There’s nothing like a sun-kissed glow. Sometimes, though, things don’t go according to plan and those few hours spent in the sun leave you looking more burnt than bronzed. Great SPF should ALWAYS (seriously, don’t forget this part) be the first line of sunburn defense. Winter, spring, summer, and fall -- the sun is always out and sunscreen is essential in protecting skin from sun damage. When you miss a spot or forget to reapply as frequently as you should, that’s when the after-sun care comes in.
As a fairly fair-skinned girl myself, I’m no stranger to the seasonal sunburn. While I pride myself on my sunscreen habits, sh*t happens and sometimes my skin just needs some relief. Even if you’re sans sunburn, your skin can certainly benefit from the extra TLC of a good after-sun care product. Some good old reparative, replenishing, moisturizing products will do you well after the sun has taken its toll. With serums, mists, lotions, and gels available, there are plenty of great after-sun products out there to keep your skin hydrated and nourished all summer long.
Keep reading to see our picks for the best after-sun care products to keep you soothed this summer.
After sun exposure, your skin is parched. Quench its thirst with No Problemo. This lightweight, refreshing mist instantly cools, calms, and hydrates dry skin. With a burst of antioxidants, amino acids, and electrolytes, cactus extract helps improve skin texture and elasticity. Cucumber water cools and calms angry, burnt skin while aloe juice hydrates, helps inflammation, and remedy any burning sensations. That’s a whole lot of soothing in every spritz. Use it on your face or body after a long day in the sun or whenever your skin needs a cooling, hydrating boost.
On top of all the skin-soothing benefits, No Problemo is COSMOS certified natural fragrance, cruelty-free, and alcohol-free. Plus, the bottle is made of 100% biodegradable plastic, so you can easily recycle it once empty and feel better about where it’s going.
That sun-kissed summer glow. Coveted, yes, but that tan is likely hiding some damage. With it, the sun can bring dryness, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. Help your skin rebound fast with this super-soothing mist. Aloe vera replenishes moisture while spearmint and lavender oils bring a cool, icy sensation to calm warm-to-the-touch skin. If the cool isn’t cutting it, Herbivore recommends storing the After Sun Aloe Mist in the fridge to boost the effects. I love that there’s a mini, 2-ounce bottle, so you can always keep one of these in your bag for those summer days when your skin needs some extra love. The refreshing scent is like a spa day in a bottle. Plus, the product is all natural, vegan, and cruelty-free to boot.
After a day at the beach, there’s nothing I look forward to more than a warm shower to wash the slick of sand, sunscreen, and sweat off my skin. After that, I want to make sure I’m lathering up in something smooth, not sticky. Enter: Beautycounter Countersun Cooling Gel. While simple aloe vera gels are very effective, they tend to be very sticky. This lightweight gel is a similar consistency, though not as sticky as most of its counterparts. A combination of aloe vera and California poppy extract lessen irritation, hydrate, and instantly cool on contact for that soothing, post-sun “aaah” moment. To make things even better, the gel has a delightfully warm, musky tropical scent. If using a clean product is just as important to you as a cooling one, you’ll love this option. Beautycounter is really committed to cleaning up the beauty industry. The Never List, which features 1,800 questionable and harmful ingredients the brand will never use in their formulas, is the brand’s blueprint for clean and safe formulations.
If you’re looking for a clean, nourishing lotion for your face and body, you’ll want to check out Coola’s Radical Recovery Lotion. The formula is enriched with antioxidants and vitamins from ingredients like rosemary extract, sweet orange and mandarin oils. Organic agave helps soothe damaged skin with its moisture-binding properties. Lavender oil, with its anti-inflammatory benefits, helps calm irritated skin. Sunflower oil helps maintain the skin’s natural barrier, working hard to help it retain moisture. With a subtle lavender scent and non-greasy formula, this lotion will refresh and relieve any skin type. The product is also reef friendly and EcoCert certified, meaning it’s crafted with at least 70% certified organic ingredients. While it’s on the pricier side of the picks on this list, a little goes a long way and one tube should last you all season.
Anyone else have vivid memories of rubbing bright green aloe vera gel all over their sunburns after beach days as a child? Public Goods’ Aloe Vera Gel is the big-kid upgrade of that time-tested essential. The sleek black and white packaging, paraben- and fragrance-free formula, and lack of color additives make for a product that has all the nostalgia and practicality of the stuff we grew up on, with a more mature feel. There’s a reason aloe vera has been a beauty essential for years: it just works. Put this on your sunburn for instant relief and watch your skin soak the moisture right up. The best part? It’s only $6.
Sun Bum is all about preventing sunburns, but the brand still has your back in case you do get one. Sun Bum’s Cool Down Lotion has everything you need to treat your skin to some much needed post-sun hydration and revive its natural moisture. Vitamin E packs an antioxidant punch, neutralizing free radicals to help slow signs of premature skin aging. Aloe soothes and calms irritation while cocoa butter nourishes and softens skin. The formula is lightweight, non-greasy, and smells like a summer day at the beach. Use it all year round for serious moisture and summertime nostalgia.
So you’re not red and peeling, that’s a great start! But, it doesn’t mean your skin isn’t crying out for some help...because it probably is. Those UV rays compromise the skin’s barrier, making it more difficult for skin to retain moisture. Combat that dryness with this juicy, hydrating Sun Repair Serum. It’ll give you an extra boost to restore, and retain, moisture for soft, supple skin. Put a few pumps of this serum on after cleansing and before moisturizing your face. Packed with vitamins c and e, hyaluronic acid, and chamomile, this serum not only hydrates and soothes skin, but it helps neutralize the effects of sun damage (ie, hyperpigmentation) on your skin. It’s also fragrance-free, making it a great pick for sensitive types.
With summer around the corner and the UV getting higher each day, why not stock up on some skin-saving, after-sun essentials? Shop these brands below for our favorite picks: