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.

More Homemade Bodycare

Here’s my homemade shampoo update: it’s great and I love it.

A girlfriend and I spent an afternoon last week blending up a storm. We mixed, melted, concocted, and otherwise let our inner herbwife’s play away. We improvised a lotion, followed this recipe for the most luscious deodorant on earth, and made a fat batch of Rosemary Gladstar’s Famous Face Cream (which can be found in several of her books, including Herbs for Natural Beauty),

Here’s my lotion recipe. It should yield liquid self love of the highest order no matter your experience with this kind of alchemy.

Melt in a double boiler or microwave

1 C  grapeseed or almond oil (infused with herbs if you don’t mind waiting a week)

1.5 T shea butter

1.5 T coconut oil (or 1/3 C shea or coco)

1T beeswax

Cool to room temperature and reserve.

Into blender pour

1/3 C aloe vera gel or distilled water

10-20 drops essential oil of choice, if desired

Turn blender on a high setting, and slowly drizzle in room temperature (partially solidified) oil mixture.

Blend until creamy and butter colored.

Aah, the bliss of being well moisturized...