Non-Toxic DIY Waterproof Sunscreen

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DIY Watreproof Sunscreen | Real Food RN

If you have been following my blog, then you probably know I am serious about getting the chemicals out of my house and off of my children! It seems that everything you buy in the store is a chemical soup. Enter sunscreen. Wow, the list of chemicals is looooong! So, I bought the natural kind, made with good ingredients. Great stuff, hefty price tag! That’s when I decided to just give it a go and make my own. Guess what? It’s super easy, cost-effective, and completely non-toxic — plus, my recipe is actually good for your skin! Bonus: it is also DIY waterproof sunscreen!

Note: I get a lot of questions about where to buy if you don’t want to make your own sunscreen. There is a great one you can buy that is rated a 1 by the EWG! You can find it HERE. I also love their sun stick that you can toss in your purse and diaper bag!

DIY Waterproof Sunscreen


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil — contains a natural SPF of 10 — where to find
  • 1/4 cup sweet almond oil — great for skin elasticity — where to find
  • 1/4 cup beeswax — where to find
  • 2 Tbsp Shea Butter — I love this brand!, they even send you a free recipe book for more DIY stuff!
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E — keeps your lotion from going rancid and is good for your skin — where to find
  • 2 Tbsp Zinc Oxide powder  — contains a natural SPF of 20 — where to find
  • Optional: I love to add lavender essential oil to mine because it gives it a wonderful scent and is very beneficial to the skin. I typically add about 30 drops, after it is all mixed up and has cooled a bit. I only use therapeutic grade essential oils, so I am sure that the quality is to my standards (especially for use on my kids!).


DIY Watreproof Sunscreen | Real Food RN
  • Warm over medium heat until everything is melted, but don’t let it get too hot or the next step will be painful!
  • Pour into a glass jar, add in the zinc
DIY Watreproof Sunscreen | Real Food RN
  • Put a tight lid on the jar and shake really well (the reason for this step is so you avoid breathing in the zinc powder). Be careful, it can be hot. I wrap a towel around the jar when I shake it!
DIY Watreproof Sunscreen | Real Food RN
  • Pour into desired containers. I use cute jelly jars (like these), or for at the beach I use refillable silicon tubes (like these)
  • Allow to cool completely before using
  • Use when out in the sun for prolonged periods of time, reapply as necessary. This stuff lasts, even in the water! Gotta love DIY waterproof sunscreen!
  • It makes about 1 cup and lasts for quite a while — I have not had it go bad yet. I also store it in the fridge in the winter to keep the oils from going rancid
DIY Watreproof Sunscreen | Real Food RN

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Waterproof Sunscreen.jpg

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163 Replies to “Non-Toxic DIY Waterproof Sunscreen”

  1. Do you think I can use olive oil in place of almond oil? I have a toddler with a nut allergy. Thanks for any tips!

      1. I am allergic to coconut do you think I can use just the two oil in substitution of the coconut? Did the recipe have coconut oil in it? Thx.

    1. I bought the ivory and use that one for everything. There is something about white that makes my lotions seem more luxurious 🙂

  2. Is there anything that you could recommend as an alternative to the beeswax? I'm highly allergic to bee venom and I was instructed by my doctor to avoid all things bees produce. Thanks for your help in advance! 🙂

  3. Looks good, I’m dying to make my own sunscreen too 🙂 I’m not sure where you get it from that coconut oil has a natural 10 SPF though? Everywhere I’ve seen, it’s estimated between 2-6. Guess it doesn’t make much if a difference with the zinc in there anyway, just curious 🙂

    1. How often should we reapply? And how much total spf is there following the directions? Also, how do you calculate how much dog goes in per oz or however it’s measured?

  4. Does the white rub in easily? I’ve been using Badger sunscreen and do not like that we look like little ghosts as it is nearly impossible to rub until you’re no longer white!

    1. Yeah you have to rub it a bit but it does rub in just fine and continues to soak in for a while. My kids were a little white at first but after playing for a few minutes it had soaked in 🙂

  5. Can I double the zinc for added spf or will it be too much zinc? Worried it will burn when I apply it. My son needs more than 20-30 spf. TIA!

  6. I’m so interested in trying this for my family! How much does this recipe make? And what’s the shelf life? Do you think it would stay fresher in the fridge?

    1. It makes about 1/2 cup and lasts for a while. I have not had it go bad yet. I store it in the fridge in the winter to keep the oils from going rancid. I should go add that to the post…. 🙂

  7. I made the sunscreen recipe and found it super greasy. It gets all over my clothes and stains them. Any ideas to fix this?

    1. I have not had that experience. Did you use the same ingredients that I listed? I have found some ingredients to be greasier and of a different texture in some of the stuff that I make. When I find a good one, I stick with it so I know how things will turn out. You could try reducing the amount of shea butter.

  8. I don’t know if you have more information than I do about this or not, but Shea Butter is being advertised by one seller on Amazon (betterSheabutter) as being naturally high in vitamin A. While that sounds like it could be a good thing, it may actually be a very bad thing if using it for a sunscreen.

    I read this:

    According to ewg’s skin deep site, that collects information on toxicity of ingredients in cosmetics & puts out a sunscreen guide…vitamin A is an important ingredient to avoid in a sunscreen. “Excess exposure to Vitamin A could be associated with toxicity such as effects on reproduction and development. When exposed to UV light, retinol compounds break down and produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and cause gene mutations, a precursor to cancer. Recently available data from an FDA study indicate that retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. ”

    Vitamin A is great internally, but apparently maybe NOT a good idea to put on skin that will be exposed to sun. I don’t know how much Shea butter actually contains, and if it is enough to be a concern.

    The skin deep site is very helpful for looking up info. on any ingredient going into a skin care or cosmetic product.

    Shea butter itself does not have a warning on that site, though it says the data on it is limited. I don’t know if they are unaware of the vitamin A content, or perhaps Shea butter does not really contain enough vitamin A to be a concern.

    I’m hoping someone will see this who has more information about it.

    1. The article clearly states that the vitamin A they are referring to is ADDED to cosmetics. Shea butter’s content of vitamin a (naturally occurring in the product) is 0%.

  9. I would like now can you keep this in the refrigerator? Or on in a ice chest if you take it to the beach? We are going to
    Florida this summer.I want to make this.

  10. I would love to make this sunscreen, however, I am wondering if it melts at all if left in a beach bag. We beach and boat a lot but don’t always bring a cooler.

  11. Hi Kate, thanks for all your great posts. I have a dumb question. I noticed you put the lotion in silicone tubes, is it ok to use silicone with EO’s? Thanks.

  12. Which ingredients make this waterproof? I made a batch of it last night and it smells amazing! Can’t wait to use it on my little ones. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

      1. Hi Kate, can you substitute cocoa butter instead of the shea butter? Would all the melting points and uses be the same? And would that still make it waterproof? Thanks!

  13. Using the ingredients you have listed above, is it just enough to make one batch, or will I have ingredients leftover to make more batches??

  14. Do you make any that you sell? I know I could do it myself, but I don’t really want the hassle right now.

  15. Hi! I usually just mix up some CO and carrot seed but I want to try this recipe! Do you think it would be ok to leave out the zinc oxide? Just curious?

  16. So excited to try this! I’ve always burned in just a few minutes of sun exposure and it was always really painful and peely afterward. Just wondering if pure aloe vera gel would be a useful addition…?

  17. Just finished making this and thought I’d mention 2 things. First, it makes 1 cup, not a half cup. I almost doubled the recipe until I saw all of the ingredients had to make at least 1 cup. Second, could you mention in the instructions so the next person doesn’t make this mistake, that not only is it painful to shake it if it’s too hot, but putting a lid on something hot and shaking it, or blending it like soup in a blender, can cause the contents to spray out as steam is trying to escape. I had quite the mess after shaking up my jar! Other than that, thank you for a great recipe!

  18. i made some last night and was pleased with the results except that mine was too hard. The photo you have posted looks to be the consistency of a thick lotion but mine will definitely not squeeze out of a bottle. Did I use too much beeswax maybe? I followed the recipe very closely. I thought about making another quarter of a recipe and leaving out the beeswax. What do you think? Has anyone else experienced this problem?

    1. Hi Rhonel.
      I’ve learned that with any recipe, always start with less beeswax, them add more if necessary. It’s easier to fix that way.

  19. I was wondering if I could use olive oil instead of jojoba or almond oil? If not… what other oil would substitute well for this? I am trying to use what I have already. I ordered all the other ingredients and forgot the almond oil!

  20. I used the ingredients that you suggested, except I used Barleans organic coconut oil and Key West African organic unrefined shea butter. Love the texture of it, and the smell. Do you think it’s ok even though we don’t look like ghosts after application? I added the same zinc oxide you suggested and the exact other ingredients. I made 12 small jelly jars full wirh 3 batches. What would you sell each for~have some interest. Thank you.

  21. I am excited to try this but I ordered coconut oil and it is a liquid can I still use it for this? Should I get it in a solid?

  22. i made this recipe a couple months ago. love it! when I just made it again (using the same ingredients) I’m having difficulties getting it to thicken. Can I reheat it and add more wax? Cornstarch perhaps? TIA

  23. I just made this, and so far, it’s great! I found the recipe amazingly easy to follow, and everything mixed as it was supposed to. I filled three, 3oz silicon containers. It seems a little greasy, and a little goes a long way. I added 10 drops of lavender essential oil to help give it a better scent. I am looking forward to trying it our, but right now it’s too hot outside to go sit in the sun. I am very fair skinned, so I tend to burn really easy in a short amount of time. As soon as I am able to test it out, I will follow up with the results.

  24. I made this once and it turned out beautifully…I just made it again today….I tripled all the ingredients…I have 4 kids and we’re getting ready to head out on a 2 week river trip….anyways….it’s not thickening like it did last time….o ts more runny….it’s a there anything I can do…it’s been almost 24 hours since I made it. If not…will it still be just as effective despite the consistency?

  25. I have made homemade sunscreen before with all the above ingredients, minus the beeswax. It is either completely hard or completely liquid. And when it hardens, it separates. Does this recipe come out creamy, like a lotion as your picture shows?

    1. I make mine with a wide mouth mason jar sitting in a pan with an inch of boiling water. Works perfectly every time and no real cleanup. I just use the same mason jar and wipe it out well. I love this recipe. We use it because we have some serious allergies to the chemicals they use in most lotions. Love, love, LOVE this! So easy!

  26. Any idea about an alternative to the shea butter?
    I’m allergic to cocoa butter and shea butter =\
    It’s rather unfortunate….

  27. Hi, I was just wondering if there was anyway to up the SPF in this sunscreen. Normally my family and I use sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher, so just having SPF 30 makes me a little nervous. Thanks!

  28. Hi Kate,
    Do you know of anything I could replace the coconut oil with? I tend to be allergic to coconut oil and break out.
    Thanks and I too and always looking for alternate creams of all kinds.

    1. I think replacing coconut oil would really alter the texture. But you could try anything that is solid at 74F. Right now I can’t think of anything but butter, LOL. That might be gross. Do some searching online. Let me know what you find out.

    2. I’m also allergic to coconut… I’m going to try cold pressed sweet almond oil. Its the only thing I can find to replace the coconut oil.

  29. i noticed some comments about the oils. Try sunflower oil in place of the almond and vitamin E oils. It is with the cooking oils at most grocery stores for under $5. It is non-comedogenic, absorbs easily, has a light fragrance, is nourishing, lightweight, and contains naturally high levels of vitamin E. I use it in place of olive oil and almond oil in my soap making frequently, as well as for oil pulling and general skin care. It’s also great to cook with as it has a very high smoke point and won’t scorch easily.

  30. Hi Kate, Question: After making two batches one thicker for face and another thinner for body, I tried the lotion on my hands and they started itching and tingling. Has anyone had problems with the powdered zinc oxide as the other ingredients, I use or have used on skin from tim e to time with no problem.
    I have used zinc oxide crem on my nose without this symptom.

  31. Interesting can’t wait to make the Waterproof Sunscreen. Can I put Zinc oxide in homemade lip balm? My recipe I use makes 2 tubes how much zinc oxide should I use?

    1. You could try it in chapstick, but your lips would probably turn white. I am not sure how much to put in the recipe.

  32. Thanks for the great recipe and information! I’m excited to make this safe sunscreen for myself and my family. I do have a question: many of the products used are sold in large quantities online. I’m guessing it’ll take me awhile to go through an entire bag if zinc oxide, etc so I’m wondering if these various ingredients maintain their effectiveness for many years if stored properly and not mixed until ready to use? Thanks!

    1. I have a shelf in my laundry room where I keep all of my DIY supplies, none of them have gone bad or expired. I like to buy bulk because I make lots of them and give them away as gifts too!

  33. I made this last summer and had it in my fridge all winter. Should it still be good and effective?

  34. Hi Kate, what do you think about replacing the almond oil with hemp seed oil?? I LOVE hemp seed oil in my skin care products.

    1. Coconut oil is good for many reasons: it’s gets hard at low temps, it’s a high heat oil so it won’t denature when cooked, it has a 4-10 SPF… It’s also clear, and smells nice.

  35. If I’m adding essential oils (carrot seed oil) to the recipe, are these silicone squeeze tubes still ok to use? I’ve never used anything but glass with EOs, but I really don’t want to lug glass jars everywhere we go! Thanks! So excited to try this recipe!

  36. Kate,
    The consistency of mine turned out really hard! To soften it should I do less beeswax or less shea butter? The avocado oil seemed to work out nicely but I’m wondering if that contributed to it being hard too since it’s such a light weight oil.

    1. Hi Mawlee,
      I realize this is extremely late, and I’m not Kate, but reduce the amount of beeswax.
      I did something similar, adding it to lotion to make it more travel friendly as a recipe instructed, and it was just way too much.
      I would cut it in half, and see if the results are to your liking.

  37. I made it as noted above and it wasn’t thickening well, so I put it in the refrigerator. After that it was too hard to squeeze out. It seems to be ok if I let it sit in the sun or in warm water for a while before trying to use it, but any idea why it could have come out so hard? And way to fix it?

    Also, you might want to mention setting aside kitchen tools that are only for making sunscreen as cleaning the zinc out of everything was HARD!!

  38. Hi Kate,
    Any solution to it being too hard? Like Mawlee, it thickened a lot and I can’t swueeze it out of the tubes. I followed the recipe exactly as you wrote it. Ideas?

  39. I notice you haven’t answered any questions about how to increase the spf or what the spf might be on the recipe as-is. I am very fair and have to use high spf, so this is a Huge concern. Please reply on this topic. Thanks!

    1. You can add red raspberry seed carrier oil and carrot seed carrier oil to increase spf…..about 1 tsp. each.

  40. I just learned that carrot seed ESSENTIAL OIL doesn’t have SPF. We have been misleading the information about carrot seed ESSENTIAL OIL. I was told to use carrot seed oil (carrier oil) because it does have SPF. So, do you know about the difference between carrot seed essential oil and carrot seed oil?

  41. After a day in the sun that I didn’t anticipate i knew it was time to get serious and make some sunscreen. Since I am a soap maker I have all the ingredients including non nano zinc oxide. I am hoping for a great outcome. You do know that there are no universal standards for therapeutic essential oils. Does Gary himself set the therapeutic grading for his products? I’ve always wonder about that. well, I’m off to make my sun screen and hoping for another sunny day (rare where I’m from) to test it out.

    1. Hi Belle, that is a very good question. I do not believe that Gary sets the universal standards himself, but I know he has the highest quality standards for his company!

  42. Does anyone have any tips for clean up? Getting the mixture off of the class jar and measuring cups in my opinion has been a nightmare.

    1. I used blue dawn dish soap on all the items I used to make this and worked like a charm but I found you have to put the soap on the item and use a scrubby. Worked awesome for me 🙂

  43. Through much research I have found out that essential oils do not have enough scale of which they are grated, it just depends on what the company puts on the bottle.

  44. I just wanted to thank you for your sunscreen recipe. I’ve made it several times and absolutely love it! It has even helped clear up my daughter’s acne. It’s the best!

  45. I have recently been diagnosed with lupus and am supposed to limit sun exposure. Difficult to do in AZ. Hate sunscreens because of the smell. My hands and wrists are being affected from the sun coming thru the window while driving. Can’t wait to try this. Thank you!

  46. I absolutely love this as I am trying to rid my house of all chemicals! I have recently been introduced to Norwex, it is a business that sells microfiber cloths that just use water to clean literally everything in your house! So far I am super impressed and very satisfied, I would recommend it to anyone! Also, I use an app called Think Dirty that you can enter a product or scan the upc and it rates it from a O(the best) to IO(the worst). Everything that I’m using from shampoo to dish soap has been horrible! Thanks for sharing a clean recipe for sunscreen, I will definitely give it a try!

    1. I use NOrwex too and love my mops and rags! The EWG (Healthy Living app) app is more accurate than Think Dirty, have you checked that one out?

  47. So far, loving this recipe. My toddler doesn’t hate it and it doesn’t smell or sting if she gets it in her eyes/mouth. I wonder if it could also work as a diaper cream since most diaper creams have zinc in them. Or, made without the zinc, just as a nice balm for irritated skin.

  48. Thank you for this recipe, it’s amazing, not only does it sink well into your skin, doesn’t wash off in sea of pool water but it really protects! We are very fair skinned and didn’t burn at all. I have also not had any issues with it being too greasy. Now making up batches of it for friends and their families.

  49. Mine turned out kinda runny? Is that normal? The one I was given last year of this same recipe was a lot more solid. Wondering if I did something wrong LOL

  50. I’ve had this recipe pinned for years but never got around to making it. Now that I have a toddler and prefer not to use commercial sunscreen, I thought this is the best time to try it…and it is amazing! I love it! So mad at myself for not trying it sooner. It works a little too well; I don’t even have a little bit of a tan and we’ve been to the pool quite a bit this summer lol Thanks so much for sharing!

  51. i live in brazil, does this sunscreen has high enough SPF? would love to try out this recipe on my kids. how long do you usually reapply?

  52. Hi, I’m wondering if you can pour it from melted, directly into the silicone bottle, powder, cap it, then shake and let cool? If not, how easy/hard is it to pour into the refillable bottles for the beach, once it’s cooled down? Can you pour it? Or do you more, like, spoon it in?

    1. It’s harder to shake in the smaller container, the jar works much better. It’s also harder to pour into the bottles once cooled. I guess you could spoon it in, but that might be messy

  53. Also, can you substitute cocoa butter instead of Shea butter for a better scent? Or would that change the recipe? Thanks

  54. Hi Kate,

    The mixture has tiny bits of Zinc, and I shaked it really well. Can I still use it?

    Thank you

  55. HI 🙂
    I like your article, I have been working with a recipe like that for some years now and use argan oil and helichrysum oils too for the benefit of the skin. For the suncream to be SPF 30 your zinc oxide needs to be 20% of the recipe. Also I didn’t like the white glow it left and solved it with a good spoon on cocoa. It gives it a foundation kind of colour and easily looks good without the white 🙂
    I love the recipe and it has worked well for me for 3 years now in all sort of warm to hot conditions near the equator.
    Well worth the effort

  56. Hey Kate!

    Love your homegrown sunscreen, thanks for the recipe I mixed up a batch and it’s great! I too hate all the crap they put in commercial stuff…

    Got a question for you…

    I’m after the waterproof element of it, we live in the Seattle area and we’re often over in Lake Chelan and I tend to get swimmers itch here. It’s an odd little schistosome that burrows into the skin on accident then stupidily dies and totally uselessly gives an allergic reaction that itches for weeks. I don’t need the SPF, I tan easily and don’t get sunburned so I’m looking for the waterproof bit which apparently keeps those little buggers out. Your recipe works great but I’m curious: why do you add almond oil, shea butter and beeswax? why not just coconut oil which I’ve tried and seems to do the waterproof thing albeit not quite as durable? Thanks!


    1. It’s for nourishing the skin, and for the texture of the cream. Too much of the waxy and it will be hard, too much of the liquid and it will be greasy.

  57. How does the consistency end up like a lotion vs. Harden up like a solid? I want to try making it but don’t want it solidifying in the tube

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