We can’t think of a better way to elebrate Women’s Equality Day than by kicking off our new series “Berlin Skin Squad” featuring a major boss babe. Allow us to introduce the owner of eleMINT Skin in Austin, TX: Shauntavia Ward FNP, LE (see all those letters after her name!? Talk about accomplished!).
eleMINT Skin stocks our full range of products and they are truly a dream partner. We’re constantly salivating over their botanical facials, retail space, and all around aesthetic. Can we live here?!
We admire Shauntavia and her commitment to clean beauty, minimal design, and holistic skin care. She’s an all-around impressive human being and we feel lucky to partner with her and eleMINT.
P.S. if you ever get the chance to have a conversation with Shauntavia in real life, you’ll want to be best friends: she makes you feel at ease and has the most fun, down-to-earth, genuine personality. Get to know Shauntavia below — you will be inspired!
Tell us a little about who you are and your journey to opening eleMINT. What's your background as it relates to nontoxic beauty and skincare?
I’m a curious soul with a wild passion for inspiration, creativity, health and wellness. My journey into beauty began in my teenage years. I’d always do my friends’ hair, nails, or makeup and became fascinated by what I’d create and how happy it made them feel. At 18, I inquired with a local beauty school for cosmetology programming and learned that I’d need to market and acquire customers on my own. This was pre social media era, and the thought of local newspaper ads, or door-to-door soliciting intimidated me, so I pivoted into healthcare. I became an RN and worked as an ER nurse. My nursing career inspired my love to educate, advocate and promote wellness. With so much exposure to chronic illness and unhealthy lifestyle, the ER is where I started to become interested in cleaner, non-toxic approaches to life in general, especially beauty. Still with a passion for all things beauty, I started a blog for natural remedies for hair, skin and nails. It didn’t get much traction, but it was a fun creative expression for me while navigating the stresses of nurse life.
What inspired your desire to open your own clean beauty and wellness boutique and spa?
The ER was exhilarating, yet physically exhausting. After 5 years, I became a Nurse Practitioner and decided to be more intentional about landing positions that aligned more with my personal interests. I went back to beauty! I’ve worked in medical aesthetics, cosmetic and plastic surgery. Through those experiences, over time I realized that we were contributing to broken societal beauty norms and encouraging people to “fix” what they (or social pressures) perceived as “wrong” with their skin. A message that I saw firsthand, negatively impacting emotional wellbeing and mental health. I was not ok with this. While I was in the industry I so longed to be in, it was guided by traditional Western medicine and not prioritizing the whole person. So, I created eleMINT to change that narrative. To celebrate the uniqueness of skin, to inspire confidence in one’s own natural beauty, and to elevate personal wellbeing through skincare.
Tell us a little bit about eleMINT's mission. What is the big “why” that motivates you?
Our mission is to elevate skin health and wellbeing through a holistic, transformative skincare experience that is inclusive, accessible and affordable. My personal “why” is the last piece of our mission; inclusive, accessible and affordable. eleMINT exists to make skincare a lifestyle, rather than a luxury. A narrative that challenges the historical idea of the spa world. We will always be a neighborhood studio, meeting people where they are, offering high quality treatments tailored to individual lifestyle.
I see a few extra letters after your name — for those who are not familiar, can you share with us what do those stand for and how that part of your professional career influences eleMINT?
Yeah, some of those letters are still being paid off in student loans, so we claim them! hahaha. FNP = family nurse practitioner. LE = licensed esthetician. My experience in medicine afforded me an extensive knowledge in skin health, anatomy and physiology, wellness and preventive education. That gave me a solid understanding and I became an esthetician to further expand my knowledge base.
What is your #1 go-to self-care practice and how do you stay grounded amidst all that is currently going on in the world?
Just having more “me-time”. I had my foot on the gas for the first year when I opened eleMINT. I was full speed acceleration getting the business up and running, but it was taking a toll on my own general health. As a service provider, from nursing to esthetics, I naturally take care of everyone else. Now I’m focused on prioritizing my time, effectively delegating and connecting more with my own selfcare needs. Lately it’s been morning walks, without the dog! ahhhh. As much as I love that little rascal, sometimes you just need to walk, breathe and think without being distracted by the sight of a squirrel. :)
Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by an investor, Arlan Hamilton. She overcame homelessness to start a venture capital firm and invests in underrepresented founders. She’s dedicated to minimizing funding disparities for women, POC and/or LBGTQ. Arlan inspires me to advocate for and eliminate barriers to skincare, especially for people who traditionally have not been prioritized in beauty.
What advice do you have for other women like you who have a desire to make their dreams a reality?
The only thing that comes to a dreamer is sleep! Don’t sleep on yourself. Do whatever it is that sets your soul on fire. Do it and do it now! Also, don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is the first attempt at learning. You are powerful and capable and the world needs the reality of your dreams. Lastly, you won’t know everything and that’s the beauty of google. ;)
What makes an eleMINT facial unique from other facial experiences?
In the treatment room we offer Bespoke Botanical Facials where each ingredient is hand blended to treat specific skin needs in their current condition. This level of individual customization using plant based ingredients has put us in a lane of our own.
In general, we’re heavy on education rather than relaxation. We’re chatting regimens, ingredients, tools, skin conditions, lifestyle etc., during the facial so our clients are well informed to care for their skin beyond their treatment that day. Our studio design is open concept which was intentional to encourage conversation around skincare and normalizing “good skin” as healthy skin. And our playlist…is a whole vibe!
Just for fun, how do you take your coffee? If you don’t drink coffee, what’s your go-to drink of choice for a pick me up?
Fresh, warm and sweet… much like me ;)
What is your favorite Berlin Skin product and why?
I’m obsessed with the Carrot Seed Serum. It’s the perfect light texture and the ingredient deck is next level! It’s a powerhouse full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and herbs that nourish, soothe, brighten, and increase cellular turnover. It’s easily a staple for me and all my eleMINT babes!