When dressing modestly, other factors of appearance tend to stand out more than they do for the women who do not dress as modestly. For example, when a celebrity wears whatever she's wearing, how often do journalists comment on the hairstyle or the makeup? Sometimes they do, but the more revealing the clothing, the more the focus is on the body. Dressing modestly means people naturally focus more on the face than the clothes, which is a good thing! Many groups have tried so desperately to stay away from immodest fashion trends that they have rejected much to do with improving appearance, and of course they are entitled to their own opinions. My position is that makeup in moderation is not something to be rejected without evaluating each makeup item individually, the same as is done for the clothing reviews on this website.
Everyone has her own makeup aesthetic. If you're a student of professional makeup, you'll find that the best daytime makeup is considered to be that which looks most natural. If you are not into makeup, or even if you are, consider experimenting with just translucent highlighter, blush and lip color. Done right, this can brighten the face yet look natural enough to not be obvious. Heavily-lined eyes and dark eyeshadow is a popular celebrity look, but the heavy eye makeup never looks natural, and mascara is uncomfortable to apply, wear and remove, though mascara alone is actually one of the most natural-looking eye enhancers. However, if applying and wearing mascara is a trauma to your eyes, pamper the eyes and forget the mascara. You'll see plenty of professional makeup applications with no more than a skin-toned eye shadow with a moderate lip color and light blush, and this look is easy to apply and wear.
Two of my favorite makeup brands are MAC and Sonia Kashuk, both receiving high ratings for almost all products in their lines from cosmetics expert Paula Begoun. MAC has superior products in many weights for evening out skin tone, realistic colors of blushes (try the universally popular Blushbaby color), and Tinted Lipglass, one of the best lip glosses on the market. The MAC Paint Pot cream eyshadows are gentle to apply to delicate eye skin and long lasting. MAC stands for Makeup Art Cosmetics and was originally started as an industry brand for makeup artists. It is sold through stand-alone stores or in department stores, yet the prices run below other department store brands. MAC is a creative brand, consistently introducing leading formulations and on-trend colors. Sonia Kashuk is a more affordably priced line carried by Target stores in the United States. While several other brands also circulate through my very small makeup bag from year to year, products from MAC and Sonia Kashuk are regulars because of their quality and moderate pricing.
As for finding other good products, Paula Begoun offers extensive guidance to popular brands of makeup and skin care in her Beautypedia reviews. She attests that products are available in the lower price ranges that match or excel the attributes of expensive products. From her site, "Expensive doesn't mean better! There are good and bad products in all price categories, and there are brilliant inexpensive products you should absolutely consider before going for the expensive stuff." Begoun's reviews are based on whether the product performs as advertised, how it is different from other products, and whether the ingredients in the product are safe and effective. She started writing about makeup and skin care in the mid-1980s, and I have been a fan of her work since first discovering her books at my local library as a young teenager. In more recent years, Begoun has become a manufacturer of her own comprehensive line of skin care products along with a smaller selection of makeup which may be worth a try for people with special skin care needs, though I have found local products to be less expensive and just as effective without the need to have Begoun's line shipped, since hers is only available online.
Makeup is not required for looking beautiful, but if you do use it, thorough removal is important to maintaining healthy skin. Eye makeup remover works for more than just eye makeup and removes everything without the need for multiple cleansers. Neutrogena's Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover is a cost-effective choice designed to be applied and wiped off with cotton pads. Some people use astringent as a final cleansing step, but this is usually harsh on skin, regardless of skin type. As an alternative final step for extra clean skin, gently exfoliate using either a clean washcloth or scrubbing cream. Whatever removal methods you use, if you put on makeup, make sure it all comes off at night.
After cleansing, keeping skin moisturized is essential. Younger skin is naturally more oily, and a single drop of oil-free moisturizer may be all that is needed. Drier skin types need more assistance. Aveeno's Skin Relief 24 Hour Moisturizing Lotion is a reliable product that has worked well for my combination skin for over a decade, and which I keep returning to use after rotating through other options. At the time of this writing it is packaged with a blue label and said to contain "triple oat complex." For me personally, this moisturizer seems to works better for the face than any other of the Aveeno products, even ones specifically designed for the face, and it can be economically used for a body lotion as well. When out in the sun, adding sunscreen is important to prevent sun damage to skin, but in the shade, this Aveeno moisturizer is sufficient.
While I would love to be able to offer a list of natural or organic makeup products and moisturizers, I have been unable to find anything better than the recommendations here, and that is while continuing to test other options. Straight body oils don't absorb well, and some other products advertised as all-natural don't perform well enough to be practical. This page was updated in December 2014, so if something better emerges with my rounds of trials of natural products, I'll be back with another update.