Natural Sunscreen That Isn’t Pasty White

Natural Sunscreen That Isn’t Pasty White

As you prepare to soak up the sun during the upcoming summer season, make sure that you protect your skin from the sun’s rays. You’ve likely seen more sunscreen sprays and lotions available with summer on the horizon. Maybe you looked at a few, but didn’t think it was close enough to summer to splurge on sunscreen. Did you know that traditional sunscreen may pose a threat to your skin and the environment? Natural sunscreen is not only effective, but also great for your skin and environmentally friendly. 

Natural sunscreens use mineral-based ingredients like titanium oxide or zinc oxide to block the sun’s rays. These types of sunscreens contain ingredients that are gentler on the skin. They also provide more moisture without irritating the skin, which means you are less likely to experience a reaction. Chemical-based ingredients, on the other hand, absorb UV rays instead of blocking them. These ingredients have been known to cause skin allergies or irritation in young and sensitive skin. 

Natural sunscreen also provides broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. That means that they have higher sun protection factor (SPF), so you can soak up the sun for longer without needing to reapply every hour. You still have to reapply natural sunscreen for optimum skin safety, though. Let’s take a closer look at some of this recipe’s ingredients below.

Zinc Oxide

This is the mineral of choice when it comes to blocking UVA and UVB sun rays. One study found zinc oxide to be effective against a broad range of solar spectrum in experimental models and outdoor settings. It is the only active ingredient in sunscreen that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for infants under six months. Most commercial sunscreens that don’t leave a white residue use nano-sized zinc oxide. Unfortunately, one study found that nano-sized zinc oxide absorbs easily into the skin and can cause unknown problems. Nanoparticles of both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide may cause potential photocarcinogenecity, cytotoxicity, and genotoxicity. 

Carrier Oils

Not only do carrier oils work to condition the skin and help improve moisture content, but some of them also provide SPF qualities. Great choices include coconut oil, carrot seed oil, mango and cocoa butters, and avocado oil. The SPF value of avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil sit around 8, while almond oil sits around 5. Most nonvolatile oils sit between an SPF value of 2 and 8. That means that olive oil and coconut oil have the best SPF values, which is helpful when it comes to selecting carrier oils in the formulation of sunscreens. For this recipe, you will only need coconut oil and shea butter, both of which offer sufficient SPF value.

Natural Sunscreen Recipe


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons beeswax pastilles 
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide powder (non nano!)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (this will vary according to skin tone, but test on your skin at time of blending to adjust if necessary)


  • Place a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water over medium low heat. 
  • Add the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax pastilles to a heat-safe glass jar and place it in the saucepan on the stove. Leave the jar in the saucepan, stirring occasionally until completely melted. 
  • Remove the saucepan from the stove and add the zinc oxide powder and cocoa powder to the jar. Stir to combine, ensuring that there are no powder lumps (30 seconds of stirring should suffice).
  • Pour the sunscreen mixture into a glass storage container and allow it to cool at room temperature. Cover when cooled. 
  • The sunscreen will maintain firmness as long as you keep it out of direct sunlight and not outside in temperatures that exceed 90º Fahrenheit.

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