Welcome to Friends of INÈS, an inside look into the lifestyles, beauty philosophies and daily rituals of those we find most inspiring

Name: Maddy
Vocation: Blogger: The Twenties Club

Location: Auckland

Meet our latest friend of INÈS Madeleine Walker. We loved catching up with Maddy, she is as lovely as she is enthusiastic, easy-going and intelligent. Her insightful and modern blog, The Twenties Club is a platform celebrated by many young women in New Zealand (and abroad). We spoke to Maddy about her beauty philosophy in today’s shifting world, her (refreshingly!) honest approach when reviewing products and of course how she achieves her flawless complexion...

I. Tell us a little bit about The Twenties Club- what inspired you to launch the platform and create the community you so successfully have?

M. I launched The Twenties Club almost four years ago because I believed that young women in their twenties deserved a social and digital platform that catered to them and their interests. Since its inception, The Twenties Club has become less about twenty-something’s specifically and more about what it means to be a modern woman at every age; a person who cares not only about her health and mental wellbeing, her skincare routine, fashion and forging a career path, but also global politics, business and pressing social issues.

I. What is your core beauty philosophy in today’s world of shifting ideals and attitudes to beauty?

M. We are so lucky to be alive at a time where both men and women have autonomy over their beauty and I think it’s important that we honour that privilege. To me, it’s really beautiful that men have the freedom to wear makeup and skincare if they wish (male-grooming is now a billion dollar global industry!), and conversely women are able to forego makeup entirely and let their skin breathe. So I guess my philosophy is to find what makes you feel your most beautiful and then waste no time apologising for it.

"I guess my philosophy is to find what makes you feel your most beautiful and then waste no time apologising for it."

I. Has there been a stand out moment recently, within the beauty sphere, that has truly resonated with you?

M. I was fortunate enough to be involved with a Bobbi Brown campaign earlier this year called ‘Beauty Truth’, wherein I interviewed a group of women who are helping us to collectively un-learn the narrow, limited and outdated definition of beauty. We spotlighted amazing girls like Manahou Mackay, New Zealand’s first openly-transgender model, and Sophia Malthus, a former kiwi jockey who sustained a C4/5 spinal cord injury and is now a tetraplegic. It was a really soul-affirming experience and speaks to a level of progress within the industry.

I.Have you always been into beauty and skincare, or was this something born out of The Twenties Club?

M. Truthfully, my interest in skincare only started when I was 21/22, about a year into The Twenties Club, and realised I knew nothing about skincare. I couldn’t tell you the difference between AHAs and BHAs, had no idea why/if I needed a serum, and the extent of my “routine” was washing my face in the shower once a day with Cetaphil. It was criminal. So I made it my mission to educate myself so that I could share my findings with TTC readers and I ended up falling in love with the beauty industry!

I.We love the sense of community that comes out of the beauty industry, and the strength of peer recommendation. How do you nurture the position and trust you have with your platform?

M. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously. I’m cognisant that when I recommend a product, be it a mascara, moisturiser or glycolic acid, a huge number of girls then go and out and buy that product because they value my opinion. So if I was to falsely endorse something or lie about its efficacy for the sake of sponsored content or contra, I’d immediately be caught out by my readers and that trust would be broken. I decided very early on that I would only partner with brands and businesses that are aligned with the values of TTC, which means saying “no” a lot of the time but also means that my platform (hopefully!) never feels overwhelming or confusing to readers.

I. Talk us through how you start your day?

M. Oh my god I’m such a morning person haha. I feel my most energised, healthy and inspired first thing in the morning, so I like to make the most of that! Depending on whether I’m walking and listening to a podcast, boxing (Studio Box), or working out at Fitness All Together, I wake between 5.30am and 6.30am. Once or twice a week I’ll skip a morning workout and dive straight into writing at 6ish while my mind is clear – this is almost always when I produce my best work. I usually wait a couple of hours before I make my smoothie, just to give my digestion some time to wake up. I love coffee and the ritual of making a Nespresso at home or having a Long Black at Odettes while I work through any emails that came through overnight. I then arrive at my little office in Ponsonby at about 8:30am!

I.What are your wellness rituals?

M. My health and wellbeing are so important to me. I know that makes me sound like a dick but it’s true haha. I have a health condition that makes me really conscious of what goes into my body but the simplest description of my wellness philosophy is that I try to eat as many organic vegetables as possible – call it vanity, call it health, either way my skin and hair are a lot shinier when I do. I jam-pack my daily smoothie with things like Two Islands collagen powder, Sun Potions Tocos for bio-available vitamin E, Ashwagandha, Welle Co organic plant protein and hemp seeds. I eat dinner really early, between 5pm and 6pm so that my body has time to digest before I go to sleep – I’ve found this makes a HUGE difference to how well I sleep. My intention for this year is to be more mindful of the amount of parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrances I expose my body to: I switched to a natural deodorant and stopped using dry shampoo last year to reduce my aluminium exposure – my routine will never be entirely “clean” but I’m trying to make a few small changes.

I. What is your Evening skincare routine?

M. I like to do my evening skincare routine as early in the evening as possible so that everything has time to work its magic before my face hits the pillow. I’ll use an oil cleanser (Tata Harper Cleansing Oil, Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil, La Mer Cleansing Oil) then alternate days between Shani Darden Retinol Reform)and an acid like Drunk Elephant Glycolic Acid or Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid (I love the licorice in this product!). I’ll wait ten minutes for the retinol or acid to work and then finish with an oil, moisturiser or serum (not all three like some people do). Right now I love Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, Weleda Skin Food, Embryolisse Lait-Crème , La Mer Renewal Oil and Vintner’s Daughter.

I.What are your go-to Auckland spots?

M. Odettes for breakfast meetings and catch ups with girlfriends. Orphan’s Kitchen for the best hot lemon and honey drink. Little Bird Unbakery for Fat Blacks (espresso blended with coconut butter), green juice and their soups in winter. Candy Shop in Newmarket for the best mushrooms! The Tonic Room in Kingsland for all your wellness potions and one of the best holistic facials in town (ask for Milly!). Boxing at Studio Box, group training at Fitness All Together, hot yoga at Studio Red. Shopping at Workshop, Superette, Muse, Simon James Concept Store (I want everything Tom Dixon has ever created). Spring Spa Ponsonby for their Codage facials and massages.

I. When do you feel your skin is at its most healthy?

M. My skin is at its best when I’ve avoided dairy, reached my daily quota of three litres of water, when I haven’t been wearing any makeup and when I’ve been regularly using Shani Darden Retinol Reform coupled with a really good oil like Vintner’s Daughter or La Mer Renewal Oil.

I.Do you take any supplements or inner beauty powders to support skin and hair health?

M. I take a collagen powder everyday (Two Islands Co), Tocos for Vitamin E and reducing inflammation, and borage seed oil capsules which are rich in gamma-linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid) which helps with skin softness, moisture and hair health - a lot of people use it for eczema.

"My skin is at its best when I’ve avoided dairy, reached my daily quota of three litres of water, when I haven’t been wearing any makeup and when I’ve been regularly using Shani Darden Retinol Reform coupled with a really good oil"

I. Best health or wellness advise you have received?

M.“No one knows your body better than you do”. Bio-individuality is key; what works for your neighbour’s skin or wellness routine won’t necessarily work for you. Listen to your body and trust that it knows exactly what it needs.

I.What is your hair care ritual- do you have any go-to products that help maintain your colour?

M. I wash my hair roughly twice a week - I'm always trying to extend the time between washes so as to not strip the natural oils from my scalp. I never blow-dry my hair, I always just let it air dry. I don't actually mind the "look" of wet hair out and about as long as it's parted neatly and brushed down. When I notice my blonde fading in between trips to the salon (ASC in Parnell), I'll give my scalp a good scrub with the Christophe Robin Lemon Cleansing Mask and it always brightens up my colour immediately - meaning I can usually last an extra week or so.

I.What are you desert island beauty products?

M. Bioderma Sensibo Micellar, Shani Darden Retinol Reform , Estee Lauder ANR and Weleda Skin Food.

I.You’ve got your finger on the pulse with all things current and global- what are your go-to podcasts you are tuning into at the moment?

M. The Daily by The New York Times for current events, Pod Save America for American politics (but only if you’re a dork like me), The High Low for current affairs and pop culture commentary, The Cutting Room Floor for provocative conversations with fashion industry-insiders, and Second Life for interviews with female entrepreneurs who have embarked on significant career changes and “pivoted” into new lanes.

I.Who is your Beauty icon?

M. Anyone who celebrates their authentic beauty and is committed to nurturing their relationship with “self”: Paloma Elsesser, Kirsty Godso, Adwoa Aboah, Naomi Shimada and Elaine Welteroth all come to mind.

I.And finally, what are your INÈS favourites?

M. Bioderma Sensibio Micellar, Christophe Robin Aloe Melting Masque, Retinol Reform, Embryollise Lait-Crème try the Leonor Greyl Magnolia Oil