I had my first Restylane injection 2 years ago, and am still a devoted follower. I get my lips and nasal labial folds done once yearly, and not because I need it, but because the product does seem to last longer when it's "topped off" vs. waiting for it to be completely resorbed. At my last appointment (Oct. 07), a full year and a half after my first injection, my doctor was surprised to see the product giving nice results.
During that last visit, I decided to give Juvederm a try. The verdict: Juvederm did not add the volume I had previously gotten from Restylane. Despite Juvederm being advertised as the injectable with longer staying power than other fillers (6 months longer typically), I think I'll be sticking with Restylane as I like it's more "substantial" feel. Juvederm is more pillowy.
Price-wise, Restylane does costs less per cc, but because it has more substance to it, I can usually get away with less product to get good results. People have no idea my lips are augmented. My boyfriend also doesn't know- which tells you augmented lips don't have to feel stiff nor should they appear unnatural.
The injections have been mostly comfortable, and that's coming from someone with a healthy fear of pain and needles. I attribute this to a practitioner with a gentle touch and who gives a fantastic dental block. Would I recommend you try Restylane without a block? No. The lip area is quite sensitive with plenty of nerve endings (I was stuck a few times in an area that wasn't completely numb and it smarted a little).
Bruising has been minimal to none. Once the block wears off (2 hours or so) I'm usually out and about. There is a little throbbing for several hours after, but nothing terribly uncomfortable.
If you are thinking about Restylane, I'd recommend not doing it before a big event. Give yourself a few weeks to see how your body tolerates it. I typically get my injections at the end of my work week so I have a few extra days to recuperate from swelling/ bruising, just in case.
Something interesting I've noticed about my Restylane: On rainy or humid days, my lips are fuller. They also appear fuller after a shower or when lip moisturizers are applied. I've heard Restylane molecules bind themselves to moisture, so I guess that makes some sense.