Homemade Sunscreen Bars

DIY Sunscreen

Homemade Sunscreen Bars with Donna Kerfoot

“My family + I live in a beach community, we spend alot of time outdoors in the summer. We need to be protected from sunburns while being able to enjoy what we love.”

These homemade sunscreen bars are easy to make so you won’t get burned. Sunburns can be so painful + dangerous. I am sure we all have known someone who has struggled with melanoma. Not to mention sunburns can age you way before your time, whether it is at the beach or in tanning salons.

On the other hand, the sun is essential to our survival  + of all living things in some way or another. Learn how these homemade sunscreen bars can help.

We are given this one beautiful amazing body, it needs to be honored + protected. So what do you do? Become a shade worshipper?

No, you don’t have to spend your days undercover. But you have to play it smart when you are in the sun.

Always wear sunglasses and if in the sun for long periods wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover your face, ears, and neck, + apply an all natural sunscreen regularly.

This goes for everyone in the family. Always have a tunic or t-shirt on hand for everyone to throw over their swimsuits. Something loose, cool + breezy, also the closer the fabric is to the skin, the less sun protection it provides.

I prefer making + using #sunscreen bars because they last longer and are more #moisturizing and #beneficial to the sun-kissed skin than a #lotion is.

Sunscreen Lotion Bars
Lotion Sunscreen Bars

In the book The Coconut Miracle, Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D. he talks about coconut oil and its SPF properties and it’s used as a sunscreen.

“Traditionally the Polynesians wore very little clothing and exposed themselves to the hot tropical sun nearly all day long. This was especially true when they traveled long distances over open oceans for days or weeks at a time. Coconut oil supplied them with the protection they needed. For this reason, coconut oil was a common ingredient in many of the first commercially produced sunscreens and suntan lotions. Unfortunately, coconut oil has since been replaced by chemicals in these products”.

I was Inspired by Heather from’s sunscreen bars and her intensive research into the effects of sunscreen and antioxidants, so much so I put down my sunblock completely. Sunblock had been a part of my daily routine for over twenty years. What does she say?





As you know, antioxidants are a hot topic right now because they eliminate free radicals and reduce cancer risk. Among the substances studied are omega-3 fatty acids, which used to be common in our diet but have been displaced by omega-6 fatty acids thanks to the prevalence of vegetable-based oils such as corn and soy. As our omega-3 ratios have dropped, skin cancer rates have risen. Researchers think there’s a connection.”

These sunscreen #lotion bars use ingredients that are considered uniquely beneficial for nourishing and protecting sun-exposed skin.

Coconut Oil – According to this study, coconut oil has an SPF of around 8. Though it is unclear from the summary whether refined or extra virgin coconut oil was used, other studies I’ve read suggest that it was probably the antioxidant-rich extra virgin variety.

Shea Butter – This decadent #moisturizer contains cinnamic acid, which absorbs UVB rays. It is generally thought to have an SPF of around 6, but that can vary depending on how refined it is and whether or not it has been sitting on the shelf a long time.

Beeswax – Though it’s the main purpose in this bar is to hold everything together, it is considered by some skin care companies to have #antioxidant and #moisturizing properties

Zinc Oxide – Many of the new generation of sunscreens – and this includes almost all “healthy” mineral sunscreens listed by the Environmental Working Group – contain titanium and/or zinc nanoparticles. Unlike chemical sunscreens which absorb rays, zinc oxide provides a physical barrier between us and the sun. These minerals are considered non-toxic in their natural forms, and it was assumed the mini-sized versions would be equally safe. Unfortunately, new research links them to accelerated skin aging, cancer, and environmental toxicity.

Combined they make great homemade sunscreen bars for dry skin.

Why These Ingredients?

They Make a Great Homemade Sunscreen Bar for Dry skin.

What Does SPF Really Mean?

Huge differences in SPF numbers are actually pretty insignificant when it comes to differences in protection. SPF 100 blocks 99 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. SPF 30 blocks 96.7 percent, SPF 15 blocks 93%.

When deciding how much zinc oxide to add, anywhere from 5-20% of the total solution is often used. Though it will vary a little from batch to batch, the bars I made with this recipe are about 12% zinc oxide by weight. I have not tested it in a lab for SPF value.


Sunscreen Lotion Bar Recipe

Makes approximately two 2.75 oz bars

Ingredients (By Weight)

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (2.3 oz)
  • 1/3 cup shea butter (1.9 oz)
  • 1/2 cup grated, tightly packed beeswax (2 oz)
  • 2 rounded tablespoons plus 1.5 teaspoons uncoated, non-nanoparticle zinc oxide
  • 1 teaspoon cacao or cocoa powder, for tint (optional)

I also like to add a tsp of vitamin e oil.

Special Equipment

silicone mold, muffin tin or another mold


  1. Gently melt coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter in a double boiler.
  2. Stir ingredients until smooth and melted.
  3. Remove from heat. Add zinc oxide. If you’re adding optional essential oils/Vitamin E, add them, too.
  4. Stir until blended, then pour into molds. Silicon muffin tins work well.
  5. Allow cooling before removing from tin. If you’d like to speed things along, pop the in the freezer for 10-20 minutes.

Cleanup Tip

Clean your pot, stirring utensils, etc. before the mixture cools. Start by wiping everything with paper towels and then scrub in hot, soapy water.

To Apply

Rub on skin and massage in. I apply generously and frequently on days that we are going to be out for a long time.

Important Note

These homemade sunscreen bars will melt in the hot sun. Store indoors and apply before going out.

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