My first total splurge was the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel* | £37. Again, I feel it was a purchase inspired by Caroline, Lily and Anna, though I have to say: I felt like it was billed as a first cleanse, whereas for me it's definitely a morning cleanse and I didn't like removing my eye makeup with it. For a while, when I was trying to use it in that way: I thought it was so overrated! However, I really started loving this first thing in the morning; it comes out as a kind of gel-balm (formulated with lots of nourishing plant oils) that you massage into dry skin and then emulsify with water for soft, moisturised, glowing skin. It also contains pumpkin enzymes for smoother skin over time. This hasn't been in my daily routine for a while but I still have a backup because I still think it's a lovely product. Is it my #1 luxury cleanser of all time now in 2022? No, but it's a classic for good reason!
My first ever skincare purchase from Space NK was the REN Clearcalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser* | £25 | back when it was in this transparent pump packaging that you could see the little bag of product through! (As a side-story, my first ever Space NK makeup purchases were an Hourglass powder and blush - I just loved browsing the aisles of a lunchtime when I got my first 'proper' job after university in Manchester...) This is still a really unique product on the market that I don't think gets the attention it deserves! It's a non-foaming clay-based cleanser that - at the time - really helped balance out my combination skin and mopped up excess oiliness. This isn't a product that's in regular rotation for me any more, because I just have much drier skin, however I do still reach for this if I'm breaking out for its gentle, non-drying clarifying benefit.
The first daily sunscreen I ever used was the La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50+* | £18 | which has recently been upgraded to include some improved filters, which will help with premature ageing. This is an ultra-high-protection, broad-spectrum formula with incredible water resistance, all in a super-light fluid formula. This isn't what I'd reach for every single day any more; whilst it's light and works under makeup, it's really a summertime / beach day formula for me now. It's formulated with quite a lot of denatured alcohol, which is how it's so fast-absorbing and light despite containing so much protection, however that can be a bit too drying on my skin now that I'm a little older and sit more in the 'normal-to-dry' category. However, I still really rate it as a summer sunscreen because when it's hot and sweaty, it makes it a lot easier to re-apply this without melting into a greasy mess!
Lastly, I thought I'd mention my first retinoid (not pictured, as I don't own this any more for reasons we'll get into): the Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion | £9 (as it's now known). This is a granactive formula, meaning it has a delivery system that's a little gentler on the skin but should still give you the results, though the Ordinary don't do a ton of testing from what I gather. This comes out as a lightweight milky emulsion that should work for most skin types and is one of the lightest retinoids I've come across (and definitely has a nice texture over some of the Ordinary's other formulas), so that's a pro. I personally think this is fine as a beginner retinoid when you want something gentle and affordable, but I've just graduated to products I find more efficacious. My go-to retinoid is now retinaldehyde, which I did a full post on here.
Let me know: what were some of the first skincare products you invested in and do you still rate them?