Homemade Sun Cream

Disclaimer: I wouldn’t trust this cream at the beach, above tree-line in the mountains, or even on a hatless hike at midday. But as my summer cream, put on under a hat to spend a morning puttering in the garden or for a walk in the late afternoon, I think it’s splendid.

Apparently, the oils used in this cream have a bit of an SPF value–some say as much as 15. I don’t think they offer any UVA/UVB protection, and how that reconciles with the claim to an SPF I cannot say. I’m not a huge user/abuser of sunscreen, though I do use it when it seems necessary. This cream is for the rest of the time. When I’d probably not have anything on at all.

I also wear a hat. And believe in light tans. I confess to having an inordinate amount of faith in the power of chaparral oil to protect the skin from sun damage on nothing more than ethnobotanical evidence. Beyond that, common sense in the sun must prevail.

I made this recipe with a friend, and it yielded a lavish summer supply for both of us.

Melt in a double boiler:

3 1/2 T Shea butter

3 1/2 T Coconut oil

(And 1T beeswax if a creamier thickness is desired.)


1/3 C Sesame oil (raw, un-toasted)

1/3 C unrefined Jojoba oil

1/3 C unrefined Avocado oil (we used chaparral oil instead).

Let this mixture of oils set until room temperature, and partially solidified.

Into blender pour:

1 C Aloe vera gel

1/2 C green tea

Set blender whirring on high-ish. Pour partially solidified oil mixture sloooowly into center of vortex. Blend away.

Watch and listen–the cream will do its alchemy of marrying oil and water and that moment is amazing and miraculous everytime. It will thicken and turn creamy colored. Give it another couple seconds, then stop. If there is any loose oil or water, blend it in by hand–over beating will not improve things.

This cream is nourishing, soothing, and possibly slightly protective. For me, that’s all I was after. When I run out of store bought sunscreen, I might add some zinc oxide to this lotion and call it a day.

Be safe in the sun, friends.

5 Replies to “Homemade Sun Cream”

  1. Awesome! If you haven’t seen it yet, the current issue of Yes! is all about water, and includes a piece on NM water history, and also an awesome piece by Frances Moore Lappe that I think you’ll dig. Have a great week!

  2. Just came across your blog, and I can testify to your recipe above. I have been making a lotion very similar to it for about 3 years and I generously coat my face, decolletage, shoulders and my children with it daily. My face hardly even tans anymore, more pores are almost invisible, and I don’t break out anymore. I also add therapeutic grade lavender, bergamot and roman chamomile essential oils as well as calendula flower powder. I’ve not tried it with sesame oil, but I either use grapeseed, jojoba, avocado, rose seed or sweet almond or a mix there of. I will never. EVER. buy sunscreen/lotion/moisturizer or after suncare again because this stuff is so effective! Great post, I look forward to reading more.

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