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Day in the Life: Barbara Sturm

She achieved world domination with her science-based skincare line and pioneered the concept of the vampire facial

“I have been on a five-year business trip,” says Dr. Barbara Sturm, founder of her Molecular Cosmetics skincare line that has now become one of the most sought-after in the world. But it comes as no surprise that she says this, given that when I ask her what her plans are for the future, she relays a simple two-word answer: “global domination.” Sturm, who started her career as a surgeon and quickly developed an obsession with anti-inflammatory science, clearly practices what she preaches, because she is positively glowing despite her insane schedule. “My American husband and I travel constantly and rarely spend more than a week anywhere. People ask us where we live, and the truth is, nowhere!” Below, she takes us through a typical day in the life of a self-established beauty boss.

7 a.m.: In addition to four other children, we have a 4-year-old daughter named Pepper. She is not in kindergarten yet, so she mostly travels with us. Whenever she wakes up is when I wake up. She often opens my eyelids with her fingers around 7 a.m. if I am not up already.

8 a.m.: I make her a little breakfast and have a coffee (Nespresso soy latte is the latte I like if I’m home, café latte if I’m staying in a hotel). Then I check my emails. It is truly a global business, so I get emails literally 24 hours a day from somewhere in the world. First thing in the morning are typically emails from Asia, Australia, and Russia, or the ones that came in while I was sleeping from the U.S. Emails get buried in the pile and forgotten if you don’t respond immediately. I believe if someone took the time to send you an email, you must take the time to respond. Most importantly, I want to be reliable and thoughtful toward everyone.

After the emails, but before showering, I often start making phone calls. It’s not very German of me, but I hate scheduled phone calls. I like interactions with people to be more like jazz than science. Corporate-type conference calls, with the small talk at the beginning and the end, is not for me. Most days, I put my mask on while having my coffee and doing the first burst of work. It is good to leave it on for 20 minutes.

I like to exercise in the mornings and am far too tired at the end of the day to even try. I wish I could say I exercised every day and enjoy it so much I would like to. It’s not always easy to find the time. When I’m in Düsseldorf, my trainer Marijke comes for a 30-minute workout. We use the hand weights, the stairs, and even the furniture as props for the workout. It’s a mix of cardio and muscle strengthening. She keeps it fresh and fun, and every workout is different.

8:30 a.m.: After taking a quick shower, I get myself and Pepper dressed. I rarely blow-dry my hair and don’t wear much (or often any) makeup. Quickly after my skin dries (to avoid dehydration from osmosis), I apply my Hyaluronic Serum to my skin, and then my Anti-Pollution Drops. It goes on wet, but after 15 seconds, it is absorbed into the skin, and then I apply my moisturizer and run out of the house. Then I drive to my clinic in the heart of the Königsallee, the main shopping street in Düsseldorf. Generally, I have breakfast at my clinic—always the same thing, bircher muesli and fruit.

9:30 a.m.: Throughout the day, I see patients, and when I have a few minutes, I intersperse them with meetings and phone calls about product development, marketing, PR, internal structures, any problems that need to be solved, and visions.

1:30 p.m.: I have a quick family-style lunch at the clinic with my team that, because of the workload, also becomes more difficult, time-wise. Sometimes I just get five minutes and a few bites, typically a big salad we make together, or takeout, like vegetarian curry.

6 p.m.: I leave my medical clinic around 6 and drive back home and play with Pepper.

7 p.m.: In the warm months, when it is still light, I meet her at the “spielplatz”—the playground near our house. We sometimes go for a walk with her on the Rhine. I almost always have calls in between with the senior management team. By now, New York is fully awake, and it is morning in L.A. So this is the time to do calls with the U.S. In the cold months, when I walk in the door, I put my phone on the entrance room table and try to ignore it for a while. I give Pepper a bath, and we have a family dinner together. After reading a book and singing, Pepper goes to sleep.

8 p.m.: Around 8 or 9 p.m., I often have my massage therapist Mai come and give us massages—Thai massage for my husband; relaxing, Swedish-style massage for me. I often take phone calls through the hole in the massage table! By the end of the massage, I am also usually asleep. We love the sauna and had an all-glass one installed in our bedroom when we renovated our flat. Sauna is so good for your skin and health; I try to do that twice a week.

9:30 p.m.: When I am home, I really want to be home. The last call or conversation of the day belongs to my husband (when my husband is in the States, we are FaceTiming throughout the day), and then I go to bed. I always wash my face and use my Super Anti-Aging Serum (because nighttime is rejuvenation time for the skin and cells), then once it’s absorbed, I apply my MC1 face cream. I love when I can be in bed. Mostly, I have my little girl in bed with me. The next day, it’s wake up and do it again!