Home CultureBlack-Owned Shalea Walker: Esthetician + Founder of Walker’s Apothecary in Jersey City

Shalea Walker: Esthetician + Founder of Walker’s Apothecary in Jersey City

by Victoria Marie Moyeno
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Rennasaince women, that’s the best way to describe Shalea Walkers, a jack-of-all-trades. When Shalea takes on a project, she doesn’t stop at becoming “good” at it, she charges at it and in the process, reinvents the wheel. She is a hands-on small business owner, esthetician, makeup artist, reiki healer, and an all-around boss woman based in Jersey City. Read on to learn more about Shealea’s story, her journey to all things beauty, including making customized skincare products at her shop located at 264 Newark Avenue, and being featured on a popular HBO Max show.

About Shalea

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A Brooklyn native, Shalea has called Jersey City home for 22 years. “Jersey City is the best of all worlds. It has small-town vibes, lots of great parks it’s easy to get around, and it’s so close to anything else you could think you might want,” she told Hoboken Girl.

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Over the years, Shalea has excelled in several industries, even at the same time. She was an esthetician that also happened to be a successful professional makeup artist that worked NYFW, and around the same time, she simultaneously founded a wellness brand made of natural products, Walker’s Apothecary. “I started doing makeup around 2003. I wanted to have my license as an esthetician before I started doing makeup. I have worked with many celebrities, mainly musicians, as I worked with Sony international. I currently offer makeup services and lessons at my shop.”

Like many, Shalea suffered from really bad acne as a teenager. “Facials were really helpful, but the products always seemed to make the situation worse. At some point, I started hanging out at the health food store, a co-op in New Brunswick. I was fascinated with the books and all the natural remedies. As I started trying natural products I could see that they were working,” she shared.

Vepo Clean

Read More: Niambi Cacchioli, Academic-Turned-Beauty Activist + Founder of Pholk Beauty

“It seemed that all the products prescribed were too harsh, but the simple products were producing some amazing results. I never really intended to start my own line, but with the number of allergies, most people faced I knew that I had to have control over what was going into my product selections and prescriptions. Sometimes ingredients aren’t bad it’s just that sometimes people can be allergic to almost anything. I knew the need for natural one, two, and three-ingredient products where necessary.”

Zap Fitness

On a typical day, Shalea is hosting brand meetings in the morning and then makes her way over to her shop. “I usually have back-to-back appointments. So I have days where I am in service and then other days where I am making product and handling shipments.” She continued, “I love being behind the scenes are really hands-on with the work. But this year I hope to be more interactive with my brand on social media.

Walker’s Apothecary

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The products Shalea makes are almost all made by herself and what’s most unique about her business is that she creates ready-made products that can be bought in the shop and customized products. Clients can book a 1-1 session with her for a custom blend session. “I love doing custom products so I can really get targeted ingredients right to the source of the ailment.” She offers toners, body oil, body lotion, essential oil, body scrubs, hair + scalp tonics, perfume, room scents, and deodorant.”

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Walker’s Apothecary’s products work for all skin types. “My products work for all skin types, but each regimen is customized. There really isn’t a one size fits all solution. Skincare is about really showing up for your skin daily and treating your skin and areas of your face on an individual basis. Sometimes the cheeks need different care than the forehead. Somedays, the skin will need different care in the morning than at night. It is important to have a skincare arsenal to treat whatever is happening at the time. I don’t like to use blanket statements about the skin like “it’s dry “or “oily”. Sometimes your skin can be dry and oily at the same time and that is normal.”

Shaela uses a lot of oils in her product formulations. “Being that my products are natural it is important for me to not use water in my formulations as water causes products to contaminate quickly,” she explains.

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Her esthetician services include a range of facials, her most popular being the microcurrent and gua sha.

“My biggest source of inspiration is my clients. I am wowed by their dedication to self-care. My goal with my services is to make my client feel seen. There is no crevasse that goes unnoticed and unaddressed.”

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^ Shalea’s beauty kitchen – where the magic happens

If that wasn’t enough, she also provides reiki for clients who need spiritual healing. “I was reiki attuned about a year ago. I don’t currently offer just reiki, but when I see a client is in need I will send energy to them during their facial. I can usually sense what is going on with someone just based on our initial interactions. This is me showing them how important they are and that they don’t verbally have to announce all their concerns, I’m on the case for their healing. I’m thinking about the foods they eat, their elimination, their habits. I want them to know the fact that they showed up for themselves, that I am fully here to support them on their journey. And you can communicate this all through touch.”

See More: DeCarlos Bespoke, A Suits + Menswear Designer in Jersey City

As accomplished as Shalea is, a highlight in her career would be her time as a makeup artist. “My career as a makeup artist always takes the cake. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and work with some amazing artists. It feels great to be assigned to talent as the person that helps them look and feel amazing for the day.”

“This month we are celebrating 18 years in business. I originally opened in Paulus Hook, then moved to Mercer Street, then to NYC, and back to Jersey City on Newark Avenue.”

Being Featured On HBO Max

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If all of that wasn’t impressive enough, Shalea was recently featured on episode eight {the last episode of the season} of Stylish With Jenna Lyons, an HBO Max. The episode aired on December 3, 2020. In case you missed it, the show follows the president of J. Crew, Jenna Lyons, as she starts a new business in the home, beauty, and fashion space aimed at helping people from all walks of life find their own style. Shalea was a guest of Justin Thompson {a stylist + contestant}. Justin invited two of his favorite Black artists and makers, and Shalea was one of them!

“I was featured because of my experience as a multi-versed beauty artist, makeup artist, esthetician, product creator/developer. My friend Kevin introduced me to Justin who was a contestant on the show. I was Justin’s guest for his Harlem-themed pop-up event. I actually had no idea I was going to be on TV. For some odd reason, I didn’t ask too many questions,” she explained.

“Justin said he was going to dress me for the occasion which was exciting, again I asked no questions and completely trusted him with my look for the day. While I was doing my makeup in the car, I briefly asked Justin where the event would be airing, and he replied HBO Max, I was like oh sh**, I’m glad I got my hair and nails done! I’m actually glad I didn’t know because it would have made my nerves bad and I would have been completely obsessing over my look,” Shalea says.

Local Fun

Hoboken Girl: What is your favorite restaurant in Jersey City?

Shalea Walker: Latham House

HG: What is your favorite boutique in Jersey City?

SW: Another Mans Treasure

HG: Tell us about another business in the area you admire. 

SW: I admire Kerri Lynn from Love Locked. She is so diligent and innovative when it comes to her business. I see all the work she puts in and then manages to be so helpful and always with a smile.

Keep up with Shalea and Walker’s Apothecary on Instagram and visit the website to learn more about her services.


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