There's a common misconception that indifference equals cool, and Kerry Washington is living proof that that's absolutely not the case. Her fun and bubbly personality seeps through any screen—whether you're watching her latest show, UnPrisoned, or scrolling through her Instagram feed—and she always looks chic with a smile on her face. The actor likes having fun with her manicures and often matches them to her outfit, so naturally, she wore pearly lip gloss nails to the Karl Lagerfeld-themed Met Gala.
On May 1, Washington arrived at the event wearing a custom Michael Kors two-piece gown with a bandeau top and a high-waisted mermaid skirt. Her dress was covered in black lace embellished with sequins, and her stylists, Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn, paired the look with an oversized jacket, a layered pearl choker, pearl rings, and pearl earrings.
“Pearls and Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel go hand in hand,” says celebrity nail artist, Kim Truong, who created Washington’s pearly lip gloss nails for the evening. “Kerry wanted to incorporate some of those pearl elements in her nails to pull the look together. And what better what to do this by creating cascading chains of pearls on her nails that resemble those worn by Coco Chanel herself.”
Truong used CND's pro-only products to create Washington's look. After prepping Washington's nails, she applied a layer of CND Plexigel Bonder before curing it under an LED lamp. Then, Truong used the CND Future Forms with the CND Plexigel Color Builder in Spiced Taffy to build the architecture of the nail while adding a nude base. Says Truong, “Plexigel in ‘Spiced Taffy’ was the perfect elegant brownish-nude to compliment Kerry’s skin tone.”
After curing the nails, Truong then applied the CND Plexigel Protector Top Coat overtop. To achieve the pearl chain design, Truong utilized the CND Plexigel Builder as glue to adhere pearls in criss-crossed and looped patterns on Washington’s nails. A final curing and moisture from CND’s Solar Oil ($10) finished off Washington’s pearly lip gloss nails.
Attending the Met Gala means knowing when to take risks and when to stick with what you know—and selecting your glam team is definitely a time when the latter is necessary. Truong is Washington's go-to nail artist, and Washington also called on her makeup artist of 18 years, Carola Gonzalez to create a reflective smoky eye.
After prepping her complexion with skincare, Gonzalez applied the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Radiant Cream Concealer ($10) in Golden on the high points of Washington’s face and then evened out her skin tone with the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint ($20) in Cocoa. “For the blush I used Neutrogena Hydro Boost Multi-Use Stick ($19),” says Gonzalez. “I applied it to the apple of her cheeks. I love this multi stick because the shade is really flattering on all skin tones and it adds extra radiance and glow to the skin.”
Gonzalez continues, “I wanted to create a smoky eye with a bit of spark in the middle part of the lid and lower lash.” To achieve this, Gonzalez used a dark brown shade from the Chanel Les 4 Ombres 322 Blurry Grey eyeshadow palette ($68) to darken the inner and outer edges of Washington’s eyes, as well as the lower lash line. “I left the middle part of the eyelid and lower lash Iine bare to add a flare of luminosity and create contrast between the darker and lighter shade.” After that, Gonzalez added the Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Eyeshadow + Primer ($14) in Soft Pearl to the center of Washington’s lids and lower lash line to create a doll-like eye shape.
She then applied Eylure London Luxe Cashmere No.6 Lashes ($15), and then used Neutrogena's Precision Liquid Eyeliner ($11) in Jet Black on Washington’s upper lash line and inner lower lash line. Gonzalez says she also used the same liner to “accentuate the outer edge of the upper eyelid to make the eye stand out more and darken the eyeshadow.” Finally, she finished off the look by shaping Washington’s browns with the Neutrogena Micro Brow Tint Serum Pen ($19) in Deep Brown and created a soft nude lip with the Urban Decay Glide On Lip Pencil ($25) in Nighthawk and the MAC Cosmetics Lipstick ($20) in 312 Impulsive.
Her hairstylist, Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, finished off the look with a deep side part that flows into a twisted bun—and you best believe she wore a single pearl pinned in her hair to round out the outfit.