Looking for a way to get thicker, longer-lasting sun protection on that area of the face that always seems to cop the most sun (hello, freckles!)? Well, look no further than this DIY natural Zinc Stick recipe!

Now, if you’re already using my DIY Natural Sunscreen Balm, I know I won’t need to convince you that it works. (Here comes my standard little spiel though: DO NOT use homemade sun protection recipes unless you are 100% comfortable with the idea. It is your choice and you’re responsible for your own sun safety. This might surprise you, but the best UV protection practice you can adopt is avoidance. To read more about this, check out the Natural Sunscreen Balm recipe here.

It took me quite a few goes to get the consistency right for this recipe. I can confirm that it does set in a refillable twist/push style container (as pictured in the recipe image above). It can also be poured into a jar and applied with your fingers. It does ‘stick’ quite well, withstanding a fair bit of water/goggle abuse! I’d encourage it to be reapplied as it wears off though.

Colouring your zinc stick is also possible, but be warned that you won’t get the same vibrant colours that you see in commercial sticks. I’d be worried that using a huge amount of colouring would actually stain skin, so proceed with caution. The amounts I used to get the colours pictured below didn’t cause any staining but as you can see the outcome is a soft, pale tint (but hey, the longer you spend in the natural space, the more you appreciate subtle colours, subtle fragrance, subtle results, am I right?).

When working with zinc oxide, be sure to only purchase non-nano particles, and be careful not to inhale it. Just because something is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it can be abused, and some ingredients require more care and caution than others.

As for the SPF of this stick – I couldn’t tell you exactly. There is, in fact, a very complex method used to test for SPF (and even that has SO many variables! Did you know it involves actual human guinea pigs??). My research would have this zinc sitting at an SPF of around 40.

I’m really excited by this recipe. Kids just look so cute wearing zinc! And, I’m happy to be putting natural stuff on their faces at their next swimming carnival!

ZINC CREAM

Makes: 90 g | 3.2 oz Prep time: < 10 min.

Ingredients

40 g | 1.4 oz shea butter

20 g | 0.7 oz carrier oil (fractionated coconut oil and sweet almond oil are popular choices)

5 g | 0.2 oz beeswax

25 g | 0.9 oz zinc oxide (non-nano particles)

Method

1. Add shea butter, carrier oil and beeswax to a glass bowl. (Double boiler method– place bowl on a pot of gently simmering water and stir frequently; Microwave method– heat in short bursts on low, stopping and stirring frequently). Remove from heat.

2. Add zinc oxide and mix until combined.

3. Transfer into container of choice.

4. Place into the fridge or freezer to set (this will reduce the chance of graininess developing over time).

5. To help evenly distribute the zinc oxide, stir the mixture briskly as you’re pouring it. (Note: when pouring into twist/push containers, you’re likely to get some zinc settling. If this concerns you, pour into containers and mix as it sets.)

Thermal Appliance Method

1. Add shea butter, carrier oil and beeswax to thermal appliance bowl and melt: 4-5 minutes | approx. 70˚C (158˚F) | low speed. Extend time if required, until ingredients have completely melted.

2. Add zinc oxide and mix for 5-10 seconds on low/medium speed. Scrape down sides and repeat if required, until ingredients are combined.

3. Transfer into container of choice.

4. Place into the fridge or freezer to set (this will reduce the chance of graininess developing over time).

5. To help evenly distribute the zinc oxide, stir the mixture briskly as you’re pouring it. (Note: when pouring into twist/push containers, you’re likely to get  some zinc settling. If this concerns you, pour into containers and mix as it sets.)

Want to colour your zinc stick?

To colour your zinc stick, try adding a small amount of a colourant like mica, blue spirulina, food colouring (powder or liquid). It is best added at step 2 when you’re adding the zinc. Be sure to mix well (it is most effectively mixed in when the balm is starting to set – keep this in mind when pouring into twist/push containers).

To Use

Apply to nose and cheeks as required, reapplying as often as required. Can be applied anywhere on the body!

Recipe Notes
  • This recipe has NOT been lab-tested. This means you need to be careful with your sun exposure and see how this cream works for you. I am happy to use it on myself and my family, but our skin types may vary to yours so be responsible when trialling this recipe.
  • Be careful using zinc oxide. I have long arms and hold my breath, but if you’re worried about inhaling it, wear a mask until it is mixed in and no longer loose and floating around.
  • I strongly suggest you check out the blog posts under “Recommended Reading”.

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger

Author, Advocate & Founder

With a background in health promotion, Krissy's passion is to educate and increase awareness on reducing the number of toxins that people expose themselves to on a daily basis, through an honest, simple and realistic approach.

She has sold over 20,000 self-published books and is now published as the author of Naturally Inspired, Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning.

Her recipes have taken her to the screen on more than one occasion, with morning TV appearances, and she received recognition as a ‘Woman Who Will Change The World’ in the AusMumpreneur business awards in 2018.

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