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Sometimes a girl needs to indulge herself — or, better yet, be indulged by some generous other. (You could always clip this column, color-highlighting your most-desirables, and leave it lying around in some conspicuous spot to drop the perfect hint.)

One of the reasons makeup and perfumes sell so well and so constantly is that these delights offer relatively affordable ways to treat ourselves or someone else to a little luxury in the name of nothing more practical than beauty and pleasure.

I did say relatively affordable! A new top-of-the-line lipstick is not cheap, but it seems so when you compare it to the cost of a new dress, a day at a spa, or a holiday in Tahiti.

There are lots of tantalizing new products out there, just waiting to be discovered. In this and the column to follow we’ll discover some of the best.

Now some of you may already be making up Christmas lists, so perk up your ears. But consider the possibility of a pre-Christmas present too, just to get yourself in a festive sort of mood. A new lipstick or perfume might be just the thing . . .

A classic lipstick has got to be red, and one of the best around is Shiseido Lipstick Advanced Performance in Hybrid Red. It’s vivid, it’s gorgeous and it’s a truly sumptuous red. Jungle Red by Francois Nars is another lipstick fit for a movie star. Look for other great reds at the Chanel and Lanco^me counters.

Now for a lipstick that is the free-spirited opposite of classic: Yves St. Laurent Rouge Pur No. 49. This is a scorching, scintillating, bright fluorescent pink, like an azalea lit up in the morning sun.

Bobbi Brown, who has recently branched out with fabulous new product ranges aglow with color and shine, offers a wondrous fat gel pencil for lips and cheeks. It comes in six shades, all equally delicious.

Other special lip treats: Poppy Liquid Lipstick, in Heat 90 Degrees, looks like a coat of molten red lacquer on the lips. Tony & Tina offer Mood Balance lipsticks to beautify both inside and out, and almost every company has glittery sparkles that can be applied anywhere, including lips.

In the perfume realm, Vivienne Westwood has brought out the adventurous Libertine, a blend of grapefruit, pineapple and white florals, along with amber and musk. It’s both fresh and sexy, a rare and alluring combination.

Rush for men, by Gucci, is sexy and hypnotic, with its musky mix of pine, cypress and woody notes. It may be for men, but can be interesting on a woman who wants to get away from sweetness and light. Odeur 71, from Comme des Garcons, is a pink-hued scent based on metal, incense, bamboo, lettuce and some other unusual elements. Conceptual, this one carries an intellectual appeal in its atmosphere.

Finally, an old standby in a new bottle: L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci. This is a youthful, sweet, fresh fragrance that floats like a delicate cloud. Exquisite. Worth rediscovering, and the new bottle that contains it is no disappointment.