Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sun-Protectant Cream

For the past three seasons I have been making my own sunscreen & I have come up with a formula that I really like. These last two seasons I started testing it out on others. I was kinda nervous- like maybe it wouldn't work- but ALL have reported great success. One friend even compared it by putting spf 30 on one arm & my cream on the other with equal results... (though she doesn't strike me as a person who burns easily). I would rate it at more of an Spf 15-- but i think it needs to be applied OFTEN.

either way... i am putting it out there for you all to make (and share feedback)- especially since even the "natural" stuff on the market, is loaded with ingredients i wouldn't put on my skin.
my rule is: everything that goes ON my skin, can go in my body-- and though i haven't tried it yet, i could definitely eat this stuff! :) hooray!

as a warning, I did burn some delicate parts one day during a full on naked adventure-- but just those that were mighty pasty and probably shouldn't have been quite that exposed so early in the season. i did farm a whole summer using only this as my sunscreen- and no burns!

i am also including the basic recipe here for Rosemary Gladstar's Perfect Cream (I use her proportions to make most creams) & the sun cream recipe is based on Dina Falconi's "Sun Butter Face Cream" in her kick-ass book "Earthly Bodies, Heavenly Hair" by far the best DIY bodycare book out there. You can also find Rosemary's Cream recipe from her website. The sunscreen is a combination of the two: Rosemary's amounts with many Dina's ingredients, as well as some of my own additions.


Rosemary’s Perfect Cream

*2/3 cup distilled water (or hydrosol water)
*1/3 cup aloe vera gel
*2-10 drops essential oil of choice (optional)


*3/4 cup apricot, almond, grapeseed or shea oil (aka the liquid oils)
*1/3 cup coconut oil or cocoa butter/or shea butter (or combination of) (also known as the solid oils)
*1/2 to 1 ounce grated beeswax
*optional: ¼ tsp lanolin
*optional: vitamin a and e as desired (in oil form or you can pop open a vitamin capsule or two and squeeze in)

Combine the waters (they should be at body temp). Heat the oils just enough to melt them and stir well. Put them in a blender and let them cool 'til they're thick and creamy and approximately body temperature. Put the blender on high and slowly slowly drizzle water into the center vortex of the oil mixture. When the blender coughs and chokes and the mixture looks like thick, white buttercream frosting, turn it off. You can slowly add more water by hand, beating with a spoon but don't overbeat! The cream will continue to thicken as it sets. Pour it into jars, store in a cool spot. I have had friends make batches that grow mold. To prevent this make sure you are storing your cream in well cleaned or sterilized jars, away from heat. If you are using a reused container, make sure to remove the inner cardboard ring. Also I prefer to use only distilled water over tap or well water, which has been evaporated then recondensed to remove bacteria and minerals.


“What makes it perfect?” by Rosemary Gladstar

What makes our skin dry out is a lack of water, so a good moisturizing cream contains a large percentage of water. The oil you put in the formula coats, soothes, protects, and most important, holds in water. A perfect cream is an approximately equal balance of water and oil. If the oils and water separate. it is most likely because they weren’t at the correct temperature; the waters must be at room temp. and the oils must be completely cooled. If they separate, you can begin the process again to emulsify.


For the suncream, I basically follow the same proportions (though i like to add more "water" part to make the cream lighter) with some or all of the following ingredients. I have switched it up a lot-- feel free to experiment with any combination of oils and waters.

Water Parts:
*Distilled h2o
*rose water or lavender hydrosol or both
*aloe vera gel

Sun Protectant Liquid Oils:
*Jojoba Oil
*St. Johns Wort Infused Oil
*Sesame Oil

Optional: I am now experimenting with other infused oils: in my current batch I am infusing the sesame oil with green tea, holy basil, gotu kola and rosemary-- all either anti-oxidant or UV-protective herbs. Also for folks who already have or are prone to skin damage/cancers- adding an infused oil of chaga may be helpful for its anti-tumor effects and preventing excess growth.

Sun Protectant Solid Oils:
*Coconut Oil
*Shea Butter
*Cocoa Butter

Optional: Warm up the distilled water and stir in 1 tablespoon PABA powder. Let the mix cool down before blending. *see notes below

All other ingredients are the same: i.e. don't forget the beeswax & aloe vera! Just mix and match as you please using about 3/4 cup liquid oils and 1/3 cup solid oils, and approximately equal "water" parts-- as long as you use some liquid oils, some solid oils, some "waters" including aloe vera gel-- in the proportions given in Rosemarys cream recipe. For example, this year I made mine with jojoba and sesame as my liquid oils and coconut and cocoa butter as my solid oils,though I really felt it was missing the extra protection of the shea butter. Combinations of oils, seem to create more protection that just one or two mixed.

* There was a lot of hoop-la in the 80s/90's about folks being allergic to PABA. While i won't deny that some folks may truly be allergic to it, I have tried this cream on folks who thought they were, with absolutely no reaction. PABA is a member of the B vitamin family and increases the skins ability to resist burns and sun damage and protects specifically against UVB rays. It is thought my many (the author included) many of those people were more likely reacting to the all the other shit in sunscreen, though i would certainly exercise caution if you believe you are sensitive to PABA. I have made the cream without it, but really think its better with it, and PABA's effects are increased by combining it with other sun-protectant oils. Having said all that, there are mixed reviews about its sun-protectant qualities. It is well proven to protect from burns, but the newer sunscreens are more "broad-spectrum" focused meaning that protect from both UVA and UVB rays and both types are now thought to contribute to sun-cancer, whether or not your skin actually burns. Seems PABA was taken out of sunscreen as well, due to one study proposing its effect as cancer-causing, because its absorbs UV rays, rather than reflecting them. This study is poorly sited and there have been no others like it, but I wanted to give you all the facts for your own research. The solids oils in this recipe are said to reflect UVA rays, though I haven't confirmed that with research. In the end I am still searching for the natural sun-screen solution, but am pretty pleased with this recipe in the meantime*

1 comment:

  1. So I am a studying to be an herbalist and I have been tasked by a customer(one of my firsts) to make a skin cream that has some sunscreen qualities in it. This blog was quite helpful. I am going to try it. Thanks for the breakdown of oils to waters. I overthink things sometimes and it really makes it harder. I was going to start with the R G perfect cream so this is perfect! Thanks!