Kerry Washington's Beauty Evolution Will Inspire You To Switch Things Up

She’s never missed, TBH.

Kerry Washington Beauty Evolution Pixie Cut

Some celebrities — as well as those of us who aren’t in the public eye — find comfort in hanging on to the same haircut or style of makeup year after year. There’s certainly no shame in expressing yourself in whatever way makes you feel most confident, and it’s also so satisfying to learn the signature looks of your favorite stars (for example, Taylor Swift’s red lip or Jennifer Aniston’s sun-kissed shag). But for beauty lovers everywhere, the freedom to try something out-of-the-box every now and again is so refreshing, even inspiring. Take Kerry Washington’s beauty evolution, for example. Although the red carpet darling seems to have some preferences that she touches down on every now and then, you can always expect her to get creative with her glam.

From banged bobs to bejewled braids, Washington’s ever-changing hairstyles (the work of her trusted hair guru Takisha Sturdivant-Drew), manicures, and makeup are always just as memorable as her bold fashion choices. And if you go back to the actor and producer’s first major public appearances, you’ll notice she’s been switching things up from the beginning. For instance, when she attended the 2005 Golden Globes, the Ray star gave soft glam with a loose, curled updo accessorized with hairpins along with light, natural eye makeup and a glowy complexion and lips. Just a few short years later, at Cannes Film Festival, she want for a more bombshell, Bardot-esque beauty look. A year after that, she tried out smoky eyes and sleek, straight hair. And she’s been continuing to keep us guessing ever since (just look at her edgy pixie cut from the 2024 Met Gala!).

Washington’s beauty evolution is non-linear, and it’s why she continues to be one of the main style stars to look out for on the red carpet (and off-duty as well). That said, it can really pay off to take some risks with your own hair, makeup, and nails.

Got an itch to switch things up? Ahead, see some of the trendsetter’s best beauty looks over the past two decades — from demure to daring and everything in between — and get inspired to get out of your comfort zone.

Golden Globes 2005

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With soft, natural makeup and a tousled updo with hair pins, Washington instantly became someone to watch in terms of beauty looks.

Cannes Film Festival 2009

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The actor turned up the glam in 2009, where she debuted what would become one of her signature eye looks, a soft cat-eye. Befitting for the setting, she paired that with a Brigitte Bardot-inspired updo and a red lip.

Met Gala 2010

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Washington’s appearance at the 2010 Golden Globes showed us a more dramatic look, with smoky, kohl-rimmed eyes and straight hair.

NAACP Image Awards 2011

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In 2011, Washington stepped out in what would become another one of her go-to beauty looks: soft, natural glam with loose, shoulder-length waves and neutral, monochromatic makeup.

Golden Globes 2013

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In support of her Django Unchained role, the actor gave us all bob goals with a straightened, shoulder-grazing hairstyle and bangs that framed her soft blue shadowed lids.

SAG Awards 2014

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Pregnancy made Washington glowier than ever during all her 2014 red carpet appearances, but her Audrey Hepburn-esque look with a French twist and simple ribbon headband — juxtaposed with edgy black nails — was especially memorable.

Emmys 2015

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The Scandal star’s Emmys faux bob inspired long-haired women everywhere to try a shorter length, sans commitment.

Emmys 2016

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During her second pregnancy at the 2016 Emmy awards, Washington secured her spot as a maternity style trendsetter with another stunning beauty look that included with voluminous curls and a black reverse French manicure.

Met Gala 2017

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The beauty chameleon switched things up for fashion’s biggest night with her edgy bob and blunt micro bangs.

Women in Entertainment Gala 2019

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With her plum lips, chrome nails, and embellished hip-length Senegalese twists, Washington proved that she loves trying out new beauty looks on the red carpet.

Emmys 2022

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The actor tied her tresses in a messy top knot for the elegant event, and paired them with two of her go-to glam looks: nude lips and loads of lashes.

Met Gala 2024

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The UnPrisoned star went for one of her most dramatic hairstyles to date at the 2024 Met Gala, where she paired a pixie cut with pink lips and a shimmery manicure.