412 Apothecary: A Customized Experience

As soon as I pulled in front of 412 Apothecary in Pittsburgh’s historic Deutschtown neighborhood, I knew I was in for something special. The small business seemed to glow in the early evening sky. I stepped into the building and was bathed in warm lighting, my ears were hit with some smooth music and I was kindly greeted by the owner, Christopher Langlois. As I spent some time looking around at the beautiful displays and talking with Christopher, I grew more and more impressed with this queer-owned establishment. It only took me a few moments to realize that shopping here is not a normal trip to the beauty supply store. It’s truly an experience.

Photo courtesy of 412 Apothecary

“It’s really ironic,” Christopher says to me as he shows the array of products he offers at 412 Apothecary. “I was FaceTiming a childhood friend and I was showing her the store and she said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is all the stuff you would put in baskets and give as gifts before.’ I totally forgot I used to do that.” He may have forgotten that aspect of his life, but I believe it just became second nature to Langlois as he pursued his endeavors. You see, Christopher Langlois is a licensed cosmetologist who trained in France on scalp and hair health. Specializing in curly hair, he developed quite the clientele, not only here in Pittsburgh but from around the country. “Throughout the years, I’ve had clients that either have allergies or struggle duplicating things at home,” he relates. This is what led him to open 412 Apothecary as a bit of a hobby in December 2020. As an “ingredient-focused” stylist, he wanted to open a business that offers products that are good for his patrons in more ways than one. “Online sources are using an algorithm to do what someone who is trained should be doing,” Christopher explains. He wanted to offer customized solutions. “We’re not just trying to sell something. We want to make sure we’re helping to find a good fit.”

Another great tenet of 412 Apothecary is that the products offered there are good for planet, people and animals. For example, you can purchase hair products from Davines, a Certified B Corporation. According to their website, “Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.” In fact, Davines operates at –130% of their carbon footprint.

412 Apothecary also offers Korres beauty products. Korres is a family-owned clean beauty line out of Greece whose leadership and researchers are all women. Actually, all of the brands sold at 412 Apothecary are family-owned and almost all products are vegan, except for a few that include Greek yogurt as an ingredient.

Some other products there that piqued my interest were by the company Maapilim. Maapilim is a queer-owned company out of Israel. Maapilim is a Hebrew word that means to ascend or to rise and offers a variety of grooming and general skincare products.

Photo courtesy of 412 Apothecary

I almost went broke after discovering Voluspa Candles. They are some of the best-smelling candles I have ever encountered. 412 Apothecary also carries Vertly hemp extract products as well as its own branded line of skincare products which are made right here in Pittsburgh.

It would be very remiss of me to not share that 412 Apothecary owner Christopher Langlois also gladly gives back to his community. Last June, after only being open for a few short months, he partnered with local organization Bakers For Change to raise money for The Trevor Project. Coupling a bake sale with a silent auction of many products donated by 412 Apothecary’s vendors, they raised close to $6,000 in just four hours. Plans are in the works to have another fundraiser like this next June.

After my first experience at 412 Apothecary, I vowed that there would be many more. I was treated well. I learned quite a bit, and I left with a few products in my bag that I could not wait to try along with a shopping list for my future visits. It was very refreshing to meet Christopher, a queer business owner who very much cares about his patrons, his community, and his planet. I could tell he truly gets joy out of meeting his clients’ needs. So do both yourself and him a favor by stopping by 412 Apothecary and letting Christopher do his thing! You won’t regret it!

Photo courtesy of 412 Apothecary

Small Business Saturday is tomorrow! What better day to head over to 412 Apothecary to start your holiday shopping? Knock About Coffee will have their truck out front to meet all of your caffeine needs before you patronize 412 Apothecary and all of the other great Deutschtown small businesses!

Business Hours:
Wednesday, Friday 3:00-6:00 p.m. Saturday 11:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Expanded Holiday Business Hours (Starting November 30, 2021):
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.  Sunday 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Jason Shavers is a born and raised Pittsburgh native. He is an actor that has worked extensively on stage and not so extensively on screen. Jason is also a self proclaimed expert on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Musical Theater and sitcoms that feature 4 women leads. Yeah, he’s gay AF. Follow him on Instagram. (He / Him / His)