Kerry Washington’s Hair Secrets, Straight from Her Stylist

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Actress Kerry Washington’s longtime stylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew shares the star’s hair secrets. (Photo: Getty)

It’s almost Thursday night, or as the rest of the wine-sipping, rapidly-tweeting crowd like to call it, “TGIT.” That night belongs to Shonda Rhimes’ block of shows with strong female protagonists. At the cornerstone of this viewing festival is Scandal, helmed by the beautiful, talented Kerry Washington. Gladiators turn in to watch Washington’s character, DC “fixer” Olivia Pope tear through scandal after scandal, all while looking amazing.

Recently, we connected with Washington’s long-time hairstylist, Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, about the mane of the must-see TV star. Although Drew doesn’t work with Washington on the set of the show, after twelve plus years of being her personal hairstylist, she was able to shed some light on Washington’s real-life hair and how to get some of the Neutrogena spokeswoman’s mane magic.

First of all, Drew confides that Kerry’s texture is all natural. “There is no type of relaxer in her hair; her hair is naturally curly, and she wears it straight most of the time when she’s working, but if she’s off, it’s curly.” The times where you see Washington wearing smooth styles are the result of a good blowout and good products. “The look starts with a good nourishing shampoo and conditioner. I also trim her hair at least every two months. I like to keep her ends clean to keep in good condition. We colored it a bit ago, just some subtle highlights. Her hair did really well; it didn’t break off. Her hair is just so healthy.”

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Washington rocks a fishtail braid. (Photo: Getty)

Drew also works with Washington on red carpet moments, and she definitely has her favorites. “My favorites were the “goddess waves” at the Oscars, and the style from the launch of the Scandal collection for The Limited. We’d had a long press day, and I was trying to figure out what to do for the evening. She was on the phone, and at the last minute, I just twisted it and gave her a fishtail braid to the side. It was a huge hit. Also, I absolutely loved the look at the 2014 Emmys after she’d had the baby and came on the red carpet with a middle-parted bob with fresh highlights. That’s a personal favorite.”

Between various styles on Scandal, film projects, and what seems like an unending array of photo shoots and magazine covers, Washington’s hair has to endure a lot of styling while she works, so the stylist and star are passionate about products and procedures that protect her hair. “Kerry would be the first say to drink a lot of water and stay hydrated, but she also really loves using the Neutrogena products. She’s the one that got me into them! I shampoo first with Neutrogena Anti-Residue Formula Shampoo ($7) to remove residue and build up without drying. She loves using the Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask ($7). We also use a leave-in conditioner, and put a hat over hair so the sun won’t dry it out.

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Goddess waves at the 2014 Oscars. (Photo: Getty)

For those who want long, strong, natural hair like Washington, Drew (who also has natural hair) has advice. “We have to protect our hair by not putting too much heat on it, and by protecting it at night. Some women don’t like to wear a scarf, but at least pin it or pull it back into a loose bun or something. Some women sweat at night, so just sleep in a style that prevents your hair from getting matted at the roots or tangled. A scarf, pinning it, and/or a satin pillowcase are all great options.” She also recommends protective styles like double-strand twists and braids for bedtime.

Drew is adamant about regular trims, particularly if you’re growing your hair out to Washington’s impressive length. “I know some women don’t want to cut their hair, but if you want it to have movement, you have to trim your ends regularly. Otherwise, you have long hair that just sort of lays there. If you mind your ends, your hair looks great, has movement, and is speaking for itself.” A personal mantra for both Drew and her famous client: “Healthy hair is happy hair.”

Related:

Kerry Washington’s Guide to Life

Kerry Washington’s No-Makeup Confession