DIY Sunscreen with 20% Zinc Oxide, 99.95% Natural

Update: Check out by new Rose Sunscreen formula. It’s stunning!

So I’ve taken a break from PhD writing to tell you all about my latest DIY skincare recipe – sunscreen!

Sunscreen is so important in your skincare regime. There’s a reason that the skin on your butt is way better than the skin on your face: it’s never been exposed to the sun. If I had to choose just one item to keep from my new and improved skincare regime, it would be sunscreen. It’s an absolute essential all year ’round.

I’ve been using my Marie Veronique Organics Face Screen which is a good quality, physical (not chemical! Don’t use chemical!) sunscreen.  However, I’ve decided to try my hand at making my own, and I’m really pleased with the results. Infact, this is my absolute favourite sunscreen ever!

This sunscreen recipe is from the Skin Essential Actives website.  It has 20% Zinc Oxide, which provides excellent sun protection, is invisible on the skin, and works more effectively than Titanium Oxide.  Moreover, this recipe contains antioxidants which boost the sun protection of the Zinc Oxide, and the formula is nourishing to the skin. I also find this formula easy to re-apply during the day (every two hours) as it doesn’t get cakey or white.

Best of all, I love the finish this sunscreen gives to my skin. It does work very well with makeup, but since I started making this sunscreen I’ve just been wearing sunscreen, concealer, cream blush, and my usual eye makeup. My skin looks utterly amazing with this combination, and I’m thrilled that it gives me sun protection too! It takes a good cleanser to remove it, but I love the way my skin feels after being cocooned in this sunscreen all day.

Anyway, onto the recipe. I purchased all of my ingredients from Skin Essential Actives, apart from the oil which I purchased from Garden of Wisdom. The instructions are my interpretation of the instructions on the SEA website.

You will need:

Oil 27 grams (I’ve used both Apricot Kernel Oil and Soy Oil for this recipe with good results, but any light oil would work equally well. In this version I use Soy Oil)
Sea Emollient 30 grams
Distilled H2O 18 grams
Vitamin E Acetate Powder 1 gram
Glycerin 3 grams
Lecithin Powder 9 grams
Polysorbate 80 0.5 grams
Grape Seed Extract 0.5 grams
Zinc Oxide (coated) 22.5 grams

You will also need a mini blender. I bought this one from Kmart recently for $19, but I’m sure there are others that would work well too.

So, before you start, measure out all your ingredients:

1.a. Firstly, combine the Oil and Lecithin.

To do this, place the Oil in a shot glass then stand in a pan of warm water.

Add Lecithin and stir.

Then add Polysorbate 80 and blend in a blender.

1.b. Slowly incorporate the Zinc Oxide into the emulsion. Blend each time you place some Zinc Oxide into the blender.  Scrape down sides intermittently.

Place mixture into a pot.

Clean blender.

2. Now combine the Sea Emollient  and Glycerin. Blend thoroughly.

Place into a pot. Clean blender.

3. Finally, combine the Vitamin E Acetate and water, then blend until dissolved.

4. Add Grape Seed Extract to the Vitamin E Acetate water already in the blender.

Then add the Sea Emollient and Glycerin mix (number 2).

Mix beyond well for around 2-3 minutes.  Make sure to incorporate everything from the side of the blender.

5. Put the Zinc Oxide mix into the blender bit by bit, pausing to hand mix and scrape down the sides intermittently. This will be very thick and creamy . Continue mixing and scrape the edges down to incorporate all.

6. Scrape down the edges of the blender thoroughly as a great deal of Zinc Oxide will be hanging on the sides. Continue to blend for about 10 minutes.

7. You should have a creamy off white sunscreen at this point.

8. You may add a preservative, however it is not really necessary as Sea Emollient already contains 0.3% Phenoxyethanol. Zinc Oxide is also anti-fungal and anti-microbial in nature.

9. Essential oils may also be incorporated at the end, but I usually skip this step. Do not use photo-sensitising essential oils such as bergamot or several members of the citrus family.

10. Pour the sunscreen into a sterilized bottle or pot.

I love this formula. It disappears into the skin, and is especially wonderful if you like a nourishing sunscreen. Goes on like a dream, doesn’t clog, works with makeup really well, and makes my skin look super healthy.  Below are some pictures I took this afternoon of the sunscreen applied to my face. I’m not wearing any makeup:

It gives a subtle radiance to my skin that I absolutely adore. I hope you try it!


Here are two photos of me with the sunscreen applied to my whole face. Even though they’re a little blurred, I chose these because I think they best show the ‘glow’ that the sunscreen imparts to my face.

The only makeup I have on is Edward Bess Compact Rouge in ‘Love Affair’ on lips and cheeks, By Terry concealer under the eyes, Rouge Bunny Rouge Black Pepperjay eyeshadow and Covergirl Lashblast mascara.

I’m not wearing any base:

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79 Responses to DIY Sunscreen with 20% Zinc Oxide, 99.95% Natural

  1. Dempeaux says:

    @Lisa No problem! I actually keep it in the fridge (it’s summer here), sterilise everything, and use a minimum of preservative as a result. However, if you were to keep it in the bathroom, carry it around with you, or you’r not confident in your steralising, you might like to add a little more preservative. To be honest I use it up pretty quickly, and never get past the three month mark 🙂

  2. Jen says:

    How do you measure such small quantities without a scientific scale? My kitchen scale uses 1/8 ounce or I think 2 gram increments.

  3. monique says:

    Hi Dempeaux,

    I came across you blog reading on a forum ESD. I am doing FE too and have some good results, but believe to have created some new lines too. So I’m always looking for results of other ‘facial exercise’ practitioners.
    Your results are very impressing and I’m very impressed by your sunscreen.
    Now, I’m a lot older than you, I have mature skin, but wonder if this DIY product could be good for me. I have some questions:
    – do you have oily or dry skin
    – is’nt it a lot of work to make it
    – lot of ingredients, doesn’t it cost a lot of money
    – what do you on use on your body (sunscreen). I’m sun worshipper and like a browned skin
    I live in Belgium and have to order all these products.
    Congrats with your amazing results.

  4. Kelly says:

    Hi Lisa!

    you have no idea how much tis recipe is helping me! Thank you for that! also, i wanted to ask how much quantity of cream do you get after you finished the preparation?

    Thank you!

    PS: do you have any link for the preservatives and essential oils?

    Thank you again!

  5. Pingback: Here comes the sun

  6. Lilly says:

    Can you think of a beneficial substitute for sea emollient? SEA is currently out of stock, besides a sample size.

    As a fellow cosmetic nerd, you can’t imagine how inspired I am to come across your blog and consequently SEA.

  7. Dempeaux says:

    @Lilly Sorry for the late reply! I would strongly suggest getting the sea emollient if you can – it’s the one thing that’s difficult to sub in and out. You might like to use sclerotium gum if you have it, but SE is just so lovely on the skin 🙂

  8. Pingback: DIY Rose Sunscreen (24% Zinc Oxide) + latest skincare routine | Dempeaux

  9. Dempeaux says:

    @Kelly Great! Each batch yields a bit over 30 grams. Preservative is available here and essential oils from your local health food store 🙂

  10. Dempeaux says:

    @Monique I have dry skin, and some recipes are very quick, and some are more involved (eg Kinetin serum). However, the serums are MUCH cheaper than buying them from the shops. If I bought my products it would cost me hundreds per month. I use sunscreen and moisturiser on my body, and sometimes kinetin/ vit c serum 🙂

  11. Berenice says:


    I live in the US and I am trying to find the ingredients here. I was about to get them from skin essential actives but the shipping costs is expensive.. over $35 dls. Any sugestions to buy the ingredients in the US?

    Thank you!

  12. Jessica Shaver says:

    Holy toledo I LOVE this product. I am actually a Ph.D. student myself (in a completely-unrelated-to-chemistry field of study), and am currently in the final stages of completing my requirements. I’ve been dabbling in the cosmetic DIY pastime for the past decade. Finally I have found a recipe to follow that REALLY works! I followed the instructions step-by-step, weighed it all out with a scale purchased from Amazon ( for $10.49 with free shipping. I’d never actually weighed ingredients out in this fashion before, I think this method was the magic trick that made it so professional-quality. I purchased the other ingredients from and So everyone knows, I spent much less per 30 grams than you indicated in your cost overhaul, I would guess the 4 ounce jar of product that yielded from this recipe cost me about $8 to $9. Allow me to recommend buying two of the ingredients in a slightly different fashion. 1. Vitamin E-400 Powder ( I pull the thin capsule apart and shake the powder into the measuring cup. Each capsule yeilds about 0.30 grams. 2. Grape Seed Extract Powder ( Same method. Much less expensive, same high quality.

    This sunscreen looks, smells, and feels JUST like my high-end natural, anti-aging, skin-nourishing suncreens. I can’t believe I’ve been spending all this money for the past decade, when I could have made it myself. It took me less than 1 hour. Very simple. Your pictures were excellent. Thank you! I plan on making many batches and putting them in cute little opaque jars for gifts. My girlfriends will love it.

    (P.s. I also added a few drops of lavender to give it a slight kick. Without it, it smells clean and natural, like natural sunscreen. Also, for the oil I used organic Rosehip seed oil. The Mountain Rose Herb website (which I HIGHLY recommend to everyone, organic, fresh, independently-owned farms supported) gives a complete overview of hundreds of herbs and their qualities. Rosehip seed oil is becoming the number 1 ingredient in all of the high-end, expensive anti-ageing products out there).

  13. Jessica Shaver says:

    I forgot to add, it doubles as a PRIMER. I cannot stress enough how incredible it is to wake up in the morning, wash my face, put on this sunscreen/skin-nourisher/primer, apply my mineral make-up and go. I am 32, recovering from sun-damage also, a mother of a 4 and 2 year-old, and a Ph.D student/career woman. I just finished reading your blog – you. are. stellar. Thanks again 🙂

  14. DIY Obssessed :-) says:

    Hi Dempeaux! I am new to this blog. I have read both the sunscreen recipes that you have posted. They look amazing! I have a few questions though. Can you please answer them for me?
    1). I use a lot of sunscreen on my face…you can say one teaspoon on my face…so, do you think it would still disappear and not leave a white cast? I am of Asian origin and have medium complexion with neutral undertones. Just to give you an idea….my color is like Kim Kardashian or Salma Hayak.
    2). I have acne prone and very senstive skin…so should I replace oil and glycerin with aloe vera….or do you have any better idea….I am afraid of using oils on my face….its scorching hot summer where I live.
    3). I already have HA 1% solution but it contains benzyl alcohol. Should/could I use it?
    4). How can I make it very non-acnegenic?
    5). Keeping in mind that I have acne prone skin, if you had to recommend one, which recipe would you recommend? 20% with few things or 22% with more ingredients? Is there any particular ingredient that I should be wary of?

    I have been using chemical sunscreens till now but they sting and I recently found out that the ingredients can be toxic. After reading your recipies, I am so excited and happy that I have a way out. Now I can use mineral sunscreen without looking like a ghost.

    Waiting to hear from you. Thank you so so very much for being so creative and for being there for us.

  15. Lia says:

    Do you have to add the oil? Anything with oil in it makes me break out! But I would love to use a homemade sunscreen. I’m tired of all the chemicals in everything.

  16. Sierra says:

    I was wondering if this sunscreen would work as well with non nano zinc oxide? Would it be too thick and white? Thanks.

  17. Tracey Black says:

    I’d love to include this post in a round-up post I’m working on featuring DIY, all-natural sunscreens. Ok to include a photo with full credit to you and a link to this page?

  18. Pingback: 8 DIY Homemade Sunscreen Recipes - Don't Mess with Mama

  19. Dempeaux says:

    @tracey Sorry for the delay in replying – no problem! Glad it’s useful 🙂

  20. Dempeaux says:

    @Tracey No problem!

  21. Dempeaux says:

    @Sierra I think it would be okay. The ZnO from SEA is of a beautiful quality, though.

  22. Dempeaux says:

    @Lia You can alter the formula to avoid oil, but I would suggest using the updated formula of mine if you have oily skin

  23. Dempeaux says:

    @Jessica Yay! Glad it is useful.

  24. Dempeaux says:

    @Jessica Great! It’s a very elegant formula 🙂

  25. Dempeaux says:

    @Berenice I would always go to SEA. They’re the best.

  26. Amy says:

    Hey awesome step by step photos! I was wondering, could you explain what each of the ingredients does, or why it’s included in the formula? Cheers!

  27. Dempeaux says:

    @Amy I think Google is your friend with this question 🙂

  28. Maria says:

    Hi, I’ve read that you want the larger granule of xinc so it sits on your skin rather than being absorbed-is this true? And is the size of the granule not affected by the blender? I made some in the vitamix and it turned out much better than the batch I just mixed by hand (all the zinc settled at the bottom). I am pregnant and worried about my skin absorbing the zinc from the vitamixed batch. Thank you!

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