We hate to break it to you, but for every example of boundary-breaking
red carpet beauty — Rih’s dramatic blush at the Met Gala or Lady Gaga’s thumbprint liner at the 2017 Grammys — 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 pre-show red carpet this awards season.
Luckily, there are a handful of celebs that always deliver something fresh and new — and Kerry Washington is one of those rare few. Quite the opposite of her T.V. persona, Olivia Pope, Washington isn’t one to stick to natural makeup. It makes sense that the fictitious Pope, a D.C.-based crisis manager on ABC’s
Scandal, would keep things muted, but off-set Washington goes wild, calling on a host of colors, textures, and finishes for her looks.
In honor of Washington’s birthday tomorrow, we scoured the archives and found something surprising: Despite the star’s chameleon-like tendencies, she falls back on a few techniques time and time again. We’ve rounded up these bold cat-eyes, faux bangs, monochromatic makeup, and more, ahead. Curious? Keep clicking.
1. 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.
Photo: JB Lacroix/ WireImage.
2. Curls & Waves
“Kerry’s not as conservative as Olivia Pope,” Washington’s hairstylist,
Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, told . “She’s not afraid of fashion and she’s not afraid to change her hair.” Unlike her character on Refinery29 Washington lives for curls and waves in every iteration. We’ve seen her rock tight, voluminous curls, sleek and shiny waves, and everything in-between. Scandal, Photo: 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,” said Sturdivant-Drew. “And no, we didn’t dye her hair. I used extensions from my line,
TSD Hair.” Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images.
3. 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.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.
Washington stepped out at last year’s SAG Awards wearing a round, graphic eye. The look, which paired black and silver shadow
and liner, provided a fun contrast to her romantic gown. Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images.
Washington has experimented with dozens of different hairstyles over the years. When she isn’t playing with waves, 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. Photo: 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.
Photo: Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images/smartwater.
5. 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 bold new shade of eye makeup, she’s usually wearing a colorful gown and lip color to match. Photo: 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.
1. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
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