Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Sunscreen

Want to smell like a can of Betty Crocker frosting after a break-up, or Dobrilo Nenadić on a sunny day in Arilje? For Bali and the Anadaman Islands, I brought a TSA-approved bottle of my own raspberry seed oil sunscreen. Highly water-resistant and spectrophotometrically calculated to have a high SPF, herbal oils protected me from tropic sun while my husband slathered himself in Banana Boat and burnt to a crisp. If you prefer traditional non-comedogenic sun creme, scroll down for a buttery, all-natural recipe. It's cheap, quick, and makes the whole apartment smell amazing. A word of caution: Homemade sunscreens may not be effective for everybody. However, according to this EWG study, commercial sunscreens aren't always effective either! In vitro studies show comparable efficacy with titanium dioxide, but results do not necessarily translate to human skin (as is the case with raspberry oil). I can only speak from personal experiences in tropical and desert climates, but I stay out of the sun, and cover up with clothing and a hat. To protect against the sun's rays, wear tightly woven fabrics, denim, and dark colors- not gauzy cover-ups or basket-weave hats- and keep clothes dry, since wet garments transmit more UV radiation. Since posting this, I've read as many scientific studies touting the sun protection potency of natural products as not. Never risk your health for the sake of zero waste. Proceed with care!

Water-Resistant Red Raspberry Seed Oil Sunscreen

Protects from UVB and UVC rays only. All ingredients purchased in bulk, Buly 1803

50 mL raspberry seed oil
100 mL carrier oil (I used coconut)
Optional: 5 mL carrot seed oil

Combine in a dark amber bottle. Seal tightly. Reapply every two hours.

Homemade Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

30 grams non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide (available at Aroma Zone)
60 grams beeswax (available at Famille Mary)
60 grams shea butter (Aroma Zone) or mango butter (instructions below)
60 grams coconut oil (Buly 1803)

Combine melted beeswax and zinc oxide powder with shea or mango butter and coconut oil. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar. Use within six months. Add more beeswax for enhanced water resistance.

DIY Mango Butter

Scrub mango pits under running water and dry in the sun, approximately one week. Using a butter knife, carefully cut pits open lengthwise- find the little groove at the top, insert knife, and slowly work around the exterior so as not to break the seed. The seed is very slippery and looks like a peanut. Grind seeds into fine white powder using mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor. Add a little water for natural mango butter, or a few drops raspberry seed oil for toothpaste. Used alone, it's an effective tooth powder.

Where to Buy Plastic-Free Natural Sunscreen

Balm! Baby In glass and metal
Surf Yogis In recycled metal and compostable cardboard
Avasol In biodegradable cardboard

Paris to Go


  1. Hi Ariana,

    I found your blog a few weeks ago and it is so inspirational! I've always liked the idea of natural beauty and grooming and have been water only, for face and hair, for one week now… really looking forward to seeing the benefits in a month or so.
    I have been makeup free for a fair while now but only recently gave up facial cleanser and moisturisers, including sunscreen. However, I am worried about sun damage. What would you recommend I use to remove sunscreen at the end of the day (water only doesn't seem to get it off property)?

    Thanks!! Laura x

    1. Hi Laura! That is a great question- zinc and titanium dioxide stick to skin and you're right, water alone doesn't remove it as well. Do oils like grapeseed break out? I read that oil and micellar water remove sunscreen properly, but I don't know a zero-waste source for micellar water...

  2. Hi! I love your blog, its been a very useful resource. I am jealous of how many zero waste shops there are in paris. I was wondering how long the mango butter keeps for? Thank you!

    1. Hi Nada, thank you! It keeps a long time. At least a month- I always run out of it after that!

  3. I've learned so much from this blog. I started with my wardrobe, now pretty much changing over to zero waste items in the rest of my life. Thank you!

  4. Doesn't coconut oil clog your pores? It seems to have pretty high comedogenic rate 4 out of 5.

    1. Hi, you can swap it out for another oil. It doesn't seem to break me out or clog my pores.

    2. Hi Ariana,
      I cant see the video about mango butter, it seems to be private, could you change it? Thanks!

    3. Hi! It's not my video, I just linked to one and I'm sad it's private because now I can't find a similar video :( sorry about that!

  5. Hi, Ariana, I really like your blog, actually I'm reading all the posts backwards right now ;-)

    I have fair skin which reacts very quickly to the sun (should I forget to apply sunscreen and I am severely sunburnt in less than 30 minutes!) so, would you say the recipe could work for me? I no you're not pretending to know everything like a physician, but in your opinion?

    Thank you anyway for all the good tips. I am currently trying to begin living plastic free and to reduce waste, so this is really helpful! I recently discovered there is a Day-by-Day here in Lyon, so I can't wait to go and see what's there!

  6. I am impressed. I don't think Ive met anyone who knows as much about this subject as you do. You are truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. Really, great blog you have got here. ครีมกันแดดกันน้ำ