Something's Brewing... - Homemade Sunblock

I've been on a search for "safe" sunblock.  The stuff you can get off the shelf is full of ingredients I can't pronounce, and just like the food I eat, I want my skin products to be toxin-free.  I've researched, shopped, tested for months. I have particularly sensitive skin, so most SPF makes my face burn, often makes me break out, and can even give me a rash.  Not to mention the gross feel of sunblock in general.

So I did it.  I finally threw in the beach towel on off-the-shelf sunblocks and did a bit of research on natural SPF.  Our skin is our biggest organ - so anything, and I mean anything, we put on it can be and is absorbed into our bodies.  I want an SPF that is not going to do more harm than good.  As much as I hate to wear sunblock, I love to be in the sun.  Unfortunately we have a heavy family history of skin cancer, and as I've already given Cancer a beat-down once, I don't plan to get it again.  And we can't forget about wrinkles.  : /
I did some very official Google research and learned that coconut oil has a natural SPF of 4.  It's also an antibacterial/antimicrobial/lots of other things -  and fabulous skin softener.  Pretty good side effects, right?  But an SPF of 4 is not going to cut in on the boat.  More Googling turned up Zinc Oxide - which has an SPF of 10-20 depending on the quantity you use.  But I can't just dump zinc oxide into coconut oil, unless I want a big mess on the boat.  It goes liquid above 74 degrees.  So I needed another ingredient to sort of solidify the concoction.

Much like cooking, I couldn't find a recipe I agreed with 100% so I improvised.  I took what I liked from each recipe - simplified it, and came up with this!

I ordered Shea butter, zinc oxide and essential oils from SoapGoods.com

I used approx 2oz Coconut oil, 2oz Shea Butter and 1/3oz Zinc Oxide

I very slowly melted the mixture, stirring frequently.

I added some essential oils to add to the natural shea butter scent

After just a few minutes on low, it was all combined!

I poured it into a cute, inexpensive container I also ordered from SoapGoods
The result should be approximately an SPF of 15.  I have some on, and it does feel like I have sunblock on.  But it smells good and shouldn't have any negative side effects.  I'm hoping it soaks in after a bit, like coconut oil normally does when I use it as lotion.  I haven't worked much with Shea Butter though, so I'll just have to wait and see if it's the oil or butter causing the "greasy" feel on my skin.

This sunblock is not going to be waterproof - but apparently I can add a bit of natural beeswax to the mix next time to increase the weartime/water resistance.

Do you guys worry about sunblock?  Do you just use whatever is handy?  I'm curious about what sorts of alternatives other people use...

Time to head outside and give it a real sun test!

Happy Saturday  :)


  1. Cool, you won't get a diaper rash either! ;) does the zinc oxide not make it somewhat waterproof?

    I usually forget sunblock and burn, but I don't get out that much. If I remember, I try to use the strongest stuff can find, like 50spf or so.

    1. No diaper rash, huh? Well that's a relief!

  2. Being in derm PLUS being this fair/having that family history, I've almost always been sun avoidant. I've only been really burned about 2-3 times. Zinc oxide is going to be your biggest sun protector, reflecting off those UVA/UVB rays that are the most damaging, causing collagen to break down (i.e.:wrinkling you), and encouraging ugly pre-cancers to pop up all over your lovely skin. This is something I pinned on Pinterest a little while back and the bars are made of almost the exact same ingredients you have, only with the beeswax you mentioned already added in: http://www.homemademommy.net/2013/04/homemade-non-toxic-sunscreen-lotion-bars.html.
    The creator stated she believes the SPF factor is about 15-20, and it solves your solidity problem for boating. Hope this helps! Protect the skin you're in ;)

    1. Why didn't I just ask my dermatologist office sistahgirl?!
      Glad to hear I chose the right major ingredient! It firmed up nicely after it cooled. It still melts quickly when you use it, which is actually nice for application. For now I'm keeping it in the boat fridge just to make sure it stays solid/contained in its cute little jar.

    2. I love the DIY instructions btw! Very neat.

  3. Wow - how amazing you make your own! I'm not sure SPF 15 would be strong enough for my skin though in the NZ sun. Do you know if there is anyway of increasing the strength by adding other ingredients etc.?
    Cheers - Ellen

    1. The only way I know to increase it is to add more of the zinc oxide. I don't know if it'll be strong enough for the NZ sun! One day we'll head south and I can test in out in all different hot countries - you know, in the name of science. ;)


We ♥ hearing your thoughts! ⚓️

Popular Posts