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There are several formulas and types of foundations on the market. The big difference is consistency.
Powder foundation is a smooth, dry formula that is common for oily skin types. The powder helps absorb oil and keeps your face looking smooth and fresh. Dry skin types usually don't like the powder because it tends to have a drying effect and leaves flakes.
Cream foundation has a thick consistency, which is common for dry skin types. It provides moisture and adds luster to dry, tired skin. This type of foundation is often used by middle-aged and older women who like something to "fill-in" the lines. Cream foundation tends to be heavier and provide more coverage. It's best to use a moisturizer first before applying foundation.
Stick foundation is similar to the cream foundation as far as texture. The "stick" design provides a convenient way to transport your make up without an awkward bottle. This formula is often used for touch up jobs and spot treatments.
Liquid foundation is used for all skin types. It is a "universal" formula. You can purchase liquid foundations that are oil-free or non-clogging. This type of foundation is versatile and can come in different coverage levels.
If you know your skin type and know the coverage level you are most comfortable with then you can decide the formula of foundation that will best fit your individual needs. Remember you need a good canvas to start with so use your three step skin care regime (cleanse, tone, moisturize) before applying foundation.