Happy to help, Cathy. The secret to makeup as I see it is that makeup should only be used to enhance who you are, not make you something you're not. What you do and what you use is entirely up to you, and many people have to experiment with a few different products to find the ones they swear by. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when wearing makeup, and a lot of it is dependent on your particular face needs. To start things off, however, we'll start with the basics.
One of the first things you'll need to invest in is a good foundation. This is one of those products where I'd say you need to get a higher-level of quality than drugstore, although many people have found happiness in the cheaper section. I personally swear by Clinique Superbalanced foundation for my combination skin. You want to get a really good foundation because it will cover your entire face and effect everything else you put on. Find one that won't clog your pores and will lay evenly - you are trying to even out your skin's tone and texture. With this kind of product, you generally get what you pay for, so it's worth it to shell out extra. When you apply foundation, cover your entire face, and don't leave mask lines - if you stop at your jawline, you'll have an obvious line between the makeup and your skin. Blend! Some people also choose to use concealer to even their skin tone, and there are different kinds depending on what you want to hide, be it a blemish or a dark circle. Shop around. I like to apply a light dusting of powder at this step to give my skin a velvety finish, and to lock in what I've done up to here. There are a lot of conflicting thoughts on the order of applying makeup - do what works best for you.
The next step is blush, which many people skip because they don't necessarily want rosy cheeks. There is so much more that blush does, however. Blush can give your face added dimension, depending on where it's applied and what color you use. If you put blush under your cheekbones, it will shadow your face and make them stick out more. If you put the blush on your cheekbones, it will make them stand out more. When you go to the department store and ask them to match you with a foundation, ask them about blush as well. You don't necessarily have to buy it, since you'll be buying the foundation, but they'll show you where best to put the blush so you look radiant. There's a bit of makeup etiquette for you - the consultation is free, but it's poor form to not buy anything.
Now you're ready for some color, and on this score it's really anything goes, so there's no sense in making suggestions. What I will tell you, however, is that there are a couple things that professionals can keep in mind for all-day wear. Liquid eyeshadow, while daunting, lasts a lot longer than powder, and doesn't crease the way powder does. Powder, however, is great if you want to layer a few colors and blend them together for an effect such as the smoky look. Choose appropriately. Also, matte lipstick comes in a wide variety of long-lasting choices, whereas lip gloss will just slide off your lips. On the other hand, lip gloss gives your lips more volume, and when you add a neutral lip liner, will really enhance the fullness. My mom suspected I was getting botox injections when she saw my lips - of course, she doesn't get out much, but the point is that she noticed the difference. A word of caution - lip liner is not something that people should be able to notice. They should just notice the effect. Also, the lip liner does not belong outside the lip. It goes just along the inside, and then you blend it. Then you put your lip gloss on top and voila. If your friend can tell what color lip liner you're wearing, you did it wrong. I love Carrie Fisher, but for crying out loud, the lip liner stinks.
Well, I hope that helped somewhat. Makeup is a big topic, and it's hard to talk about in just one article. The stuff above is the basics, though, and that should help you get a decent start in the makeup world. More advice will follow, of course.