Summer is the best time of year for many families, so sun protection is important! Learn how to make easy homemade sunscreen bars using natural ingredients.
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Ever since we moved to the mountains, I have come to appreciate summer just a bit more. The climate in the mountains is a bit more moderate during summer compared to other parts of Southern California, so I count myself lucky.
Even though it’s rare the temperature peaks out of the 80s, we still get plenty of sunshine. After all, we are closer to the sun up here!
We’re pretty good about staying out of the sun for extended periods during peak hours. However, we still use sunscreen on days where we’re in the sun all day – like when we go for a hike or spend a day at the lake.
Sunscreen and expiration dates
I find that most sunscreens expire before we ever use the whole tube, so the idea of sunscreen bars became very appealing. Since they are not water-based (or aloe-based), they have a longer shelf life.
You can go by the expiration dates on your ingredients when you’re making things like lotion bars, salves and other DIY projects that don’t contain water-based ingredients (including aloe). Simply use the expiration date of the ingredient that expires first and you have the expiration date of your latest DIY goodies.
Calculating SPF in homemade sunscreen
While it’s impossible to perfectly determine the SPF of homemade sunscreen, you can get an approximate SPF by using these percentages of zinc oxide in your sunscreen recipe:
- For SPF 2-5, you’ll want to use 5% zinc oxide
- For SPF 6-11, you’ll want to use 10% zinc oxide
- For SPF 12-19, you’ll want to use 15% zinc oxide
- For SPF 20+, you’ll want to use 20% zinc oxide
Always use common sense in the sun and reapply sun block often, especially after going in the water or perspiring.
Purchase natural sunscreen instead
If you don’t want to fiddle with making your own sunscreen bars, the brands of sunscreen I purchase most often are Earth Mama Organics and Goddess Garden. They both have stellar ingredients and quality.
However, I think you’ll enjoy the rewards of making your own sunscreen bars this summer. And be sure to whip up a batch of my after-sun spray. Your skin will love it after a long day in the sun!
Learn how to make your own sunscreen bars
These all natural sunscreen bars are easier to make than you might think. If you regularly make DIY beauty projects, you probably have everything on hand except for the zinc oxide. Buy that ingredient once and you’re set for years.
Homemade Sunscreen Bars
- Add the shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax pellets to a double boiler over medium heat, and stir frequently until it's melted and clear.
- Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the vitamin E oil and sweet almond oil until well combined.
- Add the lavender essential oil, then stir until well combined.
- Whisk in the zinc oxide, slowly and carefully. It's best to wear a face mask while you do this step so you don't inhale the zinc oxide. If you need to use a hand mixer to get it fully incorporated, you can transfer it to a large mixing bowl.
- After everything is evenly incorporated, pour the mixture into your silicone mold and allow it to cool completely. You can place the silicone mold on a cutting board or cookie sheet and place it in the fridge for a couple of hours to expedite the process.
- Once the sunscreen bars are completely cooled, store them in an airtight container, like a mason jar, in fridge until ready to use.