By Jessica Nebesni

After what seems like an eternal winter, my skin craves the summer sun. However, skin has its limits, and after venturing out on a sunny day, I find that my largest organ needs a little extra pampering. Like many folks, I’m a big fan of aloe vera gel, but it can get messy and goopy when used on its own. Fortunately, by combining the cooling benefits of aloe vera with wonderful witch hazel extract and calendula hydrosol (a mild plant water that’s created during the essential oil distilling process), you can concoct a mixture that is refreshing, easy to use, and makes for a comforting end to a long day outdoors.

What is an after-sun spray?

The elixir we’re making is a healthful body spray used to cool and refresh the skin after spending time in the sun. Just like drinking a tall glass of water to rehydrate you internally, an after-sun spray used topically brings moisture and relief to thirsty skin. This formulation also has the added benefits of skin-loving botanical ingredients.

How to use an after-sun spray

This product is great for when your skin feels a bit heated or mildly irritated. If you store your after-sun mixture in a glass spray bottle, all you need to do is apply the mixture as if it were a body spray or facial toner (avoiding the eyes and sensitive areas). You can also use the after-sun blend as a compress by soaking a thin washcloth in the mixture and holding it directly on the skin. An additional next-level step is to keep your spray refrigerated for an extra-refreshing after-sun experience!

Natural After-Sun Spray Recipe with Calendula


Herb-Infused Witch Hazel Extract:

  • Organic green tea leaves*
  • Organic lavender flowers*
  • Organic cleavers*
  • Organic witch hazel extract*

After-Sun Spray:

  • 4 ounces homemade herb-infused witch hazel extract*
  • 2 ounces organic calendula hydrosol (hydrosols of cucumber, rose, or peppermint are also suitable)*
  • 1 ounce organic aloe vera gel*


Making the Herb-Infused Witch Hazel Extract:

Fill a 7-ounce jar (or larger) half full with a mixture of equal parts green tea leaves, lavender, and cleavers. (You’ll need at least 4 ounces of finished extract for this recipe, but feel free to make more and save for other projects—it should last up to a year!) Pour witch hazel extract over the herbs and fill to the top of the jar. Secure lid, shake well, and allow to infuse for 2 to 4 weeks. Strain into pantry jar.

Making the After-Sun Spray:

In a glass bottle with mister, combine 4 ounces homemade herb-infused witch hazel extract with hydrosol and aloe vera gel. Secure lid, shake well, and spray generously on skin as needed. Avoid contact with eyes and other sensitive areas. Keep refrigerated—the spray will usually last up to a year if properly stored.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: This spray may help with the occasional over-sunning, but it is not an excuse to forget about sun safety! We encourage everyone to take appropriate UV protection precautions whenever possible, such as limiting periods of direct exposure and wearing sunscreen and protective coverings.

*These items can be found at the Mountain Rose Herbs Mercantile.

Mountain Rose Mercantile

152 W 5th Ave., #3