(with added bug repellent ingredients!)
Learn how to make an easy, natural, DIY sunscreen to keep you and your kids safe this summer! Shea butter, zinc oxide, and essential oils are the stars of this homemade sunscreen.
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Beautiful summer time! The days are getting pretty darn hot here in the Pacific Northwest, and even with some very overcast days, I have to remember to bring that sunscreen with me everywhere. It’s that time of year! Yaaaaassss!
Hey, did you know you can get burned worse when it’s cloudy than when it’s sunny? This is from personal experience. Not just science (even though that backs this up. I’m sure of it). I’ve been, personally, burned crispy on a day I couldn’t BELIEVE I should have worn sunscreen. Lesson learned.
I started making my own sunscreen a few years ago, and we seriously haven’t had any nasty burns since…well, that is, if we’re wearing this sunscreen! There have been the occasional times of forgetting to put it on and then reaping the consequences. But that’s not on this sunscreen. That’s on us.
Apart from it actually working, this natural sunscreen is EASY to whip together. Literally. You throw it all in a kitchen mixer and whip it. Don’t have a stand-alone mixer? Use whatever beater you’ve got.
There is NO heating. No double-boiler. No refrigerating. And it’s seriously done in less than 5 minutes. And I even have a clean-up tip at the end of this post for added easy-peasiness.
Why I started making our own natural sunscreen
My first born son unfortunately takes after me with a lot of skin sensitivities and food intolerances. When he was just 3 months old he broke out in hives all over his poor little body. Huge hives. And we had no idea why! It was actually pretty scary. I felt terrible that something I was putting on him was harming his body (and if his skin was responding like that, what was happening internally?!).
As per our pediatrician’s recommendations, we stopped using our laundry detergent, various lotions, and soaps. We still to this day don’t know what in exactly which product caused it, but we don’t use any of those products anymore.
Related post: DIY Laundry Detergent (cloth diaper safe)
That experience made me super paranoid about everything I did put on his skin from that day on. I started reading labels and paying very close attention to ingredients. And come summer time, I was all over checking out various sunscreens, not wanting to have another hives flare up. And know what I found? Sunscreen was scary, man. Really, the list of ingredients on most of the store bought brands is terrifying (I’ll tell you some reasons why in a minute).
So we completely stayed away.
What we did instead
We tried a couple natural, organic products, but they were SO sticky and SO very thick. And expensive. Like, you got the tiniest tube and it cost triple what a giant, family size bottle of regular sunscreen would cost. It was just bonkers to me. And did I mention it was thick and sticky? And sticky and thick? Yuck.
I researched homemade recipes like crazy and ended up trying some REALLY BAD ones. Some that just were so white it made us look like we were dying and some that made us (ok, ME) breakout (thanks, coconut oil). Not helpful. But we finally landed on this recipe that has been a collaboration of things tried and true.
I know everyone’s skin is different, but this works really well for us.
So why make your own if you don’t have skin sensitivities?
Like I mentioned above, the ingredients in many sunscreen products are just plain bad. And some may even be deadly. That, to me, is just so not what you want when the entire point of using it is to protect yourself and those you love.
Some studies have shown that people who slather on sunscreen are at a high risk of skin cancer…the exact thing you’re trying to prevent by wearing it. Why is this?
According to Dr. David Jockers,
“All of these compounds [ingredients found in most sunscreen] are extremely toxic to our skin and the rest of the body. These toxins create large quantities of free radicals which promote oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a powerful carcinogen that causes genetic mutations. These compounds mimic the effects of estrogen in the body which leads to hormonal changes and the increase of cancer cell development.”
I would definitely urge you to do your own research on it. I’m not a doctor or an expert, but there are doctors and experts who have some great content available about the potential harm in regular sunscreen.
So after that pep talk, aren’t you ready to get started on this homemade natural sunscreen recipe?! Ha ha!
The ingredients used in this DIY sunscreen
This natural sunscreen includes ingredients that have naturally occurring SPF (sun protection factor)! Too cool! Shea butter, jojoba oil, carrot seed oil, and zinc oxide all have their own form of SPF. I love that. It’s natural protection that even has benefits for your skin.
Especially since sunscreen=outdoors, and outdoors=bugs. Usually. That’s usually the math.
Zongle Essential Oils have some of my favorite essential oils. You can check them out by clicking HERE.
Even though there is a little repellent in this sunscreen, it wouldn’t hurt to add more of these oils on top of the sunscreen after it’s applied, or other essential oils that repel bugs (like peppermint, citronella, or cedarwood).
A Note on Essential Oils:
Not all essential oils are safe for children, and many shouldn’t be used on children under the age of two. Including lavender, lemon eucalyptus, and tea tree oil. If you want to use this sunscreen safely on your infant, you’ll need to leave out the essential oils.
Just a note on these ingredients
I order all of these ingredients from Amazon (I mean, easy, right?).
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I know that they’re not common household items. Heck, I didn’t own ANY of these ingredients prior to my son’s hive experience.
But all of them can be used for more than just this recipe so it’s really worth the investment.
Shea butter with jojoba oil is perfect for our kid-friendly body lotion, and plain ol’ shea butter is my go-to frizzy hair tamer. I mix Zinc Oxide into my homemade diaper cream and use lavender, carrot seed, tea tree, and even vanilla oil in my face serum. I use all of the essential oils in my diffuser.
And the list could seriously go on and on.
Don’t be scared! It might sound a little crunchy, but crunchy is trendy right now anyway.
Go make yourself some sunscreen!
Extra Cleaning Tip
While making this natural sunscreen, put a pot of water on to boil. Once you’re done putting the sunscreen away in a cute container, put the beater and spatula in the mixing bowl and put it in the kitchen sink. Now pour your boiling water into the bowl and stir it around until the butter and oils are melted. Dump it out and wash as normal (I always wash it in the dishwasher after making skin care products. It helps degrease it and makes me feel better)