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Samantha and Nicola Chapman were destined to become internationally-known makeup artists, whether they saw it in their future or not. The sisters grew up in the UK, learning the basics from their aunt, a professional makeup artist who worked with the likes of David Bowie and Princess Diana. 

Sam and Nick

Their mother also had a passion for makeup, laying the groundwork for what would become a lucrative career for the girls. They started by attending professional makeup school, working their way up in the industry. Then, on one fateful day in 2008, Sam uploaded her first video to Youtube after a friend asked how to achieve a smoky eye look. Soon the sisters were collaborating on videos, getting more more requests each time, and pretty soon, the Pixiwoo Channel took off.   

The pair now have over 1.8 million subscribers on their Youtube channel, though Sam makes it clear that she doesn’t neccessarily count subcribers as a measure of success. They’ve also released the second collection of their popular Real Techniques makeup brushes. 

When I first met the sisters, Sam, the eldest, was wearing a dressy black top with leather-like jeans and a sparkling statement necklace,  with her brunette hair pulled back. Nic looked effortlessly cool in a black t-shirt and destroyed denim shorts, with a red bandana tied around a belt loop, her blonde hair loose around her face. Surprisingly, they had been wearing the same face of makeup since 6am that morning, though it was impossible to tell. Sam had touched up her foundation with a Bobbi Brown product, and also wore MAC eyeshadow in “Wedge” and a new Estee Lauder eyeliner that’s not yet been released. Nic wore Hourglass foundation and matte MAC lipstick in “Relentlessly Red”, with the same up-and-coming shade of Estee Lauder eyeliner.

After chatting for a little while, they revealed that they have several new projects in the works, but we won’t actually hear about them until September. Until then, we’ll have to pass the time trying out their newest line of makeup brushes. The original Real Techniques brush collection launched in 2011 as an affordable range of essential tools, in fun colors like pink, purple, and yellow; the collection also included the Miracle Complexion Sponge, comparable to the popular Beautyblender, but for roughly a third of the price. They quickly became a favorite of makeup enthusiasts, especially those looking for an affordable option without sacrificing quality. 


The new Bold Metals Collection is a clear improvement with a more luxurious feel. Nic enthusiastically showed off the features of the new brushes, urging me to hold and even feel them. The tips are super soft, and tapered for better pick-up and a buildable finish; they are also white this time around, instead of black like the original collection, so it’s easy to tell how much product is on the brush. The handles are weighted to reach that sweet spot in between comfort and control, and are also angled to avoid rolling off of surfaces; the colors are also chic and shiny in gold, silver and copper. They are decidedly less clunky than the original collection, designed to slide easily out of professional brush belts, and the “IT” factor is still there as well. 

That’s the true beauty of Sam and Nic Chapman! Though the vast world of cosmetics can be overwhelming, their eagerness to share their expertise with the rest of us, in a completely real and honest way, and on an accessible platform, gives us an extra boost of confidence to own our look.

Here’s what the sisters had to say:

DISH: You were sort of the pioneers of the Youtube beauty blogging world. Now there are so many girls doing it, and guys too. Do you feel that has fueled your success, or is it harder to get more subscribers now?

SAM:  Firstly, I wouldn’t focus on subscribers. I think a lot of people do and I don’t think that’s a measure of your success at all. What I would say is, I definitely think it’s harder to start now than when we started because there were really very few people doing it back then. Now, if you’re starting a Youtube channel, you’ve got so, so, so, much competition.

NIC: There weren’t really any other makeup artists on Youtube then. And now there are more makeup artists that are joining. And to be fair, there are so many talented people that are joining that aren’t makeup artists, that do makeup that is equally fantastic. There is a lot of competition out there, but it’s all healthy and it’s all fun, and there is a place for everyone!

SAM: I do think it’s sort of interesting the way that it’s grown and changed, and it’s really exciting to have that amazing landscape with that many creative people. You can learn so much, and for people that want to learn, you can collaborate with them and you can grow together. But Nic and I, we never started our Youtube channel in order for it to be successful. There was no measure of success before we did it in fact, so we had no idea it would take off and become anything. We had no idea we’d do the brushes either. It wasn’t like a planned strategy. But I think now people actually have a leg up, because they can learn from people who have made mistakes. People that haven’t made mistakes and who have a clear business model, where as we just kind of went with the flow as it passed through.

Brushes newDISH: What advice would you give an entrepreneur, be they beauty blogger or otherwise? What are some things that you’ve learned that you wish you could have known sooner?

SAM: I think, not everything works. And that’s OK. Don’t feel disheartened by that. Some things just don’t and you’ve just got to try something new the next day.

NIC: If it doesn’t feel right, it normally isn’t right, so don’t do it. Don’t lose your values or your morals to try and get hits, or try and make something. You’ve got to stay who you are and that’s why people will eventually come and help you with what you’re doing.

DISH: So, you actually met my sister the other day. We love talking about makeup and new beauty products but we still have our moments when we don’t get along. Have you found that since you’re related it’s been difficult to reach decisions together? Do you butt heads a lot?

NIC: We’ve always butted heads.

SAM: I think it’s been better and it’s been worse. I don’t think that I could work with someone else as closely as I do with Nic, because most people drive me mental. Actually she drives me mental but to a lesser degree, and actually we can discuss it. Whereas, if it was someone else, I think I would struggle to let the control go, and I think she’s quite similar in that aspect.

NIC: It’s hard, but we get to experience so much together. And when we do argue, it’s forgotten about. We argue, we blow out, we hate each other for a little while, and then it’s forgotten about and we just move on. I think that’s something that only sisters or relatives can do.

SistersDISH: Do you collaborate on ideas to upload videos or do you work independently?

SAM: Sometimes we do. Obviously we always have to make sure that we’re doing different stuff, that we’re like, ‘What are you doing on Friday?’, because otherwise we’d just end up doing the same things. You’d get two weeks of videos that are the same. Occasionally we do videos together and then we collaborate on what products we’re going to put in it. We don’t try on the makeup. We literally get a picture and we’ll be like, ‘What do you think that is on her lip?’, and we’ll literally try and break down the products. If I can’t figure out what it is, she’ll have a look.

NIC: And bear in mind that not all products look the same on us as they would on someone else. So we then have to find the right tone, so it looks like that color on us. So, we have to discuss that quite a lot.

BrushesDISH: Are there products for summer that you are excited to try? Or ones that you’ve found work really well in the summer? 

SAM: I change my products probably fortnightly because we get so much in. Current things I like, although I’m not wearing them today, I love the Tom Ford Collection for this season. It’s just beautiful, and I do have the “Pink Sand” blush on. The eyeshadows come with a cream, and then a powder that you layer and they’re very pretty. I love the “Balm Mary-Lou Manizer”, the highlighter. It’s so pretty, it’s amazing. Best concealer is still my “Clarins Instant Concealer”, which I’ve forgotten this whole 10-day trip. You know something.s good when you feel lost without it.

NIC: Things I’m loving for summer are Estee Lauder DayWear Tint, which changes with your skin color. I just love it because it’s got high SPF, which means you don’t look like you’ve got loads on. If I’m being photographed I love “Hourglass The Veil Foundation, beacause it photographs beautifully. And a black liner, especially one that doesn’t move.

DISH: Have you had any beauty failures?

SAM: So many.

Model and sistersDISH: What were the worst ones?

NIC: I went from being orange when I was at school, like, totally orange with Sam saying to me, “you look really really orange, what are you doing?”, to going so pale that I look ghostly white, with too white foundation. I’ve had loads of mistakes. Wearing like, THE whitest, shimmery-est highlighter while I was at college and learning makeup.

SAM: Every time I look at a picture of myself I can pick fault with it, somewhere. That’s just the way it is. I don’t pick fault in my face as much, but just things about products that drive me crazy. If I was to create my own products, I’m sure I’d be really happy. But I’d only do it for me.

DISH: Is that on your list of things to do?

SAM: No, not specifically. Because I would literally only want to make products that I like to wear. Not sure if anyone else would want to wear them.

DISH: One more question. Because I’m a mascara freak, what are you favorite mascaras?

SAM: Favorite one is, there are several, but I really love the YSL with the gold and the rose gold. I love it. I’m really funny about mascara. There are several things I don’t like. One thing I don’t like is when your eyelashes feel spiky and crunchy. I hate that, I hate eyelashes that clump together. I hate mascara that doesn’t come off really, really easily. I hate mascara when I can’t pick it off. It drives me crazy if it’s like tubing or something like that, because then I just am going to lose lashes. And I like a mascara I can build up. So later on I want to be able to comb my lashes through and put another coat on. And the YSL checks all those boxes for me.

NIC: I wear probably three mascaras at once. My three of choice are a new Urban Decay one, “Perversion”; it’s got a nice brush, it’s quite small. I’ve then got Diorshow over the top and then I seal it with a little bit of MAC Extended Play because it brushes it all back through and it’s more waterproof. So I put all of them on at once! It’s just like using a primer, I suppose, using three mascaras to get the look you want.

Visit Sam and Nic’s Youtube channel at and see the new Real Techniques Bold Metals collection at 

Also, Real Techniques brushes range from $16-$26 each. Visit the website and you’ll also find how-to videos for each brush, as well as tutorials on different makeup looks! / Issue 172 - September 2018
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