Kerry Washington's 10 Best Hair and Makeup Looks

The Emmy nominee and new Neutrogena face gets it right on the red carpet.
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Michelle Villett
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The Emmy nominee and new Neutrogena face gets it right on the red carpet.

When looking for a new celebrity spokesperson, a skincare brand like Neutrogena doesn't come knocking unless you've got a pretty darn fabulous complexion. And you know who fits the bill? Kerry Washington.

I knew she had nice skin, but I don't think I quite realized how nice until I sourced the pics for this top 10. The 36-year-old Scandal and Django Unchained star really does just glow—and she's also got quite the repertoire of red carpet beauty looks.

To celebrate her latest role as Neutrogena's brand ambassador and creative consultant, let's review Kerry's best hair and makeup:

1. Red lips, dramatic lashes, illuminated skin and a soft blowout

Kerry Washington, Emmys 2011

I've always said, this girl wears a red lip like nobody's business. Makeup artist Sam Fine did this look for the 2011 Emmys, and used not one, not two, but THREE different lipsticks to get this shade. They are: NARS Lipstick in Jungle Red (a semi-matte bright red), MAC Lipstick in Russian Red (matte blue-red) and Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in True Red (another blue-based red—I think this might be discontinued now, though). I also really like how Sam brought light to the centre of her face with illuminator, and the blush (NARS Blush in Dolce Vita, a dusty rose) is sitting a little lower on the face under the cheekbones. The false lashes are a touch longer than I normally advocate, but they help to balance out the lips with the eyes.

I really like how simple her hair is in this look; it's just quietly soft and smooth and letting the makeup take all the attention.

2. Smoky eyes, pink gloss, dewy skin and soft waves with bangs

Kerry Washington, Welcome to ShondaLand event, 2011

This is one of my favourite Kerry looks—she just seems so naturally, casually gorgeous here. Her skin looks slightly dewy and it's giving her a fantastic glow, and then there's that sheer pink gloss on the lips paired with a softly blended rim of charcoal all the way around the eyes. It's a smoky eye but not quite, since the colour is kept to below the crease. This is go-anywhere makeup.

I'm quite in love with the hair as well. The mid-length keeps the curling iron waves looking fresh instead of dated, and the shorter bangs elevate it to a whole other level. Nice one, Kerry!

3. Silver shadow, nude gloss and a ballerina bun

Kerry Washington - ESPY Awards, 2011

What did I tell you about having a whole bunch of beauty tricks up her sleeve? Here's a totally different look, at the 2011 ESPY Awards. The standout here is the silver eyeshadow, which Kerry used in her smoky eye instead of the predictable browns and blacks. It matched her dress and I think this is a cool idea (I actually started to write "eye-dea" there, which also works!) as we come into the holiday party season. Really, silver is so close to grey that it pretty much acts like a non-scary neutral, especially if you take Kerry's lead and pair it with black liner in the waterlines, some charcoal shadow to define your creases and nude lip gloss.

The obvious choice for this neckline was an elegant high bun. Notice the hint of texture on the top, which makes a bit more playful.

4. Glossy red lips, defined lashes and side-swept bangs

Kerry Washington, Ralph Lauren event, 2011

I wish I could tell you what this lip is, but I can't find any intel. It's freakin' amazing on her, and looks to me like it was applied with a brush to get those super-precision edges. I'm also kind of obsessed with her skin here; all the highlights and shadows and the slight flush on her cheeks. This is an example of great, non-obvious contouring. I could do without the lightened eyebrows and the super-long false lashes... but I love how defined her lashes are along the bottom.

Can't 100 percent tell what's going on with her hair at the back but I think it's been pulled into a low chignon, with her bangs swept to one side at the front. Love that! I just re-started my very own bang cutting and growing cycle all over again, so I'll be copying this move very soon myself.

5. Petal pink lips and cheeks with a wavy faux bob

Kerry Washington, American Music Awards, 2012

There was a time back in 2011 and 2012 when celebs were doing more faux bobs—I've missed them! This pic is from the American Music Awards last year, and I think Kerry really pulls off the style. Hairstylist Marcus Francis prepped her hair with mousse and sprayed individual sections with L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray after curling with a 1/4-inch iron. After brushing out with a trusty Mason Pearson, he rolled the bottom, left and right sides under and secured with bobby pins, leaving the shorter front layers out and setting with Oribe Superfine Strong Hair Spray.

I like that she decided to go petal pink with her blush and lip gloss; it totally complements the sunny yellow dress. Her smudgy eye makeup is similar to look #2 above, except here it's concentrated above the eyes.

6. Smoky eyes, perfected skin and a smooth, sleek ponytail

Kerry Washington, SAG Awards, 2013

I feel like this was the red carpet—from this year's SAG Awards—where we all stood up and REALLY started paying attention to Kerry. The makeup here, by Matthew Vanleeuwen, is pretty exquisite. From the Chanel Les 4 Ombres in Vanités, he used the deep plum in the crease and underneath the eyes, and the silvery lilac along the lash lines to pick up the light. On her cheeks is Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Malice and on her lips, Chanel Glossimer in Sweet Beige. Oh, and that's Chanel Perfection Lumière Long-Wear Flawless Fluid Sunscreen Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Beige Ambre on her skin—Matthew calls it "a perfect match" for Kerry.

The hair is just a simple ponytail, but what makes it elegant is the heavy side part. Hairstylist Larry Sims used the middle of her eyebrows as a guideline for the part, and then flat-ironed it and worked it in a forward motion to get the perfect sweep. Of course, he also used the old hair-wrapping trick to conceal the elastic—a must if you're going to do a dressy pony for evening. A little Göt2b Oil-licious Calm & Shine Styling Oil added shine.

7. Sheer red lipstick, dewy skin and a sky-high bun

Kerry Washington, Summer TCA Party, 2013

Here's another look I love, even though I don't think the false lashes were necessary (they could at least have been more natural-looking) and there's a teeny concealer crease under her eye (which seems to happen to her a lot!). What makes up for all that, and then some, is her skin, which is absolutely radiant. Did this seal the Neutrogena deal? I think so. Also a huge fan of that sheer, slightly glossy red lipstick, which reminds me of my favourite cherry shade from Fresh. The colour is echoed softly on the cheeks, too. (You could even use the very same product there, in a pinch.)

I think her hair pulled up into the high top knot makes the whole thing extra-cute. This time, it's the bun itself that's not too perfect.

8. Gold shadow and pale pink lips with long bangs and undone waves

Kerry Washington, Film Independent Spirit Awards, 2013

This look is a slightly different twist on #2, with similar hair except the waves are a bit looser and more undone, and the bangs are more eyebrow-skimming for a sexier, sultrier vibe. It looks very soft and touchable.

The makeup is fairly neutral, this time with a frostier-textured pink on the lips, pink blush and a hint of gold eyeshadow on the lids, with soft black for lash line emphasis.

9. Defined brows, nude makeup and smooth, straight hair

Kerry Washington - Variety Power of Women event, 2013

Kerry's skin looks great here yet again, although there's a slight foundation-matching issue that I pointed out when I first wrote about this look, from the Power of Women event. Even still, it's great to see her with more subtle, daytime makeup: sheer peach on the lips and cheeks and then shades of brown shadow and soft black liner to play up her eyes. (Still the false lashes, but they've kind of grown on me.)

Nice to also see her hair straight for a fun change. It looks swingy and shiny, and with the top section pulled straight back, really shows off her glowy face.

10. Peachy-pink lips and cheeks with soft smoky eyes and wavy hair

Kerry Washington - Emmys 2013

This is Kerry's most soft and feminine look to date, at the 2013 Emmys. What a beauty. Makeup artist Carola Gonzalez used Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Warm Beige, Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Honey and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Radiant Light to perfect her skin and give it a glow, followed by Lancôme Blush Subtil in Sparkling Rose on the cheeks. To create the shading around her eyes, Carola used the mauve shimmer from the Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition at the inner corners, and the eggplant shimmer at the outer edges and underneath the bottom lash line. The false lashes are Ardell #110, the liner is Hourglass Script Precision Liquid Liner in Jett, and the mascara is Hourglass Film Noir in Onyx. Oh, and the lip is Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lip Gloss in Truth.

Marcus Francis was on hair duty again, and to create these bouncy, shiny waves, he prepped with Leonor Greyl Mousse au Lotus Volumatrice before blow-drying with a round brush and then curling from roots to ends with a 1 1/4-inch iron. He then brushed out the curls with a Mason Pearson brush and smoothed away frizz with Leonor Greyl Éclat Naturel Styling Cream. So pretty!

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