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!