June’s – ‘The Beauty Issue’ – Download Now
Dr. Barbara Sturm has built a global brand by fusing her knowledge of science and medicine into cutting-edge skincare.
Can you talk us through your career?
I began my medical practice in anti-inflammatory orthopaedics, and I later translated some of the scientific anti-inflammatory advances I helped pioneer in joints into skin and aesthetics. Inflammation is really the bane of the body, and at the root of much dysfunction and disease. As a doctor and scientist, I pursue advances in ingredient science and cutting-edge techniques and treatments. I invented a blood plasma-based injectable and facial in 2002, which the public later called the “vampire facial,” and then I created a bespoke, plasma-infused moisturizing (MC1) cream for my patients soon after. When patients asked me to recommend an entire skincare regimen, and I couldn’t recommend any existing options, I set out to create my own science-driven, high-performance skincare regimen and in 2014 I launched Molecular Cosmetics skincare – a line formulated for those who yearn for an uncomplicated yet highly effective skincare regime that provides hydration, nutrition and regeneration glow.
How did you find your way into the beauty space?
Cartilage and skin cells are of the same tissue family, so after seeing the effects the body’s own healing factors had on helping heal the cartilage tissue of my patients in orthopaedics, I had the idea of mixing the proteins into an injectable, healing cocktail for the skin.
What inspired you to start your own brand?
My patients. When my patients asked me to recommend a post-medical treatment skincare regime, I surveyed the market and found an array of aggressive ingredients and confusing marketing. So, I originally set out to create a patients-only skincare regime built around anti-inflammatory ingredient science.
What was the process of starting your own brand like?
It came organically starting from creating products for my patients. The word spread quickly because I put so much time and research into every product. The results really spoke for themselves and my brand naturally grew.
“Healthy, hydrated and radiant skin that doesn’t require makeup and is beautiful on its own.”
How has your eponymous brand evolved since it launched in 2014?
I see an intense interest from the customer in the science of their own health and the products they use. This interest allows me to use advanced ingredient science to invent increasingly tailored products and explain to the customer why those products and ingredients work. That’s what the savvy customer wants to know: what ingredients are they are putting on their skin and into their bodies, do they work and why? I have evolved my education approach to now include free virtual masterclasses, an editorial platform called Doctor’s Notes where I feature and interview experts in different fields such as nutrition and sleep and I also offer my patients virtual consultations for when you can’t go to the clinic or see an expert in person.
What, in your opinion, is the brand’s hero product?
I don’t have any specific “hero” products or ingredients – I love all of my products and I created all of them for a reason so it’s very difficult to choose! I think that if I had to single out one it would be my Face Cream.
Talk us through your skincare routine.
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. Then I immediately (to avoid transepidermal water loss) apply my Hyaluronic Serum and Anti-Pollution Drops, then my Face Cream. For Zoom calls and IG Live videos, I use Glow Drops instead of makeup and the LIP BALM for hydration and a sheer glow. In the early evening, I apply my Face Mask before my serums and cream. I use my Lip Balm throughout the day and Sun Drops every day. I usually put my NIGHT SERUM on before bed. I take my supplements religiously – Skin Food, Anti-Pollution Food and Repair Food.
Your products are staples in many people’s routines the globe over – how does this feel?
To hear the words, “You changed my skin” and to receive incredible before and after images that customers have shared with us is what excites and gets me out of bed in the morning. And to that end, I am driven on the creation side to invent new solutions for patients; that passion has driven my scientific work for the last two decades
What is at the core of the brand’s DNA?
An anti-inflammatory approach to skincare and ingredient science behind every product.
What have been the hurdles you’ve experienced throughout your career?
A few years ago, I had just created our Darker Skin Tones line in collaboration with Angela Bassett and was discouraged by the initial reluctance of some of the major retailers in picking it up. We had put so much effort and research into creating something truly extraordinary for our darker skin toned clients, but we didn’t give up. Finally, it came to the point where I insisted that if retailers wanted to carry my main Molecular Cosmetics Skincare line, they’d have to carry the Darker Skin Tones line as well, and they did. I’m a doctor, so I am in the service business. Serving patients starts with listening to the patient.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the key milestones?
When David Olsen – who at the time, was the Vice President of Beauty at NET-A-PORTER – took my products on at NAP, it was a window to all other retailers and they started asking me one-by-one to join them. That was my big milestone.
This is ‘The Beauty Issue’ – how do you define beauty?
Health, happiness and confidence from the inside and out. Healthy, hydrated and radiant skin that doesn’t require makeup and is beautiful on its own. And that is a central premise of my skincare line and approach as a doctor.
The Hero Buys
June’s – ‘The Beauty Issue’ – Download Now
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