My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen

My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen | Growing Up Herbal | Here's my favorite mineral sunscreen recipe. It's easy to make, has a long shelf-life, and works well!

Summer is here! Well, not officially, but it’s hot outside so you get what I’m saying. That means it’s that time of the year when I whip up a batch or two of homemade mineral sunscreen so I thought I’d share my favorite recipe with you today. 

I love this homemade mineral sunscreen for a variety of different reasons.

  1. I control what goes into it.
  2. It’s cheap.
  3. It blocks excess UV rays.
  4. It’s easy to make and smells great!

Sounds great, right? Awesome! Let’s make some, together! I know you’re kiddos need some natural homemade goodies too!

(Oh, and if you have limited time and DIYs aren’t a great fit, I have another all-natural option for homemade mineral sunscreen for you at the bottom of this post. Scroll there now!)

Natural Sun Safety

My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen | Growing Up Herbal | Here's my favorite mineral sunscreen recipe. It's easy to make, has a long shelf-life, and works well!

I’ve written several different posts on how to stay safe in the sun so let me quickly recap those here and tell you why this homemade mineral sunscreen is a perfect fit when it comes to natural sun safety.

First, exposure to UV rays via the sun help our bodies make more vitamin d, and we need vitamin d to be strong and healthy. Many people are lacking enough vitamin d these days because they’re not eating enough healthy foods and they’re slathering themselves in chemical sunscreens every time they step outside. You do need some UV rays, you know. Another reason people lack enough vitamin d is because they don’t get out in it enough. I’m totally guilty of this, especially the older I get as I’m busy, and I have a lot of indoor things that take up a lot of my time. I suppose it’s like anything else, though. You have to make time for healthy things in life.

Unfortunately, these days people are afraid of the sun, and rightly so as skin cancers are on the rise. But, I don’t think that the sun is to blame for all the skin cancers we’re seeing. A lot of cancers (and other chronic diseases) are on the rise, but I think it’s mostly due to diets and exposure to toxins. No matter, it’s now recommended that you slather your body in chemical sunscreens that block the majority of UV rays in order to protect your skin from damage. 

Now, I’m not arguing that UV rays can’t damage your skin cells. They can. I am arguing that the toxins in those UV ray blocking sunscreens are just as bad for us so they’re not the best option to keep ourselves safe.

With that being said, there are things we can do as natural-minded mamas to help our kids be safe in the sun. Limiting the time in the sun will go a long way as will covering our skin to block some of those rays. We can cover our skin with clothes or with minerals. Seeing how it’s summer and hot outside, the clothes part can be difficult… at least for my boys who run around half naked. Just saying. That’s why mineral sunscreens are so useful for me if my kids are going to be outside playing for a long time. I can simply rub them down with some homemade mineral sunscreen every couple of hours and feel good knowing they’re not going to get so much sun that it’s bad for them.

Okay, so let’s move on to how to actually make this great homemade mineral sunscreen.

Homemade Mineral Sunscreen

My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen | Growing Up Herbal | Here's my favorite mineral sunscreen recipe. It's easy to make, has a long shelf-life, and works well!

This sunscreen recipe comes from my friend Jessica over at Pronounce skincare (you can buy it premade from her). I’ve changed it a bit from her original recipe. This is the way I like it, and I think you will too! Yes, it uses grams rather than ounces so you get nice, clean, even numbers. Americans, don’t hate me. Just use a kitchen scale, and it will make your life easy as most of them have an option for measuring in grams. You’ll thank me once you get used to making homemade products this way.

Makes 8-ounces of homemade mineral sunscreen.

Ingredients:

Directions:

My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen | Growing Up Herbal | Here's my favorite mineral sunscreen recipe. It's easy to make, has a long shelf-life, and works well!

Premeasure all your ingredients, and set aside.

My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen | Growing Up Herbal | Here's my favorite mineral sunscreen recipe. It's easy to make, has a long shelf-life, and works well!

Add measured oils, butter, and wax into a double boiler and warm over low heat until everything has liquefied.

My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen | Growing Up Herbal | Here's my favorite mineral sunscreen recipe. It's easy to make, has a long shelf-life, and works well!

Remove from heat and add measure powders into the liquid oils. Wisk well until no clumps remain. 

My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen | Growing Up Herbal | Here's my favorite mineral sunscreen recipe. It's easy to make, has a long shelf-life, and works well!

Add in vitamin e and essential oils. Wisk well again, smell to see if the scent is to your liking. Add more if needed.

At this point, let the sunscreen cool in your pan so it can thicken up. Some of the zinc powder will sink to the bottom of the sunscreen, but don’t worry about that… you’ll be mixing it all again.

My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen | Growing Up Herbal | Here's my favorite mineral sunscreen recipe. It's easy to make, has a long shelf-life, and works well!

Once your sunscreen has cooled and thickened, move it from the saucepan to a bowl and mix it well to incorporate the zinc powder that settled on the bottom back into the cream. This will ensure that you have enough zinc in the end product to do its job.

Finally, pour into storage containers. Label and store.

To Use:

Apply a thin layer of this homemade mineral sunscreen to areas prone to burning every two hours (hourly during the hottest part of the day or when swimming or sweating excessively). Store in a cool area, and use within 1-2 years. 

Note:

This sunscreen will leave stains on light colored clothing. The stains will come out in the wash, though. If you don’t want to deal with any staining at all, simply use less cacao powder or leave it out entirely. Just add 10 more grams of zinc to the recipe. Know that your cream will turn out white, and it will leave your skin looking whiter than if you use the cacao powder.

I prefer to use the cacao powder in our sunscreen, and we’ve not had big issues with stains. However, I have 4 messy boys, and I don’t put them in light colored clothes anyway as they would inevitably become stained from who knows what!

Herbal Ointments, Salves, and Balms: The Ultimate How-To Guide | Growing Up Herbal

Want even more herbal butter recipes? Check out my e-book, Herbal Butters & Creams: The Ultimate How-To Guide! Not only will it tell you the difference between butters and creams (lotions too), but when to use them and why. It will also walk you through the steps of making them yourself! Not only that, but you’ll learn how to source quality ingredients, about “natural” preservatives and natural emulsion techniques, and how to add “advanced” ingredients into them. Oh… and you’ll get 5 exclusive recipes to help you get started making your own herbal butters and creams right away! Learn more about it here!

So there you have it! An all natural, non-toxic homemade mineral sunscreen that you can feel good about using on your kiddos.

Playing in the sun,
Meagan

Don’t Have Time To Make This??

No problem! Here’s another recipe that’s very similar only the herbal salve is already made for you. All you have to do is mix the salve, zinc, and cacao (if you want it) together and voila! You have a homemade mineral sunscreen. Enjoy!

40 thoughts on “My Favorite Homemade Mineral Sunscreen”

  1. Three questions…

    1. Are the essential oils only for smell, or do they actually help the sunscreen?

    2. Are homemade sunscreens safe in a swimming pool? Specifically, I heard that you can use plain coconut oil for sunscreen, but then heard that that can coat the water in the pool. Hmmm…

    3. What do you think about the chlorine in (public) swimming pools? It is necessary to kill germs, I know, but is it really harmful to us in those low doses for those of us who don’t have our own pools?

    Thanks for all your work on this website! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and expertise!

    1. The essential oils are mostly for smell, Janell. Feel free to use any you like. Just double-check to make sure they won’t cause any phototoxic reactions.

      As far as homemade sunscreens and swimming pools go, I’m not sure about that. I assume they are fine. I mean, people slather themselves with tanning oil and then swim, but I don’t know for sure. Maybe do a Google search to be sure.

      And, chlorine is a toxin, and it is harmful to our bodies as all “toxins” are. Like most toxins, though, the amount and duration of exposure will determine how much it affects a person. My kids do swim in pools with chlorine occasionally, but honestly, it’s rare. I do try to limit their exposure to it (and other toxins) as much as I can, but like you said, when it comes to pools, there’s going to be chlorine to deal with. Emily from Holistic Squid has a great post about how to protect yourself from pool chlorine as much as possible here. Hope that helps!

        1. Interesting, Jacqui. Do you have any references to those numbers… books or another source where you got that info from? I’d love to check it out so I can share them with readers. Thanks!

  2. Hi Meagan!
    Thanks so much for the post on sunscreen!! I have a couple question about the cacao powder–what is it’s main purpose in this recipe? Is it part of the sun-blocking, or is it just for a hint of color/scent? Would it stain white shirts, if I’m applying this and wearing something white or light colored? Would it be ok to just sub in 10 g more non-nano zinc oxide instead?

    Thanks!

    1. Yes, Abigail. The main purpose behind the cacao powder is for color. If you make this recipe without it, it will turn out white, and your skin will look white when you rub it on, especially if you put a good thick layer of it on. Some people could care less about it. If that’s you then use 40g of non-nano zinc and skip the cacao. I’m not sure if it would stain white clothes brown or not. You may want to test it first. I think it rubs off white more than brown so I’d be careful about wearing it around darker colors. It will wash out, though. Hope this helps!

    1. It helps to keep the sunscreen from making your skin look so white. The zinc sits on top of the skin so it can reflect the UV rays away from you, and it tends to make you look a bit pale. Hope that answers your question, Mirte!

    1. I put the cacao powder in for this very reason, Tees. I have olive-toned skin that tans pretty easily. When I first apply this, I do think it makes me a touch paler, but the more I rub it in, the less noticeable it is. In fact, it kind of ends up leaving me looking a little bit tanner than I started. If it’s too white for your teenager, try using less and reapplying it more often or try cutting the zinc back to 25g and upping the cacao to 15g to see if that helps.

    1. It’s hard to say, Rachel. You aren’t supposed to make SPF claims on homemade products unless you have them tested, but the general rule of thumb for mineral sunscreens is that the SPF rating would be close to the percentage used. So since this recipe uses around 15% zinc oxide it would, theoretically, have around 15 SPF. Feel free to read my post here about SPF ratings. It has some info on how much of the UV rays the different ratings actually block.

  3. Thank you
    Really appreciate your site!
    I have learned a lot . Reading your posts gives me confidence in raising my kiddos naturally!

  4. I was very excited to try this recipe !
    Mine turned out a liquid though. 🙁 From the picture I thought it would be more like a cream. We went ahead an tried it an it seemed to work ok though. It did seem to stain clothing. Had to use stain remover to get it off…… Do you know what I may have done wrong?

  5. Was very excited to try this recipe ! Mine turned out a liquid though ,not creamy like the picture…..do you know what I might have done wrong? It still seems to work except that it seems to stain clothing…..

    1. Oh bummer, Rachel. It should turn out thick and creamy. So, did you measure it in grams using a kitchen scale? If you try to convert the grams to ounces or eye-ball the measurements, it may not turn out the same. It will also be liquidy until it cools down. It takes several hours to cool to room temperature and thicken up. Mixing it with the popsicles sticks (to mix the zinc in) helps a lot. I can’t think of any other reasons why it would have turned out liquidy rather than thick. I hope this helps you some.

      As far as the staining goes, if you add the cacao powder, it will stain light clothes. If it’s a problem or you just don’t want to mess with it, just leave the cacao powder out or use less of it. (Be sure to replace the amount you leave out with more zinc. For example, if you don’t use it at all add 10 more grams of zinc in) If you leave it out, your cream will turn out white instead… just know that it will leave your skin looking white too. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Hi Meagan,
    I can’t wait to try this recipe! I live in New Zealand and the sun here is very harsh, I wonder if I could increase the amount of zinc and if this would result on a higher SPF?
    Thank you!
    Silvana

    1. Supposedly it does, Silvana, but it’s not a significant increase. You can skip the cacao powder and add in 10 more grams of zinc if you don’t mind having whiter looking skin. Hope that answers your question!

  7. I’ve read this 3 times and I’m not seeing the minerals, just zinc (obviously needed for sunscreen). Is there mineral content in anything else. Thanks

    1. Hi, Davette. The zinc is what makes it a mineral sunscreen, and that’s it. There are no other minerals added to the recipe. Hope this helps!

  8. Hi, love this post! One question though; what is the “mint” component in this recipe? Is it the type of oil you use?

    1. I don’t have and SPF rating for this as this as figuring that out takes some specialized, expensive equipment, but the creator of the original recipe estimates that it should be close to SPF 20 or more. I do believe you can do a Google search and figure out how much protection the ingredients (specifically the coconut oil and zinc) provide. I also have a post specifically about the different SPF ratings and what they mean if you want more info on that (https://growingupherbal.com/understanding-spf/). I hope this helps you some!

    1. I find that this recipe works best when using grams. Your kitchen scale should be able to switch back and forth from grams to ounces (most do). If not, you can go to https://www.convertunits.com to convert each measurement. Best of luck, and I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  9. Hey! Can we replace any of the oils like coconut oil or any of them with cocoa butter and leave out the cocoa powder? I dont care for the white color, it doesn’t bother me. But the scent would be nice! If i could, how much cocoa butter would be needed to replace one of the oils?

    1. Meagan Visser

      You can absolutely make substitutes with this recipe to make it a better fit for your needs. However, I don’t know exact measurements for the substitutes since I’ve never made it with them. Best of luck, though!

  10. Hi Megan,
    I love this sunscreen recipe and can’t wait to try it. My only question is where can I buy non-nano zinc oxide?
    Or there are other commercial names for it?
    Best,
    Irina

    1. You can get it on Amazon or from shops that sell skincare supplies and ingredients. It should say “non-nano” on the label.

  11. I LOVE THIS RECIPE!!! We tested it out on our first beach trip of the year (FL in March) & the whole family loved it so thank you so much!!! My question is this: I love this lotion so much, and I would love to make it without the zinc in it, just as a normal daily body lotion. Any idea of something I can substitute for the zinc? thank you!!

    1. Hey there, Kimmie! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! You can definitely make it without the zinc. No need to add any other powder to it. Just make it as written and leave the zinc out, and it will work just fine for a body cream. Best of luck. I’d love to know how it turns out for you!

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