The Best Aloe Vera Gels and Lotions—Because Even the Best SPF Users Miss a Spot

Updated 06/27/19

First comes sun, then comes fun, then comes, well, a sunburn. It's cruel, really. Especially since we've been waiting so long for those first summer rays to warm our faces. But sun protection is a necessity, and every so often, even the most diligent users miss a spot or two. That's where aloe gels and lotions come in. Aloe works to soothe, hydrate, protect, and rid your skin of the tell-tale redness sunburns inevitably display. It also plumps your skin, cools it down, and staves off dark spots and fine lines.

It's a pretty wonderful ingredient, IMHO. 

So to help you get through the summer, skin intact, we listed off our favorite aloe gels, lotions, masks, and moisturizers (there's even one spray in there for when you're on the go). Below, find your newest skin saviors.  

Saturday Skin Quench Intense Hydration Mask
Saturday Skin Quench Intense Hydration Mask $6
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For a soft, cooling post-sun (or post-plane) experience, smooth on this biocellulose sheet mask made with hyaluronic acid for moisture, as well as watermelon and aloe to refresh, soothe, and calm irritation.

Odacité Aloe + Immortelle Hydra-Repair Treatment Mist
Odacité Aloe + Immortelle Hydra-Repair Treatment Mist $39
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Use a few spritzes of this aloe-infused mist to deliver anti-aging actives and hydration straight to your skin. Fresh aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, chamomile, and sea fennel work together to combat puffiness, restore plumpness, stimulate healthy cell growth, and moisturize. 

Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter
Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter $40
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Aside from the fact that nothing sounds more lavish than slathering your skin in a product called Whipped Face Butter, this formula is packed with 100% pure argan oil (along with all the other good stuff like essential fatty acids and vitamin E) as well as a blend of watermelon seed oil, shea butter, fresh cucumber extract, and aloe nectar. Redness and inflammation are visibly improved as the ingredients help your skin retain optimal moisture levels.

Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion
Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion $13
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Post–sun exposure, this lotion's cooling cucumber extract helps to bind water to the skin (and thus nix any moisture loss). It softens, prevents peeling (the worst), and the aloe works to soothe any irritation and redness.  

BlinkBrowBar Aloe Vera Gel
BlinkBrowBar Aloe Vera Gel $60
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For a lighter formula (rather than a heavy cream), slather yourself in BlinkBrowBar's cooling, refreshing aloe vera gel. It'll help return your moisture balance, nourishing your skin as it aids in sunburn repair.

Koh Gen Do All-in-One Refresh Spa Aloe Gel
Koh Gen Do All-in-One Refresh Spa Aloe Gel $55
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With botanical extracts (including aloe and algae), Koh Gen Do's gel formula invigorates and energizes your skin instantly, and then locks in moisture for hours. It helps calm inflammation and smells great to boot. 

Kiehl's Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask
Kiehl's Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask $45
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Formulated with calendula flower petals and aloe vera, this go-to Kiehl's mask offers a surge of cooling hydration upon contact. It reduces signs of skin stress (pollution, sun exposure, what have you) while just simply feeling really, really good as you apply. 

Amara Organics Aloe Vera Gel
Amara Organics Aloe Vera Gel $15
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This 100% natural, cold-pressed aloe vera gel works to moisturize your skin, hair, and cuticles (it's especially wonderful for razor burn or sunburn). The thin gel absorbs quickly and leaves zero residue, which, for $15, is pretty damn good. 

Fresh Rose Face Mask
Fresh Rose Face Mask $62
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As one of Fresh's signature masks, this toning gel does not disappoint. It drenches any dull, tired skin with a bath of hydration (courtesy of real rose petals) and targets specific dry areas with a "smart" algae. Cucumber and aloe vera gel give the mask an immediate cooling sensation while green tea works to brighten. It's basically an all-in-one for good skin.

Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Creme
Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Creme $48
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Herbivore's Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Creme is paraben-free, sulfate-free, cruelty-free, and made in small batches in the U.S. Aside from all that goodness, it really works. The blend of rose water, aloe, and white tea extract moisturize, plump, and smooth to leave your skin dewy, fresh, and without any redness. 

Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask
Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask $22
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Glossier calls this a "creamy dreamy" mask, and we couldn't agree more. Sweet almond oil, plant-based squalane, and hyaluronic acid work together to visibly plump your skin up with a ton of hydration, smooth the appearance of fine lines, and restore your skin's elasticity. That, and honey and aloe act as soothing agents for any sun-related (or facial peel–related) irritations.

Aruba Aloe Alcoholada Gel $23
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"It has lidocaine in it so it's SO helpful for numbing and anti-itch," Byrdie's wellness editor, Victoria, explains. "Plus, the aloe speeds up healing."

Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Hangover Cure
Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Hangover Cure $10
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Great for dry or irritated skin, this cucumber mask contains botanicals like cucumber, papaya, chamomile, pineapple, sugar maple, orange, bilberry, and aloe to really replenish moisture and help your skin recover. It comes in a set with cucumber gel eye patches as well, which offer the cooling, nourishing, and brightening that you're probably craving.

Sephora Collection Aloe Vera Face Mask
Sephora Collection Aloe Vera Face Mask $6
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For another budget-friendly (and effective) option, try Sephora Collection's replenishing sheet mask. It delivers ingredients in just 15 minutes due to its bio-fiber sheet for improved penetration. The aloe option helps with elasticity, smoothness, and plumps your skin as you wear it. 

Make Beauty Succulent Skin Gel
Make Beauty Succulent Skin Gel $25
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Make's offering uses cactus extracts that help calm sensitive, dry, or damaged skin, as well as omega fatty acids to fight inflammation. "It's light and, unlike other aloe vera gels, it's not sticky at all," says Byrdie's editorial director, Faith. "It feels super soothing and hydrating and sinks in instantly."

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