Well from my research, american beauty balms (bb creams) are generally glorified tinted moisturizers. The Asian bb creams (which is we're they originated) are a completely different product. Asian bb creams are more like foundations with skin care benefits. They offer heavier coverage like a medium coverage foundation. The problem with them is that because of all the stuff in them, it's hard to get the pigmentation dark enough to really sell here in the US.
The bb creams sold in the US are much thinner consistency and have the coverage of a light tinted moisturizer. A true BB cream is supposed to be an all in one product...concealer, SPF, foundation, and antioxidants. US bb creams clearly miss the mark on this one.
I've only found 2 bb creams even close enough to use on my skin...maybelline's bb cream in dark and smashbox bb cream. I still use the maybelline bb cream...mostly in the summer and weekends when I only need light coverage because it provides almost no coverage.