I’m completely crazy about sun protection—I’d like to attribute this to being admirably health-conscious, but no, my preoccupation has more to do with fear of wrinkles and sunspots. However, I struggle to find lotion that I like wearing. Either it breaks me out, smells gross, or costs a fortune. This version might have been expensive in the tiny quantity in which I made it, but if I sustain my interest in craft-cosmetics for long enough to use up all the larger bottles of individual ingredients I bought, the whole thing works out to be cheaper than the store-bought generics crammed full with synthetics. Plus, it smells really good. Vanilla extract is optional, but heavily recommended.
The small batch took about 5 minutes to make (apart from the time it took to melt up and cool down) and, unless you're not thorough with mixing tasks, it's idiot-proof. The project essentially amounts to heating some stuff up and sticking it in a mason jar. Plus, I've yet to touch on what's perhaps the most interesting thing about DIY sunscreen other than that it looks and smells like full-fat cupcake frosting: did anyone realize that certain oils are natural sun protectants? As if anyone hanging around in the beauty corner of the Internet needed another coconut oil talking point.
-¼ cup shea butter (SPF 4-6)*
-2 tbsp. zinc oxide powder (SPF 20; I used non-nano zinc oxide because, although it can leave a slight white residue, it cannot be absorbed into the skin)
-¼ cup coconut oil (SPF 4-6)
-¼ cup cosmetic-grade beeswax granules
-20 drops carrot seed oil (SPF 35-40)
-1 tsp. raspberry seed oil (SPF25-50)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 tsp. vitamin E oil
*I have included the natural SPF of these ingredients, but since the combination hasn’t been tested by anything other than my own haphazard sun exposure, rely on the zinc oxide to provide your protection. If you want to adjust the SPF of the mixture, use the following amounts:
For SPF 2-5: 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: 20% zinc oxide
1. Combine shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax in a large jar.
2. Place the jar into a saucepan of water and heat on a low setting.
3. Once the ingredients have melted, remove from heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
4. Stir in the zinc oxide powder. Be careful not to inhale it—it's toxic when ingested. One website recommended I wear a mask, but I just put my hand over my mouth instead, and I feel fine.
5. Place the mixture in fridge to cool for 20-30 minutes, or until the texture is whippable.
6. Add oils and extracts.
7. Whip together properly. If you don’t evenly distribute the ingredients, it won’t adequately protect you and you’ll end up needing Botox (or, y’know, worse things than that).
8. Put it into a smaller container and you’ve done it! Earth Mother credentials achieved.
If you keep the sunscreen refrigerated it will last for up to 6 months. But you should reapply it every few hours, so it shouldn’t be around that long anyway.