The straight-talking queen of skincare shares her tips to perfect your routine this coming year
Since launching her eponymous brand directly to Net-a-Porter in 2014, Dr Barbara Sturm’s science-meets-nature approach to product has made her serums and facials an urgent talking point for those in the know. Starting out as an orthopaedic doctor in Hollywood, Sturm devised a revolutionary joint-healing process: taking proteins from the patient’s blood, she would then stimulate their white blood cells to produce healing factors, and then reinject this blood back into the joints. The treatment went ‘viral’, she tells me from her current salon out-post in Gstaad, so she began to adapt it for the skin – and the rest is healing-focused history.
Using synthesised natural ingredients like purslane (a nutrition-packed anti-ageing ingredient that calms the skin and reduces the visible signs of irritation) and telomerase technology (essentially a “youth enzyme which keeps the cells alive, keeping our skin strong, healthy, hydrated, function intact”), Sturm’s chic and minimally packaged line has grown from strength to strength, with cult hits that include her Enzyme Cleanser for honestly sparkling skin, her ingenious Sun Drops (SPF 50 serum that can be added to any cream), her magical Glow Drops (I still haven’t figured out why this pinky pigmented serum is so transformative but it just makes you glow), the Face Cream (“your cell spa while you sleep,” says Sturm, that reduces redness and stimulates collagen production but with zero fanfare) and the seriously excellent Anti-Aging Body Cream that offers expert hydration but sinks in effortlessly (and reduces imperfections and tightens skin). She even has an adorable kids range – I would use the Bathing Milk for the pastel-panda cartoon alone. Her latest hit, Lifting Serum, is a performance product. Slick it on last and you’ll look like you’ve just had a facelift, but with plant fuel only. Here, she shares her straight-talking skincare resolutions for a happy new dermis...
1. Try to get into an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and be kind to yourself
“Inflammation is what kills us, is what gives us long-lasting diseases, what breaks down our tissue in regards to skin, makes us red, irritated, break out, age; everything comes from inflammation. You can’t necessarily see the inflammation, it can be silent but it’s going on in our bodies and it’s triggered by many factors: sun, pollution, diet, sleep deficit, stress, wrong skincare products – aggressive ingredients for example – but you have to get inflammation under control to keep your body young, and keep it away from symptoms and diseases.
“An anti-inflammatory lifestyle is getting enough sleep, and an anti-inflammatory diet – sorry, forget about alcohol and smoking and all this bullshit. Try to get your stress level down using anti-inflammatory products for your skin. Stop using aggressive treatments like acid peels. Be kind and loving to yourself and that’s the best anti-ageing advice that I could give to anyone.
“But it’s all in moderation. Listen: sometimes I drink a glass of wine and I love it but it depends on what kind of wine it is. To me, it’s all about quality. Rather than drink shitty wine, I don’t drink. If it’s an amazing wine, then yeah I drink it. I don’t believe in all those extremes. If you want to smoke a cigar, smoke a cigar, but do you need to smoke 20 cigarettes a day? I don’t think so.”
2. Get that before midnight sleep
“Because that’s when all your repair mechanisms, your growth hormone network, and your entire regeneration process is working. Before midnight is the most valuable time.
“You have different types of sleep too: pre-midnight sleep is the deepest, you have different gradations of sleep. I created the Sleep Food supplement for more valuable sleep.”
3. If you just buy one thing from the line, make it the face cream
“Face cream should not be greasy. Face cream should penetrate your skin and never leave a film on top. Our face cream gives you hydration – which is the key to everything – and moisturisation, of course, but best of all this beautiful dewyness – which you only get with my products, you don’t get it with any other products. If you have more money, choose the Hyaluronic Acid serum and then the Cleanser.”
4. Get layering your product
“I always use my face mist as the first step in skincare because it creates little edemas [swelling] and opens the pores then I apply my hyaluronic serum. So the skin is temporarily swollen, it’s plumped and super ready for ingredients. Then it’s ready for your Hyaluronic Serum [known for deeply hydrating even the deep layers of your epidermis], which is extra hydration, and then the valuable oils from your face cream.”