Monday, April 22, 2024 Apr 22, 2024
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Spas & Salons

We Tried Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Famous SturmGlow Facial

After a long, dry Dallas summer, one writer’s skin desperately needed some TLC.
Dr. Barbara Sturm in Highland Park Village. Catherine Wendlandt

When I walked into the Dr. Barbara Sturm Spa in the Highland Park Village recently, the spa’s glowing aestheticians and the rows of beautifully packaged bottles were at the ready to greet me. I was struck by the soft lighting, fresh decor, and the botanical scent of Sturm’s all-natural products hanging in the air.

I made my first trip to the Sturm spa after realizing the Texas heat is nothing to joke around about. I moved to Dallas from the East Coast in early June, and my skin hadn’t quite adjusted to the heat. In other words, my skin was the driest it’s ever been. But some Dallas natives and a series of glowing reviews pointed me in a helpful direction: Dr. Barbara Sturm’s signature SturmGlow facial

For almost two decades, German skin guru Dr. Barbara Sturm has been professing and perfecting her line of anti-inflammatory and anti-aging skin care products (which received a nod in our 2022 Best of Big D list). Last November, Sturm opened a flagship spa, one of only five in the world, in Highland Park Village. The aestheticians there told me Sturm wanted to give each of her spas a specialty and she dubbed this location as the “Anti-Inflammatory House of Dallas.” The spa focuses on clean and sustainable services, with treatments that cover every skincare concern you might have. 

On the day of my facial, my aesthetician welcomed me in, offered me a cup of the Dr. Barbara Sturm skin tea. This special tea acts as a skin treatment itself. It works from the inside out, delivering the body and the skin with nutrients that they need. After I enjoyed my cup, my aesthetician walked me back to one of the treatment rooms.

A treatment room at Dr. Barbara Sturm. Ellie Thorton

The room was inviting; some treatment rooms at other spas I’ve visited have felt almost like a doctor’s office. For the Sturm Spa, it felt like a relaxing little sanctuary. It glowed with soft lighting, and the treatment bed was made perfectly with layers of white sheets and blankets. I eagerly slipped into the thick, luxurious body wrap and settled onto the table before the treatment began.

Here is when I started to believe in the Dr. Barbara Sturm magic. My aesthetician dimmed the lights and started the consultation on my skin. I had booked the Signature SturmGlow Facial—60 minutes of cleansing, exfoliating, and extractions, plus an anti-aging massage. But as she examined my pores, my expert facialist began to tailor the service to what my skin needed. She explained we would focus on bringing back the hydration that the Dallas heat has drained. After that, we could address some of my other concerns, like hyperpigmentation and dullness, once we had healthy skin again. She explained that restoring the skin barrier with hydration could actually solve these other issues without having to resort to any harsh, exfoliating chemical peels.

The aesthetician then explained which Sturm products and treatments she was going to use. Her aim was to correct only a few skin problems at a time, rather than overwhelming the skin barrier by throwing the kitchen sink of treatments at it—something that I’m guilty of. Growing up, it was difficult for me to feel confident when my skin was acting up. I know many can sympathize with wanting to fix a skin concern overnight, even if it damages the integrity of the skin. My facial at the Dr. Barbara Sturm Spa revealed the effectiveness of a gentle routine when paired with patience. I wish I had visited a Dr. Barbara Sturm Spa earlier, it would’ve saved me a lot of grief over harsh spot treatments.

After the consultation, my facialist performed the “welcome touch,” a Sturm spa ritual to discover the stress level of the patient. The aesthetician explaining stress is one of the leading factors to skin problems, then did a quick mini massage of my neck and shoulders. This wellness massage was a relaxing way of finding out finding out what areas of my body have tension. 

By the time we started the treatment, I had already learned more about my skin than I had in a lifetime before. We started with a deep, velvety cleanser to prep the skin. Once again showing off her deep knowledge about all things skin, the aesthetician shared that my forehead immediately sucked up the cleanser, revealing a dry area. She followed with an exfoliate, a series of smooth and painless extractions, and ran a silky toner over my skin. By this point, my skin had felt better than it ever had before. But my day at the “Anti-Inflammatory house of Dallas” was far from over. 

The next step in my SturmGlow facial was the lymphatic drainage facial massage. In recent years, “lymphatic drainage massage” has almost become a beauty buzzword, but Sturm has been talking about its benefits for ages. Your body’s lymph nodes process and remove toxins from your system. The closet lymph nodes to your face are around the neck. By massaging this area, an aesthetician can flush out those toxins from my face and remove puffiness. During my lymphatic massage, my aesthetician applied a hydrating serum and proceeded to massage the areas of my face where fluid and toxins typically gather—my biggest culprits were behind the eyebrows and in the cheeks. I could feel tightness and tension leaving my face as she started to massage from my jaw to my neck. This was my favorite part of the treatment; it left my face feeling plump, fresh, and toned all at once. 

After that, I was pampered with a clarifying mask and a high frequency treatment to help prevent some stress breakouts from coming to the surface. Throughout the process, the facialist took time to clue me into what she was doing and why. For example, she showed me what the high frequency device looked like—a glass tube with a little current pulsing through it—so I wouldn’t grow tense at the thought of my face being zapped. The slightly intimidating tool helps kill bacteria and reduced inflammation from painful under-the-skin breakouts as well. 

The lobby of Dr. Barbara Sturm in Dallas. Ellie Thorton

Following the mask and high frequency treatment, the aesthetician applied moisturizer, spot treatment, and lip balm. While the treatment portion of my facial was complete, my Barbara Sturm experience hadn’t ended quite yet. I begrudgingly took off my cozy towel wrap, changed back into my clothes, and walked out into the corridor. 

My facialist brought me to a station where she offered me another cup of the Sturm skin tea and sat with me to review everything that we had just done. She answered my questions, listened to my concerns, and even recommended things that I could do for my skin at home (I have a Greek yogurt and honey facial in my future). Before sending me off, she loaded me up with free samples and told me that I could contact the aesthetician team without charge if I ever had any skincare issues to troubleshoot. She also gave me the motto I’ve been carrying with me since my facial: “be kind to yourself, to others, and to your skin.”

The experience at the Dr. Barbara Sturm Spa in Dallas was just what I needed. From the moment I walked through the doors, I felt relaxed and ready to tackle my skin concerns. My aesthetician tailored the treatment to my skin and taught me things that even dermatologists had failed to tell me about skin care. I loved how she took the time to tell me why my skin was doing what it was doing, rather than just recommending a product to fix it. I appreciated how personalized this treatment was. It felt as though it couldn’t be replicated anywhere else.

Even days after the facial, I felt glowy and hydrated. The facial left me with knowledge and confidence in equal parts, and I will be recommending a trip into the Dr. Barbara Sturm Spa to every skincare fanatic or new friend that I meet. 


Ellie Thornton

Ellie Thornton

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