Sam and Nic (aka aka Pixiwoo) go back in time to discover the looks of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Katie Wright finds out more
THEY may not be household names (yet), but as online ‘influencers’ go (that’s the accepted term these days), Sam Chapman and Nic Haste are nothing short of megastars.
Their YouTube channel, called Pixiwoo, has more than 2m subscribers, who flock every Thursday to catch the latest make-up tutorial or chatty video, documenting the fruits of a recent shopping expedition.
Not that the humble sisters consider themselves famous...
“We’re not celebrities,” insists Sam. “If anything it’s a push to say we’re ‘personalities’, because unless you’re into the same stuff we are, you wouldn’t know who we are.
“We know if we go into a big beauty hall or a MAC store, people will definitely stop and talk to us, but that’s absolutely fine.
“It’s so humbling to meet people who enjoy our videos and have the same passions we have.”
The warm, friendly 39-year-old takes the lead during our interview to talk about the siblings’ latest project — a DVD documentary shot on location in LA, which explores the make-up methods used on the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich in the Golden Age of cinema.
Called Hollywood Icons, the film got the pair ruminating on how different life was for the starlets of yesteryear.
“[I was surprised] how little control they had over their look,” says Sam. “The studios chose exactly who they would appeal to.”
“And they were told when they could or couldn’t have kids,” Nic, the younger sister by three years, adds. Both mums themselves, they trained as makeup artists before posting their first vlog, eight years ago.
Still based in their home town of Norwich, they now split their time between vlogging, designing their best-selling Real Techniques brush range, and special projects like the DVD and their new book, Face — as well as mummy duties, of course.
“I’ve literally just got back from spending two hours at my daughter’s school making bird feeders,” Sam says, chuckling.
Surely, being a renowned beauty guru, she had a full face of slap on for the occasion?
Nope, not a stitch.
“We spend half of every video with no make-up on, so it’s really not a stretch to leave the house with no make-up on,” she says. “Sometimes, make-up is the last of my priorities, ‘cause I’ve got to get my arse to my kids’ school, or be on a phone call!”
Nic agrees: “We want make-up to be something you love, not a hindrance.”
It’s that combination of expertise and enthusiasm, without taking it all too seriously, that keeps fans coming back, and lucky for them, the sisters say they’ve still got a surplus of video ideas up their sleeves.
Plus, despite a never-ending influx of freebies, they still love to hit the beauty aisles.
“I prefer it more now than ever, because when you get sent a lot of stuff, it becomes part of your job, and you don’t get the same enjoyment as if you go into Space NK or Boots or Superdrug and actually think, ‘I’m going to buy this because I love it’,” Sam enthuses.
So what are the products they adore? Here’s the low-down on Pixiwoo’s all-time heroes and latest favourites...
THREE ‘DESERT ISLAND’ MUST-HAVES
Sam: “I can’t be without moisturiser, so I’d take Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre Nourishing Moisturiser [€17 Boots], or a lip balm like Carmex Original [€3.99], that’s an essential. And I love red lipstick, so I’d go for MAC Russian Red, [€20, Brown Thomas]. It’s a classic.”
Nic: “Dr Pawpaw Tinted Ultimate Red Balm [€9.45]. I use it on my lips, eyelids, cheeks; I prefer it to Eight Hour Cream.
YSL Volume Effet mascara [€29.95, debenhams.ie] is the best, and Hourglass Illume Sheer Colour Trio in Sunset [€63, SpaceNK], because it has a highlighter, blusher and bronzer. They’re all cream and it’s just lovely.”
Nic: “I really like Maybelline Age Rewind Eye Concealer [€9.35, Superdrug]. It gives really good coverage without being really thick.”
Sam: “Mine is Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Mascara [€7.49, Boots], which is like a mascara for your eyebrows. The colours are really good.”
THE LUXURY FAVOURITE
Sam: “The one thing you should spend your money on is foundation, because the ingredients make a massive difference. The new Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick [€49, Space NK], is so nice, it’s like silk on your face.”
Nic: “I agree with Sam!”
Sam: “MAC Studio Face And Body Foundation [€32, Brown Thomas], I’ve been using since I started make-up. You can use it really sheer, or you can build it up.”
Nic: “I’ve been using MAC Hush Cream Colour Base as a highlighter for I don’t know how long. I’m still yet to find a better highlighter.”
Nic: “‘Soap brows’, which we discovered in the documentary, is an old Hollywood trick. It’s the most amazing cheap brow gel ever and keeps your eyebrows completely in shape.
You can use any kind of glycerin-based transparent soap, like Pears Oil Clear Bar Soap, [80c, Superdrug].”
Sam: “Clinique Pop Matte Lip Colour + Primer (€18, Debenhams); lipsticks with a matte payoff and the colours are gorgeous. I’ve been wearing Blushing Pop relentlessly, which is unheard of for me.”
Pixiwoo Present: Hollywood Icons is available now from www.amazon.co.uk, £14.99/ €17.50
BUY IT NOW
Looking for a quick make-up fix for the festive season? Benefit’s Big Sexy Eye Kit gives you not one but three options. The trio of dual eyeshadows comes with a handy sponge applicator, so you all you need to do is swipe, sweep, and blend to create easy-peasy smoky eyes,€39 (www.brownthomas.com).
LESS FAFF, MORE FUN
Instagram is great for beauty inspo, but clicking through to retailer sites, or Googling to find that particular lippie or liner, can be a pain. New app Metix makes it easy to buy entire looks or individual products, putting everything in one basket, so you can spend more time shopping and less time searching (metixapp.com).
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