Best aftersun lotions, creams and sprays to soothe your skin

·7 min read
 (Sun Bum)
(Sun Bum)

If you’ve ever found yourself reading an ES Best article in the past, you will have noticed that we are extremely hot on SPF.

Ask any dermatologist, plastic surgeon or skincare professional and they will tell you just how important wearing sun protection is in order to protect your skin from UV rays that can cause premature skin ageing - or worse. No matter the weather outside, be it heatwave or rain, and you should be slathering with at least a teaspoon on your face alone.

Sometimes though, even with the most diligent application, the sunshine can catch you off guard and leave you resembling a lobster with your reddish complexion. You return from the beer garden, festival or tropical beach destination expecting a bronzed glow and are left seething in the pain of the irritated sun slap. That’s where you’ll be able to employ an effective after sun in order to calm and soothe the area in question.

These cooling creams usually include nourishing ingredients like aloe vera that have the seemingly miraculous ability to turn burn to tan and allow you to get back to the sun worshipping that you deserve, minimising downtime with its remedy relief. With the combination of vitamins and minerals, you’ll even find products that prolong the life of your sunkissed skin.

To enhance the ultra-soothing effects, keep these products in the fridge for instant benefits as soon as you apply on your redness.

Shop the best aftersuns below to always keep in your holiday wash bag.

Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel

Banana Boat’s Aloe Vera Gel has been in a staple in our holiday beauty bag for yonks. There are few products like it that offer an immediate soothing and cooling effect that comes from the gel aloe vera-enriched texture. Further enhanced by storing the product in the fridge, one pump on the reddish area in question will calm weatherworn skin and irritation, leaving it soothed and soft. Best of all, you can even apply on sensitive skin.

Buy now £7.25, Boots

Sun Bum Cool Down After Sun Lotion

US-import Sun Bum has got our sun-parched British complexions covered with its savvy formulations. The climate conscious label has thought of everything to not only protect skin but also the planet too. The product is vegan, reef-safe and free from the likes of parabens, sulphates and gluten. It has a fresh, summery scent and is packed with antioxidants to nourish without making your skin feel greasy.

Buy now £16.99, Amazon

La Roche-Posay Posthelios Soothing After Sun Melt-in Gel

Sensitive skin and sun exposure are not always the best combination but its where La Roche-Posay excels. The brand is beloved for its soothing formulations that can be used by even the most delicate of skin and this conditioning cocktail is no different. It’s hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, has minimal in the way of ingredients and fragrances and it uses the brand’s signature cooling Thermal Spring Water to rehydrate.

Buy now £13.50, lookfantastic

Clarins Refreshing After Sun Gel

We all know the feeling. You’ve been glued to the sun lounger for the best part of the day and as you finally peel yourself away, you catch a glimpse in the mirror. Burnt.

But you’ve packed this game-changing product. Applying Clarins’ After Sun Gel is a tall glass of water for the skin. It feels immediately fresh and cooling, leaving dry, sun exposed skin feeling hydrated thanks to the mix of Aloe Vera and Watermelon.

Buy now £22.00, Boots

EVY Technology Aftersun Mousse

UV rays are extremely drying to the skin. There’s no two ways about it. So your post-sun bathing prep needs to include ultra-hydrating products that will reinject moisture like EVY’s Technology Aftersun Mousse. The formula has been designed especially with this in mind, using a concoction of aloe vera, antioxidant-rich vitamins C and E derived from melon and the anti-inflammatory ginkgo biloba as well as collagen and silk extract to protect and repair in order to maintain your tan for longer.

Buy now £22.00, Cult Beauty

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Air Soft After Sun

Hawaiian Tropic is known and loved for its instantly recognisable aroma that just smells like summer. Even the faintest hint will have you booking your next warm weather break. When it comes to sun-scorched skin, keep the Silk Hydration Air Soft After Sun on hand. It soaks into the skin without feeling greasy, building a protective barrier against loss of moisture with long-lasting effects.

Buy now £6.75, Superdrug

Glossier After Baume

You know the feeling of sipping on a crisp glass of icy cold rosé? Well, this balm is the skincare equivalent. It is not limited to soley post-sunburn, you can use the barrier recovery cream after exfoliating, in cold weather, counteracting the drying effects of acne treatment or even just to rehydrate skin after wearing a mask.

It reinforces your skin’s natural defences to provide nourishment wherever you need it with a buttery-soft cream texture. The product is free from fragrance, essential oils, dyes or any drying alcohol, while also being vegan and non-comedogenic. Skin will feel hydrated and moisturised even after 24 hours.

Buy now £25.00, Glossier

Saltee Tan Enhance Formula

When you emerge from your post-beach shower and find your complexion flushed to the colour of Tango, you’ll be pleased you packed this formula.

The UK-based label Saltee offers this product that has a silky-smooth feel on the skin. It enhances a radiant complexion while also protecting against UV damage and soothing as it goes. The Tan Enhance Formula contains a unique MelinOil, an oil-soluble peptide to strengthen and, as the name suggests, bring out your tan. There’s also pomegranate extract and shea butter for nourishment. The product is vegan and does not contain parabens.

Buy now £26.00, Cult Beauty

Lancaster Sun Tan Maximiser After Sun Lotion

Noone wants to pair their shoulder-baring holiday wardrobe with a lobster-esque complexion. Monaco-based label Lancaster is here to balance and calm the effects of sun exposure. The milky formula absorbs instantly where the inclusion of naturally-derived Buriti oil gives a long-lasting effect to your bronzing by enhancing melanin production. There’s also reparative and moisturising ingredients as well as a lovely fragrance that is designed not to irritate sensitive skin.

Buy now £28.00, lookfantastic

Bioderma Photoderm After-Sun Soothing Cream

Whether you’re on an exotic beach break or spent a few too many hours brunching in the sun, burn can sometimes hit you without you realising. This gentle lotion - that has long been a go-to for those with sensitive skin - is hugely comforting and calming no matter your degree of rougeness. The brand’s signature Cellular Bioprotection Complex gives immense hydration that will in turn extend the life of your tan.

Buy now £12.50, lookfantastic

NUXE Sun Refreshing After-Sun Lotion

NUXE was created to combine the very best of nature and luxury (the clue is in the name). The French-based label is beloved for its Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Purpose Dry Oil that can also be used on burnt skin but its specialised post-sun formulation is your best bet to counteract the lobster look.

It combines orange, gardenia and vanilla, where the ingredients are 92 per cent natural as well as Carob seed extract, rice, rosemary and vitamin E to prolong your tan by two weeks according to the brand and offer antioxidant benefits like cellular protection. Kau pe flower extracts soothes and calms, while water hyacinth and botanical glycerin extracts inject moisture.

Buy now £19.00, Cult Beauty