Homemade Tallow Sunscreen Bars

IMG_4975_1 I’ve made some big strides in my quest to move away from conventional body care products:

One area I haven’t really focused on is sun protection.

Firstly, I live in the North East…aka “the place of eternal winter.”

Kidding. It gets warm here. But only for a few months a year.

Now that it’s finally sunny out, I’ve been thinking more about how to safely get some sun exposure.

I’m a huge fan of sitting outside on a sunny day to soak up some sun and get some vitamin D. I call this “therapeutic sunbathing,” with entails 10 to 20 minutes of direct sun exposure every day. Just enough to stoke the vitamin D fire, but not enough to burn.

There are days, however, when I have to be outside for a longer than optimum length of time.

When running the Harpoon 5 Miler, or going to Crossfit North East Regionals for example.

On those days, I need some more sun protection.

And I’d prefer not to get it from Hawaiian Tropics or Water Babies.

There are some not-so-nice things about conventional sunscreens.

Including the fact that they block the UV-B rays in sunlight that are the catalysts for your body’s production of vitamin D.

There are natural ways to increase your body’s sun tolerance, and lots of options for natural sun protection.

Including homemade tallow sunscreen bars.


I initially got this idea from Homemade Mommy.  I combined the sunscreen elements of her recipe with the Tallow Lotion Bar Recipe from DIY Organic Beauty Recipes.

Homemade Tallow Sunscreen Bars
Prep time
Total time
Created from recipes by Homemade Mommy and DIY Organic Beauty Recipes
  1. Melt the tallow, beeswax and coconut oil over low heat in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a pot of hot water. Stir to combine.
  2. Once all of the ingredients are melted and mixed, removed from heat and add the zinc oxide, vitamin E oil and lavender essential oil.
  3. Pour the mix into a mold and refrigerate to harden. (If you want them quicker, pop them in the freezer).

These turned out better than I could have hoped! I haven’t used them yet, but I’m confident that they’ll protect me from the sun.

Do you use homemade sun protection? Feel free to share in the comments below.


22 Responses to Homemade Tallow Sunscreen Bars

  1. Shelley C May 15, 2013 at 3:19 PM #

    These look beautiful!

  2. Kelli May 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM #

    If you had to guess, what SPF would these be equivalent to?

    • Allison May 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM #

      Hi Kelli! In her recipe, Homemade Mommy guesses that the bars are about SPF 15 to 20 based on the amount of zinc oxide in the recipe. (http://www.homemademommy.net/2013/04/homemade-non-toxic-sunscreen-lotion-bars.html) She also uses shea butter in the place of tallow and shea butter has a natural SPF kind of like coconut oil– so I would probably guess that these bars are closer to SPF 15.

      I would definitely do some testing before sitting out in the sun for hours…

      Let me know if you have any other questions!


      • Kelli May 16, 2013 at 2:42 PM #

        Thanks! I’m getting married on the beach in Florida next year and love the idea of making little sunscreen lotion bars for the guests. Could I add extra zinc oxide to get the SPF up a little. If I were using them for everyday activities 15 would be plenty but my fair skin isn’t used to the Florida sun and I’d rather not spend my honeymoon being burnt! 🙂

        • Allison May 16, 2013 at 2:51 PM #

          I bet you could add some more zinc oxide– I’m not sure how much you’d need to add to really increase the SPF– I think you’d be able to add about one more tbsp to this recipe without the bars getting too dry and chalky. Let me know how it goes and Congratulations on your wedding!

          • Kelli May 16, 2013 at 5:03 PM #

            Thank you!

          • samanthabelley June 6, 2013 at 12:04 PM #

            You can get a very high spf factor if you keep adding zinc oxide. You can also blend in titanium dioxide but it doesn’t protect as well as zinc does. The only draw back is the more zinc you add the whiter it makes you. The one I make for working the garden I estimate is about an spf 60 and makes me look like a ghost.

          • Allison June 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM #

            Thanks, Samantha! That’s good to know…

  3. Carmen McCoy May 16, 2013 at 1:02 PM #

    do these get mushy or do they pack well?

    • Allison May 16, 2013 at 2:50 PM #

      Hi Carmen– these are solid at room temperature, but will melt/get mushy if they get too hot. I would apply them before heading out and maybe take a little piece with you on the road, but be aware that it might get melty…

      Let me know if you have any other questions!


  4. Kalyn Brooke | Creative Savings May 18, 2013 at 5:29 PM #

    These are great – and so pretty! I currently use Mary Kay sunscreen, and like that it is less greasy than cheap-y store versions. But I really want to try this recipe now. We go through sunscreen so fast (we live in FL), and I spend a lot of money buying new tubes. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Vivienne May 27, 2013 at 8:45 AM #

    This recipe looks great! I live in New Zealand, and the sun can be quite strong there in summer. I think I might try using shea butter instead of the tallow and coconut oil, and maybe a bit more beeswax, so it doesn’t melt too much in the hot weather!

    • Hazel May 28, 2013 at 9:22 AM #

      My tried and trusted recipe uses equal parts coconut oil, beeswax, and butter — I prefer cocoa butter, but I do use mango butter and shea a lot — or mix all three together! Just keep the overall proportion of butter equal to the rest and it works great! I am very fair, though, and additionally have PMLE, so I use a LOT more zinc oxide powder!

  6. Tracey @ Dont Mess with Mama July 11, 2013 at 4:17 AM #

    Allison, I’m in VGN too. I’d love to include this post in a round-up post I’m working on featuring DIY, all-natural sunscreens. Ok to include a photo with full credit to you and a link to this page?

    • Allison July 11, 2013 at 10:39 AM #

      Hi Tracey! Of course you can use the photo! Thank you so much for asking. Let me know when you post the post and I’ll share it with my peeps!

  7. Sarah Gro May 1, 2015 at 11:44 PM #

    This looks great!! Curious to know if you have tried it out yet? Any feedback?

    • Allison May 3, 2015 at 12:47 PM #

      Hi Sarah! Yes, I did try them out. I usually put it on my face, neck, and shoulders when working outside– I haven’t been burned yet. I frequently reapply though, because I’m paranoid about being burned. So I think it works best when you’re outside for under an hour. The SPF is pretty low.

  8. Dusty Phillips April 11, 2017 at 12:23 PM #

    Hey I was wondering if there was any way of making these items without the use of Coconut oil? I have a sister in law allergic to Coconut and was thinking of making some sunscreen for them for while we are out at the fair with the kids.


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