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A Natural Homemade Sunscreen Recipe

Ingredients for Natural Sun Protection

There are several oils, butters, essential oils, and other natural ingredients that provide natural sun protection. While most of these offer very low amounts of sun protection, when added to your natural homemade sunscreen they nourish the skin and offer some protection against the effects of excessive sun exposure.

  • Coconut oil – contains natural SPF properties

  • Shea butter – naturally protects skin, making it perfect for use in a DIY sunscreen

  • Jojoba oil, sunflower oil, or sesame oil – these oils are easily absorbed into the skin and also provide some natural sun protection

  • Eucalyptus and lavender essential oils eucalyptus has very low natural SPF and lavender is great for soothing and repairing skin. DO NOT use citrus essential oils in your DIY sunscreen, as they may increase sensitivity to sunlight. 

  • Vitamin E oil – nourishes and moisturizes skin, and helps naturally preserve natural homemade sunscreen

  • Zinc oxide (non-nano)  a non-toxic, usually non-irritating, effective broad-spectrum sunblock. The particles sit on the outermost layer of your skin, scattering and absorbing UVA and UVB rays, protecting the skin below.

Zinc oxide (ZnO), provides true broad-spectrum protection against UVA wavelengths >360 nm.[1]

Be sure to use non-nano zinc oxide to produce a natural homemade sunscreen. We purchased ours here. (The smallest amount you can purchase is a container that will last you years!)


Nano or micronized zinc oxide has been treated to reduce the size of its particles, creating an ultrafine powder. When added to sunscreens it does not leave a white film on the skin, thus making it a popular choice in many commercial sunscreens. The problem with this is that the particles are so small they can enter the body through the skin, causing potential health problems.

Choose your Homemade Sunscreen SPF

Different amounts of zinc oxide are needed depending on what SPF you would like your DIY sunscreen to be. Once you have chosen the SPF a little math is involved. The zinc oxide must be a certain percentage of the weight of your ingredients (before adding the zinc oxide). For this reason, it’s easiest to use a kitchen scale when making your sunscreen. For example, if you have 2 ounces of lotion and you’d like to make SPF 10 sunscreen, according to the values below you will need to add .2 ounces of zinc oxide to the lotion. Use the zinc oxide recommendations below.

  • 2-5 SPF: Use 5% zinc oxide

  • 6-11 SPF: Use 10% zinc oxide

  • 12-19 SPF: Use 15% zinc oxide

  • >20 SPF: Use 20% zinc oxide

Homemade Sunscreen: A Natural Recipe


  • 1 oz. coconut oil (find high-quality coconut oil here)

  • 0.8 oz. shea butter (find it here)

  • 0.1 oz. jojoba, sesame, or sunflower oil (find oils here)

  • 0.1 oz. Vitamin E oil (find it here)

  • 30 drops essential oils, optional – I use 15 drops lavender, 10 drops eucalyptus, and 5 drops peppermint (find 100% pure essential oils here)

  • zinc oxide powder (determine the amount for 2 oz. of lotion) (We purchased ours here)


Add coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba/sesame/sunflower oil to a makeshift double boiler. (To make your own double boiler, place a Pyrex measuring cup containing ingredients inside a small pot filled with a few inches of water). Heat until melted. Remove from the double boiler and allow it to cool a little. Put on a mask that covers your nose and mouth (to avoid breathing in the fine particles of zinc oxide powder), and measure out your zinc oxide. Add zinc oxide, Vitamin E oil, and optional essential oils to the other ingredients. Stir well to combine. Store in a dark jar in the refrigerator.

To Use:

Apply liberally to exposed skin. Reapply every few hours, or more often if swimming or sweating.

Notes for Homemade Sunscreen Success

The shelf life of this natural homemade sunscreen is about 6 months. Refrigerated when not using.

The oils it contains are photosensitive, so do not leave your homemade sunscreen sitting out in direct sunlight. Keeping it in a cooler will prevent it from melting in high temperatures when taking it to the pool or beach.

If you prefer to add zinc oxide to another homemade lotion you like, simply weigh a desired amount of lotion and add enough zinc oxide to achieve the preferred SPF, mixing thoroughly.


  1. Beasley DG, Meyer TA. Characterization of the UVA protection provided by avobenzone, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide in broad-spectrum sunscreen products. 2010 Dec 1;11(6):413-21.

  2. Zhang Y, Nguyen KC, Lefebvre DE, et al. Critical experimental parameters related to the cytotoxicity of zinc oxide nanoparticles. J Nanopart Res. 2014;16(6):2440.

(Read the full article here)


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