Category Archives: Q & A

Can essential oils help you handle plastic surgery? You betcha!

I was first turned on to the many benefits of essential oils when I met the founder of 21 Drops, Advanced Clinical Essential Oil Specialist, Cary Caster. She studied aromatherapy in Europe where aromatherapy is widely recognized as a medical treatment — It’s based upon the principle that oils, extracted from various parts of plants, can help support your body’s physical and mental well-being. Essential oils can be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, have healing properties and strengthen your immune system. They also have many other benefits including the ability to help you focus, feel more passion, control your appetite, detox and even control stress and pain, which makes them the ideal complementary medicine for everyone, including those about to undergo surgery.

As someone who gets anxious before any doctors appointment — be it the dentist for a cleaning, my yearly checkup with my primary care physician or a full body skin check with my dermatologist — I can attest that the use of essential oils to help you relax can be a game-changer as the anxiety is always worse than the actual procedure. Though many swear by anti-anxiety medications like Xanax or Valium, I’m a big fan of essential oils because you can reap similar benefits, without the side effects or possibility of addiction.

Essential oils work through inhalation, topical application or a combination of the two, but are usually most effective when both methods are combined. With inhalation, you simply breathe them in which ignites a physiological response that stimulates changes in your body depending upon the specific essential oil being inhaled. When you apply it topically, minuscule-sized molecules of the essential oil are easily absorbed through the skin where they then pass into the bloodstream to affect change. For better penetration, it’s best to apply to freshly cleansed skin and if the essential oil isn’t already blended, you should mix it in with a thin carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil instead of the heavier ones like olive oil.

Clinical studies have shown that specific essential oils can help get a handle on your daily life and can even be used before during and after surgery to help alleviate a variety of issues. In regards to pre and post op procedures, here’s what you can expect:

  • They can help ease anxiety. Choose lavender, orange, rose or Roman chamomile to reduce stress and apprehension about your upcoming surgery.
  • They can help reduce pain. Eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Rosemary has analgesic and antispasmodic properties. Sandalwood will help relax the nervous system, thereby reducing nerve pain. Depending on what’s causing you discomfort, there’s an oil to help you bear it.
  • They can help with post-operative nausea or vomiting. Choose ginger or peppermint essential oil to help relieve digestive issues.
  • They have anti-bacterial properties. Choose cinnamon, tea tree or lemongrass for help with healing.

It’s important to note that some essential oils are not suitable for pregnant women or people with certain medical conditions as they can have possible interactions when prescribed drugs are involved or when they’re used on those with certain metabolic conditions. Always check with your doctor before incorporating essential oils in any form of your treatment plan.

Click here to see more of my work on Smart Beauty Guide.


(featured image via pinterest)

Vitamins: What You should be taking

The plethora of vitamins on the market reads like the alphabet- literally from A- Zinc. Do we, as women need to guzzle 50 a day to be healthy? How do we make heads or tails from what the media tell us? And at what age do we need certain vitamins?

Here’s your guide to vitamins at every age according to Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O., an NYC-based anti-aging physician who has been called, “The Stem Cell Guru.”

In a perfect world, all of our nutrient needs would come from the best source: Food. However, if your diet isn’t text book perfect then take your “nutritional insurance” a.k.a. a multivitamin, suggests Dr. Calapai. “Research shows taking a well-balanced multivitamin throughout your lifespan helps fill in nutritional gaps in your diet.”

In your 20s and 30s
• Calcium: These are the decades to bone up, as in, maintain your bone mass. Dr. Calapai recommends adults aged 19-50 years take 1,000 milligrams of calcium, daily. If you don’t receive enough calcium from your diet, you may need to take a supplement containing elemental calcium. Elemental calcium refers to the actual amount of calcium in a supplement that’s available for your body to absorb—the rest are compounds making up the supplement. But when supplementing your calcium, read the labels carefully, cautions Dr. Calapai . “For example, if you buy tablets such as calcium carbonate, each tablet contains 1,250 milligrams of calcium,” he says. “Unfortunately, only 500 milligrams is elemental calcium.”

• Vitamin D: The reason we’re severely lacking vitamin D nowadays, much more so than even our parents were, is because we’re missing out on the number-one source of vitamin D: The sun. “Vitamin D is a pro-hormone made in the skin upon exposure to sunlight, and production of it is rapid and robust,” Calapai says. “Within 10 to 20 minutes without wearing sunscreen, people make between 10,000 and 20,000 IU. But because of widespread sunscreen use, total sun avoidance, and our increasingly indoor lifestyles, our vitamin D levels have fallen drastically.” Dr. Calapai says, “Take at least 2,000 IU per day year-round. And although you technically don’t need to supplement on the days that you know you’ll be outside when the sun is high, it’s just easier to take it every day than to try to remember when and not to.”

• Folic Acid: For women in their childbearing years, folic acid is recommended if you’re planning on conceiving anytime soon. “You should take it before you get pregnant to ensure your levels are high because low rates of folic acid can cause a number of birth defects,” says Dr. Calapai. “The recommended dosing of folic acid is 400 micrograms per day if you are age 14 or older.”

• Iron: Iron is another key consideration for menstruating women. “Iron deficiency commonly occurs in pregnant women, causing anemia, which can result in fatigue and weakness,” says Dr. Calapai . “Iron enables red blood cells to carry oxygen and deliver it to body cells.” If you’re pregnant and not getting your daily 27 mg. of iron from sources such as iron-fortified cereals and eggs, then look for it in a supplement containing 16 to 20 mg, or speak to your physician about iron supplementation specifically.

In your 40s
• Calcium: Beginning at age 19 and continuing until age 50, women should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, according to the Institute of Medicine. This is also the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for women above age 19 who are pregnant or breast-feeding. Once you turn 51, the RDA increases to 1,200 milligrams. As long as your daily diet provides enough calcium to meet your RDA, you probably don’t need a supplement unless it’s under the advice of your health care provider. *Note: Never take more of a calcium supplement than is recommended. It could lead to kidney problems or renal failure.

• Vitamin D: Recommendations for vitamin D intake in your 20s and 30s (as explained above) still apply in your 40s. If you are unsure how much vitamin D you actually need, ask your doctor about taking a vitamin D test.

• Folic Acid: Pregnant? Up your daily intake of folic acid to 600 mcg. To meet this need, women should continue taking a multivitamin containing 400 mcg of folic acid throughout their pregnancy.

• Iron: As in your 20s and 30s, be sure to get 27 mg. of iron daily if you are pregnant, whether through your diet or a combination of diet and supplements. Non-pregnant women should aim for 18 mg a day of iron.

In your 50s
• Multivitamin: It’s time to switch to multivitamins designed for adults 50 years and older, says Dr. Calapai. “These multivitamins have significantly less iron than multivitamins for younger women, he says. “For example Centrum Forte for women up to the age of 49 years has 10 mg of iron per tablet and Centrum Select 50+ designed for those over 50 has only 4 mg of iron per tablet, but has additional vitamin B12 to reflect changing nutrient needs.”

• Calcium: For women over 50 years, Dr. Calapai recommends bumping your calcium intake to 1,500 mg. daily.

• Vitamin B12: “Your vitamin B12 needs increases after 50 because the gastrointestinal tract does not absorb vitamin B12 as well as a younger digestive tract,” says Dr. Calapai. He advises those older than 50 get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 daily, mainly by consuming foods fortified with vitamin B12 or a supplement containing vitamin B12.

In your 60s
While the overall needs are similar to those in your 50s, check your multivitamin again to be sure it’s meeting all your nutrient needs because newer health issues such as eye health and heart disease might be manifesting. “Some multivitamins contain key antioxidants such as lutein which may protect against age-related macular degeneration, and lycopene, which may help prevent heart disease,” says Dr. Calapai.


Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O. / Anti-Aging Physician and “The Stem Cell Guru” /

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, anti-aging medicine and chelation therapy. Proclaimed as the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S.

His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson’s.

Dr. Calapai started his practice in New York City in 1986 and for over 25 years he has hosted nationally syndicated radio shows, including his two weekly call-in shows on WABC 770-AM, where he offers health and medical advice. He has a show on Saturday morning 8-9am and Sunday evening from 6-7pm. He has consulted with numerous high-profile individuals including Mike Tyson, Chris Noth, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Fox series Gotham’s, Donal Logue and worked as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers hockey team as well as various modeling agencies.

Dr. Calapai received his medical degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and he consults in Manhattan with practices on Long Island, in East Meadow and Plainview. He has appeared on News12 and in the pages of 25A Magazine and Social Life Magazine.

He is the author of E-books Heavy Metals and Chronic Disease, Reverse Diabetes Forever! Seven Steps to Healthy Blood Sugar, Top Ten Supplements You Can’t Live Without, and Glorious Glutathione. Learn more about Dr. Calapai on his website,


(featured image via pinterest)

Nancy Answers: How can I prevent flyaways?

Dear Nancy, What is going on with my hair? Whenever the temperature drops my hair sticks up in every direction. Help! Sincerely, C 

Dear C, ‘Tis the season…for flyaway hair that is. Cold air, low humidity and the process of one thing rubbing against another is the perfect storm for static electricity. When you run a brush or comb through your hair or remove a hat that’s been on your head, electrons are transferred from one surface to another giving your hair a negative charge and causing your strands to repel each other like the ends of a magnet. But fear not…you don’t have to keep your hat on all season.

  • A humidifier is your best friend right now. Keep it running in your home and/or office to cut down on dry air.
  • Yes, you need to be groomed and warm but do keep brushing, combing and hat wearing to a minimum.
  • Use conditioner after every shampoo and deep condition weekly.
  • Add a leave-in throughout the day if necessary.
  • Hand or body lotion will work in a pinch. Too much and you’ll end up with the greasies so only apply a small amount to your hands and rub them together before lightly running them over hair.
  • Spray hairspray or Static Guard onto a brush before gently brushing to tame flyaways. You can even spray them onto a toothbrush, perfectly sized for those tiny, broken strands by your part.
  • A dryer sheet works well. Simple run it from roots to ends.


(photography courtesy of Pinterest)


Nancy Answers: What can I do about bedhead?

Dear Nancy, I wash my hair at night and end up pulling it back in the morning because of crazy looking bedhead. Any suggestions? Sincerely, K

Dear K, Pillowcase friction is the culprit! Since you’ve been pulling it back I’m assuming you don’t want to just shake it, add a little product and own it, sometimes a good decision. Either way, you do have options:

  •  You can invest in a silk pillowcase. It won’t rub hair the wrong way so you’ll wake up with smooth, like-you-just-styled-your-hair in the morning hair. Check out the LovaSilk Pillowcase set, 2 for $75 at and the NK Home Silk Pillowcase, $30-$60 each at
  • Pulling it back might not be such a bad thing to do if you switch things up a bit with ponytails, braids, chignons and topknots for a bit of variety.
  • If your hair is naturally curly, get rid of the morning frizz by using mousse to get back some control. Comb it through your hair and scrunch or twirl it and allow to air-dry before touching.
  • If your hair is straight or wavy and and on the shorter side you might wake up with it sticking in every direction. Rub a bit of gel in the palm of your hands and gently work it through your hair into your desired style.

Good luck! xoxoNancy


(photography courtesy of pinterest)

Nancy Answers: How do I keep my eye makeup from smudging and smearing?

Dear Nancy, I don’t wear a lot of eye makeup but what I do wear always ends up smeared under my eyes. What can I do to stop this from happening? Sincerely, A

Dear A, There’s a very fine line between good intentional smudgy-smeary (think Carine Roitfield) and unkempt smudgy-smeary (think Courtney Love). It works on Carine because she’s polished and french and can get away with more…it’s a confidence thing! Since you don’t want to risk looking like the later, here’s an easy fix.

Chances are your makeup is smearing because you’re using cream based formulas like undereye concealer, cream eyeshadow and/or creamy eyeliner. Oil-based formulas can break down your mascara and cause it to smear. To prevent this use a small makeup brush  to dust translucent powder over the entire eye area after you’ve applied your products. It will help set your makeup and keep it in place. Still struggling? Toss a corrector pen in your bag to easily erase any smudges that might appear. Dior’s new Diorshow Flash Corrector works well. xoxoNancy

(photography courtesy of

Nancy Answers: Am I too old for colorful eye shadow and liner?

Dear Nancy, I love experimenting with bright eye shadow and liner but I’m on the other side of 40. Do you have any tips or tricks to help me look more age appropriate but still embrace my love of color? Sincerely, T

Dear T, If you love the way you look and your confidence cup run-eth over I say who cares! But, the fact that you’re asking the question leads me to believe you’re aware that this look isn’t exactly working for you any more. No one wants to be the girl who looks like she’s trying too hard to be young and trendy and it sounds like that’s the direction you’re headed if you don’t make some changes pronto.

You’ll quickly find out that age-appropriate doesn’t have to equal boring and you don’t need to stick to neutrals like brown, grey and black if you choose toned-down versions of the colors you already love.  If bright blue is your go-to, opt for navy or smokey blue instead. Love emerald, swipe on hunter green. A bold purple might be too bright but an eggplant or plum shade just might do the trick. Try: Tarte SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Plum, Fig, Olive, Moss or Navy, $22 at xoxoNancy

(photography courtesy of


Nancy Answers: Is it okay to get my Vitamin D from the Sun?

Dear Nancy, I’ve been using sunscreen pretty religiously for the past few years but have been hearing a lot of talk about many people being Vitamin D deficient. Can’t I just sit in the sun for a few minutes for my daily dose? Sincerely, E

Vitamin D3 (known as the sunshine vitamin) plays a very important role in keeping our immune systems strong and our bones healthy. Though it’s easy to get Vitamin D with sun exposure–just 10 minutes in the sun can give you your daily supply–don’t even think about doing it. I’ve spoken to a lot of derms on just this subject and they all agree on strict avoidance since the risk of melanoma is too great. Instead, get your daily supply of D3 with food/drinks or an oral supplement. You’ll find it in oily fish like salmon or trout as well as fortified milk, yogurt, orange juice or try oral drops or a spray which are easily absorbed into your system.

I love Arbonne Essentials Spray Vitamin D+B12, $40. Just 3 sprays twice a day gives you 126% of your daily D as well as plenty of B12 to support your metabolism and keep you energized. Best of all, it’s delicious!

Nancy Answers: Can I mix and match different brands of skincare?

Dear Nancy, I know most skin care companies want you to use their whole line of products, but is it okay to mix and match from different lines instead?  Sincerely, G

Dear G, When I first started in the beauty business I was so excited to be surrounded by so many great products I was like a kid in a candy store. I was cocktail-ing with the best of them…and my skin paid the price for it! “The short answer though, is yes, it can be safe to mix and match different brands of skincare,” according to Dr. Komal Pandya, a board certified general and cosmetic dermatologist with The Dermatologist Group in Paramus and Nutley, NJ. But, before doing so, you should “consult with a licensed esthetician or board-certified dermatologist to avoid adverse reactions from active ingredients and determine a skincare regimen that will give you the results you desire.”

Certain active ingredients and different pH levels can cancel each other out or cause irritation if improperly combined. Also, keep in mind that some products work best when used daily, once or twice a week or only at night. Pandya says “choosing one brand of skincare certainly makes it easier to piece all of the products together, and some lines are formulated to work synergistically as a set, but with a little bit of homework – and the guidance of a professional (not the salespeople behind the counters who have a vested interest in the line) – you can certainly stick to your favorites and add in some powerful new products from other companies.”

*BONUS: Mention THE BEAUTY WALL at any DermPerfection Skin Care Center in NJ (Nutley, Verona, West Orange, Morristown) and receive $25 off your first purchase of $75 and over.  No appointment needed, but please call 973-571-2121 for locations and hours.


Nancy Answers: Help for Fragrance Fade-Out

Dear Nancy, I love wearing perfume but it disappears too soon after I apply it. How can I make it last a lot longer? Sincerely, M

Dear M, If your skin is on the dry end of the spectrum it’s nearly impossible to make it last without a bit of layering. To keep it from evaporating quickly, the fragrance needs something to adhere to. Use an unscented body lotion or jojoba oil to moisturize your skin (particularly in the areas you’ll be scenting), before spritzing on your favorite perfume. That should do the trick! Nancy

Nancy Answers: Your hair doesn’t have to be dirty to look good.

Hi Nancy, my hair always looks best “settled-in” a day or two after I wash it…how can I get that shiny, manageable look on Day 1? Please help! Thanks, D

Over the years I’ve worked with some pretty spectacular stylists…Elsa Canedo is one of them. She can sculpt hair like she’s Rodin or cut and style it so it’s edgy, beachy or perfectly coiffed. Her client roster is a mile long…recently she’s worked with Jennifer Lopez, Cheryl Hines and Julie Bowen. I asked…Elsa answered…and said it’s all about product!

If you have Fine hair: Towel dry and use a leave in conditioner, applied from midshaft to ends.  The residual product left on hands can be applied to root area. Try Bumble and bumble Leave in Conditioner, $24 at

If you have Medium to Coarse hair: You need more control and shine. On damp hair, apply a nourishing product such as Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil, $48 at It has Argan oil that absorbs without leaving hair greasy. If air drying, continue to smooth hair gently coaxing hair into desired style every 10 minutes or so, until dry.  If blow drying, simply style as usual and this should do the trick to give you manageable, shiny hair the first day of shampooing.

If your hair texture is Coarse:  For added control and shine try Oribe Super Shine Moisturizing Creme, $49 at Tuck in your bag to use on strays throughout the day.
For Curly hair:  A curl defining product will help maintain shape and keep frizz down to a minimum. Towel Dry and apply the styling creme throughout hair before wrapping up in a towel (turbin style) for about 10 minutes to help set help set curls. Then, take down from towel and allow to air dry or use a diffuser attachment on your blow dryer gently drying and styling hair as usual. You’ll love Oribe Curl by Definition, $48 at or Ouidad Moisture Lock Define and Shine Curl Styling Gel Cream, $24 at
Credit:  Elsa for Oribe Hair Care.
Photo, Elsa at work courtesy of Pinterest.