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YouTube Stars Pixiwoo Share Their Makeup Secrets

The makeup artists and beauty vloggers on their most-loved products, best makeup tips and how they keep it real.

Pixiwoo's Nic Haste and Sam Chapman.

If you're even remotely interested in makeup, then chances are, you've heard of Pixiwoo. The YouTube channel founded by UK-based sisters and makeup artists Sam Chapman and Nic Haste boasts more than 1.8 million subscribers (yes, million), 200 million views and counting, and a library of more than 700 tutorial videos.

Pixiwoo are also the experts behind Real Techniques, the affordable, pro-quality line of makeup brushes that I'll bet you've also heard of. When I found out Sam and Nic were coming to Canada as part of a Real Techniques road show tour, OF COURSE I HAD TO meet them. 

From The Styling Edit Archives

With Pixiwoo in Toronto, Canada.

(Yep, this was much more exciting to me than talking to any old Hollywood celebrity.)

The big news for Canada is that Real Techniques is now available at Rexall, Pharma Plus, London Drugs, Uniprix and select Familiprix, Lawtons Drugs and Pharmasave stores. So basically everywhere., too. 

Now on to the interview. I sat down for tea with the Pixiwoo sisters (how English, right?) and got chatting about products, tips and beauty in the digital age. Here we go!

How did you get started as makeup artists?

Nic: We've both done two years of media makeup straight from school. The reason we went down that route is because our auntie is a makeup artist. She was really, really successful. She used to do Lady Diana, David Bowie and loads of celebrities, and it seemed really, really glamorous. She used to let us assist on shoots. So we both left school, went to college and then went on to working counters and doing freelance as well.

Why did you decide to create a YouTube channel?

Sam: I was heavily pregnant at the time. A friend asked me how to do a smoky eye and I didn't feel like answering the email. So I just figured I'd film it and break it down, because it was so much quicker for me to actually just do a quick smoky eye and film it than it was for me to email it. You can't really even email that. So I uploaded it to YouTube. 

Nic: I think then we didn't even know what parts of the eyes were called, really.

Sam: Don't you ever remember when you were a kid and you used to get Look magazine or whatever, and they'd have the breakdowns of the looks. And you'd be like, "How did they get from that to that?" I don't really get it. You didn't show me. So I filmed it, put it on YouTube, thinking that was it. That wasn't it because loads of other people watched it and started requesting more videos. So I uploaded another one, and then Nic got involved and that's how it sort of started. That was October 2008.

A late-night Skype session with Real Techniques.

You must have been the only makeup artists on YouTube at the time.

Sam: Absolutely. We were the first actual makeup artists to do it.

How did the partnership with Real Techniques come about?

Sam: We started the YouTube channel in late 2008. And then in 2010, Real Techniques got in contact. So we'd been on there just over a year. They got in contact and said that they were looking to create this brand, all based in the social media and YouTube space. Were we interested?

What appealed to you about the brand?

Sam: When we started talking to Real Techniques, I thought, "This could be really good." Because firstly, they wanted to make the brushes synthetic, which at the time—and now—I'm like, "That's brilliant." It's really unique; there's a gap in the market; and synthetic, if you can do it well, is a much more durable and versatile material than real hair. Also, they were very keen on it being global and very keen on it being affordable for all women. That really sat very well with what we were doing in the YouTube space.

Do you have a favourite brush?

Sam: It's hard [to choose], but the Face Brush is probably my all-time favourite. I use it for foundation, blusher, bronzer—basically everything. 

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush.

I love them all, but this whole set [the Core Collection Set] is a really useful, brilliant set.

Real Techniques Core Collection Set.

Nic: I like the Blush Brush

Real Techniques Blush Brush.

I also like the Deluxe Crease Brush [from the Starter Set]. It is an eyeshadow blending brush, but actually, we use it a lot to put concealer around the eyes. It's great for eyeshadow as well. 

Real Techniques Starter Set.

What other products are you loving lately?

Nic: At the moment, I'm really liking a Bobbi Brown foundation. It's in a little pot. I don't know what it's called. It's a moisturizing one in a little glass pot. I'm going to have to Google it while Sam's talking.

Sam: I'll do mine while you Google it.

I love your makeup bag.

Sam: Thank you! Liberty sent me that. Do you know Liberty London? It's like a big department store. We must have featured something of theirs and the next day, this came through the post for me. I was like, "Oh my God!" 

Marc by Marc Jacobs Striped Cosmetics Bag.

Right, favourite foundation currently is this [Estée Lauder Enlighten EE Even Effect Skintone Corrector].