My older daughter and I tan easily, my husband pretty much only burns, my son is somewhere in the middle, and our youngest will likely burn just like her daddy based on how fair she is. However, we all have had great success with this sunblock--no sunburn in over 3 years of use!
|The lovely ocean, on vacation last summer!|
The recipe I use is one I adapted from the recipe in Annie Berthold-Bond's book Better Basics for the Home. I cannot recommend her book enough! (You will find it in my amazon store, as it is one I have referred back to time and time again. It is full of all natural recipes and information for everything from hand lotions to facials to getting rid of pests, mold and mildew. One of the few resources I use frequently.)
As far as making sunblock goes, did you know that if you buy quality cold-pressed oils, many contain natural spf in them...coconut and sesame oil, for instance, both have a natural spf of around 3, if I remember right. They are also nourishing and moisturizing for your skin. But it is the zinc oxide in this sunblock that provides the main sun protection. I buy regular zinc oxide, as nano-sized zinc oxide's safety is quite debatable (does your body absorb it?). Regular zinc oxide rests on your skin but is not absorbed by your skin. Zinc oxide blocks both UVA and UVB rays. It is what used to be in sunblock and what some people didn't like because it can leave a faint whitish hue on your skin...thus the entrance of chemical sunscreens. But the chemical sunscreens have known side effects, particularly with regular use. Many are hormone disruptors, allergens and even carcinogens--particularly with regular, consistent use. For information on particular brands of sunscreens/sunblocks, their effectiveness and their safety, you can visit the EWG website.
|My daughter on the beach.|
The sunblock I make is made from a few simple, pure ingredients. It takes me about 15 minutes to make and is much cheaper than buying any of the few, expensive natural sunblocks that are out there. One recipe will last our family the entire summer, with the exception of our beach vacation where I will make one recipe's worth to bring with us just for vacation as we are out on the beach a lot.
This sunscreen also leaves our skin super soft. Prior to making my own sunscreen, I would leave the beach each year with a dry peeling tan, despite never burning and using lots of aloe and body lotion. The first time I made this sunscreen, it won me over because for the first time ever I left the beach with the smoothest, softest skin without using any aloe or body lotion. Pure ingredients nourish our skin!
The ingredients are simple and few. For the best prices, I recommend buying the shea butter, beeswax and coconut oil from Mountain Rose Herbs. Coconut oil can also be bought from Amazon.com (I like the Nutiva brand) for a similar price. Distilled water can be bought cheaply at a local grocery or drug store. The zinc oxide can be bought from Organic Creations and other online stores as well. Most of us already have olive oil in our pantries.
I calculated my costs this time around. One recipe makes 8 ounces and cost me: $3.08! (Compare that to Badger sunscreen, one of the few quality natural brands I'm aware of, which is running nearly $4.00 per ounce on amazon.com--and PS: don't trust amazon's cost per ounce, calculate yourself. **Update: I did find this new brand Loving Naturals which 'only' runs $2.80 per ounce.) The ingredients, aside from the olive oil, have a shelf life of 1-2 years, so you can use them again next summer. Or, why not use them again now? You can leave the zinc oxide out of the recipe and you will have a wonderful moisturizing body lotion you can use anytime. If you're not pregnant or nursing, you can even add a few drops of an essential oil for fragrance.
I recommend keeping an immersion blender, small saucepan and spatula designated specifically for the purpose of making sunblock (and other body products). You wouldn't want to ingest zinc oxide, for instance. Furthermore, you do NOT want to breathe in zinc oxide powder. Wear a mask, or measure and stir very carefully to avoid a dust cloud. I always keep my kids out of the kitchen when I make sunblock, just to be on the safe side.
Makes about one cup by volume, just over 8 oz by weight.
Cost: just over $3.00
To benefit fully, apply sunblock every hour or so, and reapply after swimming.
1.5 oz olive oil
1.5 oz coconut oil
1 oz of shea butter
.25 oz beeswax
4 oz distilled water
2 T zinc oxide
Melt the oils and beeswax over medium heat in a small heavy bottomed saucepan, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add the water.
Depending on the size of your pan, it may help to transfer the mixture to a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup before you blend. Blend carefully (so as not to splatter) with an immersion blender until just combined. Carefully add the zinc oxide powder and gently stir in with a spoon. Then use the immersion blender to blend thoroughly. By stirring first, you are simply trying to prevent a cloud burst of zinc oxide dust.
Pour into a wide-mouthed container with a lid. The sunscreen will thicken some as it cools.
I keep our sunscreen in the fridge, as we don't use it daily and that will extend its shelf life. If I know we'll be using the sunscreen, I'll typically pull it out the night before to let it soften and come to room temperature. But, you don't have to keep it in the fridge; you can keep it at room temperature. It should last for a few months, as long as you are careful to not contaminate it with dirty fingers. If there is ever an odd odor or color change, dispose of the sunscreen.
Tip: If the sunscreen is too runny, double the amount of beeswax. If the sunscreen is too stiff, use 2 oz olive oil and .5 oz shea butter, and/or half the amount of beeswax. It may take a time or two of making it to get it to your preferred consistency.
Disclaimer: Make this sunblock at your own risk. This sunblock has not been evaluated by the FDA for a certain level of sun protection. I am just sharing our experience with it, as well as my thoughts on it and sun protection. I am not a doctor/physician of any sort, nor am I an expert in the area of sun protection.
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