Nicole Richie might’ve had some wild beginnings with beauty—as Kim Kardashian famously revealed, the two friends once swiped lipsticks from a Malibu drugstore when they kids—but she swears those ways are behind her. “I’m very good now,” she promises us at an Urban Decay event in L.A late last week.
Fair, but she’s still the face of the brand’s new Troublemaker mascara—a “sex-proof” formula in a holographic tube—and buttoned-up has never exactly been her M.O. (See her former reality TV series Candidly Nicole.) So, we figured the 36-year-old designer wouldn’t leave us hanging over a game of 20-or-so Questions. Unsurprising: We weren’t disappointed.
You ready for 20 Questions? First one’s a given: Who’s your ultimate partner in crime?
What’s one beauty trend you love but would never try?
Lots of them. There are so many things I’ve seen that just aren’t for my face for so many reasons. Number one: I’m 5”1. I’m a small girl so I can’t take on a ton of makeup to begin with. It tends to wear me and weigh me down. And also, some things look good on the 20-year-olds, you know?
Is there anything you wore in your twenties that you’d never go back to?
I don’t regret it, but I went through a stage of drawing in my bottom lashes. It was fun, but I’d never do that now. Someone would be like, “are you okay, are you having a breakdown?”
Ha! Speaking of never agains, what’s one beauty trend you wish you’d never tried?
Red eyeliner around my eyes. It looked like I was sick. It’s definitely not a look for me.
What’s one beauty rule you think is bullshit?
I think any rule is bullshit. You’ve got to define what works for you.
What’s the best mascara trick or tip you’ve ever gotten?
Start at the root, move the wand side to side, and then brush it out.
You’re always changing your hair. What’s next big thing you want to do to it?
Well, I straighten it a lot when I’m working, just because it’s shorter, but I wear it curly in daily life and I’ll probably start wearing it curly again once it gets a little bit longer.
What’s the best advice you’ve given your younger sister, Sofia?
Get a tattoo over a piercing because piercings leave scars. I have a belly button ring, and I hate it. I mean, I don’t have the belly button ring—I’d probably feel better if I did—I just have this stupid scar.
Right, and you can’t fix that. But tattoos are kind of like forever too…
I hear about people removing them all the time.
…and I guess they can be more meaningful.
None of mine are, unfortunately.
What’s your favorite emoji?
The eggplant. I use it as a “D.” 🍆🍆🍆
You have $20 and free roam of a drugstore. What do you buy?
A nail file and bobby pins.
Do you have a favorite brand?
No, I’ll take whatever I can find. I can never have enough bobby pins.
Do you have a favorite getting-ready song?
What am I getting ready for?
Let’s say going out.
If I need energy—a RiRi song, any RiRi song will do.
Screw, Marry, Kill Beauty Edition: dry shampoo, lipstick, and highlighter.
I’ve never used highlighter in my life, though maybe it’s been used on me professionally, so that’s what I would kill. Dry shampoo, I don’t really use it, but I don’t mind it, so whatever, that’s kind of like f-ing it, and I’d marry lipstick.
What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve ever made?
My mom wouldn’t let me wax my eyebrows when I was little so I took a razor in the shower and tried to shave them. But the razor was wider than the middle of my eyebrows so I shaved off most of my eyebrows. It was horrible.
Did you just have to draw them in until they grew back?
I was like 12 so I just had to live like that.
What beauty tricks do you still use from your reality TV days?
I mean, even back in the day, I would blow-dry my hair and then flat iron it, but now I have a system for getting my hair straight that’s totally different, so I don’t even know if any of it carried over.
Ooh, do tell us more.
I have a light Brazilian [treatment]—the safe kind—in my hair and then—this is very ’80s—I sit under the dryer with rollers. Then I wrap my hair in order to keep the direct heat off it. It’s a very old-school method. I have a hood dryer at my house. I love it.
What’s your grossest beauty habit?
What is a gross beauty habit?
Filing your nails in public or picking your—
Nope. Nope. I don’t do that, and I’m grossed out very easily, so I don’t think I have one. I have a low threshold for grossness. If makeup spills in my bag, it is the worst and it never comes out. That’s gross enough for me.
Who’s the woman who inspires you the most?
My mom. In the ’80s, she was out on the town, so I would sit in her bathroom and watch her get her hair and makeup done. She had every lipstick color, every eyeshadow, every everything. It was such a big deal to me. That was my first moment and the source of a lot of my beauty inspiration because I realized, “oh, I like hair and makeup.”
Is there any beauty trick that’s actually changed your life?
I blow-dry my eyelash curler to keep my eyelashes curled.
What’s the fashion and beauty look you feel most yourself in?
I love clothes, so I like fall and winter dressing. I don’t get to do it a lot because I live in California, but it’s my favorite because I get to play around with looks. I’m not narrowed down to having to pick one singular thing to wear.
What’s the best fashion tip you’ve ever gotten?
I like playing with different layers and constructions and mixing prints so—I don’t know if that’s advice, but that’s how I like to do it. I guess the best tip that’s stuck is that you have to wear what makes you feel confident.
—Reporting by Anna Moeslein
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