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Rina Teslica
Writer and expert13 days ago
View Rina Teslica's profile
a woman' tanned leg bend with her arm holding onto the leg. shot against a blue cloudy sky

You’re in Greece, you’ve fallen asleep reading the latest Collen Hoover book, forgot to reapply your SPF and you’ve now woken up to skin that’s lobster red, tight and oh-so-irritated. We’ve all been there (maybe more often than we’d like to admit...). But what can we do to soothe our summer skin? Entre: aftersun. 

 Introducing aftersun to your seasonal arsenal not only comforts stressed skin, but softens, nourishes and hydrates too. So, whether you’re informed of what aftersun is or not, we’re here to give you a lesson in sun care and teach you what it actually does and the formulas we’ll be adding to our basket this summer.  

P.s. if you need a refresher on how to apply SPF correctly, read our ultimate guide here. 


Essentially, aftersun is exactly what you think it is – a body moisturiser you use after sun exposure. Created with a higher percentage of water than typical moisturisers, they’re infused with comforting, limb-loving ingredients such as aloe vera. Aloe vera is typically used in afersun lotions because it’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants which cool sunburn, - not to mention its gold standard of anti-inflammatory properties.  

a bottle of sun bum aftersun lotion held above ripples of a swimming pool


Aftersun lotions and moisturisers are very similar, but they have three main differences that make one better at easing sunburn than the other. Ultimately, when we overexpose our skin to the sun it draws out moisture from our dermis leading to dry, uncomfortable and red-looking skin. That’s where aftersun comes in to work its magic. Unlike typical body creams that are thick and creamy in consistency, aftersun solutions are lightweight, packed with a higher concentration of water and infused with skin quenching aloe vera. Aptly named, they’re formulated specifically for use after sun exposure meaning they won’t trap heat radiating off the skin. Plus, as potent hydrators, they also work to prevent any peeling, so your golden glow will look gilded for longer too.  


Now with that sun care lesson over, let’s dive into the best aftersun solutions to ensure your skin is sunshine ready from sunrise to sundown. 



Cooling and relieving, Sun Bum’s Cool Down After Sun Lotion soothes and replenishes tight, post-sun skin instantly. Filled with free-radical scavenging antioxidants, it cocoons your limbs in a non-greasy, fast-absorbing veil that chills and comforts your instantly. Plus, with a delicate scent of fresh cucumbers it’ll transport you to a place of zen. Now, that’s what we call summer bliss! 


Packed with skin loving ingredients that are safe to use on your face and body, NUXE’s Sun Refreshing After-Sun Lotion is powered by rice, rosemary, vitamin E and kau pe flower extract to target that tingly sensation. What's more, with a tantalising scent of orange, gardenia and vanilla it’s a scent-sual experience you can experience from head-to-toe. 


Infused with apricot, aloe-vera and vitamin E, DARLING’s After Sun Lotion rehydrates parched skin instantly. Not only that, but steeped in the brand’s famed Monoi de Tahiti perfume, this body lotion keeps the summertime going long after you’ve returned home. 


Supercharged with its special repairing complex, Lancaster’s Golden Tan Maximiser After Sun Lotion quickly soothes skin stress, while prolonging your golden glimmer. Made with the brand’s Tan Activator Complex infused with tan extending buriti oil, this intensely hydrating lotion prevents your limbs from peeling – meaning they stay silky soft long after the sun sets. 


Enriched with the brand’s own thermal spring water, La Roche-Posay's Anthelios Post UV Exposure After Sun Lotion offers the same feeling as downing a cold glass of water. Providing immediate comfort to sun-kissed skin, it nourishes and hydrates distressed and dehydrated limbs. 



Have more queries?  We've got the answers to some of your most burning (excuse the pun!) questions... 




Is aftersun just moisturiser?

No, while aftersun is similar to a moisturiser it's formulated specifically to be lightweight with a higher water content. Plus, infused with cooling ingredients like aloe vera, it calms skin that’s been overexposed to the sun. 

Do you really need aftersun?

Yes. Especially if your skin is feeling dry, uncomfortable and red. Aftersun works to cool stressed skin while delivering a dose of much needed hydration that doesn’t trap heat radiating off your skin. 

Is after sun the same as aloe vera?

Aftersun lotions are formulated with aloe vera but contain other limb-loving ingredients that comfort, remoisturise and replenish sunburnt skin. Aloe vera alone won’t have the added hydrating properties that an aftersun lotion will but does work to cool and relieve your skin. 

Is aftersun actually good for sunburn?

Yes, thanks to aftersun’s lightweight formulas and infusion of skin relieving properties, the lotions are specifically formulated to hydrate and replenish and comfort your skin after excessive sun exposure. 

Rina Teslica
Writer and expert
View Rina Teslica's profile
Rina is Cult Beauty’s Junior SEO Copywriter and has always had a passion for beauty and skin care (rich moisturisers are her obsession). What started as a love for The Body Shop and their famed Born Lippy lip balms (in ‘Watermelon’ of course!), she is now more interested in finding products with proven effectiveness instead of broken promises. A loud and proud VIEVE fan, Rina owns nearly every item of the range and recommends the brand to anyone who will listen... When she’s not intently reading ingredient lists, you can find her either immersed in multiple true crime podcasts or co-hosting her own parenting one, with an *extra* hot cappuccino in hand.