Zoe Foster Blake told us exactly what everyone over 40 should do for their skin.

It's a Wednesday morning. I'm 30 minutes early for an interview (as my colleague Leigh Campbell would say, it's a disease), so I hover awkwardly at a coffee shop across the road from the Ace Hotel, in Sydney. 

I order an almond latte, and it takes ages, and I actually end up receiving a full cream latte because we don't know why. 

I drink it anyway, pray for my stomach and make sure I spill some of it down the front of my shirt. 

But there's no time to fix it because I'm now nearly late? And HOW, but okay?

I do the half run/jog across the road because I have about two and a half minutes to get there and omg my stomach and the dairy. Ha ha ha, but seriously. I feel funny.

But I'm excited about this interview! Which is maybe a little unusual. 

Because I interview a lot of people — cosmetic and skin experts, celebrity hair and makeup artists, beauty brand founders, the Obamas, Oprah, etc, etc.

But this one is with Zoe Foster Blake. And everyone who knows of Zoe Foster Blake knows that's a very good time, indeed. 

I've spoken with her before (during COVID) (on a Zoom) (remember lockdown?) and can tell you that it is a very good time. It really is!

Watch: How Zoe Foster- Blake's makeup routine has changed since becoming a mum. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

As I walk into the hotel, I spot the ex-beauty editor and founder of Go-To Skincare waiting in the cafe, surrounded by books, croissants and fresh fruit. She looks like she's in a Wes Anderson film.

She's wearing a cute orange ensemble, a pillow-y black headband and that trademark personality that makes you almost *certain* you could be best friends.

But she's here to chat about the newest member of her Go-To family, Very Luxe Face Cream. It's the brand's latest launch, and while the products are for all ages, it's one of the first that's truly marketed for 'mature' skin.


We talk about the ins and outs of this newbie but also, Other Things.

Like, what the 42-year-old does to keep her skin looking so good. And what advice she'd give to other women over 40. Also, the mistakes! What should you not do? And do you have butter with peanut butter? 

We need answers.

So, after ordering me an almond latte, offering some pastries and telling me (politely pretending) she couldn't even see the stain, we talk. 

Here's everything Zoe Foster Blake shared about looking after your skin in your 40s.

Zoe Foster Blake's skincare advice for women over 40.

A thing that is true: As we get older, our skin changes and our collagen starts to decrease pretty rapidly. We're talking, like, a 25 per cent decline in your mid-40s.


That's why it's so important to focus on protecting, repairing and regenerating your skin in your 40s and 50s — and it's never too late to start.


Zoe said, "I'm turning 43 soon and I've always been super dry-skinned. But I noticed a difference in my skin during lockdown — and this is when I realised I really have to change things."

"Obviously, when you start heading into your 40s, hormonal changes take place, and thanks to a decrease in your collagen elastin, you can definitely feel the difference."

"Everything is puffier, thinner, saggier — like, the droop is a real thing. And things that used to work suddenly... don't."

"We also carry a lot of water weight as well, hormonally, but the collagen and elastin loss is a real thing premenopausal, right through. It's just going to destroy your skin in terms of suppleness."

"I get smile lines and fine lines, and I've got pigmentation — we've all got that s**t..."


If you fall into this category and you've been dabbling in the skincare world, you might be still trying to work out what you're actually supposed to be putting on your face. Yes?

Because it's crowded! Confusing! And there's just so much out there.

But Zoe tells us to forget the jazzy packaging, the fluffy marketing and all that BS — it's what's actually inside the product that you need to pay the most attention to.

"I've come from the beauty editor side where I know it's the ingredients that actually work," she assures.

"Back then, antioxidants, exfoliation, AHAs, and SPF were all pillars of good skincare. And that sticks and stands in your 40s."

"However, what you notice is the stuff you could have probably got away with in your 30s and definitely 20s — like those days when hangovers didn't have any effect on your skin —  now, one night of bad sleep, and it's all over your face."


The good news? You don't need one of those hectic 10-step routines. Or to spend a whole heap of money on new products.

As we said before (are you paying attention?), it's about looking at the ingredients and remembering, as most skincare experts will tell you, that 'less is more'. They were totally right about that one.

1. Use peptides and hyaluronic acid.

First up, Zoe said you want to be looking for ingredients like peptides and hyaluronic acid in your products. 

Not all of your products — no, no, no. But y'know, your serum could contain hyaluronic acid and maybe your moisturiser contains peptides, etc.

Bonus points for whacking it all on pre-snooze. "If you use a hydrating serum before bed and rich cream, I think that's a great thing you can do," said Zoe.

"Because this is when your skin is going to regenerate and you don't care about looking shiny or sitting around —  you can gloss yourself and go to sleep."

So, yeah — do look like a glazed donut before bed.

2. Exfoliate your skin.

Second on the list? Exfoliation "in whatever form that takes," said Zoe. 

For mature skin, she recommends exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid, flagging that BHAs aren't necessarily for this skin demographic — so, you're probably best sticking to your AHAs.


But obviously, everyone's skin is different, so if BHAs are what works for you — you do you!

3. Get yourself a retinol that works with your skin.

Imagine if it wasn't on the list?! Everyone knows retinol is skincare's golden child. But Zoe said there are some things you need to look out for when choosing a product.

"Retinol is an obvious one," said Zoe. "I think retinol is wonderful — but it's all about the formulation, not the strength. So you've got to find one that works for you."

Meaning? A higher percentage does not mean better. A higher percentage can sometimes just mean more irritation. And sadder, more hurt-y skin.

"I have quite a strong one but it's a stunning formulation, so I didn't get any form of irritation and that's what it comes down to. People get a bit obsessed with percentages now. And it's not about the percentage — it's about the formulation. So, try not to get too hung up on that."

4. Look after your skin barrier.

Rise your hand if you've absolutely annihilated your skin barrier before.

See? Nothing to be ashamed of. We've all done it and learnt our lesson. Right? RIGHT.

Zoe said, "Sure, go and get your procedures, use very strong glycolics and do whatever you want to do, but then please come back to keep that barrier in good shape." 

"It's all well and good to moisturise your skin and hydrate it but you want to lock that in and that's where your humectants come in, such as glycerin and occlusive."


It might sound confusing, but to make sure your skin is strong and healthy, these are the kind of ingredients you're going to want to look for on the back of your products. 

"That's why we've got three forms of ceramides in Very Luxe Face Cream to really hydrate, lock it in and strengthen the skin barrier," said Zoe.

"It's an internal thing as well. Drink your collagen, have your minerals, your electrolytes, and all of those things to keep yourself hydrated on the inside. But you've got to put the rich, thick stuff on as well."

"I think the skin barrier is a huge thing in skincare now but always should've been — because there's certainly a lot of time when people were ripping layers of their skin off."


5. You don't need to spend more money.

Put that wallet away, m'dear.

"You just can't get away with it like you used to," said Zoe. "But it's not about buying more products or spending more money. It's just looking for those key things."

That is, an SPF that you'll use every day, a cleanser that does a little bit more than your average cleanser (e.g. you might want a nourishing, moisturising cleanser instead of a foaming one — perhaps an oil cleanser), plus some of those golden ingredients.


"Again, all the humectants, hyaluronic acids, ceramides and stuff. It all sounds really science-y and hard but every mature age demo will have these concerns.

"I feel really confident that if customers just use a serum, oil and cream and SPF in the morning, they will see a difference."  

Zoe Foster Blake on the skincare mistakes women over 40s make.

Okay, okay, okay. Now that we've covered all of the glorious things you should do to keep your skin looking and feeling its healthy best self — let's talk about all the naughty things you shouldn't do. 


Zoe told us there are three key things you should generally avoid doing to your skin over 40. 

Let's go.

1. Not going hard enough

When was the last time you updated your skincare line-up? Because if you're still using the same kind of stuff you used when you were in your 20s, it might be time to keep an eye out for some of the ingredients we were talking about earlier.

"Some people might be using what they've always used and not realising that you have to adapt as you grow older and your skin changes. That's where those ingredients like peptides, ceramides and hyaluronic acid really come into play.

"For example, you might be using a lotion instead of moisturising face cream — but a lightweight lotion won't cut it anymore. Or it could be that you're just using SPF — you might need a moisturiser and SPF when it's not emollient enough for you."

2. Going too hard.

According to Zoe, the other team go way too hard — like, they're basically doing a chemical peel every night.


"This is one of my dear friends. She's basically using AHAs in every product — and she's glowing, she's definitely glowing. But it's too much for your skin. People get really obsessed with that glow, and it's not great for your skin."

Sad, we know. But you can really end up doing a number on your skin.

"Because we have finite skin — and if you keep re-texturising and resurfacing, you're gonna get sensitised skin. That's where things like rosacea and inflammation start to come into play and everything looks papery-y and shiny. You want thick, juicy skin."


"I always say to people who complained about oily skin and breaking out — you win in the end! All skin types have their benefits and I think we should look to those instead of seeing them as something we need to treat."

3. Not doing enough research.

"Lastly, one of the biggest mistakes is just not asking around, doing a little bit of research and finding out some information," said Zoe.

These days there's just SO much out there. The market is swarming with buzzy new products. It's so easy to see something go viral on social media, cave in after seeing all the glowing reviews and slap it on your face, before finding out it's really not the right fit for your skin type.


"It's very quick to Google 'what should someone in their 40s be using'. So with this, in combination with Go-To, we've always taken great pride in being the hand holder for customers. Because I came from a beauty editor side, I wanted to make people feel confident coming and trying stuff that sometimes sounds a bit scary."

What are some of your favourite Go-To products? Share your thoughts with in the comment section below.

Feature image: Instagram; @zotheysay, @gotoskincare and Canva.

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