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Sturm und Drang

Barbara Sturm
Sturm’s cultish MC1 “Blood Cream” was never sold in stores, but its very mythology helped fuel the supernatural rise of Barbara's brand. Photo: Darren Gerrish/WireImage
Rachel Strugatz
February 14, 2024

I first met Barbara Sturm back in 2016, at the offices of her erstwhile P.R. firm, Karla Otto, where the German skincare guru took a vial of my blood in order to extract its allegedly anti-inflammatory proteins and re-inject them into a bespoke face cream that typically cost her clients $1,400 per jar. As a journalist, I got it for free. I think I used it twice. But, at the time, it was obvious that it was a little piece of marketing magic

Sturm’s cultish MC1 “Blood Cream”—the slightly less invasive, take-home successor to her so-called “vampire facial” treatment, immortalized when Sturm stuck Kim Kardashian—was never sold in stores, but its very mythology helped fuel the supernatural rise of her brand. In the years since our initial meeting, Sturm transformed her eponymous line, Dr. Barbara Sturm, into a legitimate competitor in the luxury skincare category once dominated by heritage brands like La Mer, La Prairie, and Sisley, which were all rich on origin stories or unique ingredients and also, Frenchness