Skimping on after-sun is a false economy. It’s just as important as the sun protection you use, if you want a tan that lasts and looks radiant for as long as possible. (Dry, dusty skin looks way lighter in tone than quenched, nourished skin.) The best after-suns, we’ve always found, also have a cooling and soothing action. The sunny summer of 2018 couldn’t have been more perfect for putting after-suns through their paces – and these got glowing reports from our testers.
GOLD AWARD Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm with Aloe
We have been known, on holiday, to slice off an aloe leaf and slather its cool gel-like sap over hot and sunburned skin. But this is so much easier: a moisturising balm in a sunny yellow flip-top tube, infused with that botanical sun-soother, helping to guard against damage and minimise peeling. We very much like the fact that this is suitable for face and body, doing double-duty. And – being as it’s from Clinique – it’s hypoallergenic and non-acnegenic. Use as often as you like and apply to achieve relief, they recommend.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘Top marks. Trialled this on holiday in Greece in August so quite a test! Relieved redness and heat immediately after slight over exposure to sun. Left a lovely sheen. The best after sun I’ve tried’ • ‘perfect for a beach holiday, cooling skin and relieving any sunburn and redness (though I try not to get burnt); definitely fragrance-free!’ • ‘lovely light texture but not runny, quickly absorbed; I had a little sunburn and it calmed irritation immediately, relieved tightness by hydrating skin’ • ‘more money than I usually spend but I would buy it over my usual high street brand, as it’s more hydrating, less runny and more luxurious’ • ‘very portable tube and easy to squeeze out the right amount; coolness and moisturising effect are far superior to after suns I’ve used previously’ • ‘perfect balm/gel texture. Loved this product, which helped me cool down after hot flushes during the sticky summer heat wave. I used it after my shower when I cycled home from a very hot office.’
£20 for 150ml - click to buy
SILVER AWARD Ultrasun Aftersun Gel
Ultrasun are famed for their once-a-day, photo-stable sun protection products – but from the tester feedback we got on this product, the after-sun deserves recognition as one of the heroes in the range. It’s a cooling gel-lotion that is non-greasy, non-sticky and long-lasting (although didn’t deliver quite the 24-hour moisturisation promised). Ultrasun is made by Swiss suncare experts; this offering is free from mineral oils, emulsifiers, preservatives. What it DOES have is glycerine, SOD (a free radical scavenger) and a patented moisturiser called Aquarich®.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘Very good at short-term moisturisation, applied twice a day morning and evening. Disappeared almost immediately without rubbing in and smoothed beautifully into skin, leaving slight sheen’ • ‘very light gel consistency that sank in quickly; pleasant slight fragrance; excellent after sun that I have used previously and found soothing and moisturising’ • ‘beautifully cooling and very soothing, felt comfortable on my sensitive, eczema-prone hands. (Ultrasun makes my favourite facial sunscreen for sensitive skin.) • ‘Like the plastic (recyclable) pump action container with better than average plug to keep it fresh. A runny, creamy gel that is very easy to get out’ • ‘didn't feel greasy like other after suns I have used, and disappeared after a little bit of rubbing in. Cooling and soothing although I needed a body moisturiser as well’ • ‘I like this product especially the texture and how quickly it absorbs into my skin, leaving no trace of sticky residue so I can put on my clothes almost immediately. I’m going on holiday shortly and will certainly take this with me’ • ‘I already use Ultrasun Family sun protection, which I was recommended after suffering prickly heat for decades. That has always worked perfectly and has changed my life. I would certainly take this product with me on holiday and use it at home.’
£19 for 150ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD, NATURAL & BEAUTY STEAL AWARD Weleda Edelweiss After Sun lotion
This actually earns a double Award: in addition to its Bronze Award, Weleda Edelweiss After Sun Lotion is also the best of the natural contenders, from a pioneering biodynamic brand founded back almost 100 years ago, in 1921. With a more discernible fragrance than the other winners (it features lavender and eucalyptus), glycerine, olive oil, aloe vera and Alpine herbs help soothe and reduce irritation, while replenishing the skin’s natural barrier.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘10/10. Very easy to apply from large light squeezy tube with flip top, melts into skin and absorbs quickly. My dry, parched skin felt soft and comfortable. I used it twice daily on all the family on a recent holiday. Son particularly appreciated lovely cooling sensation on his sunburnt back’ • ‘This after-sun was so lovely that I used it as a cooling, fresh-scented (lemony), everyday body lotion during the heat wave. When it’s very hot, regular body lotions can feel too clammy’ • ‘Tested this on holiday in Menorca where I got slightly sunburned and my husband caught the sun A LOT. It did soothe, cool and calm our skin fantastically well. Also liked that it was gentle enough for the children’ • ‘a lotion texture rather than cream, which is quite runny but dries quickly and absorbs more quickly than other after-sun products I’ve use’ • ‘I like the brand Weleda and have used quite a few of their products before; I like the ingredients of this lotion and that it is suitable for vegans’ • ‘it is quite thin but smooth and easy to apply. I found that a little went a long way. It's also easy to only take a small amount of product at a time so there isn’t a lot of wastage. It definitely made my skin feel smoother and nourished; the fragrance makes it feel quite luxurious to apply – and I happily applied this to my young children too.’
£16.95 for 200ml - click to buy