At 39, Scandal star Kerry Washington has established quite a name for herself in both the fashion and beauty worlds, and not just on TV as her stylish character Olivia Pope. Here, we caught up with her long-time makeup artist Carola Gonzalez, who filled us in on all of Kerry’s top makeup and skin care secrets.
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NewBeauty: How long have you been working with Kerry?
Carola Gonzalez: Almost 11 years! We’re practically family now—we’ve seen each other grow up and we’ve been through a lot together. I appreciate her loyalty because that’s something you don’t see a lot in Hollywood.
NB: How does Kerry get her skin to look so good on and off camera?
CG: As a brand ambassador Neutrogena, she’s learned how to take care of her skin and she’s really good about it—she’s adamant about not going to sleep with makeup on, especially since she’s exposed to it every day of her life. She’s also good about hydrating her skin, particularly in dry winter weather.
NB: What are your top makeup tips for helping Kerry nail a red-carpet look?
CG: Having flawless skin is very important, and I make sure to hydrate Kerry’s skin before applying any makeup. Los Angeles is very dry, and using a good moisturizer (Kerry loves Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream, $20) will help makeup go on smoother and last longer. It also makes sure skin doesn’t absorb foundation, which keeps her makeup intact during long events. I don’t want her makeup to look like it’s disappeared halfway through the night.
NB: What are your favorite foundations to use on women with darker skin tones?
CG: I really like Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($14), which has antioxidants and chamomile in it to help with dryness in the skin. You get the benefits you need for your skin, plus the coverage. In the past, I found it to be a challenge to find the right shade for darker skin tones—some have more red or yellow in them than others—but with the shade extensions Neutrogena added, I now have what I need. On Kerry, I use Cocoa 115.
NB: Why is a good concealer so important?
CG: A good concealer is always a must, even if you’re not hiding imperfections. It’s something that I need in my kit in order to create each look. I honestly wouldn’t be able to live without it—I’d rather have concealer than foundation! One of the most important things to consider when picking a concealer, is to make sure it’s one or two shades lighter than your skin tone. You want to highlight certain areas of your face to create dimension, and you also want to hide those raccoon eyes! On Kerry, I use Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx11 ($48). I apply it under her eyes, on the bridge of her nose, and on the center parts of her forehead and chin. Sometimes I also go a bit toward her temples with a tiny bit of concealer to add a little more light on her cheekbones. The brush is also key—I use Hourglass Concealer Brush ($25), which has amazing bristles that feel great on the skin.
NB: Are there any looks that Kerry was hesitant to try?
CG: It took a long time for her to let me to do a burgundy or bold lip. She always wanted to stay away from bold colors because she thinks her lips are big and didn’t want to draw attention to them, but just because your lips are big, doesn’t mean you can’t wear a bold lip. You just have to find a tone that’s right for you. It wasn’t until the premiere of Django Unchained in London that she finally gave me the green light, and now she loves it! My favorite lip colors to use on Kerry are Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Sticks ($9) in Fresh Papaya, Sweet Watermelon and Warm Caramel (I used this one on her at the 2014 Emmy’s when she wore that bright orange dress) because they give color but don’t dry out her lips.