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Even if you’re extremely careful about religiously applying your sunscreen when you’re at the beach or lounging by the pool, the sun’s UV rays can still do some damage. Your post-sun skin may be burned, dry, itchy and in desperate need of some pampering. Whether you want to soothe your sunburn, moisturize dry skin, stop peeling or prolong your tan, an after sun lotion can help you make your skin feel soft, hydrated and healthy. But it’s important to choose carefully, as some products may not contain the right ingredients to give you relief. Check out this round-up of the best after sun lotions to find the perfect one to toss in your beach bag or pack for your next vacation.
Our Top Picks
Best Budget: Hawaiian Tropic Lime Colada After Sun Moisturizer
If you’re looking for an effective after sun lotion that smells and feels great but is also inexpensive, you can’t go wrong with Hawaiian Tropic’s Lime Colada After Sun Moisturizer. Made with nourishing ingredients such as aloe vera and cocoa shea, this lotion will rehydrate and replenish your skin after sun exposure, but can also be used as an everyday moisturizer. The convenient pump makes it a cinch to get it out of the bottle and, with such a reasonable price tag, you won’t feel guilty generously slathering it all over your entire body. It doesn’t hurt that it smells like a refreshing, tropical and lime-infused drink, so you’ll be reminded of your beach vacation long after it’s over.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion
If you or other family members have sensitive skin and are prone to sun allergies such as prickly heat or rashes, try this very popular Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion. Hypo-allergenic, vegan and gluten-free, it’s made with natural, moisturizing ingredients such as aloe lotion, tea tree leaf oil, cocoa butter, jojoba oil and vitamin E. The light, non-greasy formula absorbs quickly, easing the pain of sunburn and preventing peeling, without irritating your skin. Dermatologist-tested and approved, Sun Bum is perfect for the entire family and will leave everyone’s skin feeling soft, rehydrated and smooth. An added bonus is the lotion’s inexpensive price tag.
Best for Soothing Sunburn: Burt’s Bees Aloe & Coconut Oil After Sun Soother
Burt’s Bees Aloe & Coconut Oil After Sun Soother will help take the sting, heat and inflammation out of your sunburn, while gently moisturizing and soothing your skin. Made with aloe vera extract and coconut oil, it’s specifically formulated to re-condition and renew your skin after sun exposure. This light and fast-absorbing lotion is derived from natural sources, and it’s great for sensitive skin and is gentle enough to use on kids. It’s also non-greasy and can be used on your face or body, making it a superb all-around moisturizer. Like many Burt’s Bees products, this lotion also doesn’t have a strong smell, so it’s a good choice for those with sensitive noses. The only downside is that it comes in a 6-ounce container, so you may find you need to replace it rather quickly. But chances are you’ll love this lotion so much that you may as well order more than one at a time.
Best for Dry Skin: Banana Boat Moisturizing Aloe After Sun Lotion
To keep your post-sun skin from getting dry and flaky, try this Banana Boat Moisturizing Aloe After Sun Lotion. It’s formulated with aloe and vitamin E to preserve your skin and extend your tan, while also preventing peeling and dryness. The non-greasy formula is light and goes on very easily and smoothly. Your skin is left feeling soft, hydrated and smooth. The 16-ounce bottle is inexpensive and will last enough that you can keep using it to moisturize your skin long after the summer months are over.
Best Spray: Solar Recover Save Your Skin Every Day Moisturizer
If you don’t have the patience or desire to slather lotion on your post-sun skin, this spray moisturizer is a great all-around product to relieve sunburn pain, hydrate skin, stop itchiness and prevent peeling. The fine mist can also be used as a daily moisturizer or as an after-shave to calm down irritated and inflamed skin. Using a spray also makes it easier to apply after sun lotion to hard-to-reach areas that may be sunburned, such as your back. It’s also a great option for quick application on lotion-resistant, sunburned kids. With a crisp and refreshing scent, this spray is not greasy or oily and dries quickly. Keep it in the fridge for extra cool, refreshing comfort on sunburned skin.
Best for Prolonging Tan: Maui Babe After Browning Tanning Sun Lotion
Looking to hold onto your tan a bit longer? Maui Babe’s After Browning Tanning Sun lotion is specially formulated to heal skin that’s been damaged by the sun, salt and wind, while also preventing your tan from fading. With natural ingredients including macadamia nut oil and aloe, it also moisturizes your skin, without leaving it feeling sticky. Maui Babe will also give you relief from sunburn and prevent peeling. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to maintain their summer glow, while also providing their skin with the hydration and damage control that it needs.
Best All Natural: Alba Botanica Hawaiian Kona Coffee After Sun Lotion
Not only does Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coffee After Sun Lotion feels great on your sun-kissed skin, but you can also feel really good about using it. It’s made from organic, 100 percent vegetarian ingredients and contains no parabens or synthetic fragrances. The fast-drying lotion has a pleasant light cocoa butter scent and will hydrate and soothe your skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. With ingredients such as caffeine to help neutralize radicals, it can also help repair and replenish skin that’s been damaged by sun exposure. You can use it on your face or body, so it’s a perfect option for anyone looking for an all-in-one, all-natural lotion to soothe and moisturize post-sun skin.
Best Gel: Sun Bum Premium Moisturizing After Sun Gel
Another superb Sun Bum product, this one is a gel that will quickly cool and soothe your sunburned skin. Unlike other gel-based products, it absorbs on contact, so there’s no sticky residue. It’s also hypoallergenic and made with vegan and reef friendly ingredients, so it’s perfect for those looking for an environmentally-conscious product that’s good for sensitive skin. Store it in the refrigerator and it will feel even more refreshing and cool on your inflamed skin.