Caveat Emptor (Now with Tocopheryl Acetate!)

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that no one has yet conjured up the gumption to try my homemade sunscreen recipe.  No one, that is, aside from me.

But what if I suddenly started advertising my all-natural sunscreen “now with tocopheryl acetate”?  Would you want it then?

You bet your butt you would.  Why?  Because people love a good illegible ingredient.  Anything we can’t pronounce is good stuff.  If it’s got a long name with enough consonants to be on a Dutch streetsign, then it’s a winner.

So what’s tocopheryl acetate?  That would be Vitamin E.  Commonly found in almonds, tomatoes, spinach and broccoli.  No less beneficial; but how about that?  The amazing tocopheryl acetate is also found in backyard garden vegetables!

Of course, imagine this: By the time you find this out, you’ve already plunked down the extra cash to buy some less-than-average sunscreen that happens to have a drop of Vitamin E.  Where am I going with all this – the tocopheryl, the garden vegetables, the Dutch street signs?  Buyer beware.

I just hope she has on sunscreen….

With the new natural craze that has so many of us in its grasp, it’s important to know what you’re plunking your extra cash down for in the first place.  Consider this: A traditional bottle of 8-oz Coppertone sunscreen costs $7.42 at Walmart.  In the next aisle is a 3.5-oz bottle of Burt’s Bees “chemical free” sun lotion (that also contains “hempseed oil!”) with a sticker-shock-inducing price tag of $14.97.  Wow.  What’s in there, Burt?  No…seriously, I want to know – if it’s a high-quality tanner for pasty white skin, then I’ll take it.

So how does my homemade sunscreen stack up to all this?Store Bought:

  • Coppertone SPF 30 (8 oz) = $7.42
  • PER OUNCE: $0.93/oz


  • Zinc Oxide (2 oz) = $4
  • Coconut Oil (16 oz) = $12.19
  • Aloe Vera Gel (12 oz) = $3.97
  • Green Tea or Water = $0 (I’m using water for the calculations, because it’s difficult to get an ounce-count on bagged tea)
  • Beeswax (16 oz) = $9
  • Jojoba (4 oz) = $12.59
  • Vitamin E Oil (1 oz) = $12.99
  • TOTAL (51 oz) = $54.74
  • PER OUNCE: $1.08/oz

Now that’s all-natural value for you.  And Burt’s Bees sells for $4.28/oz?  Just for a little chemical-free sunscreen?  I can make that in my sleep.  Tsk, tsk, Burt.


7 thoughts on “Caveat Emptor (Now with Tocopheryl Acetate!)

  1. Never would have guessed that your homemade sunscreen could be made so inexpensively with all those hi-end natural ingredients, but I guess you only need a little bit of each in to make a batch. I’ll make a deal with you ………. you get me to that place that’s shown on the poster in the article and let me stay there for a month or so and I’ll buy a case of your sunscreen! Better change Caveat Emptor to Caveat Burt’s Bees!!

    • Yea I’m thinking of going back to Nice myself. Trying to figure out how to support a lifestyle of lying on the beach day-in and day-out…. And I was also surprised by how cheap my sunscreen is – I thought it might rival the “natural” brands, but I had no idea it would barely cost more than regular sun tan lotion!

  2. You are so right. When we check the ingredients – on toiletries of any kind – we are almost comforted seeing all those chemically superior compounds listed – “Gee this has gotta be effective – there is some serious stuff in here.” Heck we can almost visualize all those chemists in their white lab coats pensively working away over their bunson burners in their FDA approved labs – just to keep us protected!!! We’re all brainwashed – we’ve all been duped. Who ever would’ve thought that one fair ( and I mean that in the most literal sense ) Maid could whip up something using all natural ingredients on our old kitchen gas stove that would work just as well??? Amazing!!!

    • Seriously! Like I just told Daddy – I had no idea my sunscreen would be such a bargain!! I guess it will be put to the REAL test at 144th East this August! I just hope all our fellow beach-goers are prepared to be blinded by my paleness!

    • And if we work out another fun old-fashioned FULL family vaca, you’ll all be getting a jar before we leave! There’s an incentive to start the planning!!!

  3. Hi! I’ve been awol for a while but I’m back. Glad you found a way to save, but the individual ingredients you’re buying (like jojoba oil) are still so expensive! Have you considered buying them online? There’s a bunch of sites including amazon where you can save even more $$. It takes a while to get in the mail though, but for me it’s worth it.

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