Nicole Richie Didn’t Fall in Love with Her Natural Curls Until She Was in Her 30s
“I've gone through a very complex relationship with my hair over the years…”
Like many other LA friendships, the one between Nicole Richie and Nyakio Grieco flourished under a mutual love of crystals. “She’s got these huge crystals all over her store,” Richie says during our call from Los Angeles. “I have crystals all over my house, I make crystals—it’s a big part of House of Harlow’s jewelry.” The two first met when their kids were students at the same preschool, and as Richie’s relationship developed with Grieco—the co-founder of Thirteen Lune, an e-commerce beauty site with a brick-and-mortar store in West Hollywood—she realized they had other things in common too, like their skincare-first approach to makeup. This is one of the reasons why Richie chose to be the face of the first-ever cosmetics campaign for Relevant: Your Skin Seen, Greico’s clean beauty line.
Ahead, Richie shares how her relationship with beauty has changed, if she’d ever launch her own beauty brand, when she started loving her curly hair, and more.
How her relationship with makeup began:
“I was very into makeup when I was young. I grew up in the '80s, so it was a real ‘more is more’ time. My mom was going everywhere with my dad all the time, and she had this insane dressing room with a full vanity for her to get her hair and makeup done, and across from it, she had a giant bathtub. I would sit in her empty bathtub and just watch her get her hair and makeup done, thinking, ‘Oh my God, I cannot wait to get my hair and makeup done one day.’ I thought everyone got their hair and makeup done all the time.
“She was very much into MAC. She had all the palettes with all the different colors, and she got me a few, one for my birthday, one for Christmas–I loved it so much.”
How her relationship with beauty has evolved:
“I love experimenting with different looks and makeup. I've had short hair, I've had long hair. I've played with all different kinds of beauty looks, and that's been really amazing. But something that I think about when I watch old videos or see old photos of myself is, wow, I thought that I needed so much. And I think that's something more internal. I think it's fine to play with different looks as long as you don't feel like they are ruling and owning you. I really felt like I needed a lot in order to go out into the world, whereas I don't necessarily feel like that anymore. I always want to feel like myself.”
On learning to love her curly hair:
“If we were going out, it was like, ‘Okay, we have to straighten our hair.’ [At the time] curly hair was considered messy and undone, and straight hair was just considered more sophisticated, more elegant. I've gone through a very complex relationship with my hair over the years, always wanting it to be straight, never wanting to swim at parties because I didn't want my hair to get curly. It wasn't really until I was in my thirties when I was like, ‘Wait a minute. I love my hair. I love my curly hair. I don't know why I have been trying to hide it this whole time.’”
On beauty as a form of expression:
“I don't regret any looks. I think that that's one of the best and most fun parts of being young, especially in your teens and in your twenties. I think that you should experiment and you should try all of the things. I mean, I've bleached my hair too much, and it all fell out. Then I had to get a pixie cut, and that was traumatic. So it's all very, ‘OMG, exclamation point, exclamation point’ when you're in it. But now I look back on it and think, ‘What a time.’
“I think fashion and beauty are opportunities to express yourself. In the same way that we should look at all aspects of ourselves internally, I think that you should try out different things when it comes to fashion and beauty. I think you should try everything.
“The Internet was around when I first did The Simple Life, but not in the way it is now. I wasn't necessarily getting daily updates on how I was looking or anything like that. I think that would've been a lot on my soul.”
How the Relevant Cosmetics partnership came to be:
“Nyakio [Greico] and her team reached out. I met her at her flagship store on Larchmont, which is so beautiful and warm. There are so many different brands in there, brands that are known as well as unknown. You really feel she wants to lift people up in her field, and that's how the campaign came about.
“So Nyakio and I have a few people in common, but one of the people that we have in common is Beau Nelson, who has been my makeup artist for over 15 years. He was her first makeup artist when she moved to LA, so he helped her develop this makeup line. One of my favorite things about Beau is that we played with many different looks. Beau is someone who, when I sit down to get my makeup done, I do not have a mirror in front of me. I just trust him. And that's something I felt in these products. These products are all about layering, and everything is really nourishing. It feels like it's good for your skin. For me, that's my approach to makeup—I'm all about skincare.”
On whether she’d launch her own beauty brand:
“Possibly, yeah. I could definitely see myself doing something like that. I do love haircare, but I haven't given much thought to it, to be honest. I think this space is really crowded, and if you're going to come out with something, it should have purpose. That's what I appreciate so much about Relevant—it's really like nothing I've seen before.”
On what makes her feel grounded:
“I walk outside barefoot a lot. If I'm near grass, I like to take off my shoes and get all of that nourishment from the ground. I like to be outside. I mean, I know the sun is not good for you, but I'm telling you right now, I drink it in. I love it. It feels like water to me. It makes me feel alive. I love being outdoors, and I love being in nature. It's one of my favorite parts of living in LA.”