Nicole Richie's Hair Caught Fire When She Was Blowing Out CandlesHere's what You Should Do in that Situation

Nicole Richie just turned 40 yesterday. And she said that "so far 40 is ." Unfortunately, she means that quite literally.

Her friends and family had a field day in the comment section, poking fun at the situation (which suggests Richie wasn't hurt and is doing OK). "That's hot," her husband, Good Charlotte vocalist Joel Madden, wrote, a nod to Paris Hilton's tagline from when she and Richie starred on The Simple Life together.

"Happy Birthday Sis love you and thankful for you always stay lit ," brother-in-law and Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden said. "I feel awful for laughing I'm sry also happy birthday!!!," Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski commented. Two other people wrote "'Twas a hot hot hot night," and "Happy 40th gorgeous!!! Still on fuego!!!!."

If your hair is on fire, do this to put it out

Douse the flames with water ASAP. If there's no water available, smother the flames with something made of cloth. "A blanket or jacket can even work and will allow you to smother the fire," Marquetta Breslin, a licensed cosmetologist, tells ishonest. "You want the hair to stop burning as soon as possible. As long as there's not much product in the hair, the flames should be pretty easy to put out."

Once the fire is out and if you haven't already used water, cool your hair by immediately pouring water on it. If the flames reach your clothes or other parts of your body, it's time to stop, drop, and roll. "This essentially means: Stop where you are, cover your face with your hands, if possible, and roll over and over or back and forth until the flames are completely out," Susan McKelvey, communications manager at the National Fire Protection Association, tells ishonest.

How can fire damage hair?

Some hairstylists actually use fire to shorten and seal the ends of the hair, Breslin points out. But when your hair isn't burned in a professional setting and instead in an accident like Richie's, it can have unintended consequences.

"It's important to note that hair doesn't generally burn to the scalp. Hair generally singes, so the singed ends are what needs to be trimmed to prevent further damage," Breslin explains. "The good thing is once the ends are trimmed, the damage is gone, and the hair can grow back like normal."

How can you fix your fire-damaged hair?

If you can't get to a professional, DIY it at home until you can get to a salon by applying a deep conditioning treatment and avoiding adding any more heat to your hair.

So next time you're around a candle, be careful—and maybe pull your hair back so it can't reach a flame so easily. As McKelvey points out, "candles are among the leading causes of US home fires and need to be used with caution and care."

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