I met Alyssa several years ago at a friend’s brunch–I think we were sitting next to each other and instantly clicked! We’ve since kept in touch and I’ve had the pleasure of watching the evolution of not only Alyssa’s career but her foray into the realm of entrepreneurship. She’s such an inspiration and I love that she also isn’t afraid to support other women. Her style is impeccable, scrolling through her feed you get so much fashion and beauty inspo. So, I, of course, had to ask her to spill all the details with us!
Here’s Face Time with Alyssa J. Francois:
Hey love! So, I always like to start this out by asking who you are. Tell us who Alyssa is in your own words?
This question seems so easy, yet so hard to answer! If I can sum it up in one sentence: I’m just your girl from Brooklyn raised by Grenadian parents, flawed like everyone else, with big dreams and faith greater than fear.
Now, on to what you do–I know you have a day job as well as your own business, Coveted Style, tell us about both!
Currently, by day I am a beauty editor for Unilever’s All Things Hair platform. I transitioned from fashion editorial to beauty editorial 3 years ago. I love both and wanted to diversify my career trajectory. My business, Coveted Style is a curated online shopping experience that also offers bespoke content for the stylish and driven, modern woman. You can read more of that here.
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Monday mood. 3 things I’m grateful for today: 1. Being blessed to see a new day.😇 2. The stress I just sweated out at the gym (see my IG stories).🏋🏾♀️ 3. Coveted Style now has an intern. 💃🏾 oh, and a bonus: our women’s month feature on @giulianarancic and her brand @fountainoftruthbeaty goes live on Coveted Style today!🔥 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Top + Jeans: @shopcovetedstyle 📸: @ariannasharfman
Ugh, I love a Black woman entrepreneur. What do you think are the struggles you’ve faced or are currently facing as someone starting their own business? What do you feel are the benefits and how has it enriched your life?
My business is currently bootstrapped. I’ve been funding it on my own and that definitely has its pros and cons. And sometimes the cons truly outweigh the pros. As far as challenges go, besides financing your business, there are many. For one, it’s just me. I recently hired an intern to help with content. Two, I had to learn that asking family and friends for help is okay. I don’t like asking people for help because I don’t want to feel as if I’m being annoying. When I participate in events, if my best friend Cieta, and my mom are available they will help and I’m so grateful for them. Another thing, I didn’t expect my business to get the exposure it has so soon and it’s kind of scary (but I am grateful). Now I find myself trying to keep up with it all.
My business has enriched my life in so many ways. It has strengthened the way I approach being disciplined, it has pushed me to stop having so many doubts, and it has stretched my creativity. I have learned so many new skills and qualities about myself as a business owner and as a person. It has also opened up many areas of opportunity for me professionally. I was raised to never put all of my eggs in one basket, so knowing I am building something that I can eventually depend on is a huge benefit.
Another benefit is being able to dip into different areas of the business without someone else giving me the consent or approval. I’m the type of person that doesn’t wait until an employer decides to promote me to carry out certain duties I’m interested in or know for sure I can do. I much rather dive in and learn by doing. For example, if you want to start working on the production at your job, but your employer isn’t ready to give you that role, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it on your own. Don’t wait until someone else tells you, yes, you’ll probably end up waiting a lifetime.
Do you think you’ll transition into making Coveted Style you’re number one priority anytime soon? Or do you have a specific date for that in mind in the future?
One day I will transition, but truth be told, it isn’t any time soon. I have a specific date in mind but I’m not completely married to that date. I love the thrill of side hustling and I love working after work. Yes, it sounds really nuts but I just really enjoy learning new things and challenging myself. I’m working towards my goal date and if it doesn’t work out, that’s fine. I will reassess, make amends to my strategy, and try again. God’s timing is best and I’m not going to put up a fight with him.
Alright, on to the beauty! Let’s start with skincare because that’s most important. Tell us about your daily or weekly skin care routine. Also, what are some of your favorite products?
We could be here for hours because I am a product junkie but ever since I started my business, I refined my skincare routine a bit. Sunday evenings use to be dedicated to an extremely long routine, but now that is cut down to about half an hour. In the morning I wash my face with Fresh Soy Cleanser. This cleanser is a staple in my routine. After that, I apply a moisturizing serum, it’s usually Avene Hydrance Serum. I first bought this on a trip to Paris 2 years ago and I love it because it hydrates well. To complete my routine I use Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. I switch between moisturizers all the time but I always come back to this one as it moisturizes well and adds a nice dewy glow to my skin before it’s time apply my makeup. I also apply the Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream under my eyes as well. Sometimes I wake up puffy and it helps with that.
At night, I use Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Omg, I love this cleanser so much. When I interned at Glamour Magazine during undergrad my supervisor at the time, Laurel Pantin, gave me this and I was obsessed. It comes with two muslin cloths and you’re supposed to apply the cleanser to your face first, then rinse the cloth with hot water, wipe the cleanser off your face then rinse with cool water. It’s the most therapeutic experience for me right before bed. If I’m being lazy, I skip the serum step and just apply a rich moisturizing cream on my face like Radical Skincare Extreme Repair Creme. This stuff is super expensive but I wake up with smooth and hydrated skin.
How would you describe your particular skin type?
My skin type is normal to dry. I get extremely dry during the winter season, it drives me nuts sometimes. It does this thing where it actually starts to peel and I get dry patches in random areas of my face. I try my best to exfoliate and incorporate products with hyaluronic acid to help with moisture. I recently bought the Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum and so far I am obsessed with it. I don’t know what took me so long to get my hands on it.
Alyssa, I have to say, you always slay with a very beat but natural makeup look. What are some of your go-to products? Do you wear makeup every day or most days?
I live for a natural beat and if it weren’t for the way I take care of my skin, I’d probably need more coverage but I don’t (thank you, GOD!). I don’t use a foundation, I’ve been using Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in shade Mocha for as long as I can remember and I’m actually looking to retire it because it’s been like 10 years using this brand no joke.
For blush, I’m currently rotating between MAC in the shade Raizin or Make Up For Ever High Definition Blush in 510 and NARS in the shade Liberté. For bronzer, I used NARS in the shade Casino. When it comes to eyes, my go-to everyday products are MAC Eyeliner, Dior Pump’N’Volume Mascara and MAC concealer. I use Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade on my brows in the shade Dark Brown and set with this new brow gel by Haley Bogaert (well, it’s new to me). I set this all with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Dark Deep and spritz my face with Algenist Splash Hydrating Setting Mist.
I actually don’t wear makeup every day as I like to give my skin a break here and there. Sometimes I’ll head to work barefaced with just mascara and eyeliner — without this combo, I look dead. When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll put on eyeshadow using my Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette but otherwise, I skip that step altogether.
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You also always pair your makeup looks with a bold red lip. I see your favorite is the color Beso in the Stila Liquid Lipstick–it’s mine too! What do you think makes a great red lip?
Beso by Stila is my ALL-time favorite red. I used to be a MAC Ruby Woo girl until I came across this Stila shade. When choosing a red, I always look for reds without strong blue undertones as they don’t go well with my skin tone. Also, can we just talk about the staying power of Stila? Incredible!
Your hair is always laid like it’s so stunning and healthy. I know you’re natural but I see you have been wearing it straight for most of this winter. Is that a style/preference thing or is that to help keep it protected in the cold weather?
When it comes to my hair, I’m a curly-summer and straight-winter girl. I love being able to embrace the versatility of having natural hair. I love my hair straight and I love my hair curly, but I know for me each style has its time and season. Wearing my hair straight in the summer will probably only last indoor with air conditioning. I really don’t know how some girls pull this off so I just stick to a twist out or wash-and-go in the summer. In the winter, I enjoy wearing fedoras and beanies and they don’t look cute on me when my hair is curly, a nice sleek and straight style always does the trick!
It also looks like you’ve had highlights? How do you keep your hair healthy when it’s color treated?
Girl, these highlights are old and I don’t plan on re-touching them anytime soon. Haha! Most people change their entire hair care routine when its color treated, and you actually should. However, I have not done so and I haven’t had any issues. I think it’s because I don’t overwash my hair and I use products that are formulated for all hair types. I’m currently obsessed with TIGI Custom Care Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner which can be used on color-treated hair.
As you know, self-care–specifically mental health, is really important to me, and I write about it quite a bit. How do you maintain positive mental health on a regular basis? I know (from experience) working in fashion can be quite stressful, how do you protect your energy?
Prayer is my go-to way of maintaining positive mental health. I’ve been raised this way. I had a family emergency back in November that *completely* restored my faith in God. One day I’ll get into details but I just want everyone to know that having faith, being specific in your prayer, and doing what God called you to do is one of the best formulas when it comes to protecting your energy and maintaining positive mental health. I pray every chance I get. If I’m driving, I’ll turn off the music and just pray out loud.
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What are some of your self-care practices? How important is it, do you think, that people create specific self-care rituals for themselves?
My number one self-care practice is prayer. After that, is planning. I plan everything! My S.O. loves to say I’m a planner so he leaves that up to me, especially when we travel. Listen, if I don’t have a plan for the week, I am out of sync. I absolutely cannot operate without a plan. I used to be a master at procrastination, now I’m a master at planning. You’d be surprised how an hour of planning your week on a Sunday can benefit your overall well being and give you a clear head.
Another is reading, listening to podcasts, and working out. I listen to something motivational at least once a day. I workout 2-3 times a week. I get so many questions about my workout routine, and people telling me I have motivated them to get back into the gym. I love hearing that. For me, working out is my way of releasing stress and practicing discipline. I swear, while I am doing my routine with my trainer, I’m thinking about my problems and how I’m about to conquer them after busting a sweat!
I feel self-care rituals are a way in which you can invest in yourself in order to be mentally healthy and succeed in life. Making sure your cup is full by pouring into yourself whether it be with prayer, motivational podcasts, exercising, meditating etc. is crucial.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Is this where people usually drop their IG handles?!? Haha, I won’t do that! I just absolutely love what you are doing with your platform! I’ve seen where you have been and I am so excited to see how your journey continues to unfold.