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The 6 Products I Use on My Post-Sun (Possibly Sunburnt) Skin

Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

Praise be, the weather is finally consistently in the 70s! It’s that special, short-lived time of year where we plant ourselves on blankets en masse, desperate to soak in the early summer sun before the weather becomes excruciatingly hot and humid.

But don’t let the seemingly tame, late-May–slash–early-June sun fool you: Harsh UV rays are blazing down on your pale-from-winter faces. And based on the number of texts I’ve gotten in the past week asking for recommendations on what to put on burned skin, I assume some of you got a little carried away over the long weekend. Some have asked what to put on sunburns, others have asked how to save their hair color from fading in the summer sun. Luckily, I’ve gotten my share of sunburns and have accumulated a collection of products I use to return my skin to health after literally having too much fun in the sun. Below, a few of those products.

For protection

Purito Centella Green Level Safe Sun SPF

Let me start with a quick reminder that you should be wearing sunscreen with a protectant level as high as the one in this Centella-infused product (PA++++) every single day, year-round! But especially now, when the sun is beaming down. And, in my opinion, it should be this Purito sunscreen. If you somehow have missed how obsessed I am with this stuff, let me reiterate: It never, ever breaks me out or leaves a white cast, and it actually manages to brighten and moisturize my skin while protecting it from harsh rays. It’s one of the best products I’ve ever tried in general, not just in the sunscreen category.

For major burns

Esfolio Moisture Soothing Aloe Vera Gel

This 100 percent aloe vera gel has been my go-to for soothing angry face and body sunburns for years. But that’s not all it’s good for: I’ve also found that it has worked wonders on calming irritated acne spots and razor burns. Here’s how I use this stuff when I’m badly sunburned: After I get out of the shower, I slather it on my clean, dry skin and let it soak in — it cools things down, and makes my skin immediately less sensitive and painful to touch. This is the big gun, in other words — the product I turn to when my skin is totally destroyed, whether it be from a bad razor burn or insane sunburn. (A note: I haven’t been able to 100 percent confirm that this is cruelty-free, but I have reached out to the brand and will update once they respond.)

For everyday soothing

Coxrx Aloe Vera Moisture Cream

Unlike the Esfolio (which is sticky and jellylike), this aloe vera moisturizer glides onto the skin and looks beautiful under makeup. In the summer, I use it as my everyday day and night cream. It’s a lot less rich than the Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid and it helps soothe my skin when it’s minorly burned, or just a little red from the sun.

For sunny vacations

Benton Aloe Soothing Mask

Like the Esfolio, I reach for this mask for all sorts of irritation, not just sunburn — angry zits, for instance, and general redness and irritation. It’s also my preferred sunburn treatment for travel because it’s carry-on-able — whenever I’m going somewhere hot, I bring a bunch of these along to slap on after a long, beachy day. They contain aloe vera and green tea extract, and quickly moisturize, soothe, and calm pissed-off skin.

For color-treated hair

Sachajuan Hair In The Sun

This cream from Sachajuan uses something they call “ocean silk technology” (which, as far as I can tell, mainly consists of algae proteins) to create a barrier between your hair and harsh sun, so that your color doesn’t get stripped by UV rays (yes, that’s a thing.) If you pay the big bucks to get your hair color-treated, it’s important to make sure you don’t destroy it just by sitting outside. This hair mask from Sachajuan acts as a sort of shield between your expensively treated hair and the evil, color-thieving sun. When I’m preparing for a day outside, I comb a quarter size amount of this product into my hair. It smells great, and it will make sure your hair is moisturized and protected.

For post-swim

Davines Su Hair Mask

If you like swimming during the summer, you need to own this hair mask. Chlorine and saltwater can make your tresses terrifyingly dry and brittle. This ultra-nourishing and hydrating treatment reverses that straight away — after you shampoo, comb it through wet hair, leave it on for ten minutes, then wash it out. Your hair will look soft and supple and you won’t be scared to go swimming ever again.

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6 Products I Use on My Post-Sun (Possibly Sunburned) Skin