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How To Make Non-Toxic Homemade Sunscreen

Affiliate Disclosure | in Natural Remedies | by | with 167 Comments

How To Make Non-Toxic Sunscreeen

Chemical Sunscreens Can Be Really Scary . . .

Most of the active chemical ingredients contain potent endocrine disruptors, and experts believe exposure to them is changing us for the worse. And as we talked about yesterday, many “healthy” mineral sunscreens contain nanoparticles which have been linked to accelerated skin aging, cancer and environmental toxicity. Not to mention that many of them use omega-6 rich oils such as soy and sunflower/safflower, which may disturb the healthy balance of fats most likely to resist oxidation.

Most days we skip sunscreen altogether and use antioxidants instead, but on days we are going to be out much longer than usual we do use sunscreen.

Based on all the scary stuff I just mentioned you may be asking if there are ANY sunscreens I’d recommend. Thanks to this sunscreen review by Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship, the answer is yes. Most days I skip the sunscreen and let antioxidants do the work, but for long days at the beach Green Screen is something I would be comfortable using on my family. It’s not perfect – it contains a small amount of soy – but it’s very good overall.

(Where to buy my top sunscreen pick)

Loving Naturals also has a pretty good one. They actually list the micron size of their zinc oxide – it’s within range of normal particles so I’m guessing it’s not micronized. The only thing I’d change is switch out the omega-6 rich sunflower oil for something else. Not a huge deal to me, though. And yay! They have a baby version, too!

Where to buy my #2 sunscreen pick

What’s The Difference Between Nano-sized and Micronized?

Good question! Micronization is a grinding process, not a size. It can be used to make nanomaterials (100 nanometers or smaller, usually around 10-50), or something smaller than nanosize but larger than the non-micronized “bulk” form that has been shown to be non-toxic (200-500 nanometers).

From what I understand, micronization appears to create at least some nanoparticles through it’s process even when the targeted size is larger . . . kind of like leftover sawdust. So even if it is “non-nano” micronized there is still a possibility it contains nanomaterial. Bulk forms that have not been subjected to micronization do not carry that risk. This may not be a factor at all (reports are conflicting), but for now I’m staying away from them.

Now, Before We Get Started . . .

There are a couple more things I should mention. First, the reason micronized and nanosized particles are so popular is that they rub in clear. The recipe I’m sharing might make you look a bit pasty, but if you want you can tint it with mineral powder (details with the recipe).

Also, titanium dioxide photodegrades pretty quickly and there’s evidence that it may become toxic in the process, so I prefer to use zinc oxide. Unfortunately, both zinc and titanium can leave white marks on dark clothes, so be careful when applying.

Last thing:  This formula works immediately, so there’s no need to wait to go outside. However, it is not waterproof, so reapply after swimming. Now, are you ready to make some homemade sunscreen?

Simple Homemade Sunscreen Recipe


  • .4-1.6 oz uncoated, non-nano zinc. Weight will vary based on the level of protection you want (Find it here)
  • Essential oils (optional – but make sure they are not ones that increase photosensitivity!)
  • Iron oxides or cocoa powder for tint (optional) – find pre-blended iron oxide here, find cocoa powder here

Special Equipment:

  • mask (Nanoparticles should not be breathed because of lung damage but I couldn’t find a definitive answer on zinc. I just covered my face with my t-shirt. Okay, I didn’t really, but maybe you should :))


  1. If you’re using my homemade recipe (which is 9 0z. weighed), add the zinc oxide right after you make the lotion. See below for details on how much to add.
  2. If you’re using a pre-made lotion, warm it in a water bath and then add/blend in the zinc oxide in a food processor.
  3. Add essential oils and tint as desired.
  4. How you store depends on the composition of the lotion you used. If it’s premade it probably contains preservatives, so room temp is fine. If it’s coconut oil it will last at room temp for quite awhile, but longer if stored in the fridge. Olive oil tends to go bad quicker than coconut oil, so I’d probably store that in the fridge from day 1. I’m not sure about avocado oil, but I’m thinking fridge. I’ll bet it hardens when it gets cold like coconut oil, though, so you’d want to let it warm up before use).

Deciding How Much Zinc Oxide To Add

Anywhere from 5-20% of the total solution is generally considered to be effective, with 20% having  a higher level of protection. You may find the information below helpful in determining your measurements. I have not tested these ratios in a lab for SPF value.

If you’re looking for moderate protection, measure the lotion you are going to use and then add 10% of it’s weight in zinc oxide.

For example, 8oz. (weighed) of lotion + .8oz of zinc oxide (weighed) = 10% zinc ratio

Or 8 oz (weighed) of lotion + 1.2 oz zinc oxide (weighed) = 15 % zinc ratio

Note: Huge differences in SPF numbers are actually pretty insignificant when it comes to differences in protection. SPF 100 blocks 99 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. SPF 30 blocks 96.7 percent, SPF 15 blocks 93%.


AOL News: Study Says Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer

Photo credit: thenextadventure and earthly delights

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167 Responses to How To Make Non-Toxic Homemade Sunscreen

  1. Kirsten says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I need to get a kitchen scale so I can make some lotion and get going on this! Or can you use straight virgin coconut oil? I like the idea of being able to tint it a bit too. So, can you still absorb/make vit D with this on your skin? Or does the skin need to be totally bare? This series has been great, Heather!

    • Nikki says:

      I saw a recipe which used coconut oil shea butter and beeswax to make a hard sunscreen bar! Worked great and love the no mess portability!!!

    • Nikki says:

      Also, try whipping the coocnut oil in a stand mixer then adding the zinc. You get a whipped easily spread light texture that way!! No more stiff coconut oil

  2. Heather says:

    Hi Kristen! I’m not sure about the consistency with using straight coconut oil, but theoretically I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. Regarding Vitamin D, zinc oxide is considered to be very effective at blocking UVB rays (which trigger the production of Vitamin D), so I don’t think so. I am not an expert, of course, but I think this is why even mainstream docs recommend some unprotected sun exposure each day (5-20 minutes)

  3. Michelle D says:

    Thanks! I’ve really been enjoying this series! We have always used Badger unscented which lists ingredients as: Active Sunscreen Ingredient: Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 18.75%
    Other Sunscreen Ingredients: *Olea Europaea (Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), and CO2 Extract of *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn). Sounds like the Zinc Oxide is also non nano and non-micronized right? I saw Kitchen Stewardship review she didn’t recommend it because it separated after a year but we easily use ours in one season living in Texas so that’s not a problem :-)

  4. Great series, Heather! We love Badger sunscreens which always seem to be on top of the best research and currently uses non-nano, non-micronized zinc. They work great and smell great too.

    • Emily says:

      Bought Badger Sunscreen for our trip to florida and my son and I were out in the sun from 10-12:30. We both had badger sunscreen on and we are both burnt to a crisp. I even made sure to apply a generous amount (we did have a whitish glow;) My husband opted for copper tone and was not burnt at all. Any suggestions? Does this stuff have to be reapplied every hour? I can’t imagine rubbing it in every hour when we’re all sandy! Anyone else have this problem? I want to love this natural sunscreen stuff but it was a fail!

      • Badger says:

        Hi Emily! We’re sorry to hear that you burned wearing our sunscreen! 10-12:30 is a rough time to be out in the sun in Florida. If you would like to contact us about this, please email, or call us toll free: 800-603-6100.

      • Alyssa says:

        That’s odd. My one year old and myself went to Michigan where we stayed at cabins on a lake. We were literally in the sun all day long at the beach, everyday. My son came home as pale white as when we got there (we’re from the NW….we are VERY pale) using Badger. And we definitely didn’t reapply every hour. Perhaps you used to little and spread too thin?

  5. Laura says:

    Kabana uses “vegetable emulsifying wax” in their sunscreen instead of beeswax in order to keep it vegan. Vegetable emulsifying wax is NOT edible or natural. You can have a look at the veeeeery bottom of the long list of comments on that post where I raise these concerns, and got brushed off. Apparently, vegetable emulsifying wax is totally fine to spread on our bodies because, as the guy from Kabana said, even lots of natural things aren’t safe for our bodies, like lead and petroleum and blah, blah, blah.

    That being said, there IS a brand of sunscreen I wholeheartedly recommend. Every ingredient, minus the titanium oxide (they use a non-nano, non-micronized version) can be eaten and it’s all organic. Find Badger Balm sunscreen. It’s the only one I’ll ever be spreading on my babies.

    • Laura,
      To be fair, I don’t know if two lengthy replies from the CEO of a company is being “brushed off.” Also, as Heather stated in this post and I’m excited to try in a month or so, the newest formulation will use beeswax, so Kreider is definitely listening. Maybe you made an impact! ;) Katie

    • Sally says:

      Sorry but Badger uses 100nm particle sized Zinc Oxide…below is from their website:
      We have chosen to use such small particles of zinc oxide because they are more transparent and less whitening. Remember the lifeguard’s white nose coat? That’s from larger zinc oxide particles.
      For the record, the US Government defines a nanoparticle as a solid particle between 1 and 100nm (nanometers or billionths of a meter). Badger uses micronized zinc oxide with average mean and median particle sizes both greater than 100nm. These particles range in size from about 70nm to 300nm, so yes, a fraction of our zinc oxide is nano particles.

      Badger is better than most…but it still is dangerous for your babies!!! Make your own sunscreen…so what if your white…and if you really care add turmeric and coffee to give the sunscreen a bit of color so it won’t be white.

  6. […] week Mommypatomus talked a lot about sunscreen. Here is her recipe on how to make your own that is safe!! I’m […]

  7. Emily C. says:

    Just wondering about the math. the post mentions .8 oz and then 12 and 16 oz. this should be 1.2 and 1.6 right? or am i confused?

  8. Gotta try this one! I gave up sunscreen ages ago…which is tough since I’m blond and very fair skinned!

  9. Tiffany Kasprzak Young via FB says:

    What is the life span on this? Does it need to be kept in fridge?

  10. Tiffany Kasprzak Young via FB says:

    What is the life span on this? Does it need to be kept in fridge?

  11. The zinc will last for years so the life depends on what lotion you use. If it’s one that contains preservatives it should be fine for a long time. My homemade stuff tends to last at room temp for months when I make it with coconut oil but I keep it in the fridge because we only use it on very rare occasions. Does that help?

  12. Tiffany Kasprzak Young via FB says:

    Yes, perfect thanks!

  13. Sahn Lee via FB says:

    thank u!

  14. Wisefriend says:

    Just wondering what natural makeup you have found that you like? I’m in need of a good foundation.

    • Sarah says:

      I use Tarte brand makeup. Its natural. I have very sensitive skin and bad allergies, and it actually improves my skin. Love the tinted moisturizure, but they have different products with different coverage. Its sold at Sephora

  15. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks!

  16. Paula says:

    I had to comment with regards to using sunscreen and fermented cod liver oil.
    Did you know that regular use of FCLO prevents sunburn?
    I used to burn very easily, and now, the only times I might get pink, is if I have slacked on FLCO.

  17. Bethany says:

    This is wonderful….thank you so much for posting this!

  18. Mati says:

    I plan to try this, but for now just stash organic baby diaper cream whenever it’s on sale/clearance. It’s not nano because appearance isn’t a concern, usually has lots of healing ingredients, and is 10+ % zinc oxide. Weleda’s (12%) is beeswax-based, pretty thick and stays on in the water – it’s good for protecting nose and cheeks and can be colored if kids don’t like the white. It does contain some omega-6 oils, but in small amounts. Burt’s Bees has sweet almond oil, which is primarily Omega-9 – what’s the deal with Omega-9s and skin protection?

    • Heather says:

      Thanks for the info, Mati! I hadn’t thought of that! Not sure about omega-9’s and skin. Will have to look into that!

      • Bobbi says:

        I was actually wondering if we could use this sunscreen recipe for a diaper/barrier cream. I started off with Mommypotamus’ homemade lotion recipe and then added the zinc. Any thoughts on using it on baby’s bum? I use the regular lotion on the baby, so would adding the zinc be harmful in any way? Thanks for BOTH recipes, Heather!

      • Pragyan says:

        Antioxidants of cource..

  19. […] homemade sunscreen. Seriously!? This is too […]

  20. So excited to see this blog post. I was just about to write a post on my website about sunscreens and which ones not to by. I was wondering if you could make your own! Glad to know that you can! I see you are buying your Zinc Oxide on line from a Canadian store. Do you know if I can get it in the US? Please let me know! Thanks!

  21. Brandy says:

    Is iron oxide, the minerals you mentioned for tinting safe?

  22. Raquel says:

    Hi, not sure if this is a stupid question but if you dont use sunscreen unless your out in the sun for long periods what about premature wrinkles. I’m concerned about wrinkles because they say that uv exposure will give you premature aging of the skin. Do you not worry because you follow a WAPF diet full of antioxidants?

    • Heather says:

      Not a stupid question at all, Raquel! As I said in this post, many believe that sunscreen actually makes skin age faster. Part of that is due to nanoparticles causing oxidation, but part of it is that it blocks rays that cause sunburn but allows other rays that cause other damage right through. People tend to stay in the sun longer because they’re not burning, which means they get unnaturally large amounts of exposure to rays they can’t see or feel. Personally, I choose to go with natural amounts of sunlight (whatever a person can enjoy without burning) plus a diet rich in antioxidants.

  23. Tara says:

    Thanks for the recipe! Just wondering how much (and how to decide what color) of the iron oxide tint for the recipe?

  24. Will definitely be using this! What percentage of UV does SPF 10 block?

  25. […] Homemade Sunscreen Recipe #3 Non-Toxic Homemade Sunscreen From […]

  26. […] The pea trellis (first and second photos) is going like gang busters. I adore peas, so here’s hoping we have a massive crop to eat fresh and freeze for later use. 2) Hubs built […]

  27. Khisanthus says:

    Omg.Nano is not inherently dangerous or even particularly new. If you wear jewelry (copper, silver, etc) you are already covered in the stuff. If you have been near a fire, you have even more. Learn to read the literature before blogging. There is no evidence that ZnO can penetrate the dermal layer, even once it begins to dissociate, and TiOx doesn’t photodegrade itself. It photodegrades everything else.

    That said, the antioxidant additives are probably a good idea as they attack the problem from the opposite side. Too bad they won’t last long in the sun.

  28. Anna says:

    This is really cool…it’s neat to see other people who make their own sunscreen. I can’t use sunscreens with organic UV-absorbing chemicals (e.g., oxybenzone, homosalate, avobenzone), because they sting and I break out in a rash. I can’t figure out which of the organic compounds does this, but I have figured out that inorganic ingredients (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) don’t bother me. Unfortunately, most of the sunscreens that use only inorganic sunblocking compounds also contain oils that clog my pores, which is a problem when I apply it to my chest, back, and face. Therefore, I’m going to add zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to my CeraVe lotion (which works miraculously for my skin) to make a non-comedogenic, inorganic-based sunblock. I ordered the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide from, which is just a little more expensive than New Directions Aromatics.

  29. JP says:

    I have been surfing for many years and the last thing I want to do is add more toxins to our oceans. I have been working on numerous formulas for water resistant sunblocks for a while and although not perfect, the simplest has been best;
    1/3 bees wax
    1/3 Organic Coconut Oil
    1/3 Zinc Oxide, powder form, make-up grade.
    Reduce the amount of zinc by half and it makes a great recovery topical for sunburn.

  30. WestOzGirl says:

    Hi Heather
    Do you know how to make the sunscreen broadspectrum? So both UVA and UVB exposure can be minimised?

  31. […] #7 – How To Make Non-Toxic Homemade Sunscreen […]

  32. […] since we’re a serious back-to-basics, DIY family – I’m hoping to make my own sunscreen and homemade insect repellent for when we need […]

  33. Rose C. says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I am for sure going to give this a try this summer.

  34. mel says:

    Since you don’t want the zinc oxide to be micronized, doesn’t it kind of micronize itself in the food processer when you’re combining it with the lotion? Thanks for your post!

  35. Christy says:

    I’m trying to figure out what color iron blend to buy to tiny my sunscreen. Which one/ones do you use? Just trying to get ideas!

  36. Teresa says:

    Has anybody tried putting the zinc oxide in the tallow moisterizer recipe instead? The coconut oil lotion recipe makes my facial skin very oily. I use it everywhere else, just cant use it on my face. Tallow moisterizer recipe is awesome on my face though. Thank you Heather for all the wonderful knowledge!!! Let me know what you think. Thanks a bunch.

  37. Mechelle B. says:

    Wow, thank you! Always looking for natural substitutes free of toxins!!

  38. […] wary of DIY sunscreen SPF value charts. We spied on a few blogs charts that broke down how to achieve a certain SPF level when making your own sunscreen. (But we didn’t find any credentials that persuaded us these […]

  39. […] wary of DIY sunscreen SPF value charts. We spied on a few blogs charts that broke down how to achieve a certain SPF level when making your own sunscreen. (But we didn’t find any credentials that persuaded us these […]

  40. Geraldine says:

    I found a site that sells Zinc Oxide Powder and was wondering if it is ok.
    It doesn’t say whether it is non nano particle, but gives its size which is:
    Particle Size: 0.3 – 0.85 microns
    It refers to it as ‘cosmetic grade Zinc Oxide Powder’
    Is this ok?

  41. Tamara says:

    I have a question. The website you linked for the Iron Oxide requires a min of 50 dlls for a purchase. Have you found any other resource for the Iron Oxide?

  42. Grette says:

    Sorry another question, in another term could you provide a different ratio fro measuring the of zinc oxide to coconut oil and could zinc oxide be used with organic shea butter, jojoba, olive grapeseed, etc with

    • Heather says:

      I’m sorry, Grette, but I’m not sure I understand your question. Can you clarify?

    • Grette says:

      Hello Heather, I wanted to know the amounts in Australian measure’s for the zinc oxide and could it be put into pure/organic shea butter along with jojba, sesame, grapeseed, coconut, olive, (oils); and also some drops of liquid green tea extract, and would the zinc mix with oil first or with th green tea. Which of all the above ingredients will the zinc oxide mix with the easiest, and then perhaps add the others , or should any of the above be deleted from the mixture. I have zinc oxide micro powder (but I dont think its right with what I have read on your sight) an will try to get ordinary zinc powder.
      Thanking you in anticipation,
      Yours faithfully,
      With love, Grette

      • Alyssa says:

        I wouldn’t add the green tea drops. They’ll pool up in the all-oil mixture. The zinc oxide is a very fine powder, kind of like corn starch. You can mix it in water (harder to do tho) but it’s better in oils in my opinion. If you add the liquid drops to your oily sunscreen mix, they won’t combine. Just like you can add essential oils to it, but not liquid extracts. They simply won’t blend in.

  43. Kelly Jordan says:

    So excited to try this along with the homemade lotion as I’ve been tinkering with my own recipes for lotion and salve and have quite perfected it!

  44. Great recipe for my family, given our sensitive skin, our tendency to burn, and our Southern California location! I’m running this post on my Facebook page – on 4/10/2013 at 4pm PST.

  45. […] wary of DIY sunscreen SPF value charts. We spied on a few blogs charts that broke down how to achieve a certain SPF level when making your own sunscreen. (But we didn’t find any credentials that persuaded us these […]

  46. Jessica says:

    Is Titanium Dioxide still toxic if it is also non nano particle? Found some natural sunscreen that I can buy but has titanium dioxide in it that says it is non nano particle as well.

  47. Andriana says:

    This recipe is brilliant! I’ve been working with micronized zinc oxide in my homemade lipstick and I’d love to find a safe liquid version to put in my facial oils. I’m going to whip up a water-free lotion and see if I can make a nice natural sunscreen w/ this recipe. Thanks so much for the info!

  48. Melissa says:

    Is there any way to make sunscreen lotion with a whipped body butter or something else that doesn’t have water in it? Or does it really need to be thinner because the zinc thickens it up? I’d like something that is a little more shelf-stabe (or purse-, beach bag-, diaper bag-stable!). I’m also wary of making lotion with water (or other liquid) because I’ve heard so many people say theirs separated! Thoughts?

  49. Alison says:

    I’m confused about the addition of zinc. “8 oz (weighed) of lotion + 1.2 oz zinc oxide (weighed) = 15 % zinc ratio” What SPF is this?

    • Heather says:

      Hi Alison, without laboratory testing it’s impossible to give an exact number. However, you may find the discussion in the post regarding the minimal difference between different SPF’s helpful.

  50. […] but I wouldn’t use it all day for a day on the lake.  Another option is a homemade sunscreen like this one from the Mommypotamus.  A last option, and one that honestly most will choose because it is the easiest is to find a […]

  51. Natasha says:

    So…from what I am understanding, with the zinc oxide being at 20% of total recipe, it should approx. block 99 percent of UVB rays, with an SPF of 100. Is this correct.

    So, at 15%, this is still fairly high protection factor, since your data states….”SPF 100 blocks 99 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. SPF 30 blocks 96.7 percent, SPF 15 blocks 93%.”

    How do we determine how much zinc oxide to use to make a lotion that is SPF 15? Any ideas?

  52. Natasha says:

    I found this at

    “TheresaL, I also agree with paleface on the description of loading of TiO2 and ZnO related to SPF factor. I ofter “estimate” the SPF value of sunscreen formulas that I make by multiplying the loading % of TiO2 or ZnO by a factor of 2. Therefore, a formula with 10% TiO2 would have a rough estimate SPF value of 20. When I send these formulas out to have the SPF value determined by testing on skin, I often find that the value I estimated is very, very close to the value found in actual use.”

    So they are saying that with Titanium Dioxide, if you multiply the % used in formula by 2, that should give you a close estimate of what SPF your sunscreen is.

    Sorry, but I don’t know the comparison for Zinc Oxide. I’ll keep reading and share what I find.

  53. […] Make your own safe and effective sunscreen with Mommypotamus’s recipe. […]

  54. Mari says:

    Great info!

    The biggest worry about nano-particles is that they pass freely through the cell wall. Since the “active ingredients” in sunscreen are, by their very nature, toxic (even zinc oxcide), it’s pretty disturbing to think about the long term effects of human cells constantly bombarded with heavy metals and toxins. And no – the research just isn’t there. But then again, one does have to look at who is paying for the research….

    The good news is zinc doesn’t penetrate the skin surface – hence the white/pasty look. That’s the GOOD news!

    Our mothers and grandmothers were right on when they smeared big white patches of zinc all over us and then slapped a hat on our heads! Embrace the Paste! Lol.

  55. kristin says:

    Hi Heather,
    I’m ready to make your homemade sunscreen recipe. Thank you for it. Quick question: I’m on the Camden-Grey website you recommended as was wondering how much zinc oxide I should order and also what kind of beeswax to order. There are many different forms and colors. (block white, block yellow, pearls etc)
    Thanks so much. My daughter has had skin cancer so going without sunscreen is NOT an option for us. I’ve also looked into your Kabana link. Right now we are using DeVita and True Naturals which are on the EWG rating 1 .
    Take care. Enjoy all your posts!

  56. Hayley says:

    What kind of containers do you store your homemade sunscreen in? Do you recommend only glass, or would plastic be fine?

  57. […] For a good homemade sunscreen recipe made with zinc oxide click here to Mommypotamus. […]

  58. […] sunscreen recipe that requires a little extra work and ingredients. Information on the toxic effects of commercial […]

  59. Ali says:

    Yikes, I made the sunscreen with the handmade lotion recipe, and I don’t think I could even get this stuff on with a spackle knife. Did I read earlier that the recipe was incorrect in calling for 4 – 16 ounces of zinc per 3/4 cup of lotion? I’ll go back and re-read, hopefully I can save this batch.
    Thanks, Ali

    • Heather says:

      Ali, I am so, SO SORRY. I recently updated this post and somehow .4 – 1.6 oz turned into 4-16 oz. The numbers at the bottom which describe how to decide how much to use were correct, but not at the top. I can’t tell you how bad I feel about this!

  60. Molly says:

    Just go in my zinc! There is no way I am ever going to use this much. It has a best by date that is a year from now. Do you think I could freeze it to make the shelf life longer?

  61. Ali says:

    Not to fret Heather!! As a long-time soap maker I can’t tell you how many times I have done that very thing. I figured out a way to save the batch so I don’t lose all my zinc, but I will have enough sunscreen to protect all of North America! Anyone want to trade via snail mail? :-)

    Molly, do not freeze your lotion. When you thaw it out it will be grainy and separate.

    I like the lotion recipe, but it did separate on me. I used to make lotion a lot back in the day and am reminded at what a pain in the rear it can be. Good emulsifiers to use are palm stearic (from Mountain Rose Herbs), and lecithin is also a good emulsifier I hear, although I didn’t have any luck with it.

  62. […] by Isabel and Kira from Mommy Potamus and Frugally […]

  63. […] Homemade Sunscreen Recipe Non-Toxic Homemade Sunscreen From […]

  64. […] here’s the remedy and “How to make non-toxic homemade sunscreen…Most of the active chemical ingredients contain potent endocrine disruptors, and experts […]

  65. Netta Miller says:

    The only zinc oxide I’m familiar with is “Desitin” or the store brands of the diaper rash cream. Would this be acceptable to mix with my virgin coconut oil?

  66. […] you are a do-it-yourself type of mom, you can find a recipe for homemade non-toxic sunblock on MommyPotamusby […]

  67. […] you should avoid both of those situations. Here’s a link to a recipe for homemade non-toxic sunscreen (to use after you’ve absorbed your vitamin D for the day.) There is also research supporting […]

  68. […] 1. How to Make Non-Toxic Homemade Sunscreen from Mommypotamus. […]

  69. […] such as this one from Wellness Mama, this one from Organic Lifestyle Magazine, and this one from MommyPotamus. There are skeptics about the safety of DIY sunscreen options. You can read about their […]

  70. […] this recipe, I tweaked some of my favorite sunscreen recipes from Keeper of the Home, Mommypotamos, Frugally Sustainable, and Homemade Mommy to fit my family’s lifestyle and added TerraShield […]

  71. supersmiley says:

    Hi ! I was looking for recipes for making my own sunscreen protection, but I found out that maybe the zinc oxide could be very toxic put under the sun, have you heard something about? what do you think ?
    Here some quick link I found about in english :

    thank you !

  72. Syrita Barbera says:

    Love the idea of home made sunscreen. Only wish I would have looked into it 25 years ago when my first 2 daughters were little. Better late then never!! Love this and it works great! So much better for your skin. Thanks so much

  73. angie says:

    I’ve been searching for a sunscreen recipe! Do you know if this sunscreen will this leave a white cast on black skin?

  74. Bonita says:

    Love this!

  75. Marjolein says:

    I tried making this, but the zinc oxide doesn’t dissolve in the lotion. It remains sort of gritty.
    I’m not sure what I did wrong. Any suggestions? Are there criteria for the lotions you can use for this?

  76. Rebekah says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I have fair skin that is prone to burning so sunscreen is a daily must for me. Lately I have been trying to eliminate toxins from my life , and unfortunately my precious sunscreen is full of toxic chemicals. Your post is very enlightening and helped me take charge of my sunscreen dilemma. I can’t wait to try your homemade recipe!

  77. Bonnie says:

    I pinned this post. Thanks for the info – very helpful especially the usage rates.

  78. Amber says:

    I love any homemade recipes I can get my hands on! I pinned this post at

  79. […] My general rule of thumb is that I need to be able to pronounce and recognize all ingredients as well as make it at home (although, I may not have the time!).  This product is formulated with non-nano zinc oxide, known to help skin heal.  You can read about why non-nano zinc oxide might be important here. […]

  80. Ana Lara says:

    I was looking for this formula long time ago!! Love all naturals and homemade care products. I am going to make this recipe!!! Thank you very much to share it with us. :) :) :)

  81. […] make your own non-toxic sunscreen! This is a much safer alternative to most store-bought brands. Head on over to Mommypotamus to learn how to make your own non-toxic sunscreen. […]

  82. Stephanie says:

    I pinned the homemade sunscreen – love it!

  83. […] a van load of pastie Northerners head south midwinter…. beware. I attempted making homemade sunscreen inspired by MommyPotomus (I will share my version once I know if it actually works!) Yah, I am all about the belief of […]

  84. Kelly says:

    looking at the ingredients and the recipe, calamine lotion has the zinc oxide and iron oxide. Couldn’t I just mix Calamine lotion with the homemade lotion and have a sunscreen? the only concerns I would have is whether or not Calamine has non-nano zinc oxide.

  85. Becky Goodrich says:

    Love this!!! I am pinning it too for the Counter top table give-a-way as well as I pinned the Ginger Bug recipe. I love your site—thank you for all you do!

  86. […] good for sensitive skin and does not contain any chemicals. Another even more natural option is to make your own sunscreen; I have a few friends that do this. EWG is a great resource for finding safe products for children. […]

  87. Kari Covington says:

    Hello. I just read your blog on making homemade sunscreen. I’m fairly new to all of this and I was reading about the titanium dioxide and how it photodegrades quickly. Does it still do that if the titanium dioxide is not micronized or nano particle? I have read benefits of using titanium dioxide . I was just curious. Thanks so much

  88. […] How to make non-toxic homemade sunscreen | the […]

  89. […] this recipe, I tweaked some of my favorite sunscreen recipes from Keeper of the Home, Mommypotamos, Frugally Sustainable, and Homemade Mommy to fit my family’s lifestyle and added TerraShield […]

  90. shannon says:


    I’ve been using this sunscreen and I’m curious as to your thoughts on it’s safety?


  91. Ellen says:

    I’m bummed. Allergic to zinc. A big no go for me. Any other suggestions for me?

  92. I like the helpful information you provide to your articles. I will bookmark your blog and take a look at once more right here frequently. I’m slightly certain I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  93. […] more zinc oxide will be very little. So at a certain point you’re just wasting zinc oxide.  Read her post here. She also notes that if you have a favorite lotion, you can use this as a base to mix the zinc […]

  94. Maria HD says:

    I’ve been thinking about making my own sunscreen but, having done a little research, am alarmed to discover that zinc oxide contains traces of metals such as lead. 99.99% ZnO2 contains up to 0.002% lead (Pb). I’m struggling to find UK info regarding safety limits but in Canada, they have a limit of 10ppm. This allows for 0.001% lead, putting many of the commercial ZnO2 powders at up to twice the Canadian limit. Admittedly this limit is lower than that deemed safe, but I’m struggling to find what IS a ‘safe’ limit. I want to know that what I’m going to make and slather all over my kids is indeed safe. Anyone got any ideas? x

  95. […] Additional resources:Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep: Sunscreens 2012Natural Sunscreen Choices Sunscreen Exposed: 9 Surprising TruthsHow to Make Non-Toxic Homemade Sunscreen […]

  96. […] How To Make Non-Toxic Sunscreen – It’s really simple to make your own non-toxic sunscreen at home and with this fantastic tutorial, you’ll see just how easy it is! […]

  97. […] you desire.  Here is her blog.  Everything I would tell you, she discusses, so pay attention.  HOMEMADE NON TOXIC SUNSCREEN. For purchase of non-micronized, non-nano zinc Oxide, I bought from Organic Creations.  Remember […]

  98. Aurora says:

    HELP! Can someone please tell me in teaspoons or tablespoons how much zinc to use?? I’m totally confused by the percents! I want an SPF of 20 and I used the lotion base that you had in the video linked to this. You said it made about 9oz. Thanks in advance!

  99. Lynn says:

    Is there a way to make this without a kitchen scale? Do you know how much zinc oxide you would use (1/4 cup, etc??)
    Thanks for the recipe!!

  100. Kim Baker via FB says:

    I don’t know the whole story, but my first generation Greek friends said they use EVOO . That’s it, just EVOO

  101. Crystal Chandler Joplin via FB says:

    That looks complicated, I have to admit! I use mexitan SPF 30 when we are going to be out for long periods in the heat of the day. Its worth the price because it’s not chemical sunscreen and it lasts because we don’t use much!

  102. Coconut and carrot oil combo really does work too! Went to Mexico with husband last year and I used that mixture and just got a little sun, while he used a strong regular sunscreen and burnt.

  103. […] getaway spot sometime this summer, but we may not have much notice. Though I’ve been making homemade sunscreen for years, I don’t usually make it in advance because the shelf life of the base – […]

  104. Georgia Bryan Neefe via FB says:

    Jennifer- Thank you for sharing that. I have to extra cautious since I have three pale skinned, strawberry blonde babies.

  105. […] in with my friend Heather over at, the unofficial queen of DIY. Starting with her non-toxic homemade sunscreen, I began to play with proportions of beeswax, solid fat, liquid oils, and […]

  106. Erik says:

    Great article,
    For people who may not want to buy all the ingredients and make the effort, we make a sunscreen that has just 6 ingredients and is made with non-nano zinc oxide, which is indeed the safest, most effective and only sunscreen active ingredient approved for use on children and babies. It also is fortified with vitamin D3 to supplement the reduction in vitamin D that occurs with sunscreen use.

  107. […] thinking about making my own sunscreen for summer!  My inspiration is from the Mommypotamus and Holistic Squid recipes and I’ll add some Myrrh essential oil to boost sunburn […]

  108. […] I don’t have to worry about sunburns or toxins. So if you really are like me then try out this awesome non-toxic homemade sunscreen. You’ll love […]

  109. Frances says:

    Hello :) What do you think of the Honest Company’s sunscreen products? Are they (or their ingredients) really safe and non-toxic?

  110. Irina says:

    Hi, I noticed you first posted this in 2012, I was wondering if you continued using your homemade sunscreen over the years and how did it work out for you? I kinda jumped the gun on this one and just ordered all the ingredients, and only now doing the research… I’ve read too many people saying it’s not safe and SPF needs to be tested in a lab. Any idea what lab would test homemade sunscreen?? Also read about zinc oxide containing lead, now kinda freaking out about about that even though I ordered non nano, can it still have traces of lead? Lol sorry to bombard you with questions, I just don’t want to put my loved ones in danger because of my DIY project. Thanks in advance!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Irina, we have used it on the rare occasion we are out in the sun for an extended period of time. We haven’t experienced burns on those occasions. Since I am just a mom sharing recipes that I use in my house I can’t really theorize more on that subject.

      Regarding lead, I recently read and article from Chris Kresser that fears about mercury in fish were usually unfounded, because although fish does sometimes contain mercury it almost always contains selenium as well. Selenium binds with mercury and flushes it out of the body according to Kresser. On a hunch, I did some looking and found that selenium also binds with lead, so that might be something worth looking into as you research. Here’s Kresser’s article if you want to take a look:

  111. Debbie says:

    I am unsure about where to purchase the non-nano zinc oxide. In the meantime, I read that you can use just shea butter, coconut oil and red raspberry seed oil for moderate exposure. Does anyone know how I can make this w/o the zinc oxide? Thanks!

    • Chris says:

      Zinc Oxide is available online from many retailers. Unless it is specifically listed as “nano” then it is not nano. Furthermore, Titanium Dioxide is just as safe to use as Zinc. Zinc can photo-catalyze oxidation of hydrocarbons just like Titanium. Both are perfectly safe as the conditions for this to happen on a scale which would actually cause harm do not exist at the beach. Zinc Oxide is probably more readily available.

      • Heather says:

        Hi Chris, in my experience some zinc oxide is nano even if it is not labeled that way. I prefer to look for non-nano, uncoated zinc. I do not think zinc and titanium degrade in the same way based on what I’ve read, but I encourage everyone to look into it and decide what they think.

  112. Kristen B. says:

    Hi Heather,
    This is a great recipe! We’re excited to try to make our own sunscreen for the holiday weekend, but instead of the lotion recipe, I was wondering if you knew if I could add the zinc oxide to the Tallow Balm (from your DIY book) intend of the lotion recipe? Thanks!

  113. […] How To Make Non-Toxic Sunscreen – Another fantastic natural sunscreen recipe that delivers the good stuff to your skin and shuns the harsh rays to keep you safe. […]

  114. […] out poolside, and patio fun! The recipe for Non-toxic, homemade sunscreen comes directly from The Mommypatomus Blog.  In the full article, Heather discusses the active ingredients in most sunscreens, her picks for […]

  115. […] for Homemade Sunscreen Lotion Bars from Heather at Mommypotamus ~ Another great and relatively easy Homemade Sunscreen recipe from […]

  116. Sonia says:

    I recently made a batch of this and scented it with peppermint and lavender. It has since turned from an off white to a fairly bright yellow. I am assuming this is because the essential oils have reacted with the sunlight. Is this correct? Will the sunscreen still be effective?

  117. Valerie says:

    Thank you so much for providing this recipe!! I have been buying the most natural kinds of sunscreen that I can find, and they do indeed leave that white film from the zinc oxide. I hadn’t even thought to try making my own and tinting it. I was also wondering about the nanoparticle/micronization issue, so you definitely cleared that up for me. Great work! I look forward to learning more from you.

  118. Erin says:

    Are you able to get all the beeswax residue out of your food processor? I have the same one but hesitant to use it because even in using my glass measuring cups I have a residue left from lotion making and sunscreen making that I can’t use them for cooking too.

    I have made a similar sunscreen with all the same products and I’m still getting burned. Any tips.

  119. Margie says:

    You mentioned using avocado oil, yes it would need to be refrigerated from day one. I use it to cook with, and the bottle clearly says to refrigerate after opening. It does not harden like coconut oil does however.

  120. sandy says:

    Will this sunscreen work as tanning lotion I am wheatish colour and do not want to become darker. Please help

  121. Rachel says:

    Hi Heather!

    Thank you for this post. I really appreciate all the important information about sunscreen safety and avoiding endocrine disrupting chemicals and nanoparticles. Also, what an awesome recipe for homemade non-toxic sunscreen! I had never heard of Loving Naturals sunscreen, and I’m always grateful to find companies that care and make truly safe products! I personally use Ava Anderson Non-Toxic sunscreen. Have you ever heard of them? The sunscreen is the safest I’ve ever found (& at the lowest price – $15.95 for 2.9 oz) Active ingredients: zinc oxide (23%, non-nanoparticle). Inactive: beeswax (organic), theobroma cacao seed butter (organic cocoa butter), butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter), olea europaea oil (organic olive oil), simmondsia chinensis (organic jojoba oil).

  122. Tami O'Brien says:

    Approximately, how much cocoa powder?

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