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THE panoply of makeups in the cosmetics department is daunting. Once you're past the starting point (a sheer-beige foundation), then which of the hundreds of colors should you choose, and what techniques should be used in applying them so your new face is becoming to your clothes? Most all makeup manufacturers have in fact given great thought to the kinship of their new looks with trends in ready-to-wear, which should make the selection process easier going.

For instance, it's now possible to coordinate your lipstick and eye shadow with the colors in your paisley print. Lanc"ome's new Cabaret D'Automne line is based on the deep reds, blues, greens, and golds found in paisleys.

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Est'ee Lauder's line, like all Gaul, is divided into three parts: country, adventurous, and poetic, each keyed to a particular aspect of fall's styles. For countrified clothes, Lauder suggests a true-red mouth, umber-toned cheek color, and brown and green shadings for eyes. For the adventurous or dandy mood there are bright pinks and a two-toned shadow (smoky berry with khaki). A darker burgundy lip color and stronger eye makeup, including colored mascara, give a lift to poetic or romantic dressing.

Elsewhere the palette ranges from pale or muted dark tones (as in the Ralph Lauren selection, which is allied to his newest upscale classics) to enriched reds, purples, and midnight blue. L'Or'eal is greeting the season with two fashion-conscious lines. One, inspired by the Indian raj fashions, features gold-flecked, jewel-tone rouges and deep-blue or violet eye pencils; the other is a heathery group to wear with Scottish plaids.

Chanel is introducing Coco Red, timed to the launching of a new perfume named Coco. Other colors in their new scheme, suggested by the oceans, are blued reds with a plum or tawny cast. In a change of image, once-traditional Elizabeth Arden is concentrating on video colors, including New Wave Crimson and Pulsating Plum. The Charles of the Ritz spectrum is vibrant, too, with intense reds, blues, and teal predominating.

Eyes and lips are the focal points. For highlighting eyelids, there are compacts like Chanel's, which contains two pearlized colors -- an arctic pink and a tropic green, for instance. (Apply the pastel, then blend the darker shade onto the outer lids.) For a mysterious Eastern look, several companies offer liners and shadings with a kohl base. Pencils to define lip lines are again recommended.

The modish complexion is pale, even, natural-looking. The contoured cheek, which in the past has sometimes resulted in an unsightly dark smudge, is no longer in vogue, but a light blush is. This goes over pale powder wherever an accent is indicated, be it below the cheekbones, along the hairline, or on the ear lobes.

For the bewildered who need counsel in choosing or applying cosmetics, Almay has prepared a pamphlet that should guide the neophyte safely through her makeup paces.

A well-finished face will be a total loss, however, without a well-groomed hairstyle. Somewhat longer is the word for women who have been clinging to the close-cropped boy cut. The latest in short, straight hairdos features wispy-edged bangs and sides that can be brushed back in a smooth line and kept in place with a gel or mousse. There are also tousled cuts `a la Amadeus and blunt geometric styles similar to those of the 1960s.

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Models on New York runways have switched coiffures from windblown to slicked-back looks just as fast as they changed clothes, using hairpieces for their quick transformations. Although some styles border on what has been called the Cuisinart look, most are on the classic, well-bred order.

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