It’s exceptionally rare to find hair artists who truly cares about their customers’ needs and are dedicated to finding the perfect solution – and have the skill and experience to actually make achieve your desired results.
With years of experience in helping women who have fine and thinning hair challenges “feel beautiful again,” Debora Routhe and Carly Elliott are the go-to “dream team” behind the Mission Viejo-based Full Strands, Inc. – the go-to professionals for clients searching for non-surgical hair replacement options and hair extensions. Debora is an American Board Certified Haircolorist and cutting specialist while Carly is an extension expert with vast experience in adding volume and length to any type of hair.
“When it comes to hair extensions or hair restoration/ replacement, it’s not size fits all,” says Debora. “What sets our business apart from others is our dedication to continuing education. We continually seek to discover better products and techniques to give our customers the hair of their dreams. Further, we are full-time behind the chair hairdressers. We are well versed in all aspects of color, design, and styling. This experience allows us to make all hair systems and extensions look incredibly natural and undetectable.”
Eight years ago, after an increasing number of her clients came to her with fine and thinning hair concerns, Debora made it her mission to find ways to help.
“I sought out solutions and became certified in numerous techniques,” she says. “Our business in the non-surgical hair replacement industry has grown by word of mouth from our satisfied customers. We are truly making a difference for women who felt for so long that they had nowhere to go and could find no acceptable solutions for their fine and thinning hair. We have seen self-confidence come back for the clients we serve. They no longer feel self conscious or embarrassed of their appearance. We are excited to come to work every day and transform our clients into the best version of themselves. We live to make people feel beautiful!”
Equally passionate about giving back to the community, Full Strands supports South County Outreach, a non- profit organization dedicated to preventing hunger and homelessness by helping people help themselves with a food pantry, homeless prevention counseling, and rapid re-housing programs.
“The most rewarding aspect of owning this business is that we get to do what we want to do,” says Debora. “We get to choose the products, the hair systems, extensions, and the tools we work with. We selected the salon decor and pick the music we listen to. We have created a wonderful environment for our clients to enjoy an in which our creativity can flourish.”
Full Strands is located at 27741 Crown Valley Parkway, Suite 201, Studio 21 in Mission Viejo. Debora and Carly can be reached by calling (949) 300-3625.
When you’re feeling under the weather and need your prescription filled, there is something said for speedy service that is professional and above all: caring. Chances are, you’ve spent more time than you wanted to in the waiting room at your doctor’s office, you don’t feel well, and the last thing you want to do is stop somewhere else to fill your prescriptions.
All of it is enough to make you want to call your mother to come take care of you. Well, that’s exactly what the folks at OC Pharmacy had in mind when they opened for business.
“It’s about being family. It’s about offering and delivering a higher standard of care for our patients,” says MJ Kazemi, owner of San Juan Capistrano-based OC Pharmacy. “OC Pharmacy opened in August 2008 on the premise that patients are people, not prescriptions. Big drugstores pressure pharmacists and their staff to increase their daily prescription count. We’re not about that here. We want people to feel welcome and comfortable when they walk in. Because we are so specialized in care, we make the time to listen to your needs and address any questions you might have. It’s also our duty to make sure you get a good deal for your medicine.”
A traditional pharmacy can only dispense commercial drugs from large brand and generic drug companies (such as Pfizer, Teva, Greenstone, etc.) – referred to as “Big Pharma” in the industry. A compounding pharmacy, on the other hand, can dispense those commercial drugs in addition to creating customized doses and combinations of drugs within a lab at the pharmacy.
As an example of what a compounding pharmacy can do that a traditional pharmacy cannot: “A baby is born with organ failure. The doctor wants to prescribe a drug that doesn’t exist in a dose safe for newborns. MJ can take the tablet form of the prescribed medication and make it into a solution of a lower, baby-safe, dose. The next problem is that many medicines have a coating that masks the flavor of the medicine and helps with digestion. When these tablets are crushed, the nasty bitter flavor is exposed. Through trial and error (or the baby’s parents’ input), MJ can find out baby’s favorite flavor and create a pediatric dose of a medication in solution form. They can then provide a special pacifier that will deliver the flavored medication to baby without any fuss.”
“Some patients suffer from painful con- ditions where their nerves “fire” too fast sending constant pain signals to the brain,” says MJ. “Most physicians will prescribe narcotics for the pain, but that doesn’t really address the prob- lem. We can make a topical pain cream that both helps quell the pain and calm the nerves down so they aren’t firing so fast. With that type of compound we address the problem – the nerve – and over time the patient requires less pain medication - thereby avoiding oral narcotic addiction. There are cases where patients will even self-taper from oral narcotics while using topical pain man- agement compounds.”
To create a particular pharmaceutical product to “fit the unique needs of each individual,” MJ combines and/or processes appropriate ingredients, ac- cording to a physician’s prescription, utilizing various tools in the compound- ing lab. This may be done for medically necessary reasons (i.e. changing the form of a medication from a solid pill to a liquid), to avoid a non-essential ingredient that a person may be aller- gic to, or to obtain a specific dose of a particular ingredient, or combination of ingredients, and dispensed in way that makes it easier for the patient to ingest or apply.
The core of OC Pharmacy’s customer base runs the gamut from infants to seniors and everyone in between, for every imaginable ailment or disease condition that can be better treated with custom medications (compounds).
Doctors don’t dole out the same diagnosis to everyone, nor do they recommend the same dose of a drug to every patient - so why should our medicine be standardized?
“People going through menopause and andropause see magnificent ben- efits from bio-identical hormone re- placement therapy (BHRT) compounds. Older folks with arthritis can find solace in our topical arthritis compounds. Dia- betic patients can form painful open sores on their feet – sores that can heal much better with custom compounds designed to keep the wound clean and promote faster healing,” says MJ. “Fussy babies will take their medica- tion with ease when it’s flavored and dispensed through our special baby-binky dispenser or baby bottle dispens- ing devices. Many young athletes who are hurt on the field can use topical pain compounds instead of taking oral narcotics (and potentially heal faster!). Men and women who suffer from sexual dysfunctions can use customized compounds to help them resolve things in the bedroom.
“The possibilities are endless. The sky is the limit. We believe compounding is the way medicine should be. Doctors don’t dole out the same diagnosis to everyone, nor do they recommend the same dose of a drug to every patient - so why should our medicine be standardized?”
Plans change every year, even the one you currently have. So to help their customers navigate the process, the professionals at OC Pharmacy will sit down with patients beginning in October to review their 2016 Medicare insurance options.
“We will walk the patient through the entire plan selection process, from comparison of pricing, services, when they might fall into the Medicare gap (aka donut hole), even whether they will be forced to mail order or not,” says MJ. “They’ll make the Medicare enrollment call here in the pharmacy with one of our employees. At the end of the process, the patient will know exactly how much they’ll be paying out of pocket for 2016, and the pharmacy will have the new Medicare insurance information, in addition to helpful information such as whether a patient will need to switch to an alternative drug to save money. These time savers let us work with the doctor months in advance to make sure the transition to 2016 is smooth for the patient, the doctor, and the pharmacy.”
As an added bonus, OC Pharmacy is offering this Medicare enrollment service at no charge through year-end 2015.
Photo: From (L): Omeed Askari, Farid Askari, Cris Alvarez, MJ Kazemi, Travis Kross, Sadaf Bahadoran, Jennifer Duenas, Samyar Attarian and Eric Gerlache.
Before mass production of medications, community pharmacists with compounding experience were more common. Today, these specialists are fewer and far between. But luckily for those of us who live in South County, OC Pharmacy is truly our “neighborhood” pharmacy with all the “extras” and personal attention to detail you won’t find in a chain-store experience.
Add this to their free local delivery service (in San Juan Capistrano) and the large number of insurance companies they deal with and you are sure to become a lifelong fan. Even if you don’t live locally, they deliver for a nominal fee and will ship to California addresses.
“We wanted to bring back the tradition of providing quality healthcare,” says MJ’s son Omeed Askari. “Because of this, we have grown so much and it’s our ultimate goal to be the top, if not only choice of personalized pharmacy in the area.”
Speaking of growing, OC Pharmacy has their happy patients to thank for that! Word-of-mouth advertising has reached many local households, and people rave they have never felt more cared for and listened to than at OC Pharmacy. In addition to its stellar service, OC Pharmacy also offers immunizations (see sidebar on flu shots), diabetic supplies and durable equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers.
The OC Pharmacy family consists of pharmacists who hold PharmD degrees from excellent schools and are registered pharmacists (RPh) in the state of California, Certified Pharmacy Technicians and an administrative team largely comprised of MJ and her family members.
In addition to always “striving to go the extra mile for the patient,” Omeed adds that OC Pharmacy is part of a professional organization called the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA), which allows MJ and her staff access to thousands of compounding formulas, ideas and resources.
“Some ingredients we use can only be purchased from PCCA, and to do that you must be a member,” says Omeed. “The organization is constantly researching and developing new medication delivery vehicles that helps put us on the cutting-edge of industry knowledge to better serve our clients. Because patients and their specific conditions are unique, each individual’s medicine should be uniquely created for them.”
Speak to the experts at OC Pharmacy today by calling (949) 429.5326. They are delighted to answer any questions you might have. OC Pharmacy is located at 31654 Rancho Viejo Road in San Juan Capistrano. Visit www.ocpharmacy.net for locations, hours and more information.
While compounding pharmacies offer patients the alternative of a more effective, customized medicine, the industry itself is currently in a state of upheaval and uncertainty, according to MJ.
Many national chain pharmacies are owned by insurance companies who wield influence with politicians and drug companies. As a result, local, independent compounding pharmacies are finding it increasingly difficult to compete in an environment of unfair pricing and reimbursement practices, she says.
“It’s imperative that patients who wish to have the option of customized medicine make their opinions known to their local representatives and state policy-makers or having the choice of using a compounding pharmacy may be another casualty in today’s ever-changing healthcare industry.”
Flu shots will be arriving in late August/ early September for the 2015 season. OC Pharmacy will offer the trivalent (3-virus) flu vaccine at $22 and the quadrivalent (4-virus) flu vaccine at $36.
Mission Viejo Wigs is truly a family business. Not in the traditional sense, where its owners and operators share the same genes. But rather in such a way that every person who has walked through Owner Betty Darroch’s doors in the 30+ years she has been in operation immediately felt like a member of Darroch’s extended family.
As a professional hair and wig stylist since 1962, Betty began her career at CBS where her résumé reads like a celebrity screenplay starring the coifs of a veritable “who’s who” of Hollywood: Ann Margaret, Carol Lawrence, the Midnight Specials and the Sonny & Cher Show. She went on to work for the Hallelujah Hollywood Show at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas.
But it wasn’t until she opened her own business in Mission Viejo that she felt as though she were “truly doing God’s work.”
Her clients today include people who are experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy treatment, alopecia or other medical conditions. Betty specializes in wigs, hairpieces and toupees for women, men and children and carries only the highest quality brands. Each wig or hairpiece is custom fit to the client for the most natural look and feel – no one will know you’re wearing a wig unless you tell them.
“Hair loss, whether it is the result of illness, the aging process or heredity, can be a traumatic and emotionally draining experience,” says Betty. “We work with people on a daily basis who are facing the issue of hair loss for the first time. Our goal is to help you find the solution that works best for you and do so in a caring way that makes you realize that you are not alone.”
There are wonderful testimonials from longtime customers on her web site (missionviejowigs.com), but for me, the best testament to Betty’s genuine, caring nature came from a source closer to home.
When my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer over five years ago, there were so many aspects of what she was facing - including the side effects associated wit chemotherapy treatment – that were out of our control. But my mother’s appearance was something she felt she could dictate. We knew she would lose her hair, but she was determined not to “look like a sick person.”
From the moment my mother met Betty, she knew she had found the right place and more importantly, the right person to help her. Betty shared so many stories of survival – of longtime customers and friends who fought a similar battle and won. Her warm embrace and inspired hope and help steel her resolve to maintain a positive, fighting attitude.
The wig Betty selected was the perfect color and style for my mother’s face (and head) shape. The wig was so natural looking that my mother received many compliments on her “new do” and no one was the wiser.
It’s been over three years since my mother completed treatment and is now leading a cancer-free life. Although her own hair has long since grown back, she still often prefers to wear Betty’s wigs on “bad hair days.”
Thank you Betty!