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Homemade (Reef-Safe) Sunscreen

We are pleased to say that this sunscreen recipe checks off some pretty important boxes. Not only is it toxin-free and healthy for you and your family, it also requires minimal packaged ingredients and is safe for marine life. While protecting your skin from sun damage is extremely important, it’s best to be sure that you’re not doing so at the expense of our beautiful, living oceans! With just a handful of bulk ingredients (and one special additive), you can safely enjoy the sunny days ahead. To be even more low-waste minded, use an empty deodorant tube instead of a jar or tin to create your very own roll-on sunscreen; perfect for throwing in your beach bag.


3 Tbsp. Shea Butter or Mango Butter

4 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

1 ½ Tbsp. Cocoa Butter

1 ½ Tbsp. Beeswax Beads

1 ½ Tbsp. Non-Nano Zinc Oxide

Optional: Cocoa Powder; Mix in 1 Tbsp at a time until desired tint is reached.


1. Melt butters, oil, and beeswax in a double-boiler or (if you must use a saucepan over direct heat) on the absolute lowest heat setting.

2. Once melted, add-in your Non-Nano Zinc Oxide powder (be careful not to inhale the powder or wear a mask for extra precaution) and Cocoa powder.

3. Mix very thoroughly, working out any clumps and fully integrating powders.

4. Pour the mixture into a small jar, old mint tin, empty deodorant tube, or any other container of choice. 

5. Let set until completely firm and fully cooled, overnight preferably.

6. Warm with fingers for spreadability and apply liberally before sun exposure. Keep the container out of direct sun or in a protective bag to prevent leakage.

A Bit About Non-Nano Zinc Oxide

Mineral-based sunscreens are often preferred by those who are naturally-minded and focused on using healthy, non-toxic products. But there are a few important facts to know about Nano and Non-Nano Zinc Oxide as it relates to your health and the health of marine life! Nano Zinc particles -- which are mostly used in sunscreens touting “invisible” coverage -- are easily absorbed into the bloodstream and inhaled into our lungs, which can pose health risks for humans. These tiny particles of zinc are also harmful for coral reefs and marine life, contributing to bleaching. 

However, Non-Nano-sized particles have been found to be safe for both humans and the ocean. The only downside is the slight white cast that gets left behind on the skin. But we think this is a small price to pay! If you’re interested in having a better blended sunscreen, consider mixing cocoa powder into your sunscreen before it sets. Start with a tablespoon at a time until you achieve the perfect shade for a tinted, sunkissed glow. 

If you’re not up for a DIY project but are wanting to switch to a safer sunscreen, we are big fans of both this tinted solid (in three different shades) and this liquid everyday sunscreen! Either way, we are so glad that you are finding ways to be kinder to both your body and the earth. Enjoy the sunshine!

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