Homemade Sunscreen without Zinc Oxide

I made my own homemade sunscreen after finding out that the one I bought at the store had weird ingredients in it.

I didn’t exactly want these to be absorbed into my skin (yes, even despite it being cruelty-free). This recipe was adapted from several different recipes and was my first time making my own sunscreen.

Welcome to my homemade sunscreen recipe without zinc oxide! With just seven ingredients and seven easy steps you can be on your way to enjoying the sun without getting burned!

Homemade Sunscreen Recipe without Zinc Oxide



1/4 cup shea butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/8 cup avocado oil

2 tbsp. beeswax granules

1 tsp. carrot seed oil

1 tsp. red raspberry seed oil

Any essential oils you want to scent it (trust me, you’re going to want to scent it) I used lavender but you can use whatever you want.

Update Note: Readers have commented that citrus essential oils are photosensitive, so you may want to avoid these!

So How Do You Make It?

Step One

In a saucepan, put the shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, and beeswax in over medium heat. You’re on your way to having great homemade sunscreen!


Step Two

Let all of these ingredients melt together, stirring occasionally. The beeswax will be the last thing to melt.

Step Three

After everything is melted, pull the pan off the heat and let it sit until it cools down to room temperature. It’ll look something like this once it’s cooled:


Step Four

Put the whole thing in the fridge for 15-45 minutes. You want it to set up a bit but not be too firm!

Step Five

Remove pan from the fridge and add the carrot seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, and your essential oils if you want to scent it (I used about 20 drops of lavender in mine). Then stir! You can use a regular spoon for this, it doesn’t matter. When you first start to whip it, it’ll look a little lumpy:


Step Six

Keep whipping for about two minutes or until smooth. The mixture should look something like this when you are finished:


Step Seven

Find an appropriate sized jar or container for your homemade sunscreen (whatever you’d prefer to keep your sunscreen in) and scoop the mixture in. Walaah! You are done. I used an old honey jar for mine:


Note that this doesn’t make that much homemade sunscreen. This jar is pretty small. You may want to double the recipe if you are planning on sharing this or using it a lot. For me, I didn’t want to make a ton because I wasn’t sure how it’d turn out. Now, I’d happily make another batch!

These are the amounts of the SPF in all the ingredients used:

Coconut oil: SPF 5

Shea butter: SPF 5

Red raspberry seed oil: SPF 25-50

Carrot seed oil: SPF 35-40

Avocado oil: SPF 7

Also just FYI, I had to order the beeswax, red raspberry seed oil, and carrot seed oil online. I couldn’t find these at my local stores.

I was able to find the shea butter at the supermarket and I already had the essential oils, avocado oil, and coconut oil on hand. All of these ingredients are a little pricey but the good news is that there will be enough for you to make batches and batches of homemade sunscreen to come.

When I finished it, despite the essential oils, all I could smell was the carrot seed oil. It was an overpowering, strange smell. But, I applied the sunscreen to my arms and face today and my husband smelled my face and said all he could smell was lavender. Hm? Well, okay. If you say so. The man approves. It smells nice.

Why to Use Homemade vs. Store-Bought Sunscreen

So why shouldn’t you just go to the store and buy cruelty-free sunscreen? You can definitely do this, and I’d recommend choosing a natural sunscreen (also called a physical or mineral sunscreen) if you do purchase online or at the store.

These are sunscreens that have an active ingredient of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are considered to be much safer than the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens, although they don’t have the whitecast that mineral ones do, use questionable ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone that have been linked to health problems.

Plus, while some sunscreens have ingredients that are safe (especially if you choose mineral sunscreen instead of chemical), the many of them do not. The other thing is that if you buy a nice sunscreen (mineral, not tested on animals, and natural ingredients), it’s usually expensive, especially if you keep buying it over time. I found a natural sunscreen I really love from Earth Harbor that has an extremely minimal whitecast (not sponsored, I just love this product!), but it’s $25 for an ounce!

Protecting your skin is important, but it shouldn’t have to cost a fortune. It’s more economical to buy ingredients you can use over and over again to make your own homemade sunscreen. Plus, this sunscreen doesn’t leave a whitecast, which is awesome!

A Note on Zinc Oxide

Almost all of the recipes I found online included zinc oxide as one of the ingredients for homemade sunscreen. All of these recipes cautioned the user about not breathing in the particles of zinc oxide.

I was confused by this. If I don’t want to breathe it in, why would I want it touching my skin? Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are considered to be the safest ingredients in natural sunscreens, and I do use them whenever I use store-bought sunscreen, but I chose not to use them for this specific recipe.

I’ve also recently found that some conventional sunscreens contain nanoparticles of zinc oxide which can be absorbed into the bloodstream. You might want to consider looking for a non-nano zinc sunscreen next time you’re shopping for one!

Update to this post: I’ve been using this sunscreen for about a year now and not once been burned. It’s fabulous! I have also found that it loses its potency not long after that time, so I wouldn’t keep it for more than one year.

Happy homemade sunscreen making! 🙂

33 thoughts on “Homemade Sunscreen without Zinc Oxide

  • Sounds very interesting and I’m going to try to make it wish me luck thanks for the information sounds great ?

  • Definitely going to try the sunscreen. I have olive skin, but still get burn or my turn 2 shades darker.

    • Ah thank you so much for this recipe!!!! I want to make it for the same reason, to avoid the “supposedly safe but not to inhale” sunscreens so thanks for this (: what size jar did you use for this?

  • This sounds great. I am curious, how did you come up with the recipee? I mean how did you know to combine these particular to make a sunscreen. Thank you for the recipee

    • animalveggiefreak@msn.com

      Hi there! I actually based this on Wellness Mama’s natural sunscreen recipe, which can be found here: https://wellnessmama.com/2558/homemade-sunscreen/

      I didn’t like her recipe because it had zinc oxide in it, and almond oil, which I didn’t have. So I created this unique combination.

      Thanks for asking!

      • Why does everyone use beeswax and not cocobutter which is just as hard at room temperature?

        • I use beeswax just because I am familiar with it and have not tried cocoa butter. Perhaps a good alternative for vegans who are looking to avoid beeswax. Thanks for the suggestion, Sophie!

  • I have an allergy to the sunscreens I’ve purchased. I’m not sure exactly what’s causing the reaction so this all natural mixture may be a win for me. Can this be used on the face or will it clog pores???

    • animalveggiefreak@msn.com

      Hi April! I use it on my face all the time and have not had any issues with pore clogging. A little goes a long way, though, so don’t use too much.

      There could be any number of things in conventional sunscreens causing your allergy symptoms. I would definitely recommend trying a natural mixture!

  • How long does this recipe last?

    • I’m not sure if I would keep it around for more than a year, try to make a batch that you can use up within that amount of time!

  • Hello! Can I use cocoa butter instead of shea butter cause that is what I have at home? Also, can I add bug repellent like citronella and lemongrass oil for essential oils? If I can how much can I put them in?
    Thanks so much!

    • You can certainly try to! I’m not sure how the consistency will be though as I have not worked with cocoa butter before. Also I imagine lemongrass would be fine, plus it smells amazing! Maybe start with adding only 5-10 drops and seeing how you feel about the scent and also applying it to your skin to be sure it won’t irritate. Hope this helps!

  • Appreciate your recipe!!! 💗

    But just FYI on spf, you do not add up the numbers. The most spf it can have is the highest spf number of any one ingredient.

    Love combining all of these spf oils!!!
    : )

  • OMG please take orange out of list of essential oils to add! orange oil will cause serious burn if you use it on body while in the sun!

    • Really? I have not had this experience. Perhaps people with sensitive skin should shy away from this oil; although I have sensitive skin and have not experienced problems. At any rate, adding only a few drops to the mixture is unlikely to be harmful. I find peppermint to be harsher than orange, as it has a cooling effect on the skin. Thanks for your comment!

    • Yes! Citrus oils are photosensitive! You do not want them in your sunscreen!

  • Can i use apricot kernel oil instead of carrot seed oil? Thank you

    • The SPF of apricot kernel oil appears to be rather low (2-6) compared to carrot seed oil (which is higher at around 35-40). So if you do choose to use apricot kernel oil, just know you won’t be getting the same SPF!

  • Can you trade out the coconut oil for olive oil? And also, is shea butter a required ingredient?

    • I haven’t tried swapping out the coconut oil but you could certainly try. Coconut oil tends to be more solid at room temperature so I’m not sure if this would affect the consistency of the sunscreen. You could also try swapping out the shea butter for something else too, but again, it will likely affect the consistency of the mixture, as shea butter is super thick and will help the sunscreen have more of a “whipped” texture. I just looked online and it looks like you could use avocado butter in place of the shea butter? Let me know if you experiment and how it turns out – good luck! 🙂

  • Can I use coco butter instead of using shea butter
    Cause I can’t afford shea butter,but ur recipe was awesome

    • Yes, you can certainly try it! I haven’t tried it myself, but they can have similar consistencies. Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

  • Hello. I’m interested in trying this recipe out. I’ve been in search for a diy sunscreen recipe without the use of zinc oxide. Would you say this recipe would be safe for children 3 years or older/younger? I know some herbs or oils you need to be careful with what age you’re using them on. Just wanted your opinion.

    • Hi Jenny! I imagine it would be safe but I would definitely recommend following up with your child’s pediatrician/dermatologist just to make sure. If you do make the sunscreen with the intent of using it for young children, I would either omit the essential oils or only use one or two drops in the recipe. In my opinion, these would be the most likely to cause irritation on the sensitive skin of your little ones. The product will naturally have a scent from the carrot seed oil (which you may or may not like… I have other products with carrot seed oil in them and I have to say, it’s growing on me!). I hope this helps!

  • can I still use this recipe without avocado oil are there substitutes

    • You could probably use any oil that’s not solid at room temperature and it would work fine, like sunflower oil, olive oil, sesame oil, etc.!

  • Makayla Daniels

    are you still able to tan using this sunscreen?

    • I do feel like I still tan a bit using this, but it depends on your skin tone, sun exposure length and time of day, and how frequently you reapply it. So, if you’re a light skin tone getting a lot of exposure between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and not reapplying it every few hours, you’ll likely tan and potentially even burn. However, if you have a darker skin tone and aren’t getting much exposure even during peak hours and reapplying, you may not tan. Hope this helps!

  • Hello! After putting in the fridge, i break them up then add EO & the rest. I f i dont choose to whip and straight into the jar, will this be like a balm-like?

    • Hmmm, I’m not sure as I haven’t tried this. If you want it to be balm-like, you might want to try not putting it in the fridge and just letting it cool to room temperature before adding the other ingredients!

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