August 27th 2019
Whether to prevent peeling, to rehydrate or to prolong a holiday tan, an aftersun cream or oil can make a huge difference to the condition and look of summer skin. A souped up moisturiser in many ways that caters to a wide range of holiday-focussed concerns, which ones are worth spending your money on? From high street to high end, we put a range to the test to find the best around.
First things first, this smells amazing. Forget coconutty scented creams, this mingles vanilla, Tahitian gardenia and sweet orange on the most grown-up take on after sun we've ever tried. It calms the skin and soothes red bits, while the shimmering gold packaging looks chic in your suitcase if that makes a difference to you. We love this so much we think we might use it in winter too.
There's no texture quite as refreshing as a gel - you can almost hear your skin breathe a sigh of relief when you apply this, especially if it's been chilled in the fridge all day (an insider hack). This aftersun combines hydrating La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water with shea butter for a thirst-quenching drink for parched skin.
We've been using Vichy's Idéal Soleil Protective Solar Water SPF all summer, so it makes sense to follow up with an aftersun from the brand too. This balm-texture is fairly thick yet not at all greasy. It's rich enough that just one application per day leaves the skin feeling soothed – ideal to apply after a day in the sun and before dinner, so there's no need to slather after sun on your skin again before bed. It takes redness down, which can often be an issue after your first day on holiday!
This soothing classic from Nivea is a failsafe after a day in the sun – just a sniff transports us back to smell transport us back to beachside breaks. It's heavily fragranced so it may not be ideal for those with sensitive skin, but it's fast-absorbing, non-greasy and non-sticky and it hydrates the driest of skin. Enriched with the addition of aloe vera and avocado oil, it makes those sunburned areas feel soothed and cool. Skin is left moisturised for hours, smooth and incredibly soft.
This mildly scented lotion in a pump dispenser (points for both those factors) had an instant cooling and soothing effect and absorbed quickly leaving our skin well hydrated, rather than merely changing the surface texture. We tested it at home pre-holiday so can’t vouch for its tan-prolonging abilities as an aftersun, but Institut Esthederm are specialists in all manner of sun protection, tanning and aftercare and have developed ‘adaptasun technology’ to optimise all stages of the pigmentation process for faster, longer-lasting tanning (they say) as well as a patented Cellular Water technology to combat dehydration. This moisturised well and the smell was subtle; jf you’re after a specialist product that’s high-tech and don’t mind paying for it, this is for you.
Finding an aftersun for sensitive skin is pretty hard unless you go for straight and simple aloe vera - that lovely nostalgic scent that so many have is one that sensitive skin can react to instantly, but with Eucerin that’s no such problem. Free from perfumes and preservatives, it’s a great option for reactive skins; it has a light, gel-cream formula which initially feels a little tacky on the skin but sinks in with a silky texture thanks to the silicones in the formula. Whether it ‘regenerates’ is hard to say without a lab but after use skin does feel notably calmer.
This light cream went on well, spread and absorbed easily and felt cool. The immediate effect was soft skin that wasn’t tacky. I prefer a slightly oily feel as I have dry skin, and felt that this was lacking, especially a couple of hours after application when the product had sunk in. If you have a different skin type this may be what you are looking for. I tested it under normal at-home conditions rather than after sun exposure (not that I ever tan) so can’t vouch for its tan-prolonging abilities, however I do know that good moisturising is key and for me, it didn’t quite do it. It doesn’t contain parabens, but does contain mineral oil, sodium cetearyl sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate as well as fragrance (which may be an issue for sensitive skin), and the smell is ‘aftersunny’ but not so dominant as to compete with your perfume.
Although it may not look flashy, this aftersun is rather impressive; a viscous clear gel in a large pump bottle, it delivers its promise on that much-needed cooling factor that sun-exposed skin craves while also hydrating it back to life. The thickness of the gel means it takes a little time to sink in but it’s also incredibly moisturising and left skin feeling softer and well looked after. With a barely-there fragrance which doesn't irritate sensitive skin and an oil-free formula so it didn't leave us feeling greasy, this one’s a definite keeper.
This light green gel smells refreshing in a herbal rather than try-hard ‘beachy’ way, it’s cooling without the pins and needles effect and it absorbs in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ fashion. Post-application, our previously clammy skin felt smooth and softer than with any of our regular body lotions or oils.
This cream is very light and absorbs into the skin very quickly without leaving a greasy residue (which is never pleasant, particularly if you are in warmer climes). It goes on like a moisturiser but didn't have any added cooling effect; after a day in the sun it wouldn't have the same impact as a soothing aloe vera gel.
Hydrating and tropically scented with a funky-looking ribbon of aloe vera running through it, this particular aftersun instantly transported us to a beach in the Caribbean (although the reality is of course really rather different). It sank in pretty quickly and left our skin with a subtle sheen which flattered our tan. It was a little tacky upon application, but overall it's a great way to make the most of sunkissed limbs and ensure you have silky smooth holiday skin whether you’re in the Bahamas or Bournemouth this summer.
This balm-textured aftersun does a great job at cooling and soothing the delicate areas that get sunburnt when you miss them with your SPF (It happens to the best of us). It has a light texture that sinks in very rapidly, which leaves skin silky not tacky. It's not as moisturising as some of the ones we tried, but it was soothing nonetheless.
August 27th 2019
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