If all the time you’ve spent outdoors this summer – swimming, kayaking, wakeboarding, at the beach and on hikes or junk trips – has caused sunburn or skin irritations from the heat, you’ll need a fast-acting after-sun product to minimise the sting and speed up skin repair.
The best after-sun products are clean; they’re formulated without synthetic chemicals like parabens and oxybenzone that can harm your skin, and lightweight so they won’t clog pores, letting heat escape your body.
Choose products that are infused with natural and soothing ingredients like aloe vera, hydrating ones like hyaluronic acid and anti-oxidants such as green tea, tiger grass and sunflower oil. Formulations with a cooling effect are a big plus to help reduce inflammation, and those with ceramides are effective in locking in moisture.
Whether you’re looking for lightweight serums for everyday use, soothing creams and balms or refreshing gels, here are eight of the best clean and cruelty-free after-sun products.
Boscia Cica Soothing Universal Cream
This lightweight, vegan gel-cream contains cica, or tiger grass, sourced from Korea, which offers antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, helping soothe and repair the skin while reducing redness. The formulation also features lactobacillus ferment, a probiotic that helps rebalance your microbiome, protect against pollution-induced damage and help your skin rebuild its natural defences.
Other ingredients include ginger root extract, another anti-inflammatory that soothes irritations, and ceramides that help lock in moisture. It can be used on the face or body and is naturally scented with an aromatic blend of orange and lavender oils.
Available on Amazon
Coola Radical Recovery After Sun Lotion
This deeply hydrating vegan lotion contains a moisture-locking base of organic agave and aloe vera, enriched with antioxidants and nourishing oils from sunflower, sweet orange and mandarin peel, combined with anti-inflammatory lavender oil and calming cedarwood.
70 percent of this after-sun lotion’s ingredients are certified organic, it’s reef-friendly, can be used daily – and it smells great!
Available at Harvey Nichols
Badger After Sun Balm
This soothing body balm conditions and smoothens parched skin directly after sun exposure, or straight after a shower or bath.
It uses a combination of moisturising cocoa and shea butters, extra virgin olive oil and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory essential oils of lavender, tangerine, tea tree and wild marjoram, plus rosemary and ginger extracts. Meanwhile, eucalyptus and peppermint offer a cooling effect.
Available at iHerb
Dr. Barbara Sturm Aloe Vera Gel
This soothing and cooling gel is made from 90 percent aloe leaf juice extracted from hand-selected, organic aloe vera plants. It also contains purslane, a plant rated for its anti-aging and antioxidant properties. Purslane helps reduce visible signs of irritation and works together with panthenol (vitamin B5) to soothe the skin.
This gel can be used on the face and body and is recommended after sunbathing, waxing or epilation.
Available at Net-a-Porter
Babo Botanicals After Sun Soothing Hydrating Gel
This cooling and non-sticky organic formula is quickly absorbed by the skin and is gentle enough for children and adults alike.
Formulated with 75 percent aloe vera juice, it contains antioxidant and anti-bacterial green tea and arnica which help soothe and repair the skin; hyaluronic acid and rosehip oil to hydrate and lock in moisture; and anti-inflammatory witch hazel and eucalyptus, which provide a cooling and refreshing effect.
Available at Babo Botanicals
Mill Creek Botanicals Aloe Vera Soothing Gel
This moisture-rich, quick-absorbing vegan gel comprises mostly of organic aloe vera extract, combined with anti-oxidant cucumber to help keep the skin protected, while providing relief for skin irritations, sunburn, minor burns and even insect bites.
Other ingredients like comfrey and allantoin further assist the skin’s healing process. As well as being a great after-sun product, it can also be used as a cooling after-shave balm for men and women.
Available at iHerb
Pai Instant Kalmer Serum
Made for hyper-sensitive skin, this vegan fragrance-free serum works to reduce redness and calm the skin quickly with a ceramide-rich formulation that combines anti-inflammatory sea aster, calming oat extract, antioxidant magnolia berry extract and hyaluronic acid to soothe stressed skin while repairing damage.
Pai decided against adding common cooling ingredients like menthol and eucalyptus to ensure this serum can be used by people with ultra-sensitive skin conditions, such as eczema and rosacea.
Available at Lookfantastic
Nuori Sun Repair Serum
This deeply rehydrating vegan serum contains a potent mix of plant-based, bio-fermented sorbitol and chamomile flower that work to reduce inflammatory reactions; natural hyaluronic acid and sucrose complex for hydrating and locking in moisture; and vitamins C and E to neutralise free radicals. Liquorice root extract also inhibits melanin production, reducing signs of photo-ageing.
Available at Smallable
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