Celebrity Skincare Expert Dr. Barbara Sturm Travels Constantly — Here Are the Products She Always Packs
Combining science with natural ingredients, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s line of luxury skincare uses an anti-aging ingredient called purslane, an herb that's known as the “fountain of youth enzyme.” It’s no surprise her line has attracted a cult following among top beauty influencers and celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski.
Just a dab of her products will have your skin feeling immediately restored, making it the perfect skincare to use during long travel days. Traveling undoubtedly takes a toll on your skin, which is why we’ve asked Dr. Sturm to share her tips on keeping your skin hydrated and happy while traveling.
T+L: What is your relationship to travel?
Dr. Sturm: My husband and I have been on a six-year business trip, so travel is a permanent part of our lives. I see travel as the spice of life, energizing the spirit and expanding the mind. My family is also all over the world, and it’s travel that brings us all together.
What’s your packing philosophy when it comes to skincare?
Because of the wear and tear of travel on skin, I always travel with most of my products. Travel presents unique skin inflammation triggers, with sleep deprivation, stress, changing climates, bacteria, and dry, cold air on the on the plane. My packing philosophy caters to these realities. I have created travel-sized skin care products for this reason. Skin hydration and strengthening your skin barrier function are always important, but especially when we travel. I pack my Cleanser (and Enzyme Cleanser or Facial Scrub for exfoliating twice a week), Hyaluronic Serum for morning and Super Anti-Aging Serum for before bed, as well as my Body Cream. I pack my Face Mask, which is a real hero product when traveling, and I pack my Calming Serum and use it for emergency healing after sun, cold, or facial treatments. I also pack all my oral supplements and take Skin Food and Repair Food religiously and my Anti-Pollution Food supplements situationally when I am in Asia, L.A., or European cities or facing physical stress (because the adaptogens they contain address both pollution and physical stress).
Can you talk a little more about air pollution's effects on the skin?
Pollution degrades the skin’s barrier function and can cause skin and health disorders. This is why it’s so important to focus on strengthening the skin’s natural barrier function by nurturing the cells with strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. My Anti-Pollution Drops contain a high amount of concentrated hyaluronic acid, which refills the skin’s moisture depots and actually strengthens the skin barrier function. They contain new ingredients such as Alteromonas Ferment extract, which have the ability to bio-adapt to the skin’s surface and create protective shield, making sure the air pollutants don’t cause harm to the skin.
What's the one skincare item you always need to have on the plane with you?
My Face Cream is one product I always have with me on the plane. It keeps your skin hydrated and firm throughout and also acts as an intensive regeneration treatment. It strengthens the skin membrane so it’s a perfect protector and simple moisturizer for plane rides.
What skincare items do you make sure to have on hand for warmer climates?
Firstly, my Sun Drops. Sun exposure without any SPF is so dangerous to our skin and our health. I always make sure to apply it regularly when I am in warmer places. Another product I am really excited about for is my Face Cream Light. It’s perfect for teenage skin or oily combination skin, but I really had warmer climates in mind while I was creating it. It is so hydrating and has all the restorative ingredients of my Face Cream and Face Cream Rich, including purslane, yet it’s fast-absorbing and doesn’t feel heavy on the skin.
Most versatile skincare item you need to pack for every trip?
The Hyaluronic Serum is really versatile for travel. Whether you are being exposed to the sun or in colder climates, it’s so important to keep your skin properly hydrated. It’s not only versatile but an essential for travel.
Do you have a favorite travel bag?
My Rimowa Trunk Suitcase is my favorite bag to travel with. It’s big, functional, has great wheels and is lightweight. Sometimes I’m gone for a few weeks at a time so it’s important for me to have a bag that is big enough to fit everything.
What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
The Maldives. The best trip there was when I was with my husband on a large boat, it was just the two of us and the sea, and he proposed on a little uninhabited island that we had all to ourselves. It’s so quiet, and you have fun activities available like wakeboarding, or simply jumping into the sea with a snorkel on. It’s just beach, sky, and water; you are forced to relax so it’s the perfect place for a break.
What’s the one place that surprised you?
Hong Kong — everyone said it was amazing, and it was 10 times better than that. This modern city, with colonial British architecture beside glass skyscrapers, set against a mountain jungle, and with amazing food, energy, and an interesting stew of global citizens — it’s just a great city like no other.
Where have you always wanted to visit?
Norway, the Fjords.
And your next stop?
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.