The Gilded Girl's Blog


Retinol Skincare Products With Fewer Side Effects Are All The Rage 0

Interested in retinol and what it can do for your skin, but worried about sensitivity? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Style Editor, Sara Bauknecht, recently asked our own Liz Quesnelle and 2 other experts on this subject:

Retinol skincare products with fewer side effects are all the rage

Many view retinol as royalty in the skincare world for its effective, smoothing properties. For others, it’s synonymous with red, achy, flaky skin. 

Now a fresh bunch of products on store shelves claim to deliver results with few or no side effects.

This renewed interest in retinol has already translated into sales. As of November 2018, the anti-aging category was up 13% compared with the previous 12 months, according to market research firm NPD. It also reported a boost in sales of more than 25% at specialty retailers such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty in 2018.

“Now instead of going to the dermatologist for prescription Retin-A, you can get some great results with products containing retinol in the drugstore,” says Patty Bell, a licensed esthetician and makeup artist based in Pittsburgh. “Everyone wants to look their best these days, men included, and I think social media, celebrities and influencers play a huge role in that.”

So what’s so special about these new over-the-counter options?

“Scientists have had some success with circumventing this irritation via plant-based retinols,” says Liz Quesnelle, a licensed esthetician who sells luxury and indie beauty and skincare selections on her website,

Traditional retinoids and retinoic acid — the ones often associated with peeling and redness — are derived from eggs, milk and other animal products. This new generation of retinols come from carotenoids, the organic pigments from algae and plants that give pumpkins, carrots and other veggies their color. The body converts them to Vitamin A, which needs fats to be effective. So these products also contain nut and seed oils that are high in fatty acids and nourishing to the skin. 

While traditional retinols are stronger — and arguably more effective — carotenoid-based ones are a better choice for those with sensitive skin or people undergoing cancer treatment, Ms. Quesnelle says.

Another retinol alternative that’s been picking up in popularity is Bakuchiol. It’s an antioxidant compound that comes from the babchi plant in India. It’s also used in Chinese medicine because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. 

Some beauty insiders say that the uptick in sales of all retinol-related products is because they do their job. 

“Consumers have tried using the latest, greatest, trendiest new ingredients and have realized that none of them work as well as retinols,” Ms. Quesnelle says. 

Whichever retinol product you use, experts suggest slowly incorporating it into a skincare regimen. 

“The current thought is ‘a little is good, more must be better’ — not true,” says Brett Freedman, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist who’s from Monroeville. “You don’t want to be hitting your skin with a sledgehammer.”

He recommends using retinol products every couple of nights for the first two weeks to see how your skin responds. This gives skin a chance to adapt, he says. “You’ll be able to use it more often over time.”

People with sensitive skin should avoid harsh scrubs at first because they may further irritate skin while it’s getting used to a new product. 

“The bottom line is that it’s never too late to start taking care of your skin. Proper cleansing, toning and moisturizing leads to healthy-looking skin,” Ms. Bell says. “And don’t forget the sunscreen.”

Sara Bauknecht: or on Twitter and Instagram @SaraB_PG.

  • Elizabeth Quesnelle

Rodial Glamolash XXL Mascara is Back in Stock! 0

The best mascara is back in stock at The Gilded Girl!

Achieve supercharged volume with Rodial's Glamolash Mascara XXL in Black. Glamolash XXL is a long-wear formula that ensures eyelashes are maximized from day to night. Contains beeswax for lash conditioning, carnauba wax for even adherence to prevent clumping and soluable collagen to provide full body to lashes with added shine. Stock up on it HERE

You won't believe your eyes.
  • Elizabeth Quesnelle

What To Expect (From Your Skin Care) When You're Expecting 0

Being anglophiles, we were so excited to see that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first child in Spring 2019. Our first thought was: "Oh, please be a ginger baby!". Our second? "Meghan is going to have to switch up her skin care!".

Good skin care is important during pregnancy as the changes in hormones can significantly impact the skin. Since some skin care ingredients can reach the blood stream and affect the developing fetus, it is imperative that women understand what they can and cannot safely use during pregnancy.

What to avoid:
  • Elizabeth Quesnelle

Your Daily Beauty Clock 0

One question that we're frequently asked is how to schedule a daily routine. It's true that there are products that should only be used at night and products that work better for the day. We're here to break the schedule down for you so that your skin can look its best!

Eye Contour/Lift/De-Puff Cream

Now, you might think that we've forgotten cleansing. Nope. We haven't. Washing your face 2x per day, for most people, is actually too often. Stripping away your body's natural oils can result in flaky and even oilier skin. This is especially important during the drier winter months. 
  • Elizabeth Quesnelle

Fall 2018 Trends To Try 0

The beauty looks shown at the Fall 2018 runway shows, which took place in Spring 2018, ran the gamut from classic chic to otherworldly glam. Here are the top looks which you should incorporate into your Fall/Winter palette!

Red Lips: I know, I there nothing new under the sun? But trust us, nothing, and we mean NOTHING, makes you look more put together than a classic red lip. It's the fastest way to deliver a polished look.

Golden Eyes:
  • Elizabeth Quesnelle

What you can learn from Madonna's skin care regimen 0

Can you believe that the Material Girl is 60? We can't either. She takes such good care of herself that she looks way younger than that. In a recent interview with W magazine, Madonna's esthetician, Tarin Graham, spills the beans on how Madonna keeps her skin looking great.

One of the best tips? Hyaluronic Acid. We've long been a huge proponent of this humectant and we're thrilled that the word is getting out about its youth-preserving capabilities. Hydration is key to keeping your skin healthy - and that is handled by what you put into your system (i.e. plenty of water, fresh fruits and vegetables) and what you put on it. 

Our favorite hyaluronic products? 
Rodial Dragon's Blood Hyaluronic Tonic - A multi-function skin reviving toner for the face packed with hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture. This is a skincare essential that can be used to give an instant energy boost to the skin, as a soothing in-flight hydration treatment or to set make-up. Skin is deeply hydrated, firmer and pores appear more refined.

Glo Skin Beauty Daily Hydration + - Instantly rejuvenates and nourishes skin with an intense dose of weightless hydration. This innovative Hyaluronic Acid serum helps smooth and refine skin's surface while preventing dehydration and transepidermal water loss.

For the full interview with Madonna's esthetician, click HERE
  • Elizabeth Quesnelle