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Bespoke skincare is a luxury that the beauty industry’s struggled to make widely accessible.

While some are intimidated by the price tags associated with customized skincare, licensed esthetician and makeup artist Shalea Walker is doing the work to make the luxury available at every price point.

At Walker’s Apothecary — her beauty boutique located in Jersey City, New Jersey — the skin expert analyzes skin and creates unique product blends that benefit clients’ individual needs.

Those products can then be used on their own, or as compliments to Walker’s pre-packaged product line that she came up with during the pandemic, Awakening.

“I lot of the Awakening collection is comprised of star custom products that I’ve frequently made for people over the years,” Walker explained. “With custom products, recipes are handwritten on the spot and customers are able to take them home that same day.”

Denim BirdBath, another offering from the brand, consists of organic wash and refresh products for one’s clothes that are gentle on the skin.

Walker established her brand in 2004, and at Walker’s Apothecary, she additionally offers facials, makeup application and lessons, waxing, eyebrow maintenance and more.


The Process

Waker explained that she customizes products using her “raw bar of ingredients,” where she blends product formulas for each client depending on their skin’s “ailments and preference.”

“Once you start working with people and their skin, you get to see what they’re allegeric to.”

“Just because their allergic to something though, that doesn’t mean that ingredient always causes them a severe reaction or that the ingredient itself is bad. It just means it’s not for them and their skin.”

shalea walker

Source: Courtesy of Shalea Walker / Walker’s Apothecary

“People tend to bash certain ingredients when really that thing just wasn’t suitable for them. For example, nut oils and seed oils are nice, but if you have a nut sensitivity that wouldn’t be for you.”

“By creating custom blends with food-grade ingredients, I’m able to get around people’s allergies and add in exactly what their skin needs. I do 80% to 90% of the formulations — the remaining percentage coming from a lab that makes a few products for me.”

“Because water is the biggest contaminant in skincare, having certain things done in a lab ensures things are preserved and crafted properly on a wide scale.”


What To Expect

Walker shared her three central skincare values with MADAMENOIRE: nourishing the skin like you would the body, using a gentle approach, and being hands-on.

“I don’t really do too many consultations with clients ahead of them coming into the boutique. A lot of the time people don’t know what’s going on with their skin, so them trying to explain to me what’s happening on their face is hard for them.”

“For me, analyzing the skin is a process of looking, feeling and touching to figure out what’s really going on. I have to play detective, particularly when it comes to picking up on a client’s lifestyle.”

“When I feel on the skin that it’s dehydrated, I ask if they drink a lot of coffee. I can also feel when a client is frequently exposed to smoke or wind. When I see breakouts in the middle of their forehead, I ask if they’re having digestive issues. They’ll probably say yes.”

“Underlying issues frequently show up on the skin, and a person’s diet plays a big factor in someone’s skin too.”


What To Try Out

The Breakdown Enzyme Oil Cleanser is one of our best selling products because it’s exfoliating and nourishing. Some of its ingredients are pumpkin, Vitamin A, rice brand — all gentle types of exfoliants that aren’t harsh on the skin.”

“Customers also like the Rose Geranium Toner, especially my male clients.”

“If you’re looking to build a routine and are unable to come visit in person, I’d recommend pairing those with our most popular moisturizer — the Green Dream Sativa Face Cream. It’s a CBD infused product that’s good for most skin types.”

What’s Up Next

Walker is working on easier access to customized skincare for online shoppers everywhere.

“I love being able to do custom products for my clients, but it’s such a one-on-one experience. Because of that, an example of me adding customization options to my website looks like my shoppers now being able to customize the Marula Oil I offer. It’s a great, antioxidant-rich product that’s good for all skin types.

“Now, shoppers can add one of five essential oils to their bottles based on what their skin is going through at that time.”

Learn more about Walker and her business via Walker’s Apothecary.

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