‘Traveling around, doing interviews and presenting, creating stores – I love it.
But my real passion is in the science.’

Barbara Sturm on the beauty of science and what the skincare industry gets wrong about skin.

By Tish Weinstock

Barbara Sturm on the beauty of science and what the skincare industry gets wrong about skin.

When it comes to buzzy beauty brands, there is surely none buzzier than Dr. Barbara Sturm. With multiple spas and boutiques scattered across London, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas and Düsseldorf and countless celebrity and influencer fans, both the brand and its founder have reached something of a unicorn status. But once you get past all the hype (the £380.00 serums and Kardashian-approved ‘vampire facials’) and legend that is Barbara herself, you are left with a brand rooted in science, and, more importantly, products that work.

Born in communist East Germany, Sturm has always believed in the healing power of nature. But it would be a while until she harnessed that power for the purpose of anti-ageing. Studying at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, she began her medical career in orthopedics as part of the team that developed what is now known as the ‘Kobe Procedure’, after the late NBA basketball player, Kobe Bryant. Using a patient’s own blood cells to produce proteins, this cutting-edge technique is designed to reduce inflammation and stimulate the body’s own healing process.

Translating this science into the business of aesthetics, she opened her own medical clinic in Düsseldorf, where in 2002, she developed her infamous ‘MC1’, a bespoke cream made using her patients’ own plasma. In 2014, she launched a full skincare range, Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics, and, thanks to the addition of her spas and boutiques, has become known the world over for her science-led, anti-inflammatory philosophy and #SturmGlow facials.

‘When we first started there was no, “I could make a business out of this or create an empire,”’ says Sturm from her shiny new Madison Avenue store. ‘It was just amazing that I could give something unique to my patients.’ And yet, recently expanding to haircare, intimate care, supplements, and, even, skincare for kids, it is an empire she has built.

System beauty sat down with Dr. Sturm to discuss all the hype.

Director of Photography: Philey Sanneh at PM Artists.
1st AC: Curran Banach.
Gaffer: Nat Aguilar.
Sound: Joe Pfeil.
Music composed by Sanche Ramirez.
Post Production: Weekend Post House.
Styling: Charlie Ward at See Management.
Hair: Jerome Cultrera at L’Atelier NYC.
Make-up: Frankie Boyd at Streeters.

Special Thanks: Natalie Pfister, Claudia Slifka, Malena Holcomb, Rayna Donatelli