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.

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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.

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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!

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