Simple Homemade Sunscreen With Tallow

by From Scratch Farmstead
homemade sunscreen safe for babies

Pass it along!

If you are looking for a safe and effective sunscreen option to keep your family safe this summer, including the smallest of babies, this simple homemade sunscreen has been just the ticket for our family for the last several years.

Our Sunscreen Story

Six years ago, when our first child was an infant, I started to look into what sunscreen would be the best option for her. I learned that there were basically no sunscreens on the market that were recommended for babies under the age of one. 

I was shocked. 

What was in these products that weren’t deemed safe for babies but then by age 18 months they were just fine slather all over their skin?

homemade sunscreen that is safe for children

I started digging deeper and came to the conclusion that for us, the best option would be making our own sunscreen that could be used at all ages. We’ve been making our own homemade sunscreen for the past 6 years. Between using this sunscreen and keeping up other sun safe practices, we have had no issues with sunburn since.

How Effective Is Sunscreen?

According to the Environmental Working Group, from a peer reviewed sunscreen study done in the fall of 2021, it was determined that most sunscreens in the US do not provide the adequate UVA protection for what the spf on the bottle states. The UVB protection has been on par with the spf rating but the inadequate protection of UVA rays is what causes most long-term skin damage and cancer (source).

Furthermore, there are several ingredients (like benzene and oxybenzone) in many sunscreens that are known to have adverse effects in many individuals, especially children. And, aerosol or spray on sun screens have been found to be particularly problematic in both the ingredients as well as not providing effective sun protection.

All that to say, sunscreen is definitely something you want to do your research on before just believing the claims on the bottle.

What about SPF?

The SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is the main factor consumers use when choosing a sunscreen. There has been a trend in recent years for people to purchase sunscreens with increasingly higher spf value. In 2007 there were 38 products available with an SPF higher than 50. Fast forward to 2022 and there are 97. 

simple homemade sunscreen with tallow

According to research performed by the FDA, there was no evidence showing that a higher SPF would be beneficial to consumers. In fact, as demonstrated in the study cited above, research has found the SPF to be an inaccurate measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen. The biggest problem with sunscreens marketed with spf ratings above 50 are that it gives consumers a false sense of security in the effectiveness of the product. For more information on SPF check out this article.

Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreen

There are two types of sunscreens, chemical and mineral. There is a lot of evidence showing mineral sunscreens to be a safer choice than the chemical options. Chemical sunscreens have ingredients like oxybenzone as their main active ingredient. Oxybenzone is a known hormone disrupter in people and is causing damage to the reefs when it is rubbed off of skin damaging ocean life.

The two active ingredients in mineral sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Of these two, zinc oxide has been found to be effective in combating both UVA and UVB rays while titanium dioxide is strong against UVB rays but less effective against UVA rays. Because of this, we prefer mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide as the active ingredient.

Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients

Homemade sunscreen cannot be lab tested and regulated in the same way that commercial products are. However, by using ingredients that are known to be sun protective AND are safe and even beneficial for the skin, we feel much more confident in the safe and effective use of this homemade sunscreen.

Non-nano zinc oxide is our main active ingredient known for its full spectrum effect of protecting the skin from the sun’s rays. In addition to non-nano zinc oxide, I like using a combination of fats and oils that  each uniquely provide their own nourishing skin benefits.

simple homemade sunscreen ingredients

Non-nano Zinc Oxide

As mentioned above, zinc oxide has been found to be the most effective mineral ingredient to combat both the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. 

But why is non-nano zinc oxide important? This has to do with particle size. Standard zinc oxide has particles that are extremely small, nanoparticles. The problem with this is that they are so small they can more easily penetrate the skin to get into the bloodstream.

Non-nano zinc oxide means that the particles are bigger making them unable to penetrate through the skin. This keeps the zinc oxide where you want it, on your skin, protecting it from the full spectrum of the sun’s rays. This is the specific non-nano zinc oxide that we used for our homemade sunscreen.


On its own tallow has an spf of 4 but apart from what it offers in sun protection, it also adds numerous benefits to overall skin health. Tallow is our go-to ingredient when it comes to all things skin care. This is a short list of the skin benefits that tallow offers:

  • High in vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12
  • Rich in minerals
  • Contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) with natural anti-inflammatory properties
  • Palmitoleic acid is a powerful antimicrobial agent that is also a basic building block of our skin
  • Palmitic acid helps to improve the function of the skin’s protective barrier
  • Stearic acid helps to repair damaged skin and improves the skins flexibility and suppleness

We highly recommend sourcing tallow from cows that were fed only grass at a local farm. To find a local farm in your area, check out local harvest.

cow on pasture with pretty sunrise

When rendering tallow, you will want to use a wet method to eliminate the beefy smell from your tallow. This video is a great resource.

Coconut Oil

While the exact spf of coconut oil wasn’t clear (likely around an spf 5), there is definitely evidence that coconut oil does provide benefits against the sun’s rays. Coconut oil provides a host of other skin benefits including: 

  • Being moisturizing
  • Providing antioxidants
  • Containing antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties
  • Reducing inflammation

Olive Oil

Similarly, to coconut oil, the spf protection olive oil provides is up for debate. But it is likely around an spf of 5 along with providing many other benefits for skin health. The powerful combination of healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants in olive oil lend it to resulting in more youthful and vibrant skin.

homemade sunscreen with tallow


Beeswax is an all natural and important ingredient in giving the sun screen the perfect creamy texture and the wax helps to keep this homemade sunscreen water proof.

Alright, enough background, let’s make some homemade sunscreen!

Simple Homemade Sunscreen

Yield: 1.25 cups


1/4 cup beeswax
1/2 cup non-nano zinc oxide
1/4 cup tallow
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup coconut oil


1. Add all ingredients to a glass, heat safe mason jar or 2 cup glass measuring cup.
2. Create a double boiler by filling a sauce pan 1/3 to half full and placing your jar with ingredients inside.
3. Heat saucepan over medium to high heat, stirring contents of jar until everything is melted.
4. Once melted pour into desired containers.

How to store sunscreen?

We’ve used different methods for storage. A glass jar works fine but I prefer to store it in these small 2 oz. containers or squeezy silicone tubes to easily throw in my bag and bring to the pool or beach.

containers of homemade sunscreen

For more of our favorite natural homemade skin care to keep your family safe and healthy, check out or magnesium lotion or drawing salve.

Some of the above links are affiliate links. This means we earn a small commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. We are so appreciative of your support!

DIY Drawing Salve

May 5, 2022

homemade drawing salve recipe
homemade sunscreen safe for babies

Simple Homemade Sunscreen With Tallow

Yield: 1.25 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Stove Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

If you are looking for a safe and effective sunscreen option to keep your family safe this summer, including the smallest of babies, this simple homemade sunscreen has been just the ticket for our family for the last several years.


  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 1/2 cup non-nano zinc oxide
  • 1/4 cup tallow
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil


    1. Add all ingredients to a glass, heat safe mason jar or 2 cup glass measuring cup.

    2. Create a double boiler by filling a sauce pan 1/3 to half full and placing your jar with ingredients inside.

    3. Heat saucepan over medium to high heat, stirring contents of jar until everything is melted.

    4. Once melted pour into desired containers.

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Desmond April 12, 2023 - 2:37 am


I am from the UK, we dont measure in cups.
Are you able to let me know what the measurements are in grams please?

From Scratch Farmstead April 17, 2023 - 2:16 pm

Thanks for your comment! I will try to weigh everything out next time we make it! Sorry about that!

Kelly April 19, 2023 - 1:56 am

Hi there!
I just saw your video on Facebook. Always looking for a good recipe for homemade sunscreen. I was wondering if you had one that doesn’t require tallow or animal products?
Thanks Kelly

From Scratch Farmstead April 29, 2023 - 8:41 pm

Hi! You could substitute cocoa or shea butter, you just may need to adjust the ratios a bit.

Janice June 24, 2023 - 8:38 am

Have you ever added essential oils to your sunscreen?

From Scratch Farmstead July 14, 2023 - 1:18 pm

I don’t but you definitely could!

Jen September 1, 2023 - 11:33 pm

You can add essential oils, but preferably not any citrus oils

Rhys July 8, 2023 - 11:13 am

Do you know what the shelf life is on the sun screen? Can it be stored in the freezer for next summer?

From Scratch Farmstead July 14, 2023 - 1:16 pm

Good question! I don’t see why you couldn’t store in the freezer although I haven’t tried it personally. Usually, I make a new batch each spring and use it that year.

Jen September 1, 2023 - 11:37 pm

I have stored mine in fridge, made it at least two years ago. Still fine!
Be aware that last batch may be “extra protective”, due to settling of ZnO2 to bottom of pan!

From Scratch Farmstead September 2, 2023 - 6:34 pm

Good point!

Haley July 10, 2023 - 9:06 pm

Hi there! Do you happen to know what SPF this comes out to be?

From Scratch Farmstead July 14, 2023 - 1:15 pm

Hi! Because we don’t have the ability to get it tested, we don’t know for sure but my guess would be somewhere in the 15-25 range.

Hope July 12, 2023 - 5:09 pm

Does this melt/does the texture change if it gets too hot in the jar?
Thank you!

From Scratch Farmstead July 14, 2023 - 1:07 pm

I just keep one in our pool bag so it’s in and out of the heat all the time and I’ve never had issues with it melting or the texture changing. Hope this helps!

Matthieu August 6, 2023 - 12:58 am

It’s great to share recipes like this, especially if you’d gone into depth about the additional sun protection you use (clothing, staying in the shade).
You are hoping to make money off this post which is great, however stating opinion and half truths as medical facts, to do so, is incredibly dangerous and unethical. Living in Australia where 1/3 people will get skin cancer in their lifetime I’m scared for my loved ones. My younger sister is so worried about getting cancer from sunscreen she will not use it.

The USFDA has terrible laws re sunscreen compared to the rest of the world. It means onus is on consumers to educate themselves on what’s suitable, know there are poor quality products available and be able to choose otherwise.

Spf (sun protection factor) refers only to uvb protection of a product, not uva. Spf +/ broad spectrum indicates both spectrums of ultra violet rays are protected from. Combined UVA/UVB (broad spectrum) protection is medically recommended as the most effective protection from cancer.
Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide are typically formulated together for better broad spectrum protection in physical sunscreens. Was the ‘pick me’ game only necessary because one product wasn’t available for commission?
If anyone would like genuine advice please please triple check information, compare sources and always see if someone is gaining from the information provided.

From Scratch Farmstead August 6, 2023 - 1:03 pm

Honestly, I shared this post because this is genuinely our experience and the recipe our family uses and has used for sunscreen for the last several years. Most of the information was based on either our experience or from the environmental working group. Thanks for reading!

Jenny September 1, 2023 - 7:39 pm

Hello, I am looking forward to trying this recipe out. I have rendered my own tallow and have beeswax from my own beehive. Have made sunscreen with the beeswax, in the past, and SO nice to put on sunscreen knowing there are no nasty unnatural chemicals seeping into my system.

Nobody knows the “official SPF” of homemade sunscreen, but the SPF will be around at least 20, more if you put it on more thickly. Don’t forget that SPF is mostly physical (from ZnO2) rather than chemical. If you don’t trust the efficacy of your homemade product, put on a shirt!

From Scratch Farmstead September 1, 2023 - 8:12 pm

Thanks for sharing! That’s awesome about using your beeswax from your hives. Enjoy!

Ayesha September 4, 2023 - 2:11 pm

Do u have any experience of using it on oily skin?

From Scratch Farmstead September 12, 2023 - 7:34 pm

My husband has pretty oily skin and has never had an issue!


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