Homemade Sunscreen

An effective natural sunscreen recipe plus some easy instant sun burn remedies

If you already make your own lotion, making homemade sunscreen will be no problem at all for you. If not, it's quite a bit easier than you might think, and I'll bet that once you've tried it you'll never go back to store brands again.

Not sure? Read your sunscreen label and see how many of the ingredients you recognize. Now try to figure out how many of them are actually good for you.

When you make your own body lotion or sunscreen, YOU control what goes into it. That said, please be aware that this homemade sunscreen recipe has not been evaluated by any regulating bodies and is for personal use only. Use at your own risk; click here to view the full disclaimer.

If you're looking for an FDA approved natural sunscreen, click the links to buy chemical free herbal sunscreen.

Homemade Suncreen Recipe


1 tablespoon (3 to 4g) Emulsifying wax

1/3 cup (75ml) Jojoba, Grapeseed oil or Kukui Nut oil

2 tablespoons (15g) Zinc Oxide

2 tablespoons (25ml) Aloe Vera gel (NOT from the pharmacy. Buy from a natural health food store. Pharmacy aloe has alcohol and other preservatives.)

1/2 cup (125ml) distilled water

1 teaspoon (5ml) Vitamin E

10 drops Grapefruit Seed extract

Up to 30 drops of your chosen essential oil OR one of the Essential Oil blends below


CAUTION: Zinc oxide should not be inhaled. Wear gloves and a mask.

  1. Stir together the carrier oil, emulsifying wax and zinc oxide in the top part of a double boiler, warming slowly over a low heat until the wax is melted. Remove from heat and pour in the Vitamin E. (I use a large heat-proof Pyrex glass measuring cup in about an inch of water in a large pot.)

  2. In a separate pot on the stove or in the microwave, gently warm the aloe vera and water just until lukewarm.

  3. Slowly pour the water into the oil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk or electric hand mixer until the mixture is thick and smooth. Note: If you do not warm the water mixture, your homemade sunscreen will separate later on. Do not bypass this step.

  4. Stir in the essential oils and the grapefruit seed extract. Pour the homemade sunscreen into a clean, sterilized 8oz (250ml) dark glass or PET plastic bottle and allow it to cool before putting the lid on.

  5. Shake the bottle occasionally as the sunscreen cools to prevent the ingredients from separating. Store in a cool, dark place.

This natural sunscreen recipe makes approximately 8oz (250ml) homemade sunscreen with an SPF of about 20.

Essential Oils for Homemade Sunscreen

Do not use any of the citrus oils for scenting your homemade sunscreen because they increase your risk of sunburn.

Lavender Soother: 20 drops lavender essential oil, 3 drops chamomile, 3 drops marjoram

Lemon Mint Creamsicle: 10 drops peppermint, 10 drops spearmint, 5 drops lemongrass OR tea tree, 1 drop ylang ylang

Sweet Vanilla Sunshine: 10 drops vanilla absolute, 2 drops ylang ylang

I replaced the water in this recipe with coconut milk, and MAN is it awesome! You smell good enough to eat!

I wanted to add a teaspoon of rum extract... but I read the ingredients and just couldn't do it. I sure do like the idea of a coconut-rum homemade sunscreeen scent, though!

Customizing Your Natural Sunscreen Recipe

For a thicker consistency, add a little more emulsifying wax (up to a tablespoon more for a thick cream.) For a thinner homemade sunscreen, add a bit less.

You can also reduce the strength of the scent by decreasing the number of drops of essential oils. Do not increase the essential oils, however, since they should only be a certain percentage of the total recipe.

Choosing your carrier oils: To make a non-greasy sunscreen, use Grapeseed oil. Kukui nut oil is great for protecting against sun damage as well as for alleviating any damage that does occur. It's an excellent carrier oil for this recipe.

Some sources say that carrier oils such as coconut oil, olive oil and rice bran oil have sun-blocking properties. However, there's almost no scientific evidence to support this (that I could find) so I think it's safest to use the zinc oxide and also use a blend of these as the base oil if you want some extra SPF insurance.

Rosehip oil and sea buckthorn oil are great for relieving sun damage, so you could replace a tablespoon or two of your main carrier oil with these oils to create a strong base oil blend.

Some people like to use titanium oxide instead of zinc oxide, but reports show that titanium oxide may be hazardous to our health. Recent studies have shown that Titanium can damage DNA, and it has been named as a potential carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).

Where to Buy Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients

My favorite supplier for aromatherapy recipe ingredients is Mountain Rose Herbs. I'm consistently impressed with their prices and their top-quality, earth-friendly products. Here's some quick links to the ingredients you'll need for this homemade sunscreen recipe...

Unfortunately, Mountain Rose doesn't carry zinc oxide, so you'll need to buy zinc oxide from Amazon.com. One website mentioned you could get it at your local pharmacy, but I can't.

If you know of a good supplier for zinc oxide, please let me know by contacting me. Thanks!

Buying Natural Sunscreen to Go

Oh my goodness, you have to check these out! I LOVE them! Mountain Rose makes these awesome little sunsticks - convenient, compact and chemical-free...

Goes on clear.

Easy to apply - ideal for face, ears, etc.

Skin-saving organic oils include jojoba, coconut and avocado.

Available in Coconut or Unscented.

Sun Burn Remedies

Here's a couple of quick, easy sun burn remedies you can use if you forget your sunscreen.

Mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel (the good stuff, not the drugstore kind) with 3 to 5 drops of lavender essential oil. Apply to hot skin.

Apply a cool vinegar compress to the  area. If you want, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the vinegar. Lavender really is the best oil for burns.

Pour up to 4 cups of milk plus 10 drops lavender essential oil into a lukewarm or slightly cool bath and relax for 10 to 15 minutes. You can use milk powder - just dissolve it in some hot water first, then adjust the temperature so you don't burn overheated skin.

This bath remedy also works with tea. Make a ton of really strong tea, then dilute it into cool bathwater until the temperature is lukewarm or slightly cool. This works because the tannins in the tea soothe the sunburn.

Here's a link for an easy recipe for a lavender salve - it's a great home remedy for sun burn.

Home Remedy for Sun Burn

Lavender Lotion

Peppermint Lotion

How to Customize Your Lotion Recipes

Lotion Recipes Main Page

Aromatherapy Remedies Main Page

Aromatherapy Recipes Homepage from Homemade Sunscreen