DIY All-Natural Sunscreen Lotion

It’s all fun and games until someone has to go ahead and ruin it all.

Yeah, we’re looking at you, nasty-filled sunscreen.

Fun in the sun suddenly ain’t so much fun when you take a closer look at your sunscreen ingredient label: we’ve got chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors (i.e. mess with your hormones), possible or probable carcinogens, and that have linked to developmental/reproductive toxicity.

Needless to say, these ingredients should not be in sunscreen.

Yet they are.

Most sunscreens, in fact. Including those specifically formulated for babies as well as face lotions and lip products with SPF.

Bring back the fun with this DIY all-natural sunscreen lotion!

There are no nasties to worry about here.


DIY All-Natural Sunscreen Lotion

Ingredients:

Makes 4 ounces of sunscreen

*“Nano” zinc oxide powder particles are small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream when applied to the skin. We don’t want this. Rather, we want a “micronized” zinc oxide, which has been ground or pulverized into larger particles that will form a coating on the skin’s surface without being absorbed into the skin. This is the same kind of zinc oxide used in calamine lotions and diaper rash creams. It’s also the type used in one of my favorite ready-made sunscreens, Badger sunscreen, which has an (ahem) “1” Skin Deep rating (you go, little badger!).

Directions:

  1. Scoop the shea butter into the jar, and place the jar in a small pot filled with 1-2 inches of water. Put the burner on low-medium heat and occasionally stir the shea until it is completely melted (shea butter melts at around 100°F, so you don’t need to heat it too much. Also, you don’t want to overheat it since this will destroy some of the skin-loving vitamins).
  2. Turn the burner off and remove the jar from the pot.
  3. Add the grapeseed oil and essential oils.
  4. Lastly, add the zinc oxide. Please be sure to cover your nose and mouth (I just pulled my t-shirt up) as you don’t want to breathe this stuff in.
  5. Tightly screw the lid on the jar and shake it all up! You’ll have a milky, melted-ice-cream-looking concoction.
  6. Pop this in the fridge, taking it out every 5 minutes to shake it up again.
  7. After about 30 minutes, your lotion will be solidified to a thicker paste.

Apply and enjoy the sunshine nasty-free!

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  1. Is there any scents you can safely add to also keep the bugs away? I am a red head who loves to go walking but really not into sunburn or bugs.

  2. I know of a true mineral sunscreen made from ingredients found in your kitchen. Try http://www.barebellyorganics.com It is as natural as it gets and I use it on all of my kids! Since it doesn’t absorb into the bloodstream I feel satisfied that my kids are not getting any harm from chemicals!!

  3. I’ve always wanted to try making my own sunscreen. Though it may be nearly impossible for me to pick up a couple of these ingredients here in Latin America, I will have to try this when my family flies stateside next month. Thanks!

  4. Hi – very nice post by the way!
    I was wondering how come out chose not to use red raspdberry oil in your day sunscreen ?

  5. You could certainly use it instead of the grapeseed oil! I just didn’t have it/use it when I wrote this post.

  6. Well a person is likely allergic to an active sunscreen ingredient, not SPF (that’s just a scale of sunscreen protection). And only the person with the allergy would know which ingredient they are allergic to.

  7. Thankyou thankyou thankyou for this recipe, im in australia atm, with my skinsafe sunscrean from Lovea running out on me, not to mention im working on a melonfarm so sunscrean is preeetty essential! I will definitely try this out, thanks again! Have a great new year!

  8. I always read that you should “slather on” sunscreen – at least an ounce every time you put it on. Since this makes only 4 ounces, is there a different recommendation as to how much to use each time, and how often it should be reapplied? Thanks!!

  9. Is there any way to estimate the spf in this? I’m guessing since you’ve stated that you yourself have problematic skin that this doesn’t make you break out on your face or back. But why is that? Shea butter is pretty heavy. I only ask because I have very sensitive skin and live in an incredibly hot and humid climate where I am constantly battling clogging.

  10. Question about the carrot seed oil. I have been reading mixed things on other natural & DIY sites. Some say NOT to use the carrot seed essential oil but to use a carrier version instead for sun protection. Any thoughts/reasons yadda yadda?

  11. Great question. All I know is I could NOT find pure carrot seed “carrier oil” that wasn’t cut with other oils. This way, I know I have the pure EO and have control over what I’m diluting it in. That is how I chose to use the EO.

  12. i like to use about 10-15 SPF, so i guess if i use about .5 tbsp of the zinc and leave out the carrot oil it will go down to that amount? any ideas on how to lower it?

  13. Enjoying your site! You mentioned Badger sunscreen. I already use this for my face. I mix it in my hand with a drop or two of olive oil to make it spread easier. I have developed an allergy to coconut oil and/or its derivatives. It’s hard to tell exactly what the culprit is.
    Badger and Green D sunscreens are all I’ve found so far that I can use. But they are so hard to spread and so greasy that I really don’t want to use them all over my body. I need something that’s more lotion-y.
    Does this spread better? Does the shea butter make it more like a lotion?Why bother to do this instead of just using the Badger? Is it just a money-saving thing, or is it better in your opinion?

    Thanks!

  14. I was wondering if there is a way to cause the recipie to be water resistant? We are enourmous beach bums and could see us going through this every week if it is not rather than reapplying every few hours.

    Another question is could this be used as a pre-makeup daily facial sun-screen?

  15. Hi.can I substitute zinc oxide for something else.or do i leave itout completely. Also how much red rasberry oil can i add.thank you

  16. Well zinc oxide is the source of SPF in the recipe so if you omit it, you’re basically just making a body lotion. I’m not sure about the red raspberry seed, I’ve never done it myself. If you make a good recipe with the oil, please come back and share it with us!

  17. Hi There!

    I just wanted to mention that carrot seed essential oil has no SPF-like properties, as mentioned by esteemed Aromatherapist Robert Tisserand, if you so much as Google “Carrot Seed SPF study”.

    I’m an Aromatherapist from Canada dedicated to halting the boundless amounts of misinformation spread around the internet regarding essential oils.

    I would suggest not including the carrot seed “SPF content” in your recipe, seeing as it has incredible skin benefits but does not offer ANY SPF sun protection.

    Fatty Carrot Seed, Carrot Seed CO2 and Helio Carrot DO in fact have some benefits though if you’re interested in checking them out.

    Please contact me if you have any questions about EO contraindications, safety, or if you want fact-checking done. Thank you for your time.

    Yours in Health,

    Katherine

  18. Hello, I was just wondering if this recipe is safe to use on babies? I know under 6 months they shouldn’t wear sunscreen, but what about after that? Do you know of anyone who has used this or a similar recipe on such sensitive skin? Thanks!

  19. I’m curious if there are any reasons other than UVA that you wouldn’t use red raspberry seed oil as your sunscrren? My daughter and I are allergic to zinc so I was planning to make a sunscreen using red raspberry seed oil, coconut oil etc. but then I saw your comment and it has made me curious.
    Thanks

  20. I personally wouldn’t reply on it for a full day of sun exposure (at the beach, for example) but if you’re seeking shade and cautious, you could give it a go. I don’t think we need sun protection ALL THE TIME like some people advise — because sun is how we get vitamin D and vitamin D is very important! — but again, I do rely on it for a full day in the sun.

  21. I think it is great that you aren’t perpetuating the myth of carrot seed essential oil as a great SPF factor or raspberry oil like so many other natural DIY sites. It’s also great to understand the difference between essential oils and fatty oils. If uses for natural products can’t be supported by studies in scientific journals than we shouldn’t be promoting them. Please encourage your readers to read http://www.maslaskincare.com/skinedu/2015/5/25/can-raspberry-seed-oil-really-protect-you-from-sunburn and http://gwens-nest.com/diy-sunscreen-myth-busted/

    Thanks and keep up the great work. I’ve made most of your skin products and am happy to report I’m happy so far. How long until I see age spots diminish?

  22. Thank you for passing along the info, Permeil!

    And I’m so happy to hear you’ve had great success with the DIYs! Well it took me almost a year before I started to see the discoloration from my acne scars really fading, and everybody is different. Best of luck!

  23. Hey There!
    Can you tell me the comdogenic rating of raspberry seed oil? I have started adhering to those ratings since seeing it in your site. Thanks to essential oils I actually am moving toward having “normal” skin and don’t want to mess up now!
    Also, do you have a DIY body lotion recipe? I haven’t seen one on your site. Did I miss it?

  24. I wouldn’t advocate geranium oil as a great choice for exposing your skin to the sun. As far as I’m aware, most essential oils cause photo-sensitivity. I believe the only exception is grapefruit.

  25. Hey Nadia
    Curious to what you would recommend to replace zinc oxide if you’re allergic/ react to it?
    Thank you so much!
    Allison

  26. I tried this and didn’t really like the smell. Not sure if it was the Shea butter or something else. Do you have any suggestions?

  27. Hi, I have been using a sunscreen similar to this but with added titanium dioxide. How do you feel about sunscreens that have titanium dioxide… I know it is a controversial ingredient. Just wondering your thoughts/if you would use it.

  28. HI Nadia,

    In your another post reg bars you suggested Shea butter from Perfect Body Harmony. I am a little confused. I wanted to order shea butter for my monthly face massage. I have normal-dry skin and face allergic problems. Which one do you think would be good for my skin.

    Thanks.
    Ayesha

  29. Hey Nadia

    I simply loved your DIY natural sunscreen.

    I have facial sweating problem and you can understand most of the time my sunscreen washes away.

    I have heard sunscreen with bee wax sticks to skin, is it?

    Kindly confirm.

    Thanks
    Rajasree

  30. Hello,
    I’ve used shea butter before but only at night since it doesn’t seem to absorb into my skin. I was wondering if this spf lotion absorbs into the skin or stays oily?

    Thank you

  31. Hi Nadia – I went from the red raspberry oil page to this page – I thought there would be red raspberry oil in this recipe but was surprised when there wasn’t. Just FYI. Thanks!

    I’m hoping to make my own sunscreen so just look through websites to get ideas on how. Thanks!

  32. Wow! I’ve been thinking about DIY skin care – particular sun protection – so this recipe is very informative and inspiring. If you don’t mind, have several questions:

    1. Does this DIY sunscreen lotion come off effortlessly with mild makeup remover/coconut oil? When I used store-bought physical sunscreen, I ended using oil cleanser for it, which really dried up and irritated my sensitive, acne-prone skin.
    2. Have you ever tried making an under-eye sunscreen? Because the skin there is so delicate, I am even more fearful of rubbing and removing sunscreen from there.
    3. Do you know if red raspberry seed oil is safe to be applied under the eyes, neat or diluted? I thought it could become my moisturizing, nourishing, UVB + UVA blocking, non-removal-necessary magical elixir, but I haven’t found any information about under-eye application.

    I’m sorry to bombard you with questions. I’m so intrigued by the subject and I would greatly appreciate it if you could share with me your insight.
    Thank you!