Sun-Kissed Skin Bronzing Cream Recipe

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Words: Carlynn Woolsey featured in Willow and Sage Spring 2016

When I was living in Santa Monica, California, I spent a lot of time wandering: through farmers’ markets, on the beach, and in and out of surf shops even though I had no idea how to surf. I tried it twice, and both times I was a little clumsy. But I love surf shops nonetheless because I always find hidden gems in them — cute bikinis, handmade bracelets, and one particular bottle of Maui Babe Browning Lotion. I bought it on the spot because I liked that all of the ingredients were listed right up front and it smelled like coffee.

The thing is, though, I never really wore it to the beach since I am pretty obsessive about sunscreen, hats, and not bronzing myself in the sun. Instead, I started mixing it into my face moisturizer and lotion, which gave my skin an instant dewy, tanned glow.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I rediscovered the remains of my bottle in a big box of things from California. I wanted to order another bottle right away, but once I re-inspected the ingredients, it dawned on me that I could probably make a similar version at home. This recipe will give you a subtle sun-kissed glow.

You Will Need:

– 1 cup coconut oil

– ½ cup coffee grounds

– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

– ¼ cup carrier oil: almond/grapeseed/ jojoba

– ¼ cup beeswax pellets

– 5–10 drops essential oil: cinnamon/ clove/etc. (optional)

To Make:

Coconut Oil Infusion

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, coffee grounds, and cinnamon. Simmer over low heat for approximately two hours. Allow to cool. Strain the coconut oil. Discard the grinds, or use them to make a body scrub.


In a small saucepan set over low heat, combine the coconut oil infusion, carrier oil of your choice, and the beeswax pellets. Whisk the mixture to ensure the oils are fully incorporated, and heat just until the beeswax is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the essential oils, if desired. Place the pan in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes and whisk once while freezing. If you can’t place it in the freezer, allow the mixture to cool at room temperature for at least an hour. Essentially, you are melting everything down to combine the ingredients and then letting it harden back up again.

Once hardened, give the mixture another good stir with the whisk; it should have a slightly whipped consistency. Store the cream in an airtight jar, in a cool place, for up to three weeks.


– This recipe will fill two 8-ounce canning jars.

– If you want to skip making a cream or buying the beeswax, you can just infuse the coconut oil with the coffee grounds, and it will have the same effect.

– You can alter the proportions of the coffee and cinnamon based on your skin tone. My skin has green and yellow undertones to it and tans easily, so I have even added more coffee to go a little darker with my cream.

– Like any oil-based product, this is greasy when you initially put it on. I recommend applying it right after you shower and letting it dry for at least 5 minutes before you get dressed.

-If you decide to add an essential oil here, make sure you are using a brand that is safe to apply to the skin; always test a small patch of skin first if you are unsure how your skin will react!

Carlynn Woolsey is the voice behind the blog JJ Begonia. She chronicles all of the things that inspire her at

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