In January, I set aside time to meet with Dr. Barbara Sturm, the genius behind the culty eponymous anti-aging line. Since moving to Switzerland, I’ve been on a mission to get to know my new beauty neighbors. It was actually my third trip to visit a woman pioneering the beauty space in the area. My first trip was to interview Susanne Kaufmann at her detox clinic in Austria. The second was to meet with Sophie Guillon, of Valmont. And last week I hopped on a 45-minute flight headed from Zurich to Munich.
It was my first time in Munich. Germany’s vibrant city was extremely charming. All of the buildings were painted in different colors, which created the the most quaint look. Before my meeting, I only had time for a quick beetroot latte (think matcha latte but with beets instead) and a matcha bowl at Bite Delite. After my power lunch, a few selfies and a super fast shopping spree at Theresa, I hopped in a cab headed for Dr. Barbara Sturm.
Her main clinic is in Duesseldorf, Germany and in Munich she runs a small office right inside her home. I showed up promptly at 4 o’clock for my appointment, (not a minute too early or too late, in typical Swiss fashion), and her longtime Practice Manager Uli kindly let me in. I was also greeted by Pepper, her 2-year-old daughter. I was led inside her apartment into a tiny and very sterol medical office. I had barely sat down before out popped Dr. Sturm. Dressed in skinny jeans, chic black ballet flats in a thin white tee, she looked more like a friend than a doctor. Her hair is one of those short manageable looks that one could only dream of pulling off, and bright blond. I knew this was going to be good.
Dr. Sturm’s Story
“I’m not a beauty junkie. I grew up in the forest, climbing trees. I had never seen eyeliner until I was 24 probably. I didn’t have highlights. I was wearing jeans and t-shirt and guys’ shoes probably. I was 24 and a designer friend at my ex-husband’s company said, ‘We need to go shopping.’ I got a manicure and pedicure and my first blond highlights. I bought short leather skirts and heels. And all of the sudden, I mean I was 24 and all of the men were paying attention to me.”
Sturm began in pediatric medicine and then transitioned into sports medicine and orthopedics. In 2000, she helped develop a procedure called Orthokine with a team of researchers. Also known as the Kobe Procedure, named for the former Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant (who needed it for his problematic knees), the surgery involves using the patient’s own blood cells to produce proteins that help reduce inflammation and stimulate the healing process.
She didn’t get into the world of beauty until years later when a friend invited her to Bavaria to learn about aesthetic injections and wrinkles. With her scientific background, she didn’t like the concept of constantly injecting someones face again and again. This led her to her own idea. “It didn’t make much sense. I wanted to do something on the cellular level so I transferred the knowledge of my study in orthopedics to the skin and that’s how I started. This worked really well. I did loads of reports and case studies.”
Around the same time, she was experiencing major issues within her own skin. She was seeing a facialist every 3 weeks for a cleaning. “My facialist who was working out of the little drugstore was giving me La Prairie and all these super expensive products to use and nothing was working.”
“And so I said to Uli, who was already working for me, we need to come up with our own cream. And I said that I want to do a gene cream or something. My Grandmother was a Pharmacist and she had told me what used to be in the creams. I took that knowledge to my own pharmacist and we created a base cream and added cells from my blood. And ever since then I never even need to go and see a facialist. All my skin issues stopped. It’s really the only thing I use morning and night and on my eyes. I am also very lazy, I just want to have something that works. Most people have all these allergies and skin conditions, redness, this is all from over using products that are overly aggressive. A lot of people are super sensitive so they just need something simple that works. Their skin can’t handle the multi-step skincare routine.”
“I’m very proud of what I developed. The cream worked for me, so I started giving this to all my patients. I was already working with all these Hollywood people, but they were already used to a whole regime of stuff. They’d ask what cleansers would work for this and that, but I couldn’t really recommend anything. Whatever I tried, I never really liked it. So I decided to make a couple of products in addition to the MC1 cream.”
Dr. Sturm’s Favorite Products
“I always wanted to have a hyaluronic serum in my products, because I was injecting this in the wrinkles already with my patients. And at the time, nobody had it. The company I worked with (and still do) have the highest technological standards, so we use the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid possible. It has the short chain and the long chain molecules. The short chain molecules really go deep and the long chain molecules they stay on the skin and they give instant hydration and glow.”
“So I just started with a few products… The cream, the hyaluronic acid serum, a cleanser and a scrub.This was my little routine that I recommended to all my patients.” Now we have added more products. We have this anti-aging primer with no silicones and these really cool sun drops, have you tried the sun drops? You have to.
She also told me about her eye cream and calming serum… “Try this eye cream, put it on your eyes now, even over your makeup. Cher says it’s the best stuff she has put on in her life. I also have a calming serum. I have patients who come to me and they have red faces and roscea and whatever is going on with their skin, they put on the calming serum on and I tell you 10 seconds later you can see the redness come and you can see this huge difference in their face. It’s crazy.”
And then out of nowhere, those magical words, “SO. Should we take your blood? For the blood cream?” Well she did and we kept talking. I met her older daughter too, Charlie who is 21 and we all chatted. By the end of the convo, I left like I was in Munich to visit an old friend.
It only took a few days before a tiny package arrived from Munich. It was my very own blood cell cream. In the meantime, I successfully stopped using all of my other products so that I could experiment with her line only. While I know that I will always be someone who uses all different kinds of products from a variety of lines, I wanted to test this out Dr. Sturm’s line to really see the effects.
Dr. Sturm’s Motto
Dr. Sturm’s motto is “less is more, but from the less, the very best.”
Her line is perfect for the modern day girl because each product is concentrated with high-performing, high-quality products that will keep your skin plump and youthful. She believes in letting the skin heal, free from peels, glycolic acid and lasers.The whole idea behind MC1 and the rest of the line was to replicate naturally, the effect of fillers and cosmetic procedures. So, the goal is anti-aging, longterm healthy skin and to put it bluntly, less fillers. This isn’t to say that her line is only for 30-somethings and up. In fact, it’s for everyone. It’s even safe to use when pregnant and I watched her as she used the face cream on her 2-year-old.
Her skin philosophy regarding anti-aging is using products that take care of the cells. She believes in the power of reducing inflammation to prevent cells from naturally occurring cell death. She warned against using to much retinol and suggested using it only in the winter just for 3 or 4 weeks, but very carefully and never too often.
With or without the MC1 Cream, Sturm’s line is worth the investment. Each product is filled to the brim with really good, clean ingredients that are all free from fragrance, parabens and mineral oils. Within days of using her Hyaluronic Serum and her Face Cream, my skin is smoother and visibly more hydrated. I swapped her face cream for my very own MC1 and I hate to say (because of the massive price tag) that love it. Like the rest of her products, the cream is oderless. The color is bright white and the texture is rich and creamy. It reminds me a bit of the texture of the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid that I love so much. It goes on smooth and it absorbs right away. And all her products are really good for pre-makeup application! Her Hyaluronic Serum is one of the lightest serums I’ve ever used. It glides on like silk. The Eye Cream is part cream, part serum and it too is incredible. Next to the MC1 cream, it’s my favorite products from the line. You can apply makeup immediately after and there is no flaking or balling up. I also need to mention how much I love her Anti-Aging Primer.Think makeup and skincare in one. It’s has the pearlized effect (made with pearl pigments) and Hyaluronic Acid, so that makeup looks way better. Also, her Sun Drops are super cool. The idea here is to mix 2 to 3 drops with your moisturizer, serums or foundation for a super potent anti-aging shield of protection.
Have you tried her line and what are you favs?