Summer Sun

A few weeks ago the youth soccer company I coach for had a big outdoor fundraiser party. It was super fun, and it was on one of the hottest days we’ve had so far this summer. As usual, I applied sunscreen regularly. I had just purchased a new brand on sale, so I was eager to see how it would hold up. About ten minutes after my second application I started my shift at the spash-a-coach booth. Immediately after the first splash from a gleefully cackling three-year-old the sunscreen I had applied melted off my arms into a white gooey mess. It was gross! Luckily, I was continuously splashed by toddlers for the next half hour, so I was more wet than messy. Still, I decided that I needed a higher quality solution for sun protection.

I’ve always used regular commercial sunscreen lotions and been totally fine. From my splash-booth fiasco I learned that you get what you pay for. I’m currently a bit strapped for cash, but I did remember reading that shea butter can offer sun protection. If you remember from my body butter experiment, I happen to have a bit of shea butter lying around. I did a quick search for recipes, and decided on a simple, easy to apply sunscreen stick.

I ordered some beeswax pellets and non-nano zinc oxide from Amazon, dug out the shea butter and coconut oil from the cupboard, and set about making some sunscreen.

That orange bottle in the background is the Splash Booth Incident culprit.

Part of the reason I chose this recipe is because it is super simple. Basically, put everything except the essential oil and zinc powder in a double boiler and melt it together. The beeswax took the longest to melt, but the whole thing took maybe 10 minutes.

Next I added the zinc oxide (be super careful or wear a mask, this power is very toxic if inhaled) and essential oil. The recipe said you could add “vanilla”, which I assumed meant basic vanilla extract. I tried this, and I think the final product is okay, but the vanilla extract curdled as soon as it hit the hot mixture and it took some serious stirring to break it up. I think next time I will stick to just essential oils. In addition to the vanilla extract I used anise oil.


After all the ingredients were mixed I poured into a glass pan (you could use molds or cupcake tins, too), cooled it in the fridge, then sliced into bars. I think it smells nice, and I am pretty pleased with how these bars turned out. I’ll be using mine this weekend while I’m out coaching. I hope it will stand up to soccer and a possible splash!



4 thoughts on “Summer Sun

  1. lone0ranger 6 July 2016 / 11:08 pm

    Does it stay white like the d fashioned lifeguard sunblock?? I remember Girl Scout canoe camp when the camp nurse or the counsellors made up this God-awful stuff with mostly mineral oil and white vinegar (a mortal sin!) which made us burn more than using nothing at all!! The one counselor who cut her hair super short on the session break burned her neck and ears and was plastered with zinc oxide cream the rest of the week. We tried not to laugh. Hope it goes well, at least I know you will smell good!!


    • sarahbettyb 7 July 2016 / 8:19 am

      Nate tested it yesterday, and it goes on white but rubs in pretty quickly. No vinegar here!


  2. Sarah 6 July 2016 / 11:43 am

    How do you carry it with you? Do you have a container for it so it doesn’t melt? How do you apply it? This is so fascinating!


    • sarahbettyb 6 July 2016 / 12:37 pm

      It will melt at about 80 degrees, so I keep it in a plastic baggie with some wax paper, or a small tupperware. The recipe suggested empty deodorant containers for easy application. To apply you just rub it on like a lotion bar, directly onto your skin and then rub in with your hands. There was another recipe for a more lotion-y version that you keep in a jar, but I’m just a rebel 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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