Powder foundations are best for oily skin. Using a powder foundation with a mattifying primer is one of the best ways to stay shine free. You can get them both loose and pressed. Loose tends to be sheerer, whereas pressed can be heavier. Pressed gives you the added advantage of being able to pop it in your bag to take with you. Powder foundations range from sheer to full coverage, and are usually buildable. Most of the loose powder foundations on the market at the moment are mineral foundations. These boast ingredients which a better for you skin, such as titanium dioxide which is a good for sun protection. However, if you know the foundation has to stand up against flash photography, you'll want to avoid anything with titanium dioxide in, as it reflects light and will make you look really pale in photos! The brush and method you use can determine the opacity. Personally, I like to use a large fluffy powder brush to dust the foundation on for sheer coverage. For slightly fuller coverage, I'll press the powder onto the skin. Be careful as you do increase the coverage, as some powder foundations can start to look cakey. If you do over-do it with the powder, or you prefer a finish that isn't quite so matte, try spritzing your face with a facial mist, such as MAC Fix+. If you have dry skin, I would tend to recommend avoiding powder foundations, as they can cling to dry patches.
There's a lot of variety when it comes to cream foundations. Regular cream foundations can offer a nice dewy finish, which works well on dry and mature skin. Coverage is usually quite buildable. I like to use a stippling brush to apply it, as it allows you to apply it in thin layers at a time. It can then be buffed into the skin. Cream to powder foundations offer a matte powder finish, making them better for oilier skins. I apply these in the same way, with a stippling brush. If you prefer a heavier coverage straight away, rather than building it you can use a flat foundation brush.
Liquid foundations are probably the most popular type of foundation, and there's a lot of variety when it comes to choosing one. They range from sheer to full coverage, from matte to dewy in finish. These work well on dry and combination skin. If you have oily skin and want to use a liquid foundation, opt for an oil free foundation. As with cream foundations, I like to slowly build up coverage with a stippling brush, and then buff it into the skin with a buffing brush. Again, for heavier coverage you can use a flat foundation brush.
Tinted moisturisers are moisturisers with a hint of colour. These offer the lightest cover, as their main job is to moisturise. These are great if you're on the go, or new to foundation as they are very difficult to apply wrong, and they can be applied with your fingers if needs be. These are good for dry, mature and combination skin types. If you have oily skin, you'll need to top a tinted moisturiser with a powder. Most tinted moisturisers also offer low SPF protection. The shade selections tend to be very small (usually light, medium, and dark), but that's because they're so sheer. A handy little artists tip, is that you can mix your liquid foundation and your moisturiser together to make a tinted moisturiser.
BB Creams can be where things start to get complicated. BB Creams originated in Germany, and quickly gained popularity in Asia for being a 'one product does all'. The BB stands for 'Blemish Balm' or 'Beauty Balm'. Traditionally, a BB Cream is a moisturiser, blemish treatment, anti-age treatment, primer, sun block, foundation, concealer, and skin whitener. The western versions of BB creams tend to be very different from the Asian creams, offering less coverage, often seeming like more of a tinted moisturiser. As there is no desire for lighter skin, the whitening affect has also been removed. It can be very difficult to tell the difference between tinted moisturisers and BB creams, and the boundaries a very blurred, although, technically, BB creams have more coverage (however, this is not always the case). The main difference is the added extras that care for your skin. It's also possible to pick up BB creams that have a more matte finish.
CC creams are colour correcting creams. They're similar to BB creams, but they're designed with more focus on correcting uneven skin tones. They are have a lighter coverage than BB creams, making them even easier to blend into the skin. Jury is out on coverage though. Some are sheerer than BB creams, some more opaque. They still have the added bonus of UV protection, and added skin care benefits which help improve issues such as dark spots and wrinkles over time. It's pretty much an amped up BB cream.
I've left this one till last, as I'm a little biased against them. Pan sticks used to be associated with theatre make up due to the full coverage they provide. You wouldn't wanna wear those out though!My first experience with pan sticks was when I worked for Benefit cosmetics. Their playsticks were the one product that I actively avoided trying to sell to people, as they were thick and cakey. Foundation sticks have progressed these days though, and although they tend to offer the heaviest coverage, they can now be applied sheerly. They're best applied onto the back of your hand, so as to heat the foundation up a little bit before applying it with a brush. If you're looking for full coverage, it might be worth checking these out, although there are a lot of brands that don't produce anything like this.