Homemade Sunscreen: Is It Safe?

Our Experience

You’re probably here because you’re thinking about making your own natural homemade sunscreen because you want to try and live more sustainably. But before you head off to buy the ingredients, let me tell you what we learnt about how safe it is to make your own, from our own experience.

I want this blog to be full of useful information that is honest and helpful so that your zero waste journey is positive, so please read on.

Why Did We Make Our Own Homemade Sunscreen?

We first decided to make our own sunscreen in the summer of 2020 because everything seemed to come in plastic or wasn’t vegan and reef safe. So we wanted to make our own natural, vegan, reef safe version.

We did our research, just like you are probably doing right now. We found various recipes, compared them and decided on the best approach for us and our bodies. We spent time finding all the ingredients we needed and when it finally arrived, got started on making.

How Did It Go?

A hand is holding a small silver coloured tin filled to the brim with homemade sunscreen. The cream is white and has a couple of peaks in it like cream on a cake. The background is grey stone.

This was version one.

The first time we tried our homemade sunscreen we loved it! It was so smooth and silky to put on and it felt so good to have made our own.

I’m not sure we really took note of how well it worked though. In hindsight, we didn’t try it at the hottest time of the year which is when we need it most, we probably tried it the first time in mid September when it wasn’t too hot.

The second time we tried it, we were burnt. We’d spent the day at the beach and applied every couple of hours but we were still burnt when we got back. We weren’t discouraged though, we put it down to the fact that we had got in the water and maybe it wasn’t as waterproof as we’d hoped.

What Changes Did We Make?

We tried a couple of different recipes and tried differing amounts of the ingredients to try and get our homemade sunscreen to work better. Unfortunately it didn’t work. The scenario of us loving how the sunscreen felt to put on but then burning our bodies at the beach continued until (2022). I’m telling you, we didn’t give up easy!

In 2022 we were the most burnt we’d ever been! This is no joke and please don’t take this lightly. Even though our sunscreen was meant to be waterproof, it ended up not being. We applied it every couple of hours whilst we were at the beach, even stayed in the shade most of the time and still managed to burn our skin like no other year in the sun. It was the last straw and I feel that it’s really important to share this so that you don’t risk your health for zero waste reasons.

Moving Forward

We have decided to leave making homemade sunscreen to the professionals and I urge you to do the same. It is an area that I now feel strongly about as burning can lead to various health problems as you know.

From now on, we will be supporting companies that make them for a living and know what they’re doing to make sure that we are protected. Since our sunscreen journey began it seems that there are now more options in Cyprus that are vegan, reef safe and zero waste. I’m sharing what I have personally found below in the hope that you will also consider one of these options. This is not an ad for any of these, they are just the results from my own research.

Vegan, Reef Safe Sunscreen Options Available in Europe

  • Sol De Ibiza

    This is the best option I found and it covers all bases. It is vegan, natural and uses non-nano zinc oxide to make sure it is reef safe. It is water resistant and comes in a reusable tin which I love or cardboard packaging making it zero waste too. The company is based in Ibiza of course but if you’re in Cyprus, these are available from Green Monday.

  • Lekker

    Made with 100% natural, plant based ingredients and includes coated nano versions of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to make it reef safe. Comes in a carton pot that can be recycled. They’re based in The Netherlands but if you’re in Cyprus, it’s available at Agno Grocery.

  • Omuci’s Nothing to Hide

    This option is not 100% zero waste as it comes in a recyclable plastic tube but the ingredients are good and it’s available in pharmacies across Cyprus. They use natural, vegan friendly ingredients, don’t test on animals and do not use nano ingredients which is damaging to the environment and to our health.

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What We Have Learnt

Zero waste is not worth risking your health for. Please be careful if you still choose to make your own homemade sunscreen otherwise choose to support a company who is doing good by using reef safe, vegan ingredients and is packaging in something reusable or recyclable.

We understand that these options are pricier than the norm so if they’re out of your budget you can also find reef safe options that come in plastic that are cheaper. All we can do is our best. Find what is important to you and support that option.

If you have found other sunscreen options that fit the list above let me know in the comments.

Stay safe.

Tina Rinaudo

Tina is a passionate zero waster and crocheter who aims to live and crochet as sustainably as possible. She has been crocheting since 2016 and specialises in using sustainable yarns to design zero waste crochet patterns to make easy swaps for yourselves and your homes. She has been featured in Happily Hooked Magazine, PatternCenter.com and many other websites for her eco friendly crochet patterns.


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