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The Real Reason Nicole Richie Loves Wearing Braids (Hint: It's Not Because They're Cute!)

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Courtesy Suave

Take a look at photos of Nicole Richie and you’ll notice something: The girl loves her braids, both in her day-to-day life and on the red carpet. And while most people probably assume she rocks the hairstyle simply because she likes it, we know a little secret … When you see Richie sporting a braid, it’s almost always because she’s masking a bad hair day!

The plait is the her go-to solution for dealing with not-so-perfect hair, Richie tells PEOPLE. (And if not a braid, she reaches for a hat to cover up her mane.) And lucky for her, she looks awesome in the hairstyle, so if she hadn’t told us, we’d never have guessed!

The designer let us in on another strand secret: Her waves don’t come from a curling iron. Instead she uses a flat iron. “A curling iron makes it too literal, too Shirley Temple,” the Suave spokeswoman says, explaining that she prefers the slightly more undone result that comes from curling sections of hair around a straightener.

And though Richie ditched her long locks in favor of a shoulder-length just last month, don’t be surprised if she tries something new soon since she loves experimenting with new cuts and colors. “My hairstylist is my best friend as well, and I’ve always been his guinea pig,” Richie says. “We’ve been playing around with different looks for years. It’s our ‘girl time.'”

And when she does decide to switch things up, don’t expect the Fashion Star judge to play it safe. “I have hated things after they’ve been done, but it’s just hair.”

Check out Richie’s new webisode series, Suave Shine Suite, for more genius hair advice and be sure to tune into the season two premiere of Fashion Star on March 8 on NBC. Tell us: What’s your quick fix to a bad hair day?

–Jennifer Cress, reporting by Alex Apatoff