Zoë Foster Blake Go-To Interview

Zoë Foster Blake Go-To Interview


Go-To removes the standard skin care confusion by providing all that's needed for strong, healthy, happy skin… thereby becoming your -go-to' products.  Launching with a thoughtful edit of five essentials – lip balm, cleanser, moisturiser, exfoliant and multipurpose body oil, Go-To offers the perfect base skin care routine, whether that skin is teenage and temperamental or lasered and lined.


Created in Australia and made in New Zealand, Go-To proudly flaunts its pure, potent natural ingredients and zero tolerance for nasties. At the core of each product are botanical actives that actually do something, like AHAs, antioxidants and deeply hydrating butters and oils.


'Go-To is the result of a decade using and reviewing every kind of skin care available, as well as some exceptional guidance from Megan Larsen, founder of award-winning organic skincare brand, Sodashi" explains former Cosmopolitan and Harper's BAZAAR beauty director, and the author of Amazing Face, Zoë Foster Blake. 'But most of all, Go-To is a range that has been developed in  response to women telling me that they are baffled by skin care. That it's too hard. Too confusing. Too serious and scary. That all they want is something simple that actually works. Go-To is exactly this."



Interview with Zoë Foster Blake


Question: How long has Go-To been in the making?

Zoë Foster Blake: Late 2012, it's been about 18 months. I am very proud of us for getting it up quite quickly as it's a lot of work (laughs), that I didn't know. It wasn't just setting up the company but ensuring the actual products are right. I've pushed back the launch of Go-To a few times to make sure it is perfect but I think we're there now, which is great!

Question: Why the name Go-To?

Zoë Foster Blake: The name happened organically, which is the best way to find a name. I continually would say to my biochemist 'it needs to be every girl's go-to moisturiser; it needs to be the one she relies on". I would always be asked 'what's your go-to mascara or fake tan" and the -go to' is the best, it's the one you fall back on and keep buying because it has everything you need and you can't mess it up. I wanted to create a range that was confidently simple, very useful and effective. Hopefully these products will exist in girls kits as their -go to' product.

Question: How did you go about using all the comments and feedback from your many years in beauty to create Go-To?

Zoë Foster Blake: It's two-fold; when dealing with experts and dermatologists to learn about ultimately which ingredients are going to work, how much exfoliation is too much which as a beauty editor, it is our job to translate that to the public. I've also tested so many products and I know which work and which don't; also as a traveller I know what I actually need, I don't need everything (laughs), which is what I used to do. I know what works and what I like.

From a women's perspective, particularly after the launch of Amazing Face there was a whole new fan-base that came on that I hadn't had before such as women in their 40's and 50's who had never exfoliated or didn't wear sunscreen and asked 'What am I doing wrong?" Aussie girls are pretty simple with their skincare and makeup and I knew I had to appeal to that even though I know it can be confusing as there are heaps of products out there. I know that if you just use these products, you're set and then of course you can bring in their own serums or have facials or have Botox. You always need the basic skincare items.

Question: What is it about Go-To that is the perfect skincare line for you and all Australians?

Zoë Foster Blake: It is the scaffolding, it's what we use every day. You may have skin issues and have treatment products for those issues such as specialised toners, peels and masks or acne or anti-ageing products but you still need to clean your face, exfoliate, moisturise, have a body product and you need a lip balm. I also sub in other products as well because I am a skincare junkie but you can get away with just using the Go-To range and you'd be fine. The range has all the antioxidants and nourishment you need along with the AHA's – it is a really effective and powerful set but I'm also very aware that women may have their other favourite products that they may want to use as well.

Question: Why was it important for you to create a skincare range with no nasties?

Zoë Foster Blake: I still use products that have -nasties', I'm not a purist but there is a huge demand for it and there are a lot of women these days who are very aware of the nasties and won't settle for anything less. It was definitely an extra element of work to ensure the skincare range was completely pure but I'm very proud to be able to say 'this will not upset your skin" and 'this is fine for you to use". The products don't contain Palm Oil as I am an ambassador for The Orangutan Project and I had to be certain that none of the products had Palm Oil or any of its many, many derivatives in there.

As for the parabens – you can actually make really good skincare without them. It's slightly higher quality because of this and I am very proud of that but it was a basic demand. It's a myth that natural can't be effective; natural products can be so strong and powerful. The strong ingredients such as the AHA's and antioxidants are purely from nature.

Question: Will more products be released in the Go-To range?

Zoë Foster Blake: Yes, definitely. I have looked back at my archives and the products that I keep banging on about over the years and some of them really stand out to me like a Rose Hip Oil, sunscreen or a really good multi-purpose serum and I think it's an obvious choice for me to go down that path because I believe in those products and I know they work. I want to make sure I have everything right before I release them to market and because of that I'm not going to put any huge time pressures on myself. I believe you've got to get it right rather than gett it out quickly. Go-To will always be a small, tight and useful range but we'll add a couple more, once we get them right.

Question: On average, how many 'testers' and 'samples' of each product did you try before knowing it was perfect?

Zoë Foster Blake: 20 for the lipbalm and I could change it again; it's similar to when you're ready to go out and you're girlfriend is late so you keep playing with your makeup till she arrives – even though it was pretty perfect, half an hour ago. I am fussy and I am very aware that people will look to me because I have so much experience that my products really have to stand up and I want to uphold that reputation. But also, I want them to be great – I want them to be products that I would use every day, and I do. I selfishly made these products for myself (laughs).

I found the fragrance was one of the hardest things, my biochemist is amazing and I'd give him a wish list that included a new antioxidants called the Amla berry and ask "Can you find it for me?" Then they'd have to go out, find it and then ensure it was stable and that it worked with the other ingredients that I demanded he put in it. Once we got the ingredients right, it was about getting the texture right. The fragrance is such a huge part that I would never have thought about before even though the fragrance of a product is an enormous part of why women like them.

Our products are made in New Zealand, so there were a lot of couriers going back and forth with little white jars with -version 17, extra ginger' or -version 17 less mandarin (or lemon)' to get it perfect.

Question: What have you learnt about the process of developing your own skin care range that you will use when you release other products?

Zoë Foster Blake: It's the fine line between giving yourself too much time and wasting that time as well as giving yourself a deadline and having momentum so you get it done. In an ideal world I would have had heaps of samples and given them out to my friends, families and beauty editors' way before I needed to send them to market to get their feedback. However, I also think that's a dangerous area because when you get feedback you start to confuse your own message and wonder if you've done the right thing. In a funny way keeping it tight (we were literally getting the product in Australia the day before we ship it out), is a better way to work because you have to get it done, you can't keep pushing back the dates to continue tinkering, you'll never get it done.

I'm a big believer in discipline and that comes from working with book deadlines for so many years and knowing how important that timeline structure is, it was good to be able to relate that to the products.

Go-To Product Range


Lips! – By far one of our hero, signature products – Lips! is a deeply restorative, soothing and moisturising savior for dry and cracked lips, and a delightful way to maintain happy ones. Lips! uses only the most beneficial and potent ingredients: ultra-medical grade lanolin, Shea butter, Vitamin E, beeswax and a host of powerful oils (apricot kernel oil, sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil, pomegranate seed oil, calendula oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil) to ensure lips are deeply nourished, soothed, protected and revitalised. The finish is creamy, non-sticky and very pleasant indeed. Wear alone for a pretty sheen, or as a perfect base for lipstick.

RRP $14.95, 15g.


Properly Clean - a gentle cleanser that  swiftly removes grime, build-up, pollutants and makeup without stripping the skin or upsetting pH levels. Properly Clean uses gentle Willow Bark extract (nature's salicylic acid) to keep oil in check and ensure skin is spotless without being dry or unbalanced. The all-natural sugar and coconut derived base is delivered in a velvety soft mousse foam which feels incredible on the skin, and leaves the complexion smooth, soft, hydrated and happy.  

RRP  $29.95, 150mL. 


Very Useful Face Cream -  an ultra-hydrating and lightweight all natural face cream that defends against premature ageing. Harnessing the extraordinary Amla berry, a power antioxidant with 30x more Vitamin C than oranges, Very Useful Face Cream sits beautifully under makeup, is a perfect daily moisturiser and is ideal for travel. Skin looks bright, happy and healthy, feels soft, smooth and supple, and is impeccably protected.  

RRP  $39.95, 50g.  


Exfoliating Swipeys  - The unique, single-use exfoliating face pads remove dead skin cells, refine skin texture, minimise the appearance of fine lines and moisturise in a flash, and all without harsh scrubbing. Each pad is soaked in gentle, naturally occurring AHAs (lactic acid) as well as ultra-hydrating almond oil, mandarin and lemon essential oils plus aloe vera to leave the skin fresh, happy and glowy. Used 2-3 times a week, Exfoliating Swipeys remove the confusion from exfoliating, ensure the skin is thoroughly clean and just make life a little easier.  

RRP $45.95, 50 pads. 


Exceptionoil –  A luxurious and completely pure do-it-all balm/oil that smells like the kind of place you'd rather be, Exceptionoil heals and soothes dry skin, flyaway hair, cuticles, heels and all those -rough bits.' Combining 10 potent skin-loving oils with a blend of butters and anti-oxidants to moisturise, protect, heal and calm the skin. The natural oils that are lost when skin is exposed to the sun, wind, cold, air-con, heaters and flying are replenished, and skin is left soft and hydrated. Lightweight carrier oils ensure a delicate texture and instant absorption. Brimming with certified Monoi de Tahiti (macerated gardenia blossoms in pure coconut oil) and boasting the prestigious Appellation of Origin logo, this luxurious, authentic skin balm is a fantastic multi-purposer and a travel staple.   

RRP $49.95, 85g.  

Available exclusively online at www.gotoskincare.com
Interview by Brooke Hunter