Best of Washington 2012: Beauty Gurus Fit for a First Lady

Want to look as polished as Michelle Obama? Here’s who does her hair, makeup, and nails.

By: Washingtonian Staff

Photograph of Obama by Kwaku Alston/Corbis Outline.


Who: Carl Ray, based at George at the Four Seasons Salon, has been the First Lady’s makeup artist for 2½ years.

The look: “I like to use taupes, bronze, and browns. I love a warm apricot blush followed by highlighter dusted on the cheekbones and a pink or peach nude lip gloss.” A personal favorite is Make Up for Ever Kohl eye pencils, which come in a variety of shades, for a little “pop.” Says Ray: “The First Lady is not afraid of color or texture.”


Who: Johnny Wright has been Obama’s hairstylist for five years. “I met her in Chicago,” says Wright, who is at DC’s Immortal Beloved salon when not by the First Lady’s side.

The look: To get Obama’s coiffed waves, Wright suggests a shoulder-length bob with long layers for versatility. “A mid-length hairstyle is best for a busy woman. You can pull it back, wear it down, put in loose waves.” His vision for Obama: “She needs to remain classic and recognizable.”


Who: Dawn Nguyen owns Georgetown Nails, a hotbed of activity among the city’s well-groomed set—which may be why the First Lady is said to call on Nguyen and her team of nail specialists frequently.

The look: When it comes to polish color, we’ve noticed that FLOTUS tends to keep things neutral, opting for blush pinks and nearly nude nails. Nguyen cautions busy clients to avoid oval-shaped nails, which have a higher tendency to break than a square, rounded shape.

Best of Washington 2012