Celeb transformation: Nicole Richie’s hairstyle and hair colour evolution

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Many Halloweens ago—back when The Simple Life was on TV and belly-baring jeans and Ugg boots were considered stylish—my friend and I decided to dress up as Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Except neither of us wanted to be Nicole. It was back in her blonde-and-black hair extensions phase—need I say more? So we went as Paris and Paris.

But who’s laughing now? Over the years, Nicole has blossomed into one of Young Hollywood’s most stylish starlets (thanks, of course, to Rachel Zoe‘s expert guidance). And now, it’s Paris whose bad hair, strange outfit choices (and even stranger boyfriend choices) makes me cringe.

One of the things I like most about Nicole (speaking as a former hair chameleon myself), is that she’s not afraid to change it up when it comes to her hair colour and style. (She’s not quite as adventurous as Mandy Moore, woman of 1,000 hairstyles, but getting there.)

And have you heard? This week, she debuted some new brunette locks. Now let’s discuss the transformation.

I’ll start at the beginning:

Long and Blonde (With Multi-Coloured Extensions)

nicole richie 2003 240x300 Celeb transformation: Nicole Richies hairstyle and hair colour evolution

Just to see how far we’ve come, here’s Nicole circa 2004. Those extensions—what was she thinking?!?

Blonde Bob

nicole richie blonde bob Celeb transformation: Nicole Richies hairstyle and hair colour evolution

This is the look that made us all fall in love with her a teensy bit. Right? It’s just so darned CUTE. Love the sideswept bangs, and the shorter length and lighter makeup allow her to carry off the bright blonde hue.

Long and Blonde

nicole richie long blonde 240x300 Celeb transformation: Nicole Richies hairstyle and hair colour evolution

I’m not a fan. Are you? Don’t get me wrong—I love the bohemian look, but this is way too blonde and a bit too scruffy. I also think it’s kinda obvious that she’s got extensions in, and that’s one of my pet peeves. Pretty makeup, though.

Shoulder-Length Waves

Nicole Richie shoulder length waves 220x300 Celeb transformation: Nicole Richies hairstyle and hair colour evolution

I love this and in fact showed it to my hairdresser when I recently chopped off four inches. This length is great because you can do messy waves without looking, well, messy. And the warmer blonde colour is much more suited to Nicole’s skin tone.

Medium-Length “Bronde”

nicole richie bronde 240x300 Celeb transformation: Nicole Richies hairstyle and hair colour evolution

Here we see that the transformation to brunette was already in progress. This is how you do it if you’re on the fence—in stages. Although I can’t say I love this dishwater colour… kind of blah and borderline greasy-looking, no? As I mentioned before, I do love this plum makeup palette on her.

Long Brunette

nicole richie new brunette hair 229x300 Celeb transformation: Nicole Richies hairstyle and hair colour evolution

And here we are at Nicole’s current shade. I love it! Do you? I wish this photo was a bit closer up, as you’d see how this transformed her skin into peaches and creams gorgeousness. And it looks like the extensions are back in, but somehow looking more realistic in the darker hue. Now, darn it, I kinda want to go darker myself…

What do you think? What’s your favourite Nicole Richie hairstyle? Do you prefer her as a blonde, brunette or somewhere in between?


Friday, December 18/2009 at 12:21 am

Love her! Great point about the dark hair/peaches and cream complexion thing – do you have any “in general” tips in regards to hair colour and skin tone? Can you make your skin look more even by changing up your shade? I would like to transform my skin into peaches and cream gorgeousness too!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, December 18/2009 at 10:26 am

Hi Alana! Gosh, that sounds like an awfully good topic for a future blog post… I definitely have some thoughts on this. It’s kind of complex because the old rule was always to match cool skin tones with cool hair colours, and warm with warm. But some hairdressers now advise against that (mostly because cool, ashy colours can be harder to wear… warm tones tend to flatter most people).

In general, I tend to prefer darker shades on light-eyed girls, and lighter colours if you have brown eyes… there’s something about the contrast that is so pretty.

But leave it with me – I’m going to check my notes and sources and pull a post together on this for you, probably the week after Christmas! Thanks for the question. :-)


Sunday, December 27/2009 at 5:42 am

She is so lucky to have dark eyes, they suit quite a variety of hair colours.
I really did love that bob on her but yes, the brown is my favourite – much more mature whilst still looking smoking hot!
Great post.

Oh and I’m with Alana on the new article idea! Can’t wait to see what you come up with.


Wednesday, July 14/2010 at 9:11 pm

OMG…I have just stumbled upon this site, and Im so happy :) I am off to the hairdressers on Friday, and asking for the colour Nicole is sporting in the pic titled “Shoulder length waves”. After years of bleaching, I had started to grow out my hair..YUK..! I cant handle the regrowth anymore! However, this colour is so similar to my natural colour, and that makes me confident that my hairdresser can do it. Plus now I have a lovely picture to show him, YAY !! Thank you XXX


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, July 17/2010 at 4:20 pm

That was my fave pic too! (it inspired a couple of my cuts/colour jobs after I did this post last year.. haha)
Hope your colour went well – I’ve gotta say as a former bleacher, I much prefer the darker colour overall with subtle blonde highlights. Looks much softer and more natural, plus the re-growth is so much easier to manage.


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