How to Make Natural Sunscreen Bars

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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.

Three sunscreen bars on a brown tablecloth with blog post title on image

My family doesn’t go through a lot of sunscreen because we’re pretty good about staying out of the sun for extended periods during peak hours. However, we still use sunblock on days where we’re in the sun all day – like when we go for a hike or spend a day at the lake.

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.

Plus 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.

2 sunscreen bars - 1 in te foreground on a wood slice and two in the background tied with a blue ribbon

Homemade Sunscreen Bars

These homemade sunscreen bars are easy to make using natural ingredients.  
4.80 from 15 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 3 Bars



  • Double Boiler
  • Electric hand mixer
  • Silicone mold of your choice


  • 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.
    Supplies needed to make homemade sunscreen bars with natural ingredients
  • Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the vitamin E oil and sweet almond oil until well combined.
    Adding oils to melted wax in bowl
  • Add the lavender essential oil, then stir until well combined.
    Lavender essential oils being added to wax and oil in bowl
  • 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.
    Adding zinc oxide to bowl of melted wax and oil
  • 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.
    Homemade sunscreen ingredients in a mixing bowl with whisk
  • Once the sunscreen bars are completely cooled, store them in an airtight container, like a mason jar, in fridge until ready to use.
    Two sunscreen bars on a brown tablecloth


Be sure to immediately wash everything as zinc oxide can be difficult to clean up. Make sure to use hot, soapy water for best results.

Tips for Making Sunscreen Bars

Sunscreen and expiration dates

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, but you want to buy something amazingly high quality, check out Earth Mama Organics. We’ve used their products for a dozen years now, and they have a great Mineral Sunscreen line.

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 after-sun spray. Your skin will love it after a long day in the sun!

9 thoughts on “How to Make Natural Sunscreen Bars”

    1. There is no guarantee what the SPF will be as I’m not sure of the quality of ingredients you’re using. As written, the zinc oxide accounts for about 14% of the volume of ingredients in this recipe, so it’s likely in the SPF 10-12 range. There is a chart in the post for customizing the percentage of zinc for SPF coverage to your preferences.

    1. Since these sunscreen bars don’t have any water-based ingredients, I suggest using the expiration date of the ingredient that expires soonest. Exposing them to water and too much sunlight will make them expire sooner as well.

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