When you are shopping for the perfect foundation, the second most important criteria is the finish and the amount of coverage. (Since you asked, the absolute most important criteria is color match.) I know that seems backwards, but once you figure out what sort of coverage and finish you are looking for in a foundation, you can then narrow it down based on price point and color match.
Under the “Light” category, you would find your tinted moisturizer products. These usually offer the sheerest amount of coverage. They will help even out the skin tone but will not provide major coverage for dark circles or blemishes. They are also the most forgiving regarding a color match. I tend towards these, and then just add concealer where I need it. Two of the best I‘ve tried are Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 and bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream which both come in a great variety of shades.
As implied, the “Medium” falls somewhere in between. If you are looking for decent coverage without having to use a lot of concealer, this might be the best option for you. My hands-down favorite for this category is Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45.
“Full” coverage will mask over nearly any blemish or imperfection that you might be battling. There are a number of full coverage options, depending on your texture preference. I highly recommend either Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick, Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Foundation SPF 15, or Benefit Cosmetics Hello Flawless Powder Foundation.
Finish – Matte or Dewy
If you want a truly matte finish, your best bet is either a long-lasting liquid or an actual powder. For a more glowing finish, try something that includes moisturizing ingredients.