Say Hello To Oakland’s Coolest Hairstylist, And Peep Her Get-Pretty Tips

You know the girl you pass on the street — the one with the show-stopping style, the glowing skin, and a killer haircut that puts your bedhead to shame? Well, that’s Shimeko. The Oakland-based tress stylist and all-around badass has her beauty game on lock, with a look that transcends time and skills that are so profound, it’s no wonder peeps are lined up at the Marquee Salon to get their locks lifted.
Since we were so intrigued by this gal, we ventured out to her East Bay abode to get the scoop on her flawless skin, favorite beauty products, and more. Read on for some stunning pics and her get-pretty 411 — you’re going to want to grab a pen and pad, people. This stuff is too good.
Photographed by Maria del Rio
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Tell us how you got your start in beauty and what made you make the move into it?
"In my early '20s I worked at a Shiseido counter at the mall while I attended a local community college. I thought that I would eventually go to Parsons to study design, but soon realized I was pregnant. As a single parent, I had to find a way to stay connected to creativity without having to live in a closet in New York. Working in beauty allows me to work with amazing designers and artists that are constantly a source of inspiration."

Shimeko is velvety-cool in a vintage Bianca Nero dress, Headcleaner harness with shoulder pieces, Iosselliani necklace, and Korkease wedges.
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What’s your secret to amazing skin?
"Two things: A diet that mostly consists of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and water, and ReModel, a retinol treatment from Isis Skin & Body Spa in Oakland. My skin hasn’t always been amazing. As soon as I turned 30, my skin started breaking out in the worst way. The old skin cells weren’t sloughing off and renewing themselves like they did when I was young. So, I made some changes to the way I care for myself. I’d have to say retinol has seriously been a game changer for me. My skin is probably better than it was in my twenties."
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Okay, your makeup bag is divine – tell us about it.
"I feel very lucky to be surrounded by a network of talented pals in Oakland. My friends Brook and Kirby of Job & Boss gifted me this bag from their new Oaxaca woven collection."

What is the best beauty advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
"In my early twenties, a friend of mine told me, 'Wear sunblock on your face every day even when you don’t see the sun. The rays are harmful no matter what the weather is like, and they age you like hell.' I’ve been kind of obsessed ever since."
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What does your beauty routine entail?
"Between my seven-year-old son, work, and projects, I don’t have very much time to fuss. It’s all about skincare for me. I can tackle this in my 10-minute bathroom session while my son eats breakfast in the morning. I use a fruit acid exfoliate cleanser in the shower, put a few dabs of the ReVerse Cell Repair Creme on, glob on the sunblock and run out the door. Don’t tell the highway patrol this, but when I drive my son to school in the morning I am usually steering with my knees and putting my makeup on in the rear-view mirror."

"In the car I fumble through my bag, find my tinted moisturizer, apply it with a foundation brush, set it with powder, apply a couple of coats of mascara and call it golden. If want to add a little razzamatazz, I will do a few swipes of a bold matte lipstick. As soon as I get home in the evenings, I cleanse the makeup and sunblock off of my face, apply ReVerse Serum, moisturize, drink some tea, and call it a day. I keep my body and mind fit by doing Showga yoga to live music on Sundays at the Starline Ballroom."
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Let’s talk accessories – what are your faves?
"I have to say I could be the international spokesperson for shoulder pads. They produce the bold shapes I am always after. Outside of that, my friend Jenni at Band of Gold recently showed her collection from Italian designer Iosselliani. It’s insane! I’m in love with the mixture of vintage reproductions and modern design."

What summer beauty trends are you feeling right now?
"I am in the beauty industry, so I am aware of trends, but never abide by them — it’s too exhausting. Something that is always in vogue is rocking things that are flattering, and wearing looks that make you want to walk with your chin up and your shoulders back."
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What are some easy makeup tips you can share?
"Less is more. Take care of your skin."
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Wearing makeup and having great skin is definitely a balance – what you recommend for mastering both?
"I recommend saving the makeup for events or times when you know you are going to be photographed. Pampering your skin and letting it breath is the best thing you can do. Putting makeup on your face to cover bad skin can be a vicious cycle, and it doesn’t solve anything. Believe me, I know this one from experience."
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What is your go-to makeup product?
"Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. It has an SPF of 20 and lets my skin shine through."
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Who are some of your favorite beauty icons?
"My favorite beauty icons are people that create beauty rather than subscribe to it in the traditional sense. To name a few: dancer Martha Graham, performance Artist Marina Abramovic, and musical curator and ground breaker Brian Eno."

Shimeko smiles bright in an American Apparel unitard and belt, Job & Boss shibori, vintage Liz Sport jacket, Emily Counts pendant, Pamela Love cuff, and Pour la Victoire shoes.
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Okay, let’s seriously talk about your hair — spill the details on your edgy cut.
"Although I am a lover of beauty, I like to push the boundaries of what is considered conventionally pretty. This is sometimes a test to myself. Can I feel feminine and attractive without subscribing to beauty norms? These days, I go to a little barbershop on Telegraph called Badd Boyz. I get in on all the shop banter with my main man, Q, every few weeks."

Okay, your cut is pretty wow-worthy — what are some other cuts throughout history you are a fan of?
"I love it when people do their own thing and amplify whatever their hair's texture does naturally. Mick Hucknall from Simply Red was a big inspiration for me a few years ago, and I love Marc Bolan. Patti Smith’s homemade haircut is great, too. Oh yeah, and jazz musician Carl Bley circa the album Live! What a visionary!"
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What’s your hair-care routine like?
"I know that as a hairdresser, I should probably have something extensively mapped-out here, but really I just have a great haircut. At best, I run a comb through my hair, and if I have a few unruly hairs, I may spray some Bumble & Bumble Reactivating Mist in it to reform the curls."
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Tell us more about Oakland hotspot Marquee Salon.
"I have to say it is by far the most exciting salon I have ever worked in. It feels like something great is happening here, and I am honored to be part of it. The three ladies that own Marquee had a vision of creating a space that was unpretentious, but spoke to their interests in art, music, and fashion. Our inspiration outside of hair is something we constantly bring into the salon and is always encouraged. Also, it’s not so bad to have such great neighbors like Subrosa Coffee, 1-2-3-4 GO! Records, Manifesto Bicycles, Elder & Pine, and the mac and cheese mavens of Homeroom. Things are alive on this block!"

Shimeko's style is a cut above the rest in a vintage Lizwear jacket, Kesh x American Apparel dress, Ghostdancer necklace, and Korkease shoes.
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Do you use any homemade beauty remedies?
"About once a month I scrub my face with organic brown sugar and lemon juice. This kind of scrubbing is not what one should be using everyday, but is great the day before an event or photoshoot as it sloughs away surface dead skin and debris."
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We love the idea of drinking teas to help your skin, tell us more about it!
"Beauty is not just a surface thing. It’s important to start internally. In the day time I like to sip Gotu Kola, which not only is it an anti-aging and anti-oxidant powerhouse, but it also improves brain function. I can always use some that. In the evening I go for dandelion root, which works primarily on detoxing the liver, and burdock root works on the blood. In short, anything that is amiss inside of the body is sure to surface itself on the the outside, so I try to keep it clean."
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Your style is truly rad — tell us about some the influences behind your sartorial picks.
"I’d have to say the biggest influence behind my style these days are the early 20th century suprematist paintings of Kazimir Malevich. These paintings use bold shapes and blocks of color as emotive expression. I enjoy this concept of taking the music I hear, the books I read, and the colorful landscape of Oakland, and incorporating them into my personal style in a less than literal way. The big world is a truly inspiring place!"

What is your ultimate career goal?
"I believe it was Mark Twain that said, “The secret to success is to make your vocation your vacation.” This is what I aspire towards. I push myself to do the things that I truly enjoy, keep soaking up inspiration, and never stop reaching into the unknown. Who knows where that will take me but I like where it is headed so far."