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12 best after sun lotions, from cooling sunburn relief to tan extenders

Our favourite after sun lotions, sprays and gels to calm and moisturise this summer, from Nivea to Clinique

Maybe you were just hoping to get a dose of Vitamin D or a golden tan this summer, but one of the consequences of sun exposure could be - ouch! - the dreaded sunburn. And with this year bringing one of the hottest seasons on record, after sun lotions, sprays and gels formulated to calm your skin, moisturise and extend your tan (whether you’re sunburnt or not) are becoming an everyday skin care necessity and not just a holiday must-have.

RELATED: How to treat sunburn this summer: The best tips and tricks

What is after sun for?

After sun is applied to your skin after you’ve been out in the sun.

Whether in lotion, spray or gel form, after sun is designed to soothe, cool and moisturise the skin after prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays, and to help tone down inflammation and redness in the case of mild sunburn. Many after suns are designed to be tan extenders, reducing peeling and preserving your golden glow even longer.


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After sun products are generally formulated with soothing natural ingredients like aloe vera, cucumber and rose water, and some even include pain relievers such as lidocaine to reduce itching and discomfort.

Some people even keep their after sun in the fridge to increase the cooling effects!

Now that you know what it’s for, here are some of our favourite after suns for summer 2022…

The after sun you’ll want if you have sensitive skin 

Eucerin Sun Sensitive Relief After Sun Lotion Gel, £14.50 / $29


If you have sensitive skin or sun allergies, this is the after sun solution for you. The clinically- and dermatologically-tested gel-cream formula is fragrance free and suitable for use on both face and body. “Great for sun allergy sufferers,” said one Boots reviewer. “You feel an instant cooling effect on application and it definitely calms sun irritated skin."

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After sun under £10 that will also extend your tan

PIZ BUIN After Sun, was £10.20 now £6 / $8.98, Amazon


This affordable after sun is a tan-intensifying and moisturising lotion enriched with shea butter and vitamin E – and it has nearly 3,000 5-star ratings on Amazon!


The best after sun for your face

Clinique After-Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe, £20 / $33


When it comes to a soothing after sun for your face, Clinique has come to the rescue! Consistently top-rated, the oil-free and non-acnegenic balm helps calm your skin and isn’t sticky - some reviewers say they even use it as their everyday moisturiser.  

RELATED: The best cooling facial sprays that will keep you refreshed in a heatwave


After sun body butter to feel like you’re on a tropical island

Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Body Butter, £3.99 / $11.99, Amazon


This after sun body butter is enriched with avocado oil, coconut oil and shea butter - and the coconut scent will take you away even if you’ve only been out in the garden. Plus, 83% of reviewers on Amazon have given it a whopping 5 stars.

RELATED: Victoria Beckham loves this £6 body butter from The Body Shop

After sun that maximises your tan

Lancaster Golden Tan Maximiser After Sun Lotion, £19.95 / $34, Amazon


Lancaster's Golden Tan Maximizer After Sun Lotion, which is formulated to extend your tan for up to a month, has earned rave reviews and a 4.8 star rating on Amazon. “My tan lasts for at least 5-6 weeks post holiday and my skin is amazingly soft and supple without any skin irritation,” said one happy (and tan) shopper of the premium after sun.


Aloe Vera gel: Banana Boat has you covered

Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel, £5 / $10


Made with pure aloe vera, this affordable gel can be used year round to relieve and moisturise sunburned, chapped or windburned skin, and prevent peeling.


Best cheap after sun lotion

Nivea Sun After Sun Moisturising Soothing Lotion, £5 / $10.99


Nivea’s popular After Sun promises 48 hours of moisture and includes healing organic hyaluron and aloe vera.


Top-rated Amazon after sun gel  

SunBurnt Ultra Hydrating Gel, £24.90 / $9.98, Amazon


This after sun gel with aloe vera calendula, echinacea and hyaluronic acid is one of Amazon’s top-rated.


Love a summery dry oil? You’ll want this after sun

Sun Bum Cool Down After Sun spray, £15.59 / $11.99


Sun Bum’s vegan and cruelty-free oil spray formula is enriched with aloe vera, vitamin E and cocoa butter.

RELATED: 10 best body oils for dry skin 2022: Scented oils for glowing skin

Instant SOS for your sunburn

SOS Sunburn Soother Mask, £22 / $32, Clarins


If you need to instantly soothe a mild sunburn, Clarins’ 5-star luxurious cream-gel mask will do the trick. Aloe vera and sunflower extract minimises that burning sensation, shea oil nourishes your skin and Mimosa tenuiflora extract helps protect against collagen-busting free radicals.

Freeze! This is a great cooling after sun spray

Australian Gold Aloe Freeze Spray Gel, £17.99 / $7.88, Amazon


This fragrance-free cooling spray has a natural, subtle scent thanks to the comfrey and spearmint. “Absolutely amazing,” said one reviewer. “I always burn even in the shade and this is brilliant, it takes the redness out of sunburn… It moisturises the skin, very easy to apply a lovely smell like peppermint that isn't overwhelming… I have tried lots of after suns that have never worked as good as this.”

An inexpensive after sun with self-tanner

Garnier Ambre Solaire After Sun Hydrating Tan Maintainer, was £10 now £4.99, Amazon


This affordable after sun from Garnier includes a mild self-tanning ingredient, so as it soothes your skin with Vitamin E it also helps you deepen and maintain your glow - a win win!

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