Skincare

This is where I geek-out over skincare…and remind myself not to go heavy on the actives. That shiny look…not cool.

The Reward Is In The Routine-The Importance of Consistency in Beauty

Hello, everyone!

Have you missed me? Well, I missed you. If you were to ask me where I’ve been, I’d say that I’ve been taking care of the business of living my life. I’ve been working on my friendships, relationships, my blessings, my food, and everything else.

But I haven’t been as consistent in my beauty routine, and so I decided to talk to you today about how important it is to remain consistent in maintaining your routines. Not only for your outer beauty, also for your inner beauty.

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Three Product Roundup: Cleansing Oils

Hello, people!

I’ve been MIA for awhile, and I’m sorry! I’m currently in the midst of trying to get my life together (#adulting), and a lot of things have fallen off. However, I’m back with a three product round-up to show you that I’m still in this to win this.

Now, first things first: cleansing oils are not new to the beauty scene. For millennia, women have been using oils to cleanse their faces throughout the world. However, the modern iteration of cleansing oils (which originated in Asia) use emulsifying agents housed in oil bases to break down makeup, sunscreen, pollution, and other impurities on the surface of the skin. Some people say that they aren’t necessary, but considering the fact that we in the West wear long-wearing sunscreen and makeup which boasts about lasting more than 24 hours, we do need to safely break down those products. Water-based cleansers won’t cut it because those long-wearing products I told you about are housed in silicone, oil, and wax bases. Translation- They are made to stay ON.

Cleansing oils are one of my favorite products. I tend to use them as a first cleanse on the days that I’ve worn sunscreen, but not any makeup. If I wear makeup, then I use a cleansing balm. With that in mind, here are three different cleansing oils that I’ve tried, and here are my opinions on each.

They are:

(1) Shea Moisture Peace Rose Complex Cleansing Oil ($12)

Shea Moisture CLeansing Oil-Target

Photo Credit- Target

(2) Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil ($30)

Biossance Cleansing Oil

Photo Credit- Sephora

(3) Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil ($44)

Fresh Cleansing Oil-Sephora

Photo Credit- Sephora

I. Amount in packaging: 

Shea Moisture: 4 fl. oz

Biossance: 6.7 fl. oz

Fresh: 150 mL (5.1 fl. oz)

 

II. Marketing Jargon (Taken directly from company websites whenever possible)

Shea Moisture: This natural cleansing oil gently yet thoroughly melts away make-up, dirt and impurities without leaving an oily residue. Enriched with skin-nourishing certified organic Shea Butter and our proprietary complex of Alpine, Damask and Musk Rose Oils, it transforms into a creamy, soft emulsion when blended with water. Sensitive skin is left softer, smoother and refreshed.

BiossanceAn antioxidant-rich cleansing oil that gently removes long-wear makeup and leaves skin with a beautiful, healthy look and feel. Formerly known as “The Purifier”—it’s a brand new look, same effective formula.

The lightweight oil lifts away makeup and impurities, then rinses completely clean with water. Formulated with our sugarcane-derived, sustainable squalane oil, it helps keep skin hydrated and feeling fresh.

Fresh: Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil helps remove impurities and makeup, including waterproof. The blend of nourishing oils and protective extracts effectively cleanses the skin while maintaining natural moisture levels, so skin feels soft and supple and looks healthy and radiant.

 

III. Ingredients:

Shea MoistureHelianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter**, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Rosa Centifolia Flower Wax, Rosa Damascena Flower Wax, Rosa Canina Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Balanites Aegyptiaca Kernel Oil, Rhododendron Ferrugineum Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract.

Biossance: CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, POLYGLYCERYL-2 CAPRATE, SQUALANE, C13-15 ALKANE, POLYGLYCERYL-2 SESQUIOLEATE, TRIETHYLHEXANOIN, CITRUS AURANTIUM DULCIS (ORANGE) OIL, LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA (LAVENDER) OIL, ROSA MOSCHATA SEED, OIL, AVENA SATIVA (OAT) KERNEL OIL, OENOTHERA BIENNIS, (EVENING PRIMROSE) OIL, MORINGA OLEIFERA SEED OIL, LAVANDULA HYBRIDA OIL, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS (ROSEMARY), LEAF EXTRACT, ANTHEMIS NOBILIS FLOWER OIL, HELIANTHUS, ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, TOCOPHEROL

FreshVitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Bixa Orellana Seed Extract, Haberlea Rhodopensis Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance, Water, BHT, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Limonene, Linalool, Citral.

IV. Directions for Usage (According to company directions)

Shea Moisture: Massage the oil onto face with hands. Add warm water to transform the oil into a milky emulsion. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

Biossance: Apply to dry face with fingertips and gently massage. Add water and continue to massage to [break down] makeup and impurities. Rinse.

Fresh: Gently massage 3-4 pumps onto dry face and closed eyes. Add warm water to emulsify. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

 

V. Texture and Scent

Shea Moisture: This smelled like the generic European-style rose-scented soap that I like to buy from time to time. However, it felt like the cheap liquid handsoap you get from Target.

Biossance: The scent of this is very mild. It smells like the beginning of orange creamsicle, but it never actually gets there, so it’s not an annoying smell. It’s pleasant, but not cloying and annoying, as I like to say. Due to the squalane, this cleansing oil feels very decadent. It’s a thick oil, so if you prefer oils to remove your makeup, you will like this one.

Fresh: This smells like a mild version of berry and citrus together. Very mild, but a lovely scent. Unlike the previous two, this oil is very thin.

VI. How Did I Use It?

I used all according to the package directions. Like I said in the intro, I usually only use oils to remove sunscreen. However, for the Biossance and Fresh oils, I used four pumps each every time I used the product, and then I used a warm clean washcloth to remove it.

VII. My Thoughts on Each Product

Shea Moisture: This. Crap. Burned. My. Eyes. It removed my sunscreen quite well, but it burned my eyes. To be honest, this is more a soap than a cleansing oil. I hated it. I used it twice to be sure I had the same reaction, and then I put it in my cabinet and forgot about it until I needed a brush cleanser.

Biossance: I love this product. I love the size, the smell, and the feel of it on my skin. This product removed all of my sunscreen and the minimal makeup (on the rare occasion I wore any.) I’m a firm believer in the double-cleanse method for my skin, but if you are someone who likes a single-cleanse, then you should try this. Furthermore, you can’t beat the price for the size. This product had me questioning whether or not I needed my second cleanser. Major.

Fresh: This is another “I love it” product. The texture is very thin and delicate, but it packs a punch in terms of removing sunscreen and surface dirt. My washcloth looked disgusting when I used this for my first cleanse. I did also use this for a second cleanse, and I liked how my skin felt. Furthermore, this bottle may not look like much, but I bought this bottle at the end of August, and I just finished it about a week ago…so clearly, it’s worth the money, even though I did complain about the price. when I first bought it.

 

VIII. Final Verdict

Shea Moisture: For the skin, this product is not my cup of tea. I have very sensitive eyes, and if a product burns, I usually get rid of it pronto. However, this does make an amazing brush cleanser so I would buy it again to use exclusively for that purpose. But only as a last resort.

Biossance: I like this one so far. I’ve only been using it for a week, and I can tell that there has been some improvement in my skin since I’ve started using it. My skin is not nearly as dry as it usually is in the winter, and the texture of my skin seems to glow more. I find that it’s made my treatment cleansers work much more effectively. I will definitely be repurchasing this.

Fresh: I love this product. It’s compact, but it definitely does what I need it to do. The only thing that bugs me is the price. Since I live in NYC, the price of this goes from $42 to $45 thanks to sales tax. That being said, the Sephora VIB sale is approaching, and I would add this to my list of “nice to haves” that I usually consider buying once I’ve bought my essentials.

 

Three Product Roundup-Vitamin C Serums

Happy Friday, lovely people!

For the second Three Product Roundup, we’re going to talk about Vitamin C serums!

Now, I love Vitamin C serums. They are great for two distinct reasons: (1) They work wonderfully in conjunction with your sunscreen to provide you with antioxidant protection from the sunlight and environment during the day, and (2) They work really well at percentages over 20% during the nighttime to help brighten dull skin. If you are someone who chooses to ignore warnings about the sun and go out during the hottest times of the day especially, you need a Vitamin C Serum. Period.

However, here’s the catch: there are a LOT of products on the market, and as with most skincare trends, we are now seeing an explosion of products coming out at lower price points with the intention of making such ingredients a line-item in someone’s skincare budget. So, with that in mind, we’re going to discuss three well-known Vitamin C serums today which are well-known and figure out….which one is the best!

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Three Product Round-Up :Cleansing Balms

Greetings, readers!

This is my first beauty post of 2018, and one of my resolutions was to create more meaningful content in the space of beauty which actually discuss care in detail.

So I’m starting a new series for this blog called “Three Product Round-Up.” In this series, I’m going to test three different versions of a product at three different price points:

Drugstore:$

Department Store:$$

Higher End:$$$

For my first foray, I’m going to do a three product round-up of cleansing balms. Now, what are cleansing balms, you ask? Cleansing balms are solid, oil-based cleansers which are mostly used as the first step in a skincare routine. Now, most people use them to remove sunscreen and make-up before using a second treatment cleanser, however, depending upon the product, there are some products which can be used as a second cleanse. 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The three cleansing balms which I am going to be comparing are the following:

Pixi’s Nourishing Cleansing Balm ($20) Available at Target  

Clinique’s “Take the Day Off” Cleansing Balm ($29.50) Available at Sephora and Macy’s

Sunday Riley’s Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm ($50) Available at Sephora and Space.nk Apothecary

Now…let’s begin, shall we?

I. Amount in packaging:

Pixi-3.04 oz

 NourishingCleansingBalm Open 04AUG16 web large

Photo Credit: Target

Clinique– 4.2 oz (Originally 3.8 oz)

 Clinique Take the Day Off Macys

Photo Credit: Macy’s

Sunday Riley-3.38 oz.

 Sunday Riley Sephora

Photo Credit: Sephora

II. Marketing Jargon (Taken directly from company websites whenever possible)

Pixi: :A gentle cleansing balm that removes all traces of makeup as it nourishes, leaving skin silky-soft.”

Clinique: “Lightweight makeup remover quickly dissolves tenacious eye and face makeups, sunscreens. Transforms from a solid balm into a silky oil upon application. Cleans thoroughly, rinses off completely. Gently helps remove the stress of pollution so skin looks younger, longer. Non-greasy. Non-drying. Ophthalmologist tested. For all skin types.”

Sunday Riley: “Blended with gentle sugar-based cleansers, Sunday Riley’s ‘Blue Moon Tranquility’ balm will remove impurities and makeup without stripping your face of essential oils. It’s infused antioxidant-rich Cocoa Butter, moisturizing Mimosa Flower Wax and a calming blend of Blue Tansy and German Chamomile to soothe irritation. Tangerine and Sweet Orange Essential Oils tone and clarify while creating a relaxing, spa-like experience.” (Taken from Net-a-Porter.com)

III. Ingredients:

Pixi: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Behenate, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Cocoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Cetyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance. 90 ml / 3.04 fl.oz

Clinique: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Polyethylene, PEG-5 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Water / Aqua / Eau, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol.

Sunday Riley: Glycerin & Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides & Aqua & Sucrose Laurate, Jojoba Esters (And) Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax (and) Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax (and) Polyglycering-3, Glyceryl Behenate, C10-18 Triglycerides, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (Coconut Oil), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Moringa Oil/ Hydrogenated Moringa Oil Esters (Moringa Butter), PEG-8 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol (and) Ceteth-20 (and) Steareth-20, Polyglyceryl-6, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax (and) Cetyl Alcohol, Squalene, Tangerine (Citrus Tangerina) Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, Tanacetum Annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Matricaria Recutita (German Chamomile) Essential Oil, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Ylang Ylang (Canaga Odorata) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Var. Amara (Neroli) Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile Roman) Flower Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin And Caprylyl Glycol. (Taken From Dermstore.com)

IV. Directions for Usage (According to company directions)

Pixi: • Use AM & PM 
• Step 1: Apply a coin size amount onto dry skin & neck. 
• Step 2: Massage gently for 30 seconds. 
• Step 3: Remove with damp face cloth, using circular movements. 
• Petra’s Recommendation: For best results, follow with Glow Tonic.

Clinique:  How to Use
Use fingertips to massage balm over dry skin.
Rinse well with warm water. Pat dry.
Follow with your 3-Step Skin Care System.

Sunday Riley: How to Use
Massage balm into dry skin and remove with a warm cloth or apply as a hydrating mask on clean skin. 
Once open, most effective when used within 12 months. (Taken From Dermstore.com)

V. Texture and Scent

Pixi: This product feels like a solid oil. It’s very smooth, and goes on like a very slippery oil when rubbed on the face. I love the mild rose smell.

Clinique: This feels like Lard or Crisco. When you rub it between your fingers, it goes on like an oily cream. This has no fragrance, which is perfect for those who don’t like scented products.

Sunday Riley: This product feels rich, but it is quite grainy. I found the blue tansy scent quite calming, though. Still, the grainy texture..nah. I’m not a fan of it.

VI. How Did I Use It?

All products: I took a quarter-sized amount between my hands, rubbed them once, and then massaged it into my face for one minute to remove makeup. Then, I used a warm, clean washcloth to remove my make-up and sunscreen.

VII. My Thoughts on Each Product

Pixi: This was my least favorite. I used my usual method, and my face felt as though it was coated in wax. I had to use a stronger second cleanser to remove the remnants of this cleanser. Even on my hand, my hand felt as though it was coated with wax. A really nice smelling wax….but still…I don’t like wax near my face. Ever.

Clinique: I really liked this product. I’m normally a sucker for scent, but the performance of this was so good that I didn’t miss the scent. I was able to remove this in 1-2 swipes, and it even removed my waterproof eyeliner as well as my makeup. WIN! 

Sunday Riley: I do like this product. It performs well, and it can actually double as a moisture mask. However, I will not be repurchasing this product because there are much better cleansers which can be purchased for the price, and the grainy texture just wasn’t my thing. 

VIII. Final Verdict

Pixi: I will not be repurchasing this. Ever again.

Clinique: I really love this product. The issue that I have is Clinique is one of the flagship Estee Lauder brands. If you don’t know…Estee Lauder Companies sells their products in China, which requires internationally-owned brands to test their products on animals before they can be sold to the Chinese market. This issue is a LOT more complicated than it appears, and I will be making a separate post on it in the near future.

Sunday Riley: If the price point were $20 lower, then absolutely. However, it’s just not worth it to me.

Cleanse the Day Off: My Night Skincare Routine

Good Morning, World!

I’m so glad that people liked the previous post about my makeup routine. I know that it is a lot of product to use for a regular workday, but there are some days that you just need to glam it up, you know? I ascribe to the school of thought that says if a little bit of make-up makes you feel better about yourself, then do it. Forget about what others think.

However, any fan of les artes du maqulliage will tell you that there is only one thing that they love more than giving the face a beat for the gods, and that is REMOVING the face paint after a long, hard day. So with that in mind, I’m going to share with you my night-time skincare routine. Enjoy!

1.) FIRST CLEANSE

When I’m ready to start the whole skincare process, the first thing that I do is use a balm cleanser like REN Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Balm. This stuff breaks down my make-up and heavy duty sunscreen like no other. Basically, all you do is take a little bit into your palm, rub it between your hands, and massage it into your skin gently for two minutes. Then you use a hot cloth to remove it. Easy peasy, Simple pimple. My skin doesn’t feel dry after using, and I rinse it off after to ensure that the reside is gone.

2.) SECOND CLEANSE

After my first cleanse, comes my second cleanse. Now, depending upon whom you ask, a second cleanse may not be necessary. However, I’ve seen a change in my skin for the better since I implemented a second cleanse, so I do it. I like to use a more active cleanser such as Dermadoctor’s Glycolic Cleanser. It helps to remove any excess make-up and keep my skin smooth. It’s not a foaming wash, which is good since I hate them with a passion. However, it does have glycolic acid to help remove the micro-particulates and help refine your skin’s texture.

3.) EXFOLIATE

This is a step that I’ve only recently added to my regimen, and I’ve already seen a huge improvement in the texture and luminosity of my skin. This daily exfoliation step involves acid pads, and the ones that I turn to are First Aid Beauty’s Exfoliating Radiance Pads. These pads have a combination of glycolic, lactic, and alpha-hydroxy acids which helps to remove dead skin cells and refine skin texture. Bonus point-they also help your other products work better. Now, unlike your typical drugstore acne pads, these are not harsh enough to take the paint off of your Honda Accord. Rather, they take the more gentle approach so that your skin isn’t harmed. WIN!

4.) TONE

This step involves the L’Occitane Immortelle Essential Water that I mentioned in my morning routine. I like to use this to neutralize any acid that may remain on the face, and the scent is calming to me.

5.) TREAT

Like my morning routine, my treatment is one of the most important parts of my routine. I alternate between a retinol serum like Peter Thomas Roth’s Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum and an AHA serum like Ole Henriksen’s Invigorating Night Treatment. These two products have also made a difference in the texture and tone of my skin. I usually alternate between then so that my skin isn’t too used to one or the other.

6.) MOISTURIZE

Again, I like a moisturizer that moisturizes. That’s it. Ole Henriken’s Nurture Me is simple, easy, and it does what it needs to do, which is keep my skin nice and moisturized.

7.) OIL

This step is sometimes optional, and sometimes mandatory. I like to use an oil to seal everything in. Depending upon what I feel like, I may use argan oil, or a facial oil sample from a Petit Vour box.

You’ve just read my night routine. As my morning routine is about getting me revved up to face the day, my night routine is about releasing the stress of the day. With every step I perform, it’s though I’m centering myself again.

Thank you for reading!

Next post- A Beauty Book Review.

When to Save and When to Splurge- The Ins and Outs of Purchasing Beauty Products

Good Morning, my fellow beauty novices!

It’s been a while!  I missed you all! Don’t worry, I wasn’t buried somewhere deep in the heart of Mogadishu! I was off….living life. You know…family, friends, job, etc. etc. Yep. That’s right. Living.

Today I wanted to talk about a topic that I think is incredibly important in the world of beauty which is not discussed ad nauseam NEARLY enough: budget.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Yes, we do! We even named a whole sector of the beauty market after that very thing (Here’s looking at you, budget skincare!).” But in all honesty, we really don’t. So I’m going to share my personal philosophy with you, and then delve into tips you can use to simplify your strategy when it comes to buying your personal care products.

My personal philosophy is quite simple: I only have one face, and I’m going to spend money on it. So when I look to purchase products, I test a LOT of a specific product before I commit to buying one. (I’m currently in the middle of a testing phase…and it’s showing. Breakouts galore.) You see, I was raised by people who were older, and the number one lesson I learned from ALL of them was this: Higher Rate of Investment=Higher Rate of Return. They were always willing to spend a little bit more in order to get something that was going to last them for a longer period of time. And in my case, it was true. So that’s how I’ve lived my life. I don’t necessarily live for Saks, but I will invest in key staples to last me quite a while every season.

With that in mind, here are the rules that I use when buying my beauty products:

  1. Set Your Limit: This one-the key to it all. Do some digging in your budget and figure out what you can afford to spend on your desired product. Figure. Out. Your. Limit.
  2. Invest First: What do I mean by “Invest First?” It’s pretty simple: I invest the majority of my beauty budget on the items that I use at least twice a week. So I invest in my skincare (duh), and the makeup I use on a daily basis. No matter what your budget is, always cover the NEEDS first. You don’t NEED the latest Naked palette. But you do need sunscreen. If you wear make-up, invest in a good foundation, concealer, corrector and powder. It’s worth spending the extra cash on those items to ensure that you have a perfect match on your skin. If you know that you like a good neutral eye every day, invest in a good palette that has a variety of neutral shades to choose from.
  3. Learn What to Save On: This is something that not a lot of people know, but it’s incredibly important because it can save you a TON of money in the long run. If you know that you like to change up your look everyday with different eyeliners, blushes, eyeshadows, mascaras, etc. then don’t be so quick to buy the latest social media sensation that costs enough to feed a child for a month in a war-torn country.
  4. Realize that low-price doesn’t mean low quality. I’ll readily admit this-in the field of make-up, the best eyeliner that I ever used was a L’Oreal H.I.P eyeliner. That jet black stayed put throughout prom night. You can find great deals at Target, Ricky’s, Ulta, and any other place that sells lower-priced skincare and make-up. I may not use many drugstore products in my routine, but I am aware of their reasonably-priced deals at the very least.

So those are my top four tips for figuring out when to save and when to splurge.

What are some of your tips? Share the love!

My Morning Routine-Act II

Welcome back! If you’ve been reading along, I’ve split my morning “Get Ready With Me at the Gym” routine into three acts. Act I was about my shower routine post-workout, so keep on reading for Act II!

When I come out of the shower, I need to feel clean, as though I’ve scrubbed every inch of sweat, dirt, and city life out of my existence. Once that task has been accomplished, I can saunter over to my locker in nothing but my favorite blue bath towels from college (don’t judge me, my mom is the queen of Macy’s bargains) and begin my skincare routine.  Here  goes nothing:

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From The Treadmill To The Office-  A Comedic Blogopera in Three Acts.

ACT I.

Hello, again!
I want to make an admission: I am an early morning gymrat…who happens to be a make-up addict.

I know that it seems improbable and impractical. You, dear reader, would be well within your rights to ask me how I manage to carry all of the products that I have if you were there to witness it. My mother tells me that I carry way too much…and she’s probably right. But here’s the thing: As much as I am a free spirit who seems to epitomize chaos and floating through life with no worries, I am someone who needs a steady routine/ritual in the morning to center myself and get my mind ready to face the day. My morning routine is a three-act routine, and each step to me represents a forging of a different part of my armor. This first act is my shower routine.

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