1. EMBRACE YOUR HAIR EVOLUTION
The ultimate chameleon when it comes to her strands, Richie has sported just about every hue under the sun (from hot pink to stark, silvery white, nothing has been off limits), so I had to ask: What’s been her favorite?
“It’s really hard to choose a favorite hair look because they’ve each represented such different stages in my life,” the designer explains. “So I always look at it like this: Your hair look is temporary—you can change it, you can play, and you don’t have to be locked into one thing. And that’s how I approach both beauty and fashion. Plus, by changing your hair color, you’re also changing your wardrobe. I’ll go into my closet, and all of a sudden everything looks different. It’s like shopping, for free. Hair color can really become the ultimate accessory.”
2. TRY SOMETHING TEMPORARY
The Joico Color Intensity Color Butters ($20) offer a great selection when it comes to temporary, at-home color options (think red, green, blue, purple, pink, and titanium), and prior to talking with Richie on the phone, I had been told she’d be going pink just in time for Thanksgiving. However, she quickly informed me there had been a last-minute plot twist:
“After looking at all the different colors, I actually decided to go purple. When I first started coloring my hair, lavender was my first-ever look. Color is emotional, and lavender is a cool, soothing, and calming shade for me. But what’s great is that it will come out in 10 washes, and it’s not this huge commitment. Whenever I’ve spoken with women about color, I think that’s honestly their biggest fear. They love the look of colored hair, but they just don’t feel like they can make the commitment. But now with products like this, you don’t have to.”
3. PRIORITIZE HAIR HEALTH
As Richie and I continued to discuss color (and the trials and tribulations that can come with repeated or excessive permanent coloring), the designer shared that a few years back, her strands had had enough, and it took a drastic chop (and an overhauled approach to her haircare regimen) to get her strands back into tip-top shape.
“I ended up cutting all of my hair off a few years ago—I had a pixie cut. I had been coloring my hair forever, so I knew it was coming, and I knew I just had to do it for the sake of my hair. So now whenever I’m not working, I have a super-minimalist approach to my hair. I haven’t been coloring it, and I love to just soak it in coconut oil. And then when I go out, I love the look of a clean slick-back. That way, it has a style, but I’m giving it some TLC at the same time. Just like we need the weekends, your hair really needs a few days here and there of doing absolutely nothing.”
4. LOVE YOUR NATURAL TEXTURE
Now that Richie is a full-time mom, designer, and all-around Wonder Woman, I asked how her approach to beauty has shifted over the years. Interestingly, her response hit on a hot topic as of late: learning to love your natural texture.
“I was probably only one of three people in my school with curly hair when I was younger, and growing up, I think I always felt like it required a lot more attention and a lot more effort to get it to a style where I felt it looked amazing, whereas all of my other friends would come to school straight out of the shower with wet hair. I never had that.
“I feel like I’ve finally gotten to that place where I’ve accepted how my hair is naturally, and I think, in part, that was kind of from becoming a mom. I mean, who has time to go and sit in the salon for six hours? Because I definitely don’t. It’s so freeing not to rely on spending so much time and money on my hair anymore.”
5. LESS CAN BE MORE
“In my 20s, I definitely felt like I needed to put a lot of effort into my appearance whenever I’d be out in the public eye, but as I’ve gotten older, I know what feels good for me.
“You know, growing up, I would always read magazines like YM with these specific beauty tips and makeup prescriptions. It’s fun to read when you’re a teenager, but at the time, I don’t think you realize you’re getting locked into all of these things you feel like you have to do. Now I’m just much more comfortable in my own skin and have the confidence to decide what I need for myself—for sure, 100%.”
6. NEVER SACRIFICE YOUR ALONE TIME
Spoiler: Nicole Richie loves her alone time. And despite the fact that she has a business to run, kids to feed, and events to attend, she always makes room in the day to have some time to recharge, even if that means (in her words) getting up before the birds.
“Pretty much every day, I’ll wake up anywhere between 4:30 and 5:30. I really crave that alone time before starting the full run of the day—school drop-off, lunches, work, you know. I feel like I’m very much a normal American mom. [Laughs.] I don’t like to wake up and just jump out of bed—I need some real time.
“Maybe I’ll let the dog out or just walk around and do nothing—everyone is asleep! I mean, the birds aren’t even up yet! It’s just a very quiet, nice time, and then my body gets to wake up with the sun and with the day, which I love. It’s also one of the only times I don’t feel like I have to be checking my phone.
“I mean, for me, I know that I really value time by myself. I need to be able to do one thing I want to do, and I need to spend time with my kids. If I can manage that, then I can manage doing everything else.”