Dr. Barbara Sturm is an orthopedic surgeon-turned-skin-specialist based in Dusseldorf, Germany. If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Sturm, you may have heard about the “vampire facial” she developed, made popular by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian.
She’s also known for her non-surgical anti-aging skin treatments and her namesake skincare line, Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics. The line is formulated for those who want a simple skincare regimen that addresses common skin concerns such as dryness, inflammation, and skin-aging.
What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2021?
Before splurging on this luxury skincare brand, check out our review of the 10 best Dr. Barbara Sturm products. We’ve reviewed each product through a scientific lens, meaning we’ve evaluated the research that supports (or doesn’t support) the ingredients that you’ll find in these products.
We’ve also shared some Dr. Barbara Sturm reviews so you can get a better idea of what customers really think about these products.
What Are The Top 10 Best Dr. Barbara Sturm Skincare Products?
Dr. Barbara Sturm offers everything that you would need to create a complete skincare routine, including cleansers, toners, moisturizers, serums, masks, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best Dr. Barbara Sturm skincare products.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum
All skin types can benefit from a hyaluronic acid serum, especially those with oily and acne-prone skin. That’s because hyaluronic acid draws in moisture (like, a lot of moisture) to give your skin a hydration boost without feeling sticky, greasy, or heavy.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum is claimed to have an “optimal concentration” of low and high molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, but there’s actually less than 1% hyaluronic acid in this serum!
We know this by looking at the ingredient list (which is in order of descending concentrations). Sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, is listed after the preservative phenoxyethanol, which cannot be used in concentrations more than 1%.
With a $300 price tag, we don’t believe Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum is worth the money, especially considering there’s so many beneficial hyaluronic serums on the market for a fraction of the cost.
The first that comes to mind is The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (which costs less than $7 btw). A couple other excellent options include Formulyst Hyaluronic Boosting Serum and CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum.
Bottom Line: Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum is formulated with less than 1% hyaluronic acid, and since there are other hyaluronic serums on the market with twice that concentration (for a fraction of the cost), we don’t recommend this product.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream
If you’re looking for a basic moisturizer to keep your face hydrated, Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream could be right for you. It’s not the most innovative formula, especially considering what you’d expect to get for this price, but it delivers on its promise to keep skin hydrated and calm.
That’s because the formula primarily consists of emollients and humectants, such as glycerin, shea butter, and fatty alcohols. These ingredients help to hydrate and soften skin.
There’s also purslane and skullcap in this formula to provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. However, the jar packaging compromises the stability of both of these ingredients, reducing their potency every time you open the jar.
Bottom Line: A basic face moisturizer that should help to hydrate, soften, and soothe skin, but keep in mind that the jar packaging will cause delicate ingredients to break down over time.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops
A base of sweet almond oil is combined with a few humectants (glycerin, butylene glycol, panthenol) and purslane extract to give you Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops.
The brand highlights polygonum bistorta root and wild rose as key ingredients, but both of these ingredients are present in concentrations of less than 1%.
There’s also light-reflecting pigments (iron oxide, tin oxide, and silicate minerals in the Glow Drops formula. These ingredients add a subtle shimmering effect and reflect light from the face, creating the illusion of a smoother, softer, and more radiant skin tone.
With a name like “Glow Drops”, we expected to see more skin brightening ingredients in this formula, perhaps vitamin C, niacinamide, or licorice root, just to name a few.
Bottom Line: Sweet almond oil, purslane, and humectants make up the majority of Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops, while there’s also light-reflecting minerals to give you a temporary glow.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream
This lightweight creamy formula is said to target the dark shadows, bags, and puffiness around the delicate eye area.
Like the other products in Dr. Barbara Sturm’s collection, purslane is one of the key ingredients. We’ll give you all the details on this extract in the next section, but for now just know it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and regenerative properties.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream also contains a high concentration of macadamia seed oil, a lightweight oil that is well absorbed by the skin without feeling greasy. The high content of fatty acids found in macadamia seed oil enables this ingredient to nourish and hydrate the skin by replenishing the skin’s barrier.
Lastly, this eye cream contains a complex of golden root, sugar beet, and yeast to provide a soothing ‘de-puffing’ effect.
Bottom Line: Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream should help to hydrate and soothe the skin with anti-inflammatory extracts and a high concentration of macadamia seed oil.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum
Whether you’re dealing with skin irritation due to sun exposure, jet lag, or a reaction to a skincare product, Dr. Sturm’s Calming Serum could be just what you need to soothe irritation and reduce redness.
It’s enriched with an active, plant-based complex of Cardiospermum, Echium Plantagineum, and Sunflower, and this serum actually contains a decent amount of each ingredient (unlike other Dr. Barbara Sturm products).
This blend of botanical extracts provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, thereby helping to soothe and protect irritated skin. In fact,research on the pharmacological properties of Cardiospermum demonstrate that polysterols in this extract have an anti-redness effect, and that it shows similar effects to a corticosteroid.
Bottom Line: Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum is ideal for those with red, irritated skin due to its blend of soothing botanical extracts.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Brightening Serum
Dr. Barbara Sturm Brightening Serum is said to instantly give the complexion a more even glow while simultaneously reducing visible signs of pigmentation.
One of the key ingredients in this serum is an extract of cress sprouts, which helps brighten the skin and diminish the appearance of dark and yellowish spots.
Ginseng extract supports the skin’s protection against free radicals and environmental stress, while hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin and replenishes moisture reservoirs.
A final key ingredient in the Brightening Serum is allantoin, a multifunctional ingredient that can help soothe and moisturize the skin while promoting cell proliferation and longevity.
Bottom Line: Cress sprouts, ginseng, and allantoin are the key ingredients in Dr. Barbara Sturm Brightening Serum that help to reduce hyperpigmentation while brightening the complexion.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser
If you have oily or combination skin, this 2-in-1 cleansing foam and exfoliator could be worth trying for a deep cleanse twice per week. It comes as a dry powder that you mix with water to cleanse skin, and it works pretty well to remove excess oil, makeup, and other pore-clogging impurities.
The enzymes in this cleanser include subtilisin (a protein-digesting enzyme) and lipase (a fat-digesting enzyme). When used in skin care, enzymes are known to promote exfoliation, and can be gentler than other methods like scrubs and microdermabrasion.
There’s also the physical exfoliants like talc and cellulose in this cleanser. These are abrasive substances that help to scrub away dead skin cells through motion.
Bottom Line: A 2-in-1 cleansing foam and exfoliator that gently removes dead skin cells with the help of enzymes and physical exfoliants like talc and cellulose.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Mask
Kaolin clay is the highest concentration ingredient in this face mask, which is odd since it’s claimed to be “deeply hydrating”. Now don’t get us wrong, kaolin is an excellent ingredient for those with normal, combination, and oily skin types. It’s great at absorbing excess oil, but it’s definitely not “deeply hydrating”.
There are a couple hydrating ingredients in this mask, like glycerin and sweet almond oil, but they have to compete with the oil-absorbing effects of kaolin. The brand highlights aloe vera and chamomile as “key” ingredients, but both of these ingredients are used in very low concentrations (less than 1%).
All in all, this is a basic clay mask with a very boring formulation. There’s plenty of brands that formulate clay masks with better ingredients than this one for a fraction of the cost, like Alya Skin and Tula.
Bottom Line: A basic clay mask that’s best for those with normal, combination, and oily skin types to absorb excess oil.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Lifting Serum
Dr. Barbara Sturm Lifting Serum is claimed to visibly lift the skin instantly while reducing the appearance of visible signs of aging, which is why it is recommended to be used before an event for a noticeably lifted appearance.
The ingredient in this serum that helps to instantly tighten the skin is pullulan. Pullulan is a polysaccharide polymer produced from starch by the black, yeast-like fungus Aureobasidium pullulans.
After topical application, pullulan forms a soft, invisible film on the surface of skin that temporarily improves skin’s texture and provides a tightening effect. However, this effect is purely cosmetic and washes away after use.
The formula also contains an extract from microalgae to plump wrinkles and support collagen and elastin.
Bottom Line: Dr. Barbara Sturm Lifting Serum uses pullulan to improve skin’s texture and tighten skin, but keep in mind that these effects are temporary.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Serum
The star ingredient in Dr. Sturm’s Clarifying Serum is Zinc PCA, an ingredient that can help control acne and decrease sebum secretion.
Although it’s not fully understood how zinc helps with acne, it is thought that salts of this metal decrease inflammation caused by acne. Zinc is also an antibacterial, and when combined with PCA it is able to decrease sebum secretion.
Additionally, Zinc PCA adds hydration to the skin because it functions as a humectant, and it also replenishes the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF).
Bottom Line: Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Serum includes zinc PCA as the key ingredient to clarify and hydrate skin.
What Are The Key Ingredients in Dr. Barbara Sturm Skincare Products?
One of the key ingredients that’s used throughout the Dr. Barbara Sturm skincare collection is Portulaca oleracea, otherwise known as purslane.
Purslane is an annual succulent that’s rich in many vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular). In fact, purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant.
Purslane seeds have constituents that are excellent antioxidants, as a one review states, “In particular, purslane seeds are reportedly more effective in antioxidation than those from other herbs.”
Skincare ingredients with antioxidant properties are particularly important for preventing premature skin-aging by protecting against the damaging effects of free radicals.
This is important because the harmful effects of free radicals occur as direct chemical alterations of the cellular DNA, the cell membrane, and cellular proteins, including collagen. Damaged collagen manifests as signs of premature skin aging, including wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin. Thus, the antioxidants in purslane extract help to prevent these signs of aging.
The rest of the key ingredients used to formulate Dr. Barbara Sturm skincare products mostly consist of botanical extracts, such as sweet almond oil, ginseng, cardiospermum, and more. Hyaluronic acid is also frequently used in the product formulations.
How Much Do Dr. Barbara Sturm Skincare Products Cost?
Dr. Barbara Sturm is a luxury brand and the products are priced accordingly. For example, the Hyaluronic Serum costs $300 USD for just one ounce, while the Calming Serum costs $250 for one ounce.
Where to Buy Dr. Barbara Sturm Skincare Products?
Dr. Barbara Sturm skincare products are sold on the brand’s website (www.drsturm.com), as well as several third party online retailers such as Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and more.
What is The Dr. Barbara Sturm Return Policy?
The Dr. Barbara Sturm return policy states, “You are welcome to return any unwanted items to us (providing they are unused and in their original packaging) within 30 days of receipt. Returns that do not meet our policy* will not be accepted and will be sent back to the customer.”
Is Dr. Barbara Sturm Cruelty Free?
Yes, all Dr. Barbara Sturm skincare products are cruelty free.
Is Dr. Barbara Sturm Vegan?
While most Dr. Barbara Sturm products are suitable for vegans, this is not a 100% vegan brand because some of the products contain cruelty-free beeswax and a mix of both vegan and animal derived xanthan gum.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Reviews
Unfortunately, the brand does not display reviews on their website, so went to Sephora.com to evaluate Dr. Barbara Sturm reviews.
Let’s talk about the reviews for Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum. After nearly 400 customer reviews, this serum has earned an average rating of only 3.4 out of 5 stars. Yikes!
The positive reviews for the Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum mention that it’s hydrating, helps to improve skin texture, and doesn’t cause irritation.
For example, one review says, “Great product! Hydrating, absorbs quickly, no sticky residue… I have very sensitive skin, and this product does not cause any irritation.”
And another 5-star review says, “I saw a difference immediately within the luminosity of my skin after the first use. After only using it twice a day for four days – the texture in my skin has improved as well as my acne. This serum is magic. Perfect for dry to even acne prone skin types (because it hydrates without the oil and calms down inflammation).”
However, there are quite a few negative reviews for the Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, mostly from customers who say it’s not worth the money.
For example, one review says, “If I could give this negative 5 stars I would, this is snake oil. It’s no different than The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic serum. Seriously don’t spend your hard earned money on this you guys just because celebrities use it, it’s not worth it!”
And a similar review says, “I got this as a sample in the capsule form. I found it to be similar to The Ordinary Hyaluronic Serum which is what, $10? I did not see the value or difference.”
Overall, we think that Dr. Barbara Sturm skincare products are formulated well, but at the end of the day we wouldn’t recommend them because we don’t think they’re worth the high cost.
- Products are formulated with evidence-based ingredients (i.e. hyaluronic acid, probiotics, purslane, etc.)
- Dr. Barbara Sturm is cruelty free
- Jar packaging will cause delicate ingredients to break time each time you open the jar
- There’s many 1-star Dr. Barbara Sturm reviews on Sephora.com
What Are Some Alternatives to Dr. Barbara Sturm Skincare Products?
If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging — that don’t break the bank — one brand we recommend is Formulyst. Formulyst maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in clinically advanced skin care solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin.
One example is Formulyst’s Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum, which contains six rejuvenating peptides that work together to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production. The peptides are combined in a base of several potent hydrating ingredients, including glycerin, Chondrus Crispus extract, and sodium hyaluronate.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skincare products.
Environ. Sci. Technol 4;2 (48-52)
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