There are two things that confuse me lately. Okay, more than two, but for the sake of argument, I’m really baffled by essential oils and sunscreen.
My wife’s devotion to essential oils is feeling a little cultish lately. I just don’t know how magnolia oil is supposed to improve my life, or how the kumquat oil is going to upgrade my mood, but she’s got a million little vials that’ll fix what ails ya.
And when I go to beach, what kind of sunscreen should I be using? What sunscreen is okay to smear all over my daughter? What sunscreen is going to kill the reefs? There’s so much information and so many perspectives out there it can begin to feel overwhelming. But when I look at the ingredients on the back of the tube of any over-the-counter sunscreen, they’re filled with chemicals that are hard to pronounce and who knows what they do once they seep into your skin.
Rather than carry on like Andy Rooney, I found a solution that both appeased my wife’s essential oil obsession and solved my sunscreen dilemma. Make your own sunscreen using essential oils. Duh!
With summer here, south swells rolling through, the wife paddling outrigger canoes and the kid thriving in junior lifeguards, we had a little family meeting to solve our sunscreen dilemma.
And the formula we’ve dialed in for ourselves works really well. As somebody that’s both lazy and has sensitive skin, it’s surprisingly simple to make, it’s kept us from getting charred, and leaves the skin feeling remarkably healthy and hydrated at the end of the day. (Disclaimer: It’s not the answer if you’re surfing or in the water all day, but for casual beaching and summertime activities on land, for our little family of Scandinavians, it’s been solid.)
Here’s the “secret recipe” we’re using this summer:
• 3/4 cup of coconut oil
• 2 tablespoons of shea butter
• 2 tablespoons of zinc oxide powder
• 1 tablespoon of pomegranate oil
• A few drops of lavender oil
The ingredients are relatively easy to source and they’re also affordable. You can order a 16-ounce package of organic, therapeutic-grade zinc oxide powder online for $15, which should last you several summers. Note: Just make sure that when you’re mixing your sunscreen you don’t inhale the zinc oxide powder, it’ll make you sick if you ingest too much.
The coconut and pomegranate oil, as well as the shea butter, all have natural sunscreen properties in them, but the zinc oxide will add even more protection. The lavender oil is used soothe the skin. Note: Don’t try to get fancy and add citrus oil to make the sunscreen smell better, as citrus oils like orange and lemon can actually magnify the effects of the sun.
• Combine the coconut oil, shea butter, pomegranate and lavender oils in a glass jar.
• Fill a saucepan halfway up with water and bring it to a low boil.
• Carefully place the jar in the water and stir the ingredients until they liquefy and are all blended together. Slowly add the zinc oxide powder and stir well.
With your formula complete, place the jar in the refrigerator to cool. Feel free to use it as soon as it’s firmed up. Keep it stored in a cool place, and enjoy your time in the sun this summer.
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