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The Cascade Kitchen: Non-Edible Edition — Homemade Sunscreen

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The Cascade Kitchen is a student-run food column that brings you budget-friendly recipes and cooking tips. Check back bi-weekly for something new to try in the kitchen, or if you want to see your own recipe featured next, get started by reaching out to culture@ufvcascade.ca.

The rising temperatures and the sun getting ready to unleash its fury on the Valley can only mean one thing: it’s almost summer! Experts say we should be applying a shot glass worth of sunscreen before stepping out and reapplying every two hours, and I know I speak for most when I say I don’t apply nearly enough. Although I wouldn’t recommend tasting this week’s recipe, it’s still something you can make in your kitchen on a dime and is super customizable! You’re essentially making a delicious body butter with zinc oxide and whatever scent, or lack thereof, you want. This recipe’s ingredient ratios are from the Pronounce skincare blog, and for wholesale prices, I bought my supplies from Suds n’ Scents, a mail-order soap company in Abbotsford.

Note: since we aren’t scientists, we can’t guarantee that this homemade sunscreen will be effective or have the reported SPF. However, we can say that the sun is dangerous; use only FDA approved products when you are in the sun for extended periods of time.

Ready in: 20 minutes

Ingredients
90 g coconut butter
65 g carrier oil (there’s a long list of them! examples include almond, jojoba, or olive oil)
29 g beeswax
28 g shea butter
2-3 g of fragrance or essential oil of choice
42 g zinc oxide powder (use caution: zinc oxide is dangerous if inhaled)
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) Vitamin E (I popped open a vitamin E supplement)

Tip: The amount of zinc oxide used is enough for ~SPF 20+, but if you don’t need SPF that high you can settle for 5-15 per cent of the weight in zinc oxide instead. For the fragrance oil, I used Brambleberry’s online fragrance calculator which calculates how much to add for a light, medium, or strong scent. I’d aim light for the first batch to make sure it’s tolerable!

Instructions

  1. Place a glass bowl on a kitchen scale and tare it while warming up a pot of water on the stove. Measure your ingredients together, taring in between, but leave the zinc oxide aside for now.
  2. Once the water has warmed, place your glass bowl on top to create a double boiler to gently melt the oils. Wait for the ingredients to melt completely before measuring your zinc oxide and adding it to the mix.
  3. Mix well to fully incorporate it, then pour into a container of choice and let sit.

Image: Chandy Dancey

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