Kerry Washington Always Does These 5 Things — & No One Has Noticed

Kerry Washington Always Does These 5 Things — & No One Has Noticed

Refinery29 | Mi-Anne Chan

We hate to break it to you, but for every example of boundary-breaking red carpet beauty — like Lady Gaga matching her dress to her hair or Lucy Boynton’s graphic eyeliner — there’s an endless sea of no-makeup makeup paired with glowing highlighter and fluttery lashes. Gorgeous? Yes. But it’s also just the sleeping pill we need to snooze through the entirety of E! ‘s red carpet show.

Luckily, there are a handful of celebs who always deliver something fresh and new — and Kerry Washington is one of those rare few. Quite the opposite of her most famous TV persona, Olivia Pope, Washington likes to change things up, going from graphic cat-eyes to simple swipes of shimmery powder, and from wearing her hair natural to donning a pin-straight bob.

In honor of Washington’s birthday, we scoured the archives and found something surprising: While the actress does love to experiment, she also falls back on a few techniques time and time again, which we’ve rounded up, ahead.

Credit: Getty Images

Colorful Cat-Eyes

Washington knows how to up the ante on the traditional cat-eye. On countless occasions Washington and her makeup artist have opted for bold cat-eyes in fun colors like red or navy.
Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

Washington wore a thick layer of metallic blue shadow all over her lid here, extending the color into a wing that stops just shy of the tail of her brow. She let the shade speak for itself by pairing the look with natural-looking makeup and a pair of false lashes.
Credit: JB Lacroix/ WireImage.

Curls & Waves

We’ve seen Washington rock tight, voluminous curls, sleek and shiny waves, and everything in between — including her own natural hair. “We’ve been doing natural hair on red carpets for years,” Washington told Refinery29 in a recent interview while promoting the latest products from Neutrogena, for which she is an ambassador. “When I was pregnant with my son, who’s now two, I did it at the Emmys, and I’ve done it for covers like Marie Claire.”
Credit: John Shearer/WireImage.

She’s even been known to play with color, like at the 2016 Met Gala. “We went for it with the purple,” says her hairstylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew. “And no, we didn’t dye her hair. I used extensions from my line, TSD Hair.”
Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.

Graphic Black Liner

When Washington isn’t wearing color on her eyes, she usually sticks with black liner. But we’re not talking thin strips of kohl or a diffused smoky eye. The star often sports liner drawn in edgy, graphic shapes. Case in point: This cat-eye-meets-smoky-eye blend that wraps black liner along her top and bottom lids.
Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.

Washington stepped out at the 2017 SAG Awards wearing a round, graphic eye. The look, which she paired with black and silver shadow and liner, provided a fun contrast to her romantic gown.
Credit: David Livingston/Getty Images.


Washington has experimented with dozens of different hairstyles over the years. When she isn’t playing with waves and curls, she usually mixes up her look with faux fringe. The unsung heroes of a hair makeover, bangs bring structure and symmetry to Washington’s sharp bob.
Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images.

Blunt bangs, wispy bangs, side-swept bangs — Washington has tried them all. In fact, when she wears bangs, she falls back on a few tried-and-true makeup techniques, too. She usually keeps her makeup minimal (lots of lashes and fresh skin) so that her bangs can take center stage.
Credit: Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images/smartwater.

Monochromatic Makeup

We think Washington’s unspoken beauty mantra is “when it doubt, match.” Monochromatic makeup seems to be actress’ cup of tea, so when she isn’t debuting a bold new shade of eye makeup, she’s usually wearing a colorful gown and lip color to match.
Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.

Monochromatic makeup has a unique ability to pull any ensemble together in a few seconds. Plus, unlike Washington’s flare for bold eye makeup, matchy-matchy lipstick couldn’t be easier to pull off. Here, she coordinated her red sequined gown and satin-finish lipstick.
Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

This article was written by Mi-Anne Chan from Refinery29 and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to


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