If you love the sun as much as I do, you've probably been scouring the natural foods stores for the best natural sun protection out there. I worked at a grocery co-op for a while and even though we had the best products on the market for happy healthy skin with minimal additives, I've still always wanted to go a little further.
I've spent the last couple of months perfecting a sunscreen recipe, and have finally created one that I'm happy to share with friends and family. For this recipe I combined all of my favorite skin-loving ingredients and combined it with the known protection of a small amount of zinc oxide (non-nano) for a super protective and perfectly nourishing sun screen.
Right now is also the perfect time of year to utilize the powerful sun for infusing oils. This is a great way to add the healing properties of herbs to a body care recipe. I like to keep a bottle of calendula infused olive oil and lavender infused olive oil around, because I know I use them in SO many recipes. For this one, I used half calendula infused olive oil and half lavender infused olive oil. If you want a shortcut, you can purchase calendula infused oil here and use it alone for the recipe.
Herbs for Healthy Skin
Known for its soothing and skin healing properties. Slightly astringent and antiseptic.
Lavender is a calming and relaxing herb. It is antispasmodic, antiseptic, and used to relieve sunburns, insect bites, cuts, blemishes, and muscular aches. A classic healing herb for skin – especially minor burns.
Aloe helps to both moisturize the skin while being mildly astringent to draw out heat. It is soothing and helps relieve irritation from sunburn, minor skin burns, rashes, and insect bites.
Neem oil is a rich and thick (you may need to heat it in warm water to use it) golden brown base oil with a strong and nutty aroma. Neem oil is derived from pressed neem tree nuts and has medicinal properties when used topically. Neem also has a low natural SPF which will help protect your skin!
Sesame oil comes from pressed sesame seeds. Sesame oil is an antioxidant base oil and is a source of vitamins A and E and protein. Sesame oil has a long shelf life and also has a low natural SPF.
Coconut oil is a great ingredient for lip balms, lotions, deodorants, and is known as the ultimate skin softener. Makes a great after-sun treatment.
Derived from the first pressing of ripe olives with beneficial vitamins and minerals. It is a great oil for infusing herbs, although in body care it is best used lightly unless you enjoy the aroma. In this recipe, you won't be able to smell it in the end.
Beeswax is used as a thickener in recipes for creams, lotion, salves, butters and balms. It also adds a lightly protective barrier to the skin. If you desire a vegan recipe, you could replace it with carnauba wax.
Cocoa butter smells heavenly! Cocoa butter is hard at room temperature but easily melts at body temperature. This will help keep your final product solid until you rub it on. Great before, during, and after sun!
Derived from pressed shea nuts, this butter is a cream-colored soft substance with a strong nutty fragrance. Shea butter is a highly emollient, skin softening additive that's great for lotions and creams, as well as body balms and nail care.
Lavender Essential Oil contains all of the amazing healing power of lavender flowers, but concentrated into a highly aromatic and therapeutic oil. A few drops go a long way, so I use this oil both as a soothing agent and for fragrance since it blends deliciously with the scent of the cacao and shea butter.
DIY Herbal Sunscreen Recipe
1/8 cup organic calendula infused oil
1/8 cup Aloe Vera Gel
1/8 cup organic Neem Oil
1/8 cup organic Sesame Oil
1/8 cup organic Coconut Oil
1/8 cup Beeswax Pastilles
1/8 cup organic Cocoa Butter or 10 wafers
1/8 cup organic Shea Butter
40 drops organic Lavender essential oil
1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
2 Tbsp Zinc Oxide (non-micro) – I found mine online.**
If you don't want to add Zinc Oxide, that's totally fine. Simply omit it and you will have a lovely lotion great for the skin with a low natural protection around 5 SPF. If you go this route, it will be important to test out how the protection works for you with short exposures. Use multiple applications!
**If you are using the zinc oxide powder, avoid using aluminum powder, magnesium powder, or flaxseed oil in the recipe or in the general area — as zinc oxide may respond intensely with these items.
These tins, made of Tin coasted Steel comprised of 30% recycled materials, work perfectly to store your natural sun block. I used one 4 oz tin and two small 1 oz tins.
When making body care products that include oils and butters and other ingredients, I always melt my butters first. You can do this using a double boiler over medium heat.
1. In a Pyrex bowl, melt together coconut oil, beeswax, cacao butter, and shea butter over gently simmering water.
2. Once melted, add in your oils and your aloe vera gel.
3. Once everything is adequately mixed together, remove from heat and then stir in the zinc oxide if using. Be careful while doing this step, zinc can be irritating if it comes into contact with mucous membranes, especially in this powder form. Wear cloth around your nose and mouth and goggles. It is important to agitate as much as possible at this stage. Use a whisk to mix thoroughly.
4. Lastly, add in your essential oils and Vitamin E Oil. Stir until well distributed.
5. Pour into containers and let cool until solid before closing with a lid.
And now you've made your own sunscreen! Time to soak up the sun safe and luxuriously! The sunscreen will be usable in about an hour, but will harden more overnight. Apply a thin layer when out and about in the sun, every hour for optimal nourishment. You'll notice in the photo that the sunscreen you just made will go on silky smooth and won't leave behind a white residue.