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From PASSION to PROSPERITY

STORY BY JENNIFER GABLE ◊ PHOTOS COURTESY OF LINA WALKER

When Lina Walker was a teenage girl in Syria, she began experimenting with makeup and beauty; today, Walker runs Looks by Lina, a successful luxury hair and makeup company based in Southern Maryland.


Looks By Lina services clients in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.


The company consists of Walker and her seven assistant stylists, with a clientele mainly consisting of brides and wedding parties.

“My love for beauty has been there for a long, long time,” said Walker. “I think everyone is beautiful in their own way, and I just like to enhance their beautiful features.”


Walker began doing her makeup in 10th grade to cover her teenage acne. She quickly became infatuated with all things beauty and eventually attended a cosmetology school for hair in Syria.


In the 1980s, Walker and her family fled Syria one by one to flee the dictatorship and find a better life.


“My dad was a writer, and the country is a dictatorship, so you can’t criticize the government or the president, so we were under scrutiny,” said Walker. “My dad actually got arrested several times and tortured, so we decided to flee.”


Upon coming to the U.S., Walker furthered her career in beauty. She started as an assistant to an “established makeup artist” in Southern Maryland.


Prompted by the demand for combined hair and makeup services, Walker branched off independently and merged her interests to open Looks by Lina, a company serving both needs, 10 years ago. She received her certificate in makeup artistry in 2015 and advanced makeup artistry in 2016.


“I really like the look of a client when I show them the final product; it makes me so happy, no matter how tired I am, if I see that look, I get endorphins,” Walker said.

Walker’s makeup looks often focus on accentuating the eyes with natural glam. The team uses only “premium and professional products,” including Fenty Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury, Tarte and Armani. Walker also offers one-on-one makeup classes that are available for booking online.


Regarding hair, Looks by Lina specializes in intricately styling the client’s hair instead of cutting and coloring.


Perhaps the most rewarding part of Walker’s job is connecting with brides on their special day while simultaneously making them feel beautiful.

“I have a wicked sense of humor — I try to make everybody laugh,” said Walker. “Weddings can be stressful, and I try my best to destress the bride.”


As a business owner, stress is not foreign to Walker. Maintaining a work-life balance continues to be a “work in progress” for her heading into the new year.


In 2022, with business booming, Walker often worked seven days a week, committing to multiple weddings a day on the weekends.


Walker works full-time during the week as a data analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and owning a business while working full-time is no small feat.


“In 2022, I did not do any balancing; it was all work, work, work, and last year, I decided that I’m not going to do what I did in 2022,” said Walker. Walker decided to set healthy work-life boundaries, deciding she would no longer commit to styling for multiple weddings a day.


“Whenever anybody owns their own business, there are a lot of obstacles and hurdles you have to jump over while making sure that you’re not sacrificing one thing for another.”


Interested parties can read more about Walker and her growing business by visiting her newly revamped website, looksbylina.com. Customers can also read the website’s frequently asked questions for more information.


According to Walker, one of the best ways to learn about pricing and the Looks by Lina makeover process is to schedule a 30 minute “no obligation, best-fit phone call.” CBW

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