19 November 2014

DIY Natural Sunscreen

NB before reading - have been using this over the past month and found it not to be very effective.  So unfortunately it has been removed from our bag as a sunscreen.  I have however made another three batches of it, minus the zinc, as a really amazing moisturiser.  So still useful, and lovely to use.  Just not as a sunblock.  

Sunscreen.  Something you can't be without over the summer in kiwiland.  Well, you're wise not to be without.  We go through a heap of sunblock, and over the years have tried a million different brands, and a bunch of different types - aerosol, pump, squeeze, tub...  Generally I've always just bought whatever is cheapest, however the price of sunscreen is getting increasingly expensive, no matter how budget the brand.  Couple that with a stepson who has very sensitive skin and an 18-month old who has, well, baby skin, and it's time to look at alternatives.  

My sisters-in-law in the UK are a fountain of information on all things natural, in particular DIY natural products.  So, when one posted a link to the Wellness Mama blog recently, I decided to have a look.  I was genuinely surprised how straightforward making a lot of everyday products actually is.  I'd been imagining all sorts of crazy paraphernalia and ingredients, but no.  For most things only a few ingredients are required.  Then you can add in extras if you choose (to scent or colour), or just go with the basic.  

Here's what you need (and what you need to do) to make a basic sunscreen with an SPF of between 20 and 40 (depending on how effective the carrot seed oil is, and whether or not you choose to use it).  I got my ingredients from Bin Inn (coconut oil) and Lotus Oils, a kiwi company based in sunny Waipukurau.  

1/2 cup olive oil or sweet almond oil (I used cosmetic grade olive oil)
1/4 cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4 and smells nice)
1/4 cup beeswax 
2 tbsp zinc oxide powder - careful not to inhale (natural SPF 20, or more if you use more) 
Optional: 1 tsp carrot seed oil (natural SPF 35-40)

  1. Combine ingredients, except the zinc powder, in large glass jar - I used a cleaned out pasta sauce jar.  
  2. Fill medium saucepan with about 5 cm water and place over medium heat.  Put the lid loosely on your jar and place into the water.  
  3. As the water heats the ingredients in the jar will start to melt - stir occasionally to combine them.  When completely melted add in your zinc oxide, stir well, and pour into the jar or tub you're going to keep your sunscreen in.  I used an old jam jar, but a plastic tub will be fine too.  
  4. Stir a few times as mixture cools, to ensure the zinc is fully incorporated.  
  5. Start enjoying - it'll moisturise like a lotion too - best used within 6 months.  
NB: Other ingredients you could use in addition to, or in place of, carrot seed oil are: 

Red raspberry seed oil (natural SPF 25-50)
Shea butter (natural SPF 4)
Almond oil (natural SPF 5)

Also, essential oils if you prefer a more strongly scented cream.  You'd use about 15 drops.  

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