Often the way a product (or anything else, like a movie, for example) is received depends on prior expectations. I was in Nordstrom's trying to decide what to buy for Clinique's twice yearly gwp bruhaha and pulled up the very mixed reviews of AAL on my phone. Given some of the negative reviews, I wasn't expecting much, and maybe that's why I ended up liking it. If I hadn't read the negative reviews I might have expected miracles--something that would transform ordinary lips into those of Angelina or Scarlett--- and I would've been sorely disappointed. This seems to be a "loathed by some and loved by others" beauty product, so I thought I'd give it a try on the chance that I'd be in the love category. The product is a lotion that comes in a very small pump bottle and has a thin, liquid like consistency. It appears white until rubbed in, at which time it becomes colorless and invisible with no trace of whiteness. It does not feel like a moisturizing product, which might be off putting for some because of its claims to "increase moisture retention". (moisture retention is definitely different from moisturizing), so a lip balm is a must if you have dry lips, since this just helps lips keep moisture that's already there.
At first, I thought this product was another fail; it didn't appear to do anything. But later in the day, when I wasn't thinking about it anymore, I noticed there was some subtle difference in the texture of my lips; they appeared a bit smoother and less flaky even before adding lip balm. I also noticed that my lip color went on a bit smoother. Now "subtle" is key here. It's nothing dramatic, nothing to write home about, and may not even justify the $22.50 price tag for some. There are products that deliver more dramatic results in some way or another (balms for moisture, lip primers for lip product wear, glosses and lipsticks with optical diffusers etc.).
For me, personally, I like that this product is a one-stop multi tasker. I also like that it's invisible on and doesn't alter the color or texture of other lip products (slippery balms or thick primers can do this). I sometimes have trouble with drying and flaking, so I like that you can add a balm on top for added moisture.
The product also claims to protect from free radicals, but any significant long-term benefits like this are hard to substantiate. It's said to have optical diffusers that minimize imperfections, but again, the smoothing effect I see is subtle and if I were looking for something more dramatic I probably would've been disappointed. Give this a try, and keep your receipt just in case!