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A Spa Owner's Ayurvedic Focus

By: Abby Penning
Posted: January 29, 2010, from the February 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Making a connection with people is one of the most important aspects of esthetics to Shanti Claire Savarese, owner of Skin Goddess SpaCare in Tempe, Arizona, and it was also one of the motivators that spurred her into joining the profession.

“Growing up in New Jersey, I was always aware of skin care and the spa industry, but it was still a little bit under the radar,” she notes. So, after attending William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, as a vocal major for two years, she headed in a different direction, working as a singer in Atlantic City casinos. Eventually, however, she got involved doing public relations work for a perfume company, bringing her attention more fully to the beauty industry. “I was going into upscale department stores, talking with the women at the makeup and beauty counters, and I developed a connection with cosmetology,” Savarese explains.

Taking her interest to the next level, she enrolled in the cosmetology program at Capri Institute in Brick, New Jersey. After only a short time in the program, however, she changed her focus to esthetics. “I always wanted to do skin, and once I got in there, I loved it. I got my esthetic license and never looked back.” That was in 1997, and soon after, Savarese began working at various area facilities, eventually becoming the manager, lead esthetician and trainer at Bellezza Spa & Salon in Toms River, New Jersey.

Along the way, she continued her education, and one technique that really caught her attention was ayurveda. Although she didn’t pursue this interest initially, a life change soon brought Savarese closer to the ayurvedic training she desired. “My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and so, in 2004, I packed up my daughter and my parents and moved to Arizona,” she says, explaining the move was to escape harsh East Coast winters and be closer to her siblings, who had relocated to Arizona and California.

With the move, Savarese had intended to just to act as a caretaker for her parents and 17-year-old daughter, but quickly found herself missing esthetics. “I had sent ahead to transfer my license to Arizona just in case, and within three months of moving, I opened Skin Goddess SpaCare at the Desert Sage Herbs store in Chandler, Arizona,” she says.