Forget Revenge Body, This $219 Serum Will Give You a Glass-Skin Revenge Glow

Dr. Barbara Sturm, The Better B, Niacinamide Serum reivew

As a beauty writer, posting photos of myself on the internet is part of the job. Whether it’s an eyeshadow trend or a foundation review, it’s always better to see what a product looks like IRL.  

Sharing photos of yourself on the internet can feel really vulnerable, but I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin (it’s taken a while to get there).

Indeed, I’m usually so comfortable that you’ll find me schlepping around my neighbourhood in full goblin mode most days. This devil-may-care attitude came to an abrupt end recently, I had the traumatic experience of running into an ex at my local café sporting unwashed day-four hair, a hideous skin reaction, and my “ugly” pilates clothes (ie. coffee-stained and cat-hair-covered jumper and baggy shorts instead of my usual Lululemon-resplendent “that girl” costume).

I actually don’t know how he was looking, because I was too busy trying to hide behind a traffic post — he, his dog, and his girlfriend definitely saw me, though.

Your local café is a sacred space and suddenly, me and my skin reaction just didn’t feel safe in the world. The experience left me feeling paranoid about going bare-faced to the local shops – let alone plastering my mug all over the internet.

That is, until a seriously bougie serum came into my life. It’s Dr. Barbara Sturm, The Better B Niacinamide Serum, ($219).

You’ve probably seen Dr Barbara Sturm’s skincare range gracing the top shelves of celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Victoria Beckham, Kourtney Kardashian and Hailey Bieber. Indeed, Bella Hadid credits Sturm herself with “changing [her] skin forever”.

The German aesthetics doctor, who still treats A-list clients in clinic, actually started her career in orthopaedics. Specialising in inflammatory joint conditions like arthritis, Sturm famously co-created the “the Kobe Procedure,” a treatment developed for late basketballer Kobe Bryant, who struggled with knee complaints throughout his career. 

Sturm’s passion for anti-inflammatory approaches to health eventually extended to skincare. She moved into clinical aesthetic practice in Düsseldorf, where she created the “MC1” bespoke plasma-based cream, inspired by the same plasma treatment she gave Bryant. While the MC1 cream is available exclusively to Sturm’s clinic patients, her full skincare range launched in 2014 and is founded on the principle of a healing approach to skin regeneration.

Of course, we don’t all have the limitless funds of a supermodel, so what is it about Better B that has made me consider ditching my dream of home ownership once and for all, and joining Bella Hadid in the land of triple-digit-skincare?

What Makes Better B “Better”?

Dr Barbara Sturm’s range is an outlier in a market crowded with ever-higher percentages of acids and retinol. Until now, this anti-inflammatory range famous for its multi-molecular weight hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C Serum has not contained a niacinamide serum. This is unusual, as niacinamide and its relative b-serum panthenol are famous for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Niacinamide is best known for inhibiting the formation of melanin and regulating sebum production. The ingredient can decrease acne, and once acne forms, reduce the likelihood of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. In The Better B Niacinamide Serum, this ingredient is combined with powerful anti-inflammatories:

Ectoin: Ectoin an amino acid, shields the skin from environmental pigmentation.

Marine Exopolysaccharides: What’s that you say? These are plankton-derived polysaccharides that strengthen the skin barrier. The stronger your skin barrier is, the better its ability to retain hydration and resist irritation is. If your skin is already irritated though, never fear, panthenol is here.

Panthenol: Otherwise known as Vitamin B5, Panthenol soothes inflammation and decreases skin reactivity. This combination means the product is in theory perfect for all skin types, be they oily, dry, or sensitised.

Ruby Feneley reviews Dr. Barbara Sturm, The Better B Niacinamide Serum
Preparing to join the ranks of Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber armed with Better B.

The Better B Experience: 

As mentioned, I’m so dedicated to beauty journalism that I started my Better B trial with a hideous skin reaction (translation: I had an unfortunate tangle with at-home dermaroller). I had provided Better B with plenty of rough texture and inflammation to get to work on.

The serum has a silky emulsion texture that sinks right in. It’s instantly calming and soothing — think of that “aaah” moment you get when slapping aloe gel on a sunburn. As all Sturm products are fragrance-free, Better B smells like absolutely nothing.

While Better B can be layered over your Vitamin C serum during the day, my skin was too sensitive to use any of my usual actives. Better B was my standalone serum, morning and night for six weeks.  

It was around the two-week mark that I caught myself in the mirror at Pilates. It was a 6am class, and I usually look… asleep. However, my skin looked… cherubic. Plump, even-toned and like I’d slept until 9am.

I made my way home with a spring in my step, but alas, I didn’t run into anyone.

Two weeks later, I was asked the single best question any bare-faced person can be asked: “What foundation are you wearing?” 

Immediately, I became a hardcore Better B convert.

The results of Better B serum aren’t the kind that can be picked up in a dramatic before and after. It calms the skin but also irons out dehydration lines and smooths pores. It gives you the kind of glowing, juicy skin that could convince anyone you haven’t seen in a while that your life is going perfectly, and you spent your time eating activated almonds (boring), drinking green juice (coffee exists), meditating (can’t) and getting eight hours sleep a night (struggle).

Is Any Serum Worth $219?

We can’t finish this review without addressing the three-digit elephant in the room — $219 is a lot of cash to drop on any skincare product.

It’s important to remember that while Niacinamide is a melanin inhibitor, it won’t magically remove dark spots caused by sun damage. That requires more powerful treatments like picosure laser.

So what can Niacinamide can do? Prevent melanin from sun damage from forming, and prevent the acne that causes post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. I can say that this serum dramatically sped up the healing time I’d usually expect from the blistering sores I had around my eye. 

It can also make you actively want to run into an ex, just so they can see how positively glowing you look.

If you have skin that needs some extra loving care or have a big event coming up I would 100% recommend this serum.

If you would like to join The Better B cult, you can get your hot little hands on it at MECCA.

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