eleMINT Offers Bespoke Facials Powered by Plants

The modern studio promotes clean beauty, community and natural skin solutions

By Tolly Moseley
Photos by Brittany Dawn Short
eleMINT Skin Health & Wellness Studio

The Zoom screen flickers to life, and smiling back at me is Shauntavia Ward. We’re here to discuss eleMINT, her modern facial studio on East 6th Street, but before we dive in, I’m a little distracted. That’s because I’ve got a confession: I don’t particularly like facials.

Shauntavia laughs good-naturedly when I admit this. “I always break out afterwards,” I explain. “I hate getting extractions, and, and …”

She gazes at me calmly, much like a doctor or nurse with good bedside manner. Perhaps that’s because Shauntavia was a nurse, working in medicine for 10 years and ER for five. Something tells me she knows how to make me feel better about extractions.

“We get that a lot from brand new clients,” she reassures me. The conventional spa model often follows a plug-and-play approach, where acne clients get a certain type of treatment, dry skin clients get another — and to be sure, those broad treatment options can work, some of the time.

But eleMINT is something entirely different.

“We are not a corrective studio,” she tells me. “We’re a restorative studio, and we believe in plants, as well as the science behind them.”

This intrigues me because “plant-based” is the buzz phrase of the moment. However, Shauntavia’s penchant for research makes her studio and treatments distinct. You’re never getting an algorithmic treatment at eleMINT, with “plant-based” tossed in as a marketing term. Instead, you’re getting individual ingredients, mixed right there in front you, after a full evaluation from your aesthetician.

“The products we carry are apothecary style, and we mix them according to your needs that day,” Shauntavia explains. When I go in myself to get a facial (more on that in a moment), I see the process in action: eleMINT buys from Botnia, a woman-owned microfarm in California, that cultivates skin-soothing classics — lavender, rose, chamomile — as well as lesser-known, highly researched flora, like yarrow and meadowsweet.

“Skin recognizes plants and their calming, healing effects,” says Shauntavia. “With clean beauty, you’ll get the detox of an effective facial, but in small increments. Not enough to disrupt your day-to-day activity, but enough to disrupt any stagnancy.”

I’m starting to feel more confident about all of this. I book a facial at eleMINT (they offer two: Simplicity, a 30-minute treatment, and Radiant, a 60-minute treatment) and cross my fingers.

Yes, I’ve been a facial skeptic, but Shauntavia’s background in Western medicine was interesting to me. Back when she was a nurse, she started a beauty blog, and she began training in med spa procedures to expand her beauty repertoire. It was precisely this experience that inspired her to step away and study a different type of care — one that wasn’t transactional, but community based, one that empowered patients to cultivate beauty at the studio and at home, rather than solely depending on an expensive practitioner. The result is eleMINT, a light-filled space tucked next door to Practice Yoga, where treatment rooms are open, there’s no gratuity (they encourage you to donate to your favorite charity instead), and you’re instantly greeted like an old friend.

“You must be Tolly!” calls Josh Zuniga, my aesthetician for the day. Chatty and sweet, Josh sits me down and asks me about my skin concerns. I’m at the charming age when acne and wrinkles both like to show up on my face, but then again, eleMINT isn’t about trying to get you to a beauty ideal. The whole vibe here is “love the skin you’re in,” and now I can say from experience: my love is real.

“We’re going to put some cooling elements on your face,” Josh explains, educating me on each and every ingredient. I’ve opted for the Simplicity treatment, but next time I’m coming for Radiant; it involves a hydro jelly mask, where serum specially mixed for your skin is applied to the face, then the mask is placed on top of it, pressing hydration and all those healing botanicals directly into your pores.

“We’re also going to use some high frequency to kill any bacteria hanging out beneath the surface,” Josh says, wielding a handheld wand in front of me. I expect to come out of that round a bit red … but when it’s all said and done, I leave eleMINT with zero inflammation. Am I glowing? Yes. Am I spotty, like after other facial treatments I’ve had? Absolutely not. Instead, my skin looks smooth and healthy — like I’ve just worked out. Or like I’ve used a good Instagram filter.

“Tolly, your skin looks really good,” says a friend of mine the next day. She’s a beauty school alum, and I perk up at the compliment.

“I just had a facial!” I explain, gushing about Josh, Shauntavia and the cozy-cool interior at eleMINT.

“Do they have openings?” she asks, pulling out her phone.

Because community and accessibility are two big pillars of eleMINT, I imagine my friend will have no problem getting an appointment. But word is getting out, and bookings are filling. That’s because this Austin facial studio offers something truly unique: a relationship-based approach to beauty care, where the instant glow-up is undeniable. And the long-term effects? Skin education, deep healing and a complexion powered by plants. It’s no wonder folks are flocking to their door.


Read More From the Style Issue | September 2021


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