It’s Plastic Free July and we were inspired to make our own natural sunscreen in an upcycled glass jar. Homemade sunscreen has so many benefits: it’s toxin-free, zero-waste and affordable to make. This is a tried and tested DIY sunscreen tutorial! Read on to find out how to make your own natural sunscreen.

Natural sunscreen tutorial | Upcycle That

Have you read the ingredients in store-bought sunscreens? There are so many nasty chemicals in them. Turns out there are natural alternatives which will keep you safe. Let’s nerd out. We did some research and discovered that oils have a natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor). SPF is the rating of how effective a sunscreen is at blocking harmful UVB rays. These are the rays which cause sunburn and skin damage leading to skin cancer. There are also effective natural mineral sun blockers like zinc oxide. Remember the classic white strip of zinc on the lifeguard’s nose? Here’s a way to incorporate that sun protection in a natural, homemade sunscreen.

What’s in our natural sunscreen:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (natural SPF 2-8)
  • 1/4 cup almond oil (natural SPF 5)
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter (natural SPF 3-8, makes the sunscreen thicker)
  • Beeswax (makes the sunscreen water-resistant and thicker)
  • 2 tablespoons of non-nano zinc oxide (this is a natural mineral the reflects UV rays)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil (helps preserve the shelf life of the sunscreen)
  • 15 drops carrot seed oil (natural SPF 30-40)

Based on the ratios of the ingredients used, this homemade sunscreen has an SPF of around 30-40.

Natural sunscreen ingredients | Upcycle That

How to make your own natural sunscreen:

1. Assemble the natural sunscreen ingredients. We recommend using non-nano zinc oxide. Zinc oxide can be so small that the particles are measured in nanometers. There is concern that this tiny zinc oxide gets absorbed below the skin’s dermal layer. The jury is still out, but using non-nano zinc oxide means that you don’t have to worry it.

2. Grate the beeswax.

Natural sunscreen

3. Set up a double boiler with a bowl placed above a pot of boiling water. Melt the coconut oil, almond oil, beeswax, shea butter and vitamin E together in the bowl until well combined. Then add the zinc oxide and carrot seed oil. Be careful not to breathe in the zinc oxide as the particles are tiny! As an extra precaution you can cover your mouth with a cloth.

Making natural sunscreen

4. Pour your homemade sunscreen into an upcycled jar or container. It really is that easy!

Creating natural cosmetics is a great step towards a zero waste lifestyle. Big shout out to our dear friend Stacey Nel for being a zero waste champion and helping to create this natural sunscreen tutorial.

Making natural sunscreen with Stacey Nel

We are going to be including more zero waste tutorials in the future. Do you have ideas for products you’d like us to make? We’d love to hear your requests/suggestions.

Please feel free to share in the comments section below.

2 Thoughts on Natural Sunscreen

  1. Sounds great! How much does this make? Can you refrigerate it?

    • It makes just over a cup (a cup and a quarter cup). Because of the oils, if you refrigerate it, it will solidify. But then it will go soft again once it gets into a warmer environment. Up to you what you want to do. We store ours out of the fridge.


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