Ant McPartlin’s ex Lisa Armstrong tells how lipstick has got her through tough times

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SALES of lipstick have hit the skids this year after masks entered our lives.

In what was a £100million- a-year industry, there was a 49 per cent dip in sales between August and October, according to research group NPD. And experts say there is a big link to masks being made mandatory.

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Lisa explains why our favourite lippie is exactly what we need to lift us in dark times

Here, celebrity make-up artist Lisa Armstrong, who works on telly hit Strictly Come Dancing and used to be married to TV host Ant McPartlin, explains why our favourite lippie is exactly what we need to lift us in dark times.


LIPSTICK is like your best friend. It picks you up when you are down, gives you strength when you feel vulnerable and always manages to put a smile on your face.

Growing up, I learnt from my mum that lippy gives you the confidence to get on with daily life.

Whether she was popping to the shop, going on a dog walk or doing the school run, Mum would never leave the house without a swipe of her favourite Estee Lauder lippy.

She was not hugely into make-up, but that gold missile-shaped lipstick in a mid-brown hue now reminds me of her every time I see it. It has become quite sentimental. Even the dusky, perfume smell takes me back to my childhood.

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Lisa was a disco dancer and had to do her own hair and make-up for competitions

When I read that sales of lipstick had dropped by 49 per cent, I was saddened, but not surprised. The pandemic has changed our lives in many ways, and mask wearing is not particularly condu­cive to sporting your brightest, boldest lip.

You might feel like your perfectly painted pout will not be seen under your face covering, or that your lippy will soon be smudged all over your face.

But I am here to say: Like your closest friends, your lippy will not let you down. So please do not give up on your favourite shades just yet. Remember, this is the little luxury that will get you through the toughest times.

Historically, lipstick sales have gone up during times of hardship, like in 2008 after the financial crisis, in 2001 following 9/11 and in the Thirties during the Great Depression. Whatever happens after this pandemic, I can assure you that your lippy will be your go-to.

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         Like your closest friends, your lippy will not let you down. 
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As a kid, I began painting my own pout and this led to a career as a make-up artist. I was a disco dancer and had to do my own hair and make-up for competitions.

This provided an opportunity to really experiment — the bigger, brighter and bolder, the better. Green eyes would be paired with purple lips. And often, whatever colour my costume was would be matched with the same lip hue — be it orange, pink or red.

It made me feel sassy and fierce and, ultimately, ready to perform. Now, I get to pass this same armour on to the celebrities and dancers on BBC show Strictly.

I’ve worked on the series for the past 12 seasons and often have the ladies coming to me and saying this shade of lippy makes me feel great — so that is what we go with.

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Please do not give up on your favourite shades just yet, writes Lisa
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GET SET: Prep with a lip scrub or put your normal face scrub on a new soft toothbrush.

LINE: Define with a liner, then fill in the entire lip as this acts as a base for your lipstick to cling to, and look bolder. Don’t go too far over your natural lip line.

GO MATTE: These formulas do stay in place but can be drying. My creamy faves are Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Lips and my MATTEiculous Lipsticks as they feel hydrating.

LESS IS MORE: Too much will transfer to mask, and face.

NO GLOSS: Shiny finishes will end up on your mask as the formulas are more moveable with less staying power.

BRUSH ON: Apply with a brush for ultimate accuracy. My go-to lip brush is the MAC 316 Synthetic Lip Brush.

PRESS POUT: Gently press a tissue over your lipstick to lift off any excess.

GO NATURAL: If wearing a mask, stick with a natural, “your lips but better” tone, so if it does move, it won’t be so noticeable. I love MATTEiculous Lipstick in the shade Clarey from my range.