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DIY Spa Treatment: Sunscreen

When I first stumbled upon this recipe for DIY sunscreen, I was a little wary because the SPF factor is unclear. But, after researching zinc oxide, I've come to find out that it is the best absorbent of both UVA and UVB light and it is photostable (meaning its chemical breakdown is unchanged upon sun exposure). The good news is that the SPF factor is quite high. The bad news is that it leaves a white mark wherever you apply it.

The original recipe doesn't call for an essential oil, but I've tweaked it a bit. I really like the way that just one drop of a powerful botanical oil can cover up that zinc smell. My pick is peppermint, but I'd also recommend rosemary or lavender. Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 tbsp zinc oxide
  • 1 1/2 tsp light sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rosewater
  • 1 drop essential oil of your choice
  • Mixing bowl
  • Double boiler
  • For step-by-step directions on how to make your own sunscreen,


  • STEP 1: Mix the zinc oxide and sesame oil together in a bowl. Then, heat the mixture in a double boiler and stir frequently.
  • STEP 2: Next, take the pot off of the stove and slowly stir in the rosewater and one drop of your favorite essential oil. Continue to stir even as the ingredients cool.
  • STEP 3: After about 30 seconds of stirring, pour everything into a Tupperware container, close the lid tightly and place it in the fridge for an hour (at least) to completely cool and settle. This sunscreen is good for about ten days. After that, I recommend discarding any remains.
  • alison3001 alison3001 9 years
    is this stuff waterproof?
    hcrummer hcrummer 9 years
    I've made my own before with pure zinc oxide. There are several homemade recipes online that give you the correct SPF (after all, its just a matter of proportion of zinc oxide to base recipe). However, you should order pure zinc oxide and not use the stuff in the tube if you are worried about parabens and other possibly dangerous chemicals. After all, that's usually the point of making homemade sunblock. Also you can tweak it as to the texture and scent. Furthermore, you can order micronized particles so you don't have to worry about the white mark :)
    kimbrly836 kimbrly836 9 years
    huh. makes me wonder if i can an essential oil to my existing sunblock to make it smell nice...I love the idea of peppermint. I'm with everyone else, good idea but i don't use my kitchen to cook :P
    chiquita29 chiquita29 9 years
    Interesting but i'll stick with what i've got. As soon as it runs out though, I really want to try the Burt's Bees Chemical-free sunscreen.
    MindayH MindayH 9 years
    I am going to stick to buying it, but I find this very interesting that you can do it on your own
    emalove emalove 9 years
    I love my Neutrogena.
    aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
    I'll stick to the drugstore but neat anyways...
    lovealways lovealways 9 years
    This is kind of interesting, but I think I'd feel safer just buying from the drugstore. Plus, I'd rather not have any white marks.
    brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 9 years
    Hmm...yeah, zinc oxide is effective (it's what's in my sunblock), but I like knowing exactly what level of SPF I'm getting, and I like how my bottle prevents contamination and gives me shelf life. There are a lot of factors in creating cosmetics...sunblock is not something I'd experiment with. You'll never know if you aren't getting enough coverage (unless it's so little that you actually burn).
    GibsonGIrl GibsonGIrl 9 years
    This looks amazing! I've always been curious about if it's possible to make my own sunblock. I might have to give this recipe a try...
    sofi sofi 9 years
    I don't know if I'd get around to this- but I think I need to check out ingredients and make sure my sunscreen has zinc oxide in it.
    brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
    Hm..this is just odd to me. While, it would be nice to know exactly what goes into my sunscreen, I think I'll just stick with buying it at the store.
    sofi sofi 9 years
    yeah, does the heating and addition of oil change it for no white marks? Is it possible to overheat and break it down and make it useless?
    ALSW ALSW 9 years
    So this won't leave a white mark? The oil does make me a little nervous. And, where can I buy zinc oxide?
    gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
    What about people who dont want to put any kind of oil in their face? this sounds good anyway.
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