How to Make Your Own Vegan, Zero Waste Solid Sunscreen: A Recipe to Go Plastic Free this Summer

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Making sunscreen could not be easier: you will need only 4 basic ingredients. Being solid, it's perfect for travelling. It won’t melt under the heat, and is perfect to use on smaller areas such as the face!

I suggest carrying it around in a metal tin or in some cotton tissue.  If you want to use it on larger areas remember to spread it very well and apply a bit more product to protect the whole surface and avoid sun patches.

What is going to give our sunscreen a natural protector factor?

Oils naturally have protection but this is often very low, and they are not enough to provide a sunscreen on their own. This is why the main ingredient to provide the most protection in this zero waste sunscreen is a zinc oxide. It is imperative that you get a non-nano version of zinc oxide, which means that any particles will not be absorbed by the skin. Zinc oxide is perfect also because it creates that sticky and waterproof texture typical of sunscreens.

zero waste diy sunscreen

Important: as we are unable to test a home made sunscreen at home, it is quite tricky to understand the actual SPF of the sunscreen. For how wonderful a home-made mineral sunscreen might sound, please keep in mind this diy should not be substituting a professionally made sunscreen. Consider it more as a fun project which you can use to get some extra sunscreen protection or for when you are not exposed to long hours under the sun. If you are looking for a professionally made sunscreen, I recommend trying Shade's suncreen


zero waste solid sunscreen

For this recipe you will require only 4 basic ingredients:

coconut oil - this will give moisturising properties to the sunscreen, and provide a SPF of 4.
cocoa butter - if you order from The Soapery's website and ask to send the butter in paper, they normally can accomodate the request! Cocoa butter contributes to provide hardness and texture to the lotion (if we were to use only the wax, it would be glassy and would likely snap at the first usage).

sunflower wax - a vegan substitute for beeswax, and is the emulsifier responsible for hardening the mixture. You could use any other wax (candelilla, carnauba - for non vegans, beeswax) 

non nano, non coated zync oxide - SPF 2-20 depending on usage. This comes in a non-reusable pouch, but the good news is that this powder will last you a very long time as it has a recommended shelf life of 24 months (so this is my second summer of home-made DIY zero waste sunscreen!!)

Zinc oxide is the main ingredient responsible to provide a protection from the sun. Always choose the non-nano version which does not get absorbed into the skin. Because zinc oxide has a dust-like composition, be sure to alway use a respirator or some mouth protection when pouring it not to inhale any of its particles that could get stuck in the lungs. Also be sure to purchase a non-coated version as coated zinc oxide is non biodegradable and can pollute the environment.

Optional Ingredients

Vitamin E (optional): a great antioxidant that will lower the potential of your skin getting burned, plus extend the shelf life of the oils in the product

Lavender essential oil: lavender helps soothe the skin and it smell just wonderful. Avoid any citrus essential oils because they are photosensitizing  (they attract the sun and there is a higher chance you will get burnt)


    • 2 tablespoon non-nano zinc oxide

    • 1 tablespoon cocoa butter

    • 1 tablespoon sunflower wax

    • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

    • 10 drops of lavender essential oil (optional)

    • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional)


1. Melt all the wax and the cocoa butter at very low heat using a double boiler

2. When everything is melted, mix thoroughly, and slowly incorporate the zinc oxide while stirring briskly. Remember to wear a respirator or some mouth protection or at least hold your breath not to inhale any particles in.

5. Pour into a silicone mould

6. Place in the frizzer for about an hour before unmoulding it!


solid sunscreen zero waste summer zero waste sunscreen

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