Fact: Whenever we're feeling a little down, we adopt the "What Would Kerry Washington Do?" mantra and turn to the star's sage advice to uplift us. There's never a shortage of wise words from the star and Neutrogena creative consultant, who is every bit as insightful as she is beautiful. So during a recent chat with Washington, we had to ask: What was the biggest confidence-boosting piece of beauty advice she had been given? "I think the most-empowering piece of beauty advice I've gotten is to make sure what you do works for you. If you're making choices to try and please other people, then you'll never be happy," she tells InStyle. "You can't please everybody all of the time. But, when you walk out the door and you feel great about your look, then it kind of doesn't matter what other people say." Can we get an amen—or at least have that entire quote displayed above our mirror?
Though the many looks we've seen her work in her dynamic roles serve as inspiration for some of our real-life ensembles (namely, Olivia Pope's stellar wardrobe), Washington already has a good handle on her personal style choices, and doesn't take too many cues from her on-screen personas. "I like to use hair, makeup, and clothes to help me transform into a character," she says. "There are always things I love about the choices I make for the characters I play, but I really use those things to help me separate myself from those characters."
Experimenting with different hair and makeup looks away from the set was key in finding out what worked for her, and in determining her comfort zone. "I'm always changing it up on the red carpet and in life. I like to take risks, but never anything too out there—except on Halloween," Washington adds. "I think one of the great things about what I do is that I'm always working with makeup artists who are in a process of continual education, and learning about what works for them. As they expand their knowledge and information, I expand on mine as well."
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