Glamour: What’s one beauty trend you’re obsessed with right now?
Nicole Richie: The no-makeup look. I can kill a hairstyle, but I don’t know how to do makeup. For me, I use undereye concealer then squeeze my cheeks, and that’s my go-to.
What’s your favorite concealer?
I love Clé de Peau. That really works. I have dark circles, which are hereditary, so Clé de Peau is a real showstopper for me.
What’s one beauty rule you swear by?
To do what works for you. I’m a very expressive person, and I’m also 5’1″, so makeup can very much wear me. I can’t pull off a lot of contouring, but I also like to play with different looks. My longtime makeup artist, Beau Nelson, does a really good job. He lets my skin breathe and makes me feel like I can make any face any way I want and not worry about looking overdone. He makes me feel like I’m wearing makeup and the makeup isn’t wearing me.
Fill in the blank: I love my hair _____.
I love my hair six out of seven days a week. [Laughs.] On average.
Is there a hairstyle you’ve perfected more than any other?
I love doing a slick-back. I have curly hair, so when I wear my hair down during the day, it gets really wild. But when I want to look and feel polished, I like to wear my hair back.
How do you achieve that look?
If I want to make sure my hair is not going anywhere, I take the Kiehl’s Créme de Corps lotion and put it in my hair. With that in, I know it’s not going to move. It’s better than hairspray. And you can still wash it out.
How did you feel about your hair when you were growing up?
I really hated my hair. I grew up in the ’80s, and curly hair was not considered sophisticated. The messaging was, If you’re going to go out or go anywhere, you straightened your hair. I was straightening my hair from the moment I could. I started dyeing my hair a bunch from pink to blue, but I was bleaching my hair so much it all fell out. So I got a pixie cut. Of course, then I wanted to grow it out, so I had to leave it alone.
But at that moment, I was like, Wait a minute, I really love my hair. I had been trying to conceal and do so many things to it. I’d just been on this journey of being very passive aggressive against my hair. So now I embrace it. My hair is really wild, and I never know what it’s going to look like every day. I get in the shower and cross my fingers and see what happens in a few hours. But I really do love the texture of my hair now.
What’s the best beauty advice your mom gave you?
Well, my mom is a Southern woman from Alabama, and her rule was I was never allowed to leave the house without oil and lotion on my body. She didn’t want me to leave the house with dry skin, and that’s something I’ve carried with me into my adult life. I would never take a shower without grape-seed oil that I get at Whole Foods. I would never not moisturize my body and my face because I would feel like I would crack open and die if I didn’t. I wear shower gloves in the shower, and I put soap all over my body and then grape-seed oil before I rinse it off. Then I scrub the oil in my skin in the shower and rinse it off. And then I do a little Kiehl’s lotion and my oils.
What city or country gives you the greatest beauty inspiration?
New Orleans! There’s music and art on every street, and it’s just beautiful. It’s a charismatic, artful city that has been through so much, and the artistry just keeps coming out on the other side of it. You feel all of it when you’re there. I love it.
Speaking of music, what do you listen to in the house?
Nina Simone plays through our house all day. I put on Nina Simone and Piano!, which is just my favorite album to listen to in the morning.
Let’s play screw, marry, kill with mascara, lipstick and highlighter.
Oooh! I don’t know how to use highlighter, so I would kill that. I do love mascara, specifically Maybelline’s Great Lash mascara. And screw a lipstick.
You have $20 and free roam of a drugstore. What do you buy?
Bobby pins, hair ties, and makeup remover pads because I never have them. I’m very cheap.
Since you use hair ties all the time, which ones help protect your hair?
I’m not into scrunchies as a trend, but I have to say they’re really great for when I sleep because they don’t break my hair. My daughter has a whole box of them. They are functional in my life. If you ever see me with a scrunchie, know I’m not going through a midlife crisis; they just really work on my curly hair.
Facial or massage?
A facial. I hate massages. For facials, I go to a woman named Yonat Zilberg in Los Angeles, and she works with Biologique Recherche, and I love her.
What’s your favorite way to take a moment for yourself?
Reading. I just finished On Beauty by Zadie Smith, which was a favorite of mine. I’m obsessed with it. And I’m now deep into Lonesome Dove.
If you could change one thing about beauty perceptions, what would that be?
Not to be so judgmental. I’m someone who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, so the idea that you have to wear it or transform your face was messaging I didn’t originally like. But I’ve met some really great beauty influencers/bloggers, and watching them transform their face through makeup and seeing how it makes them feel alive is something I really appreciate. I would do that with clothes. I have days where I don’t feel great about myself, so for me, wearing bright colors is something that really helps. And beauty can actually do that.
Jessica Radloff is the Glamour West Coast editor. You can follow her on Instagram @jessicaradloff14. This interview has been edited and condensed.