The blogging duo tells us about the new collections, their aversion to contouring and why more beauty brands should cater to darker skin tones
Spell: Tell us about your new Real Techniques collections
Sam: We’re launching a Deluxe Christmas set which contains all the brushes you’ll ever need for the party season. It has the multi-task brush, which is great for blushers, bronzers and powders. The angled highlighter brush, for adding glow to your cheeks. Base foundation brush, which gives really seamless application for liquid foundations. The tapered foundation brush, which helps to achieve a flawless complexion. Eyeshadow brush, which is perfect for socket work and blending and finally the fine liner brush, it’s my favourite and perfect for cat eyes and winged liner.
Nic: We’re also launching the Bold Metals collection, which contains three brushes for powder, shadow and highlighting. They’re weighted for really good control and angled so they won’t roll off the counter too.
Spell: What’s the most common beauty query you get asked?
Sam: What foundation should I wear is the one question we get asked all the time and unfortunately it’s not one we can answer. It totally depends on your skin type. We always give a list of questions that you should ask yourself before buying and then depending on those answers we may be able to give recommendations. Ultimately though, you always have to go to the counter and try it out before you buy it. I think so many women get it wrong because the whole process is so complicated.
Nic: I totally agree, there are so many [foundations] out there and it’s a minefield. If you go into a store, the lighting is always terrible and the shade names are so confusing, I mean what does ‘beige rose’ or ‘sand’ even mean? That doesn’t mean anything! If you name them 1 to 18 that means more as someone can say, ‘well I’m really dark so I can go towards 18’, it’s much more relatable.
Spell: If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed one product what would it be?
Sam: Mascara! And it would be YSL Volume Effect
Nic: Yep, I’m the same, mine would have to be a waterproof mascara.
Any unsung hero products that Spell readers should know more about?
Sam: There are some great drugstore foundations that probably don’t get shouted about as much as they should, the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation is brilliant. Generally drugstore ranges have come a long way and they are now far more dewy instead of just matte.
Nic: I think Sunday Riley is a hidden gem, it’s expensive but it’s worth every penny. I love the oils, they are amazing.
Spell: What’s the biggest beauty myth that you know is a load of rubbish?
Sam: That contouring makes you look slimmer! It makes you look older and like you’ve got so much makeup on! It’s quite ageing too, as you get older your skin loses its elasticity and can look gaunt so contouring only heightens it. It’s such a terrible trend! One that only the Kardashians can get away with and no one else!
Nic: That you should go much lighter with your concealer! If you use a lighter concealer on your blemishes all you’re doing is highlighting them. The key is to go for brighter concealers not lighter ones. You also need to think about the area you’re trying to conceal, so if it’s dark circles go for a shade that will brighten, if it’s blemishes go for a shade that will cancel out the red.
Spell: What’s your favourite beauty travel essential?
Sam: Real Techniques Brushes Travel Essential Kit! I don’t go anywhere without them!
Spell: Who are your beauty style icons?
Nic: We have similar ones actually, we both love Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Victoria Beckham, she is so great. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley always looks amazing; she’s got the whole package going on!
Sam: Sienna Miller too, more so now than before. We saw her on a flight, she was lovely and looked great, she didn’t have an ounce of makeup on and it made us love her that bit more.
Spell: Any beauty trends that you are currently loving?
Sam: I love the nineties trend at the moment, it’s really cool.
Nic: Me too! I love the nineties! I also love it when the seasons change and you get the new colour palettes. I tend to get a bit bored by the end of the season so when it comes around I’m like ‘Yay! Autumnal colours are back!’
Spell: Favourite Instagram feed?
Sam: God so many! I like Laura Whitmore, she’s so cool and nice and her account is personal but funny too.
Nic: I love The Fat Jewish he’s really funny! The makeup artist Kandee Johnson her feed is great. Georgina Graham is really funny and Vivianna Does Make-up, Lily Pebbles and In the Frow, their images are so bright and well shot, it’s really attracting.
Spell: How do you decide what looks you’re going to create?
Sam: Whatever is current and gets requested really, so we’ll do a lot of catwalk trends. Aside from that we know that Halloween, Christmas, New Year etc will be huge.
Nic: Looks from films are also popular so we get a lot of inspiration there too.
Spell: What have you felt most proud of in your career?
Sam: I feel incredibly proud that 65% of women in the UK use Real Technique brushes. Considering how many brushes are out there and available on the market, it’s such an achievement that people use ours and are loyal to the brand.
Nic: A real wow moment for me was when I went to see a concert, I think it was at Wembley or a big arena like that and I suddenly realised we could fill all these seats with the amount of views our videos have had. It suddenly hit me just what those numbers meant. When you’re filming a video, it’s just you and the camera and you don’t realise how many people will see it, so for me that was an incredible moment.
Spell: What’s the best and worst part about being a YouTuber?
Sam: The worst part is leaving my kids, right now is half term and because I’m on the roadshow I won’t be there. But the best part is that when I’m away Nic is with me.
Nic: And that’s the worst part too! Ha! Mine is exactly the same, I hate being away from my kids but love being with Sam.
Spell: Have any reactions to your tutorials every really shocked you?
Sam: My last Halloween video didn’t have one negative comment and that’s unheard of! There is always someone who won’t like it so it was nice to not have any written negativity.
Nic: You learn to brush any negativity off though, but it does also depend what your mood is on the day. Some days it can get you down more than others.
Spell: We know you as superstar beauty bloggers but what else defines you?
Sam: I’m a proper nerd! I quite like comics, dinosaurs and football! I also just watched three Die Hard movies back to back because I’d never seen them before.
Nic: How have you not seen Die Hard?! Die Hard with a Vengeance is my favourite!
Sam: No that one was stupid! Where they had to do the quiz with Samuel L Jackson? One and two are the best! I get obsessed with things you see, books, CDs, I have weeks where I get obsessed with one thing only and this week it’s Die Hard!
Nic: My kids are three and four, so all my spare times goes on them. They tend to just spend all their time jumping one me! When I get five minutes to myself I’m really into interiors and I love looking on Right Move for houses! I’m very nosey basically!
Spell: Blogging is a now a huge phenomenon, do you think there is a chance it may crash and burn at some point due to the rise of paid posts?
Sam: I don’t think readers will mind about paid posts as the UK has such strict laws on it now and rightly so. I do think that bloggers should only endorse something if they really like. I would never endorse anything exercise related as everyone would know I’m lying because I never go to the gym!
Nic: I think bloggers are straight up about paid for posts and it’s celebrities who aren’t. You have people from reality shows not mentioning endorsements yet they don’t get into trouble and that annoys me. I don’t think blogging is going anywhere though, I think people may get bored of the bloggers that are out there and a new wave will appear – it’s a bit like the Big Brother effect. I also think that the media and brands are less scared of bloggers now, they don’t see them as a threat and understand they can work together. I do think that all forms of media should have to play by the same rules, many magazines will features products editorially because brands advertise yet not many people know about this.
Spell: Do you think our obsession with beauty is becoming too extreme due to social media and do you worry for the next generation of girls growing up?
Sam: I don’t think there is anything we can do to control it, I believe it’s up to parents to educate their children in the right way so that they understand beauty isn’t always enough to get by in life. I want my kids to have something more valuable.
What do you think can be done so that beauty industry is more encompassing for women of colour?
Sam: So much! The long and short of it is that cosmetics for dark skin don’t sell well in high street stores and that’s because there is a massive distrust and it becomes a vicious circle. If you do a range of foundations and only two of them are for dark skin then that’s just a token gesture. And then what’s the point? They might as well have made none! It’s appalling and brands need to start by meaning what they say and bringing out proper ranges that cater to all skintones.
Nic: For dark skin you need to get it right so if they’ve only made one colour then what’s the likelihood that it’s going to match? MAC does well, but that’s it really. It’s quite shocking.
Spell: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Sam: From a work sense my aunt is a makeup artist and she said to me always look busy even if you’re not. I’ve perfected this art down to a T!
Nic: Lots that I’ve probably never taken on board! The aunt that Sam mentioned always taught me never to judge, when I was younger I used to sometimes think how can you work away from home all the time and leave your kids? Now I understand that life is just really tough and I get it. I even text her this morning about it.