After good skincare advice? We recommend you listen to Dr. Barabara Sturm. The internationally renowned aesthetics doctor has been treating clients, first in orthopedics and now as a facialist. Her line of skincare lines the shelves of models, celebrities and those in the know. She created the famous ‘blood cream’ and her Glow Drops are a must for everyone's beauty bag. Here we spoke to Sturm on her personal skincare routine, why sleep always reigns supreme and eating for your skin’s health.
What is your morning beauty routine?
I need my skincare routine to be simple. A few days a week, I apply my hydrating Face Mask first thing in the morning to clean my skin. Twice a week, I’ll either use the Facial Scrub or Enzyme Cleanser in the shower on my face and body to remove dead skin cells, boost circulation and encourage skin renewal. The rest of the time I use my Cleanser. Immediately after showering (which is important to avoid osmosis/transepidermal water loss), I apply my Balancing Toner, then Hyaluronic Serum and Anti-Pollution Drops, (more important than ever with extra-heavy digital screen exposure), Face Cream and, when I have dark circles or puffiness, my Eye Cream. For Zoom calls and IG Lives, I use Glow Drops instead of makeup. Not counting the Face Mask, my entire routine takes only two minutes.
What is your night beauty routine?
At night, cleansing the skin before bed is essential, to remove pollution, pathogens, oil, makeup and other impurities from the skin before sleep. Cleansing also prepares the skin to receive active ingredients that assist the body’s night time reparative processes. I also invented a Night Serum that boosts the nightly renewal process with active ingredients that include cotton thistle extract to counteract dryness and stressed skin. Senna alata extract that aids the skin’s own protection against UV-induced damage. And poria cocos, which provides astringent, toning and calming properties.
My proprietary formulation of high dose, molecularly balanced Hyaluronic Acid works throughout the night to replenish moisture reservoirs at multiple skin layers by binding up to 1,000 times its weight in water. I also take my Sleep Food supplements before bed, especially after a stress-filled day. It’s a blend of natural active ingredients that relax the body and mind and helps me fall asleep sooner and deeper.
Describe what you do for a living? What does a typical day look like for you?
I love to give advice to my patients as an aesthetic doctor and as a creator of my skincare line, Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics, which I am also the CEO of. In both fields I love to find solutions for my patients. I wake up early in the morning; I am in LA right now and Europe is nine hours ahead. My team is spread across LA, NYC, London, Germany and Hong Kong, so I need to get in touch with everyone in the morning.
Meanwhile, I try to fit in a quick work out, usually while I am on calls. I am doing a lot of lives and masterclasses, mostly in the mornings up until 3pm. I am in touch with my NYC, London and German offices for the most part of the morning and then after that I create a lot of content for magazine interviews and our own channels. Then I play with my five-year-old daughter, Pepper. We always have a family dinner and try to go to bed early.
What is the supermarket/ drug store/ chemist beauty product(s) that you use and love?
I love a milk bath. Milk baths are full of nourishing vitamins and minerals. Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps support cell function and skin health. And zinc, which holds anti-inflammatory properties and is ideal for soothing and healing skin. Milk also contains lactic acid, which acts as a mild exfoliant by loosening the conjunctions between dead skin cells. The fat and proteins nourish and smooth adult skin as well babies and kids. I do it all the time. You can also add honey (the darker the honey, the more nutritious) for a natural anti-bacterial to disinfect your skin and an extra hydrating and calming effect.
What is your main form of beauty body maintenance? What products do you use on your body?
I always like to dry brush in the morning pre-shower, which is also an invigorating process. Pre-shower is best because you’ll want to wash afterwards to remove the exfoliated dead skin and other impurities. I follow that in the shower with my Facial Scrub, which I use on the drier areas of my body. Body scrubs are an essential way to slough away dead skin and impurities, reduce ingrown hairs and reveal brighter, smoother skin.
My Facial Scrub works really well on the areas of the body that are drier or congested. I use it on the back, chest and on the knees and elbows. I also love my Enzyme Cleanser as an all-over mild exfoliator. After showering, I make sure I apply my Anti-Aging Body Cream. It contains a nourishing blend of nutrient-rich oils paired with potent anti-aging compounds that diminish irritation and the signs of aging and restore elasticity for visibly firmer, rejuvenated skin.
How do you keep fit/ healthy? Does exercise form a large part of your routine?
I love sports and like to work out a few days a week. Moving is one of the key anti-aging devices of all. It’s also just a great start to the day and those endorphins are the best feeling. I like to exercise in the morning, I am definitely a morning person! I like to use my bike and then do some mat exercises such as yoga or pilates. I love yoga as it’s a great and relaxing way to keep fit and flexible. I play tennis with my husband and we go on walks through the hills. We also wakeboard and ski.
What do you do when your body needs to recover?
To boost the overall immune system, I made a supplement called Anti-Pollution Food, which contains five different “Adaptogens”. Powerful compounds drawn from Indian and Chinese medicine - that help our body adapt to physical and chemical stressors. It has powerful antioxidants. Like purslane and vitamin E which combat free radical damage caused by the inflammatory influences swirling around us. And ginseng which further boosts your immune system.
Pre-lockdown I loved having facials with my girls monthly. Whenever I am in Dusseldorf, London or New York the first thing I do is go to one of my spas and have a facial. I would also try to get massages multiple times a week and sauna whenever I can.
You’re tired/ hungover/ rundown: what is your beauty hack?
Gentle lymphatic drainage is incredible for waking up the skin. The lymphatic system is responsible for carrying away and filtering out toxins and waste from every cell, tissue and organ. The accumulation of toxins causes blockages and congestion in the flow of lymph harming its ability to perform its job. Which shows up first in skin puffiness and other disorders. It’s a key part of my facials but you can also incorporate it into your skincare regime at-home:
Very gently, and using a serum or moisturiser to reduce friction, use the heel of both hands to lightly massage (using an upward motion), your way from the top of the forehead down to the eyebrows. Then to the temples and following the jawline. Then, go down through the sides of the neck while transitioning from using the heels of the hands to using the outer small finger side of the hands. Repeat this motion several times. Then, beginning just above the collarbone in front of your neck, massage the skin in slow, gentle circles for about a minute. Move up the neck in a line from the collarbone toward your ears, massaging each inch or two for 20 seconds, moving very slowly. You will see a de-puffing effect, less sallowness in your skin, and more glow and general skin health.
What is the one non-negotiable in your beauty routine?
Sleep. Hormone levels and other changes that occur while we sleep make this a critical period for cellular rejuvenation and related processes. Getting a good night’s sleep is much simpler than people make it. I don’t drink much, and I don’t eat big heavy meals close to bedtime. I get into bed early, often with my 5-year-old. I keep the room dark and noise-free. And I do not look at a digital device, which triggers the fight or flight hormone cortisol that keeps you awake, close to bedtime or in the night.
Do you have a beauty icon? Who are they and why?
My mom. She never used make-up, had beautiful skin and looked super young and healthy.
What is the best advice on beauty you’ve received?
I learned from my mom that healthy, hydrated skin doesn’t require makeup and is beautiful on its own. And that is a central premise of my skincare line and my anti-inflammatory approach as a doctor.
What is the best advice on health you’ve received?
Pursue an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, which includes getting enough and good sleep. Maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding unprotected inflammatory influences like UV rays, pollution and harsh skincare ingredients and exercising. An anti-inflammatory diet includes minimising alcohol, caffeine, sugar, processed and fried foods, white flour, other refined carbs, and corn or cooking oil. While emphasising fatty fish, colourful fruits and vegetables, olive oil, purslane, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, cottage cheese, avocados, and almonds.
What is the one product you can’t live without?
I couldn’t live without my Face Cream, which moisturises the skin and nourishes it with valuable oils like grape seed, balancing the skin and protecting it from dehydration. The Face Cream also contains purslane, which calms the skin, promotes anti-aging and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.