was the first time being in the sun since warmer weather set in (FL). Do you have any ideas what I could have done wrong? I really want to get away from the chemicals in regular sunscreen.

  109. =) S says

    My hubby is dark skinned and every commercial sunscreen he’s tried with zinc ends up making him look like a Smurf. The white on his dark skin seriously makes him look blue tinted. Anyone dark skinned had any issues with any amount of the zinc?

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