Beauty Skeptic http://www.beautyskeptic.com When it seems too good to be true, you're probably screwed. Fri, 28 Jul 2017 14:00:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 http://www.beautyskeptic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/FAVICON-01.jpg Beauty Skeptic http://www.beautyskeptic.com 32 32 72821826 Sunscreen Dispensers http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/28/sunscreen-dispensers/ http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/28/sunscreen-dispensers/#respond Fri, 28 Jul 2017 14:00:33 +0000 http://www.beautyskeptic.com/?p=6651 When I was a kid, my grandparents had a boat that they docked in Rhode Island. My family would visit and we’d hang out on the docked boat or go on little boating adventures on the Narragansett Bay. I marveled at the novelty of being, “entrusted,” with a moment of, “control,” over the helm. When ... Read more...

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When I was a kid, my grandparents had a boat that they docked in Rhode Island. My family would visit and we’d hang out on the docked boat or go on little boating adventures on the Narragansett Bay. I marveled at the novelty of being, “entrusted,” with a moment of, “control,” over the helm. When docked at the marina, I took great joy in feeding the resident (jerk) swan flock fistfuls of Cheerios. I can’t recall ever visiting the area’s beaches, though.

Last weekend, languishing with a mouthful of gauze while flicking through Google Now cards on my phone, I was presented a headline about the town of Narragansett. Initially confused, I realized it was due to my interest in sun safety. Apparently, the small town has installed sunscreen dispensers. Even better, they are free for beach-goers to use!

What?! This is a thing?! (I don’t get out much – my area doesn’t have these.)

Sunscreen DispensersSunscreen Dispensers in Narragansett, RI.

How cool is that?! The sunscreen dispensers are paired with signage that features application instructions, sponsorship information of a local business that helped fund the installation and maintenance of the dispensers, as well as a mirror.

As it happens, they aren’t the pioneers. Some hasty Googling lead me to find that New York City has placed 100 dispensers across 27 locations including beaches and even a fishing pier. Miami Beach did it a couple years ago! In 2015, they installed 50 dispensers at beaches, pools, and parks. Other areas have, too.

It’s an awesome public service. I love the example Narragansett, NYC, and Miami Beach are setting in regards to sun safety. Even if you didn’t use what was provided, simply seeing the dispensers is a good enough reminder to apply and reapply at the beach. I hope that more areas (not just beaches) follow suit to help encourage good sun protection habits; I’d love to see them paired with water fountains.

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Worth it? Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/26/drunk-elephant-c-firma-day-serum/ http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/26/drunk-elephant-c-firma-day-serum/#respond Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.beautyskeptic.com/?p=6561 Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80 I mentioned in my June favorites that buying Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. I adore this damn serum. A colleague and paled at the cost when I sang its praises; I understand. I love it, plan to repurchase, and still recoil from the price tag. Gun Shy Short of tools ... Read more...

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Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day SerumDrunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80

I mentioned in my June favorites that buying Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum. I adore this damn serum. A colleague and paled at the cost when I sang its praises; I understand. I love it, plan to repurchase, and still recoil from the price tag.

Gun Shy

Short of tools like my Luna Mini or Clarisonic Mia2, I don’t tend to spend much on individual products. With a few exceptions, I’m generally of the opinion that beauty need not break the bank.

Being young (enough – and only for now, don’t worry, this isn’t a cocky statement) and skeptical of products promising miracles, I pass on a lot of prestige and luxury skincare. Aside from my tools, none of my skincare routine is prestige at this point!

Too Young?

Never. As far as I’m concerned, mid-twenties is a perfectly reasonable time to reconsider your approach to skincare even if you aren’t suffering a skin mutiny as I was.

Once my acne was under control, I decided my skin could use a boost in the liveliness department. Although I find makeup fun, I much prefer to have healthy, radiant skin than to need to slap on product to fake it.

Mid-twenties is not too young to start anti-aging products – and with a demanding career, my skin was looking a bit tired. I don’t want or need anything hardcore. No retinol here (at this stage in my life). But I do have under-eye circles, some dullness and uneven tone, etc. I decided that Vitamin C was the place to be for my needs right now.

Influences on my Purchase Decision

A blog I’ve followed for years and implicitly rely on touted Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum but when I got into reviews and other comparisons, many sources seemed to suggest the Drunk Elephant product to be superior. Part of this is packaging, part is the concentration and type of Vitamin C itself, and the other part of are the other ingredients. I was leery about spending that much on a type of product I’d never tried before, so I kept searching.

Interestingly, although Stefanie Nicole (check out her channel here) has a YouTube channel, she works in the beauty industry on the manufacturing and distribution side of things. She also has a no-nonsense attitude that resonates with me. I appreciate her willingness to say, “I didn’t care for this,” or, “This product didn’t perform well for the price.” We need more of that! In this case, Drunk Elephant C-Firma does, in her opinion, perform well for the price.

Upon hearing her ringing endorsement of Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, I decided to splurge during the Spring BI/VIB Sale. My skin was consistent at that point (not as stable as it is now, but better!), and I felt comfortable adding a variable.

Benefits, Stability & Degradation

Many people think Vitamin C is useful to boost immunity when you’re ill, but it goes beyond that. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can protect our skin from UV damage. It boosts collagen production, can treat photodamage, even skin tone, and may even help prevent skin cancer. It’s a damn workhorse.

L-Ascorbic Acid (a form of Vitamin C very common in skincare applications) is volatile when exposed to light, and many forms are sensitive to UV exposure. Light can cause it to degrade, so an opaque bottle that shields it from light is key. Likewise, UV exposure causes natural Vitamin C as well as applied products to degrade, so it is important to apply after sun exposure, not before. Drunk Elephant C-Firma is contains 15% L-Ascorbic Acid and is packaged to avoid degradation.

If you’re interested in the science of it, this article from the National Institute of Health is illuminating on the benefits of Vitamin C as well as how to maximize efficacy when paired with other substances (like ferulic acid and Vitamin E).

Packaging

The key to Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum’s packaging is twofold:

  1. It is a vacuum pump
  2. It is opaque

Because I’m crazy risk-averse, I also store it in a dark, cool drawer.

On a nifty note, it is fun to twist the square top to have the pump ascend out. I don’t believe there is any functional or integrity-related piece to this aspect of the packaging, but it is novel and fun.

Application

High concentrations of Vitamin C work with the skin to produce a reservoir effect; Drunk Elephant C-Firma works the same way. You use it daily for 3-5 days when you first get it, then you can go 2-3 days between reapplications. This is possible due to the half-life of the compound. Every now and then I’ll reapply a few days in a row, particularly if I’ve had more sun exposure.

REMEMBER: You still need to use sunscreen! SPF 50 is ideal, but SPF 30 will suffice.

When I reapply, I use one pump 2-3 times per week in the morning, after a micellar cleanse, depending on where I am in my weekly skincare routine. (For instance, if I’m hitting my face with the ReVit the next day I won’t use it – but I typically do apply the day after the use of the ReVit.) I dispense onto my fingertips, distribute it to the fingertips of the other hand, and pat onto, then massage into, my skin.

After that, I top with sunscreen and maybe moisturizer (my sunscreen is pretty moisturizing on its own).

Effects

Immediately, my skin looks more awake. Some people report a stinging sensation with C-Firma (and other Vitamin C serums) but I have not experienced that. Throughout the day, my skin stays hydrated and fresh looking; my dark circles exist, but are less obvious due to how radiant my skin appears.

Over days and weeks of use, my skin appears more plump and my fine lines aren’t quite as obvious. The latter is a welcome bonus for those of us suffering from the condition colloquially known as Resting Bitch Face. The dark circles diminish as well – meaning less concealer! Woo!

The Bottom Line

I feel that Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum lives up to its claims, wholeheartedly recommend, and will be repurchasing myself. THAT SAID, the $80 price tag makes me weep. I’m going to repurchase anyway (next time with my hoarded birthday gift card, ha!) because I am really happy with this product, but I aim to do so during sales where I can get at least 15%, but ideally 20% off. Even with sales it is more than I’m excited to spend but since a tiny amount goes a freakishly long way and does so much for my skin I can make a concession.

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L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/24/loreal-telescopic-carbon-black-mascara/ http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/24/loreal-telescopic-carbon-black-mascara/#comments Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.beautyskeptic.com/?p=3103 Note: This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift! Some minor adjustments have been made to format and readability, but the content is the same with spot-updates from today! (In 2015) I’d been using L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess for a while and liked it well enough. I was picking up a ... Read more...

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Note: This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift! Some minor adjustments have been made to format and readability, but the content is the same with spot-updates from today!


(In 2015) I’d been using L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess for a while and liked it well enough. I was picking up a waterproof tube (of something else) for a wedding I went to in June 2015 when I decided to pick up a tube of L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black, too (not waterproof).

Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara - Stock Photo

TL;DR? I love it.

The Wand

The wand features my favorite kind of bristles – short, stiff plastic. I love them because they allow greater control over my application. On top of being thin and precise, the wand doesn’t cause it to pick up excess product – I haven’t had globs of product on my lashes a single time (still true in 2017!). Just neatly applied mascara.

For me, fluffy, plush wands mean messy application; they pick up too much and are too large to maneuver well. The design of the L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black mascara wand prevents that from happening unless you flail during application.

L'Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara Wand

Even better? The four short, stiff rows let you neatly apply to your lower lashline without making you look like a spidery fool. To apply on my lower lashes I hold the wand in place just in front of my lower lash line then blink lightly. My tiny lower lashes just barely brush the want and get the perfect amount of product.

The Product

The product itself appears to have a greyish cast – but I assure you it is black.

As far as the formula goes, it is a nice happy medium – not obnoxiously wet like I found Mally Volumizing Mascara to be, but not dry and difficult to work with. Telescopic Carbon Black adhered to the lashes well and provided satisfying daytime results in a single coat. It defined my lashes well, but was not volumizing and only lengthened moderately – for me, that’s just fine for daytime, office use (whereas the Voluminous Million Lashes Excess could sometimes be too much).

(2017) Like bareMinerals Flawless Definition, it is great for simple, natural-ish looks and perfect for a no-makeup makeup look. In fact, it has completely replaced my love of the bareMinerals product!

The Bottom Line

Being a drugstore variety it is superbly accessible at well, drugstores (duh), Amazon, mass merchants (Target, Walmart), and probably your local grocer. It just might be definitely is my drugstore holy grail mascara.

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Saturday Extra: WTF http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/22/saturday-extra-wtf/ http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/22/saturday-extra-wtf/#respond Sat, 22 Jul 2017 14:10:55 +0000 http://www.beautyskeptic.com/?p=6645 Saturday Extra! I’m at home with a mouth full of gauze, browsing the internet because I can’t take a nap. The offending tooth 26 has been evicted from my mouth. Due to my crowding, the gap isn’t that bad. The worst of it is the saliva accumulation with the gauze. Ugh. Anyway, I come across ... Read more...

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Saturday Extra!

I’m at home with a mouth full of gauze, browsing the internet because I can’t take a nap. The offending tooth 26 has been evicted from my mouth. Due to my crowding, the gap isn’t that bad. The worst of it is the saliva accumulation with the gauze. Ugh.

Anyway, I come across things online that are not beauty things that give me cause to ask, “WTF?” This tweet from Sephora was in March – I took a screenshot and filed it for one-such post.

 

Saturday Extra - WTF SephoraFashion is adjacent to beauty I guess, so here are a few:

I don’t think this is still available for sale on Nordstrom’s site (thank god). Do you ever think that designers sit down, intentionally draw and produce something god-awful just to laugh even harder when some buffoon buys it? I do. This trench coat is proof.

WHBM…why?! Camo. Capri (read: flattering on no-one). Elastic openings. externally-stitched pockets. Paired with, no less, an off-shoulder, ruffle-sleeve blouse and open heel, open toe sandal-bootie monstrosities. Whiskey tango foxtrot. What on earth were you guys thinking?

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Steam of Consciousness & Chatter http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/21/steam-consciousness-chatter/ http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/21/steam-consciousness-chatter/#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.beautyskeptic.com/?p=6619 Earlier this week, I received a digital copy of my ClinCheck treatment review. I’m beyond excited about it, and even though I’m fairly self-conscious about my teeth, I shared it on Instagram. How millennial of me. A post shared by Beauty Skeptic (@beautyskeptic) on Jul 19, 2017 at 6:39pm PDT Each stage is a new tray! ... Read more...

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Earlier this week, I received a digital copy of my ClinCheck treatment review. I’m beyond excited about it, and even though I’m fairly self-conscious about my teeth, I shared it on Instagram. How millennial of me.

A post shared by Beauty Skeptic (@beautyskeptic) on



Each stage is a new tray!

Tomorrow, I have an extraction. Tuesday, I get my first Invisalign aligner trays. To celebrate that, let’s take a brief break from my usual, structured content.

Every now and then we all have a thought we want to share for the amusement of others or to get their opinions. I tend to experience them in bursts, but since my husband obviously has no interest in beauty-related-anything, I don’t commonly have an outlet. Sometimes I take to Twitter when it occurs to me, but I’m just not engaging enough on Twitter, ha.

In no particular order…


Ever apply a self-tanner with a color guide or instant bronzing effect and wonder, “Who the hell did they met that this shade would be flattering on, ever?”

Seriously. It wasn’t orange, it wasn’t bronze, it wasn’t brown – it was the least-possibly-flattering mix of all three with just a touch of green thrown in. I am pretty sure humans just don’t come in this color. Prodigious.

I was applying a gradual sunless tanner that also had an instant effect and this occurred to me while I was smearing it unattractively all over my face. My husband looked on in horror. “Don’t worry, it comes off,” I explained. Horror turned to confusion. “…it stimulates melanin production, so what you see now is basically just dye.”

Afterwards, the natural coloring that develops is pretty nice. But maybe don’t go out in public with Tanwise Self-Tanning Face Gel on your face.


I really enjoy having painted nails. After executing a manicure, I sat there, supplies before me, pouting. Why? Because it was 8:30PM and I just spent 20 minutes and still had about hour to go if I wanted flawless polish. The world is cruel.

You know who didn’t have to wait for painted nails?

Sailor Moon.

I called it a night, finished drafting posts and went to bed with naked nails.

#moonprismpower


…But like why invest in product development and R&D when you can throw lavish influencer party-vacations with luxury presents that aren’t even affiliated with the brand? Or, remarkably, invest in ways to slightly lower cost (and price to boost popularity WITHOUT sacrificing handsome profit margins)?

Just sayin’.

#exclusivityiskey


A girlfriend of mine with badass hair tried Overtone conditioner to help revive her hair since she got screwed over for her next color appointment. The regular conditioner made her color-treated hair soft and punched a little more life into it after one use. She expects that the Weekly Deep Treatment will do more for her, though.

This first picture is her fresh from the salon…

 

…and this second one is eight weeks later with Overtone. It’s no secret how difficult it is to maintain red, so these are great results!

My silver-haired girlfriend (yes, she’s still rocking the silver!) will be pleased to know that 1) it works and 2) it is both cruelty-free and vegan.

As for me, I’m shocked and entertained that it isn’t only intended for maintenance. Their photos suggest that you can color with it, check it out:

I’m not up for Exciting Hair at this point in my life (in fact, I have another balayage appointment soon – I’m such an exciting human) but I really enjoy watching the transformations. Out of curiosity, I’m going to look into real-life attempts; I think it would be interesting to see if it can live up to its claims.


Here’s to an undoubtedly lame weekend with gauze in my mouth and the first uncomfortable step to a straighter smile. I will be changing gauze, eating applesauce and mashed potatoes, pouting, taking ibuprofen, folding laundry, and writing this weekend – what are your plans?

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Beauty Insider Points CAN Expire but Don’t Panic http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/19/sephora-beauty-insider-points-expire-now/ http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/19/sephora-beauty-insider-points-expire-now/#comments Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:00:26 +0000 http://www.beautyskeptic.com/?p=6616 If you’re a lunatic beauty hobbyist, you’ve probably heard that Sephora has altered its policy regarding Beauty Insider Points. Before, you could hoard them five-ever and spend them on ridiculous 1000+ swag. Now they have a shelf life. People are losing their shit. Twitter is aflame with disgruntled point junkies customers who feel that this ... Read more...

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Lighting in Sephora

If you’re a lunatic beauty hobbyist, you’ve probably heard that Sephora has altered its policy regarding Beauty Insider Points. Before, you could hoard them five-ever and spend them on ridiculous 1000+ swag. Now they have a shelf life.

People are losing their shit.

Twitter is aflame with disgruntled point junkies customers who feel that this new policy is an attack on freebies they are entitled to not actually entitled to. Oh for the love of highlighted cats it’s a war on our deluxe minis.

Don’t get me wrong – I love freebies, point perks, and gifts with purchase. I love that marketing strategy – what better a way to get us to buy product than to give us tiny versions to become obsessed with? At the end of the day, it sucks when perks change – but you aren’t owed freebies. And besides that…

Have you Read the Policy Change?

No? Are you freaking out?

  1. Chill.
  2. Read the policy.

The new terms, in spite of what less-scrupulous outlets would report via clickbait headlines or suggest via lazy content publishing, isn’t giving each point you earn an 18 month shelf life.

The Beauty Insider Points Policy Update

According to Sephora, your points will only expire if you have been inactive for 18 months. That means that, for eighteen months, you will have made ZERO purchase and ZERO point redemptions.

No, really. This excerpt is from the Beauty Insider Terms and Conditions page, section 3:

3. Point Expiration

It’s our hope that you redeem your points on a regular basis. All unredeemed points shall expire when a program member has not engaged in point activity associated with that membership account (through purchase or redemption) for 18 months or more. If you have questions regarding the date of your last point activity or your last purchase, you may call 1-877-SEPHORA (1-877-737-4672) for more information.

In addition, points will automatically expire if your Membership is revoked or otherwise cancelled for reasons further detailed in Section 17.

Reality Check

Those of you who are frantic or pissed about this policy change, be honest with yourself – are you really going to go a year and a half without buying something from Sephora (or redeeming points)?

Just sayin’.

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Tan Talk: Ocean Potion Everglow Gradual Sunless Tanner http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/17/tan-talk-ocean-potion-everglow-gradual-sunless-tanner/ http://www.beautyskeptic.com/2017/07/17/tan-talk-ocean-potion-everglow-gradual-sunless-tanner/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 14:00:06 +0000 http://www.beautyskeptic.com/?p=6595 Ocean Potion Everglow, under $5 Ocean Potion Everglow had been on my sunless tanning radar for years. It had, in fact, occupied a space on my drugstore.com list for quite some time (before drugstore.com became defunct; RIP). Somehow, though, I always found something more interesting to try that stepped in line ahead of it. It ... Read more...

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Ocean Potion Everglow - Front of Bottle

Ocean Potion Everglow, under $5

Ocean Potion Everglow had been on my sunless tanning radar for years. It had, in fact, occupied a space on my drugstore.com list for quite some time (before drugstore.com became defunct; RIP). Somehow, though, I always found something more interesting to try that stepped in line ahead of it. It wasn’t until after drugstore.com shuttered, however, that I decided to pick it up from my local Wal-Mart earlier this year.

Color

Because Ocean Potion Everglow does not deposit color and uses DHA to stimulate melanin production, this isn’t an instant gratification product. Unlike other self-tanners that are DHA-only, too, this is, like the title suggests, a gradual sunless tanner. You don’t apply and have noticeable color in 6-8 hours. You will develop subtle color after a few days. For me, it took about 4-5 days of daily use to notice a difference. When I did, I found the difference to be good – my tan looked natural. Not orange, not streaky.

Application

Since this is a gradual tanner, I skip the tanning mitt when I apply. After using my normal body lotion as a barrier on my feet, knees, and elbows, I apply it like any other lotion. After application, I wash my hands thoroughly – and that’s about it. A slow-to-develop product like this requires less precision and attention to application detail. I never noticed any awkward streaks or splotches.

Moisture

Ocean Potion Everglow is a daily moisturizer with sunless tanner ingredients – so this can take place of your regular lotion if you’re so inclined. Since it is a gradual tanner, daily (or at least every other day) use is best to achieve and maintain results.

My skin doesn’t feel parched or taut using it, but it did remain sticky for about ten minutes longer than my usual non-tanning body lotion and five minutes longer than my usual sunless tanning products. As an impatient human being, I didn’t love this.

Ingredients

So, uh, the second ingredient is canola oil.

Ocean Potion Everglow - Back of Bottle

I wish I were joking.

I’m not usually an ingredient snob when it comes to these things but geez.  Of all the things you want to use as a moisturizer! That certainly explains the damn stickiness.

Sorry, I won’t be moisturizing with the same thing I deep fry mozzarella sticks in. Fail.

Fragrance & Odor

When I was a teenager and still using tanning beds like an idiot, spending money on high-end tanning lotion (like the first product I wrote about, ever, on this blog – ha!) wasn’t an option. Back then, I used Ocean Potion Xtreme Intensifier which I was surprised to find still exists. It wasn’t my favorite, but it worked well and with about a $4-5 price tag back then I wasn’t unhappy. It did, however, have this awkward, cloying, chemical-y orange fragrance that I did NOT like.

Imagine my disappointment a decade later when Ocean Potion Everglow has the same cloying, fake fruit scent. I cannot stand it.

Since this product does contain DHA, there is a risk of developing a sunless tanner odor. Many reviewers suggest they, “totally cannot smell a tanner smell,” with Ocean Potion Everglow, but that doesn’t mean one isn’t there. After all, with such strong fragrance, it isn’t unreasonable that a less-pleasant smell would be suffocated!

The Bottom Line

Although the color is good, Ocean Potion Everglow is overwhelmed by its sickly-sweet scent and cooking oil ingredients. I will not be repurchasing because I hate how it smells and I super-hate being sticky. If those two qualities do not bother you to an infuriating degree, this is an excellent value. Just over twenty ounces costs less than five dollars. An ounce costs less than a quarter!

I really wish I could get past those two things. I think if it were just one and not the other I could deal with it – but for now, I’ll stick with L’Oreal Sublime Glow or Jergens for my drugstore gradual tanners.

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