Fame10 Hair Evolution: Nicole Richie

Photo By: John Paul Melendez/Everett Collection

When it comes to hair, Nicole Richie loves to experiment. She never stays with one hairstyle or one hair color too long. She seems to always be looking for some new frontier to conquer. For years, she has shuffled back and forth between blonde and brown hair, but now she is all about bright colors, like blues, greens, purples and pinks. Not many people can pull off these outrageous colors, but our favorite reality TV star most certainly can! Because Richie is one of the more adventurous celebrities when it comes to hair, join us as we take a look at her hair evolution!

Teen People Artist Of The Year and AMA After-Party – 2003

Nicole Richie rose to fame in 2003 as Paris Hilton’s sidekick on the hit reality TV show “The Simple Life.” Everyone expected Hilton to be the star of the show; however, Richie ended up stealing the spotlight. She was funny and completely outrageous. We think almost anyone would agree that she was just way more fun to watch than her hotel heiress friend.

While Richie was definitely the amusing one, she wasn’t at all stylish. Her clothing was definitely a problem – she almost always looked like she was wearing something that was too small for her – and her hair was just a mess. She had all of these long extensions and they were all colored differently. The worst part was that it didn’t look like she was brushing her hair. It looked that ratty. Thankfully she ended up getting rid of the extensions and going for something softer and more natural.

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Soul Train Music Awards – 2005

By 2005, Nicole Richie had totally transformed herself. She got rid of her extensions, lost a considerable amount of weight, hired a stylist and then reinvented herself as one of the most stylish young stars in Hollywood. She went for a shoulder length cut, kept her hair blond and got some side-swept bangs – all of which were great choices.

That same year, Richie fell out with her former BFF Paris Hilton. While she claimed at the time that they just grew apart, the hotel heiress was adamant that Richie betrayed her. One rumor that was floating around indicated that the tiny TV star had shown her friend’s sex tape at a party. According to Richie, they just grew apart. Hilton was so hurt by the falling out that she actually tried to get her friend kicked off “The Simple Life.” She wanted Richie replaced with another young socialite friend, Kimberly Stewart. Ultimately, Fox decided to keep Richie.

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16th Annual Environmental Media Awards – 2006

Nicole decided to grow her hair out a year later and dye her blonde locks a nice shade of chestnut brown. This hair color really suits her. It looks great with her tanned skin and her hazel-colored eyes. We’re glad that she kept the side-swept bangs – they look really flattering on her.

The socialite had a busy year romantically in 2006. She rekindled her romance with DJ AM (Adam Goldstein), only to break up with him a few months later, and then she hooked up with Brody Jenner. These two dated for a hot minute. According to Richie’s father, the Jenner family had been longtime family friends. He was actually there when Brody was born! The romance between these two didn’t end up lasting though. According to Richie, her heart was never in it. Not long after that, she hooked up with Joel Madden, who she ended up marrying several years later.

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14th Annual Race to Erase MS Benefit – 2007

Richie didn’t stick with the brown hair for long! By spring, she was back to blonde – yet again. She showed up at the 14th Annual Race to Erase MS Benefit with this chic should-length bob. She cut her bangs too and kept them pushed to the side. This is great hairstyle for her, one that she will keep coming back to.

In 2007, she announced that she was expecting her first child with Joel Madden. She pretty much reinvented pregnancy style. She sported a number of hippy-chic maternity dresses that even non-expecting women would wear. However, the year wasn’t without its hiccups. The year before, Richie was caught driving under the influence. Because it wasn’t her first offense, she faced mandatory jail time. She pleaded guilty to DUI and was sentenced to four days in jail. Lucky for her, she was only forced to spend 82 minutes in jail because of overcrowding.

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Clandestine Industries and Switch Boutique Runway Show – 2009

Once she had her first child, a daughter named Harlow Winter Kate, Nicole Richie began sporting a new hairstyle. This one was long and layered and featured some pretty heavy bangs. She definitely looks more like a hippy with this hairstyle. While it may have complimented her fashion choices, we don’t think it is the most flattering hairstyle that she’s had.

In 2009, Richie welcomed her second child with Joel Madden, a boy named Sparrow James Midnight. Lucky for her, she was able to experience this pregnancy in style as well. A year earlier, she had debuted a jewelry line, House of Harlow 1960 and, two years after that, she created a line of maternity clothes with her signature style for A Pea in the Pod. “You really feel like you have to change your whole wardrobe. And that’s the last thing a woman wants to go through. So I really tried to make this line to get women excited about wearing clothes,” Richie said.

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The Art of Elysium’s Annual HEAVEN Gala – 2010

Nicole Richie kept her long layers, but dyed her blonde hair brown in 2010. While we love almost everything that she does, we don’t think this hairstyle is especially flattering on her. The blunt bangs are just wrong. They hide her pretty face. We really can’t believe blunt bangs were able to make a comeback. They are flattering on very few women.

That same year, Richie tied the knot with her longtime love and the father of her two children, Joel Madden. They were married at her father, Lionel Richie’s Los Angeles estate. They invited 130 close family members and friends, as well as a trained elephant to the ceremony. They made sure to have their kids involved as well. Their daughter Harlow was the flower girl and their son Sparrow was the ring-bearer. Some of the guests included Joel’s brother Benji Madden, Sam Ronson and Gwen Stefani and her husband Gavin Rossdale.

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NBC Universal All-Star Winter TCA Party – 2012

Nicole Richie went for long bangs and choppy layers at the NBC Universal All-Star Winter TCA Party. This is not one of our favorite hairstyles on her. It looks a bit too bulky and the bangs are too blunt. It is so bulky in fact that it looks as though it lacks shape. Not a great look at all.

While she may have been struggling in the hair department, no one was questioning her abilities as a fashion designer. A couple of years earlier, she expanded her fashion business with a women’s line, which featured her signature boho-chic designs, called Winter Kate. In 2012, she launched a clothing line for Macy’s called Nicole Richie for Impulse and she joined NBC’s reality show “Fashion Star” as a mentor for aspiring fashion designers, alongside Jessica Simpson and Elle MacPherson. Contestants competed with each other for the chance to launch their collections. It only ran for two seasons before it was cancelled.

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Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala – 2013

Nicole Richie got rid of the bangs and cut her hair short for the Clive Davis 2013 Pre-Grammy Gala. It looks like she was going for a new hair color too. This particular color job looks like the ombre, which was in fashion at the time. We don’t mind this hairstyle or color on her. She looks quite striking.

2013 was an exciting year for Richie. She got her own reality TV show on AOL called “Candidly Nicole.” All of the five-minute webisodes were based on her irreverent Twitter feed. The show follows her and her friends and family on various adventures and features her unfiltered sense of humor and her unique perspectives on life. The show was such a hit that it was picked up by VH1. The first season went really well, so it has been renewed for a second. Anyone who doubted that Richie could carry a half hour show was really wrong. It is quite entertaining!

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AOL Newfront Original Programming Event – 2014

Throughout 2014 and 2015, Nicole Richie has been experimenting with green, blue, purple and pink hair. At the AOL Newfront Original Programming Event, she sported lavender hair. The style of it is great. We love the beachy waves and we actually love the color as well. It looks surprisingly good with her skin. We’re just not sure how after all of this dye her hair hasn’t fallen out. She dyes it way too frequently now.

Richie first dyed her hair purple after her friend Kelly Osbourne dared her to do it. “I’m in loooooove with @nicolerichie even more now I have seen this pic! I dare you to make it permanent so we can match!!!!” Osbourne wrote on Instagram alongside a picture that had Richie posted of herself with lavender hair. It wasn’t real though. She had used Photoshop to change her hair color. A week after Osbourne dared her to dye her hair, Richie debuted her new purple locks.

Photo By: John Paul Melendez/Everett Collection



Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.