Coraline Despeyroux is every bit the quintessentially chic French woman: she has a collection of red lipsticks that she wears with minimal makeup and she gravitates toward an unassuming, muted wardrobe. But, since she moved from Southern France to London eight years ago, Coraline has learned how to balance her grandma's classic French beauty advice with the British city's more daring sense of style — in fact, she takes a few sartorial queues from her marketing job at Burberry. This week, we chat with Coraline about her take on French and British beauty and her favorite routes in the city for confidence-boosting runs.
What's your daily makeup routine?
My daily makeup routine is quite simple and fast. I like to wash my face every morning with Clinique's Liquid Facial Soap followed by their clarifying lotion and moisturizing cream. If I'm tired, or I feel that my skin looks a bit dull, then I also apply the Burberry's Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base prior to my foundation.
I always use liquid foundation because I feel that it is the easiest foundation to apply and allows for a natural look. I also like to apply my foundation with my hands. However, I don't have a favorite brand — I tend to change what I'm using quite often to try new products. Right now, I like L'Oréal's Infallible Pro-Matte 24-Hour Foundation. Then, I apply powder and blush, loads of blush! I think that blush is the most important part of my makeup routine. My favorite brands for blush are MAC, Burberry and Guerlain. I am a huge fan of Terracotta Light from Guerlain, and I basically use it as a bronzer and a blush. Right now, I have two shades of blush that I love for winter. The Melba blush from MAC has a beautiful peach color that works really well with warm makeup looks. I also love Burberry's Light Glow blush in Misty — it is really long-lasting and looks beautiful with red lips.
I then apply MAC Fluidline eyeliner with the 266 Small Angle Brush, No7 Intense Volume Mascara and lipstick (Mac's Viva Glam II lipstick from and Burberry's Lip Velvet in Oxblood are among my favorites). I also wear gloss, depending on the day. It might seem a lot, but I generally do my makeup less than 10 minutes.
You live in London, where it rains all the time. How do you make sure your hair still looks good?
This is difficult! I normally straighten my hair in the morning, but I have learned that London's rain and humidity can be a real challenge. My hair is naturally wavy, so I usually let it be when it's raining. Another hairstyle for a rainy day — braids. Having your hair up can be a real lifesaver on a rainy day. My personal favorite is the crown braid; it's fast, easy and really cute!
What is the best skin care advice you've received?
The best advice I've ever gotten was from my grandma. I started to wonder if I should use anti-wrinkle creams when I reached my late twenties, so I asked my grandma what she thought. She simply responded, "No need for that. Clean your skin every day, use a good moisturizer and smile. A happy inside is the key to happy skin." I need to say, at age 80, my grandma has the most amazing skin. So, I followed her advice and continued using my three simple Clinique products.
You're originally from France, and as you know, French women are admired throughout the world for their seemingly effortless beauty and style. How do you feel about that generalization?
I didn't realize this until I moved to London. People started to comment on my red lipstick or simple mascara and black liner saying, "Oh yes, that is really French." I first thought that was silly, but I quickly realized that I was quite French in my beauty routine (or at least really influenced by my grandma, so that's French). I like really simple makeup and always follow the eyes-or-lips rule. So, if I have really red lips, I will keep the eye makeup simple and vice versa.
I feel that this generalization can add a bit of pressure, too, because people often expect me to have a certain "French" look. That said, I am quite sure that my accent alone is enough to give me the "French" style!
What do you like most about the French approach to beauty and style?
I like the simplicity. When it comes to style, French people don't really experiment with colors. They tend to stick to white, black and plain colors. They always make sure that their accessories match their shoes and clothes, and they tend to go for a simple makeup — red lips, blush and mascara. In a way, it is quite simple to follow the French trends. A little black dress, red lips, et voilà!
In what ways is your own personal style influenced by the "French approach?"
Probably in the sense that I do not mix colors. Living in London, I have often seen eccentric and colorful looks. I sometimes envy the girl who dared to wear blue shoes or a pink hat. I often look at really colorful outfits and think, "Wow, this looks awesome, just not on me." That's not to say that I don't wear color, I do, but I tend to stick to navy blue, black, beige, gray and dark green.
You work for Burberry, which can be considered the epitome of classic British style. What fashion tricks have you learned from the brand?
Probably that fashion is the expression of oneself. Having a sense of fashion does not mean that you wear all the latest trends, it means that you know how to use clothing to express yourself. It means that what you wear reflects who you are, or maybe, who you want to be on that day. I feel extremely lucky to work in a place where I can wear pretty much anything I want. No one will look me funny if I arrived at work with a ballroom dress on.
London is also known for its daring street style. What sorts of outfits have you seen around town that you'd like to copy?
I love the low-boots-with-high-socks style. It makes me think of an English school uniform and can look really cute when paired with a skirt. I also like really colorful outfits. I feel that you can see the most colorful combinations in London. In a city that has a lot of gray days, it feels great to see so many people wearing colors. The amazing thing about London is that you could wear anything you like and no one will stare at you. I used to think of my outfits a lot when I was in France — is it too short, too tight, too bright, too big and so on, but I don't anymore. I also started wearing more accessories and hats — and I love it!
You're an avid runner. What's your favorite route around London and why?
I love running along Regent's Canal. It is close to my home and I can go all the way to Camden and Regent's Park. London is an amazing running city with loads of green spaces and parks. I sometimes run home from work, and the route takes me past Buckingham Palace and Green Park. I also love running along the Thames in the summer — the sunset runs are always breathtaking. Any route is better when I run with a friend from my running crew!
When do you feel the most confident?
After a workout. I love exercising in the morning because it helps me start the day filled with positive vibes. I also feel more settled, focused and strong after a workout. Depending on the day, my workout might be a run, a spin class or a yoga session. I started doing yoga a year ago and it has been absolutely amazing. I have learned to listen to my body, breathe and relax. Like many runners, I was often forgetting the importance of rest days. Yoga made me more aware of my own body, and I am getting better at listening to what is has to say.
Be sure to follow Coraline on Instagram, and check back next week for the latest installment of 52 Faces, a weekly series that spotlights a real woman's beauty routine. Last week, Jennie Matuszek, a New Zealander who's just moved home after spending a decade in London, shared her favorite Kiwi beauty picks and revealed the one skin care step she'll never skip again.