Monday, 30 May 2011

Caroline Barnes Shares Her Foundation Tips

Max Factor4

A couple of weeks ago I visited The Dorchester in London for a Max Factor Foundation Masterclass with the lovely Caroline Barnes. Those of you that have been reading for a while may remember my post featuring Caroline's tips for finding a foundation match yourself, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to ask more questions in person. I was also hopeful that Caroline would forgive me for that Balaclava picture....

Max Factor5

Max Factor6

As well as advice from Caroline, we were talked through the history of Max Factor makeup. It was truly fascinating. We take the different colours and formulations of foundation for granted these days and it was interesting to be reminded of how pioneering Max Factor was in developing foundation and making cosmetics accessible to everyone, not just actor and actresses. It's obvious that they continue to work hard to produce formulas and expand their colour ranges to meet the demands of today's woman.

Max Factor1

Max Factor2

Caroline gave us the benefit of her expertise, demonstrating her foundation techniques on two models whilst she talked us through the application. One thing I was really taken with was the use of two completely different foundation shades to sculpt the face. On the model with the more tan colouring, the 'matching' shade was applied on the outer areas of the face, then a second lighter shade was used down the central panel. This gave such life and depth to the face. None of us have simply one colour in our face so it was interesting to see how this is translated to makeup application. For those with fairer skin, where a lighter foundation colour doesn't exist, bronzers and contour shades can be used to replicate the effect.

Max Factor7

Caroline also discussed the importance of looking at the colour of the chest and neck when picking a foundation (something that was also mentioned at the MAC masterclass). I know myself that I have redness on my chest and pale skin on my neck, so it can be hard to 'pull it altogether'. Something that Caroline recommended for me personally was to use a fake tan like St. Tropez all over to even myself up. I used to do this often in my 20's and it allowed me to go without foundation. I plan to give this a try soon.

Photography by Sheenie at Just Nice Things

Photography by Sheenie at Just Nice Things

I wanted to share with you how my face looked after Caroline applied the foundation. She chose Second Skin foundation in the lightest shade, Creamy Ivory. I've since been using this at home and I love it. When I first start to work it in it can look a little too pink but it melts into my skin and almost disappears. It evens up my skin tone and gives a lovely radiant, slightly dewy finish. This foundation contains special high resolution pigments that are designed to mimic the multi-tonal nature of the skin and the 60% water content helps it blend seamlessly with the skin. It's relatively sheer and gives a light to medium finish. It's probably best for those with minimal blemishes but maybe some age related flaws that want to achieve an even, natural finish. I sometimes use it to supplement my tinted moisturisers too.




I'm thrilled to have been re-introduced to Max Factor foundation. Second Skin Foundation has been a really good fit for me. I was also really impressed with the Xperience Foundation that I saw applied to several other blogger friends. This gave slightly more coverage than Second Skin but still looked very natural. Speaking of blogger friends, I want to pass on my huge thanks to Sheenie from Just Nice Things who took these amazing pictures of me and was kind enough to let me share them. Thank you Sheenie!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Naked Truth Skin Care

Naked Truth by Dr. Darren McKeown is a recently launched skin care range available exclusively in Superdrug. I was sent two items from the range to try, the Age Resistant Cleanser and the Face Renewal Mask. Dr. McKeown trained as a plastic surgeon and specialises in minimally invasive aesthetic procedures such as botox and fillers. I haven't established whether Dr. McKeown is involved in the manafucture/formulation of the products.


I've had these products a little while and have had a bit of a tough time gathering my thoughts for review. Some of this relates to products themselves and some to the brand. I'm hoping I manage not to makes this post too disjointed so I'll deal with the products themselves first.

Age Resist Cleanser
This is a foaming wash off cleanser. It comes with packaged with a handy pump dispenser and I require at least two pumps to cleanse my face. I have a habit of using makeup remover or oil cleanser before using this so I can't comment on it's makeup removing ability. In the information on the back of the bottle it explains that this product contains three AHAs: Glycolic, Lactic and Malic acid. It also states that it uses natural surfactants to cleanse. This formula is SLS free, although no attention is drawn to this, and consequently it is low foaming.

I'm not sure I've encountered AHAs in a wash off cleanser before. This is part of the "Age Resisting" function of the cleanser, as it aims to increase cell turnover by chemical exfoliation, improving the texture of the skin surface. I wondered how the AHAs would actually have opportunity to work in formula that spends a limited time against the skin. This became clear when I read the instructions for use. You are directed to massage the cleanser in to the skin for two to three minutes. I have tried to do this but it isn't all that comfortable and two to three minutes massaging in face wash quickly begins to feel like a lot longer! I wonder whether the AHAs would be very effective if this is just used like a regular face wash?

On the positive side, this cleansers seems to work well. My face feels clean after use, it rinses off easily leaving no residue and it doesn't leave my skin feeling tight. It also smells quite nice and I like the pump dispenser. The sting in the tail is that this costs £17.99 for 150ml.

Face Renewal Mask
Like the face wash, one of the functions of this mask is to exfoliate the skin and promote cell renewal. Instead of chemical exfoliants, this uses physical agents, namely crushed olive stones. It is pretty gritty and to me the stones are reminiscent of Apri Scrub in texture. This worried me at first but as you apply as a mask rather than rubbing it in, it's not all that abrasive. The mask also promises to be radiance boosting and soothing.

You apply the mask, leave it on for ten to fifteen means then rinse off (I use a warm cloth). My skin does feel lovely and smooth once I've used it and I find the scent and soothing sensation very pleasant whilst it's on. It feels quite cooling on the skin.

In the product description it makes mention of an infusion of magnesium, copper and zinc. I suspect this is the Lactobacillus ferment extract that I can see in the list of ingredients. I find it extremely odd that no attention is drawn to the bio ferment. Likewise, there is no mention of the Saccharomyces (Yeast) ferment that I spotted in the cleansers ingredients. I shall come back to this point in a minute.

This is certainly a nice face mask, though I feel the beads would be better if they were more refined. The Face Renewal Mask costs £21.99 for 50mls.



I have very mixed thoughts about this brand. I feel it is quite expensive, coming in at prices just under those of premium lines. It's being pitted against other "doctor brands" yet there is no mention of how the scientific expertise has been used to create these products or the how the formulation justifies the high price tags. Nowhere does it specifically mention the bio ferments or the fact that the cleanser is SLS free and I think this is an omission. This coupled with the advice from Dr. McKeown to only realistically expect to see results in six months and that these products aren't promising a miracle leave me very confused! With an effective skin care product you should see some result after 28 days and if a "doctor brand" is suggesting I have to use a product for six months until I see results, I would feel distinctly less inclined to part with £28.99 for a moisturiser!

I think the marketing of this brand is very confused. You're either offering good products that don't offer a miracle that are affordably priced. Or you're providing skin care with active or novel ingredients that offer proven results that justify the price tag. This seems to want to be a bit of everything and in doing so leaves the customer confused. I can't work out if it's over-priced or underselling itself. I think the answer to this will only become clear with time.

Is this a line you've tried already? What do you think?

UPDATE: Since writing this review I have had a response from Dr. Darren McKeown, addressing some of the points I made. You find my update post here - Naked Truth Update.

Disclosure: These product were sent to me without cost for the purpose of review.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Penelope Applied

Here are the pictures of the Le Métier de Beauté Penelope Kaleidoscope applied as promised. I've included a few different combination of the colours layered. In this first look I have applied all of the colours. I am wearing Pale Satin Amethyst all over the lid, Bronze Topaz on the outer 2/3 of the mobile lid and Black Emerald on the very outer corner and into the crease. I applied Blonde Amber to blend out just above the crease (please forgive me for the messy hair in the full face picture!).




Here I used just two of the colours. I applied Black Emerald along the lashline in a thick line and Bronze Topaz above Black Emerald, up to the crease.


In the pictures below, I applied the top three colours in the Kalidoscope and lined with YSL Waterproof liner in Shimmering Burgundy. I applied a light wash of Blonde Amber all over the mobile lid then layered Pale Satin Amethyst over the Blonde Amber. I applied Bronze Topaz to the crease and outer corner of the eye using a MAC 217 brush. This is a very soft eye look and I really like how it turned out.




I have been enjoying playing with this palette quite a bit. I don't find I intuitively know where best to place each colour but it has forced me to try out different placement and combination and it's interesting to see how it turns out each time. I think the layering creates such an interesting effect. Overall I find the colours are very brightening and I think they're perfect for the Summer.

How would you apply the colours in this Kaleidoscope?

This Weeks Beauty Spotlight Roundup


Welcome to the Beauty Spotlight. Every other week our beauty blog team will shine a spotlight on their best posts. Expect them to bring you the latest, the greatest and the most fun to find beauty products the world over!


It's almost legendary how much Prime Beauty loves coral--this week I went cuckoo for these five coral lipsticks. Which of these summer shades are must-haves on your list?

Rouge Bunny Rouge eyeshadows have grabbed the heart of Marcia from Beauty Info Zone.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed spent all last week drooling over the new Essie Braziliant collection and still can't pick a favourite - check out her digits and help her choose!

Pammy finds her "custom shade" with Stila's new Custom Color Blush at Pammy Blogs Beauty.

Visionary Beauty gets a surprise when the Laura Mercier Riveria Eye Quad, an unexpected acquisition turns out to be a really useful, high quality palette!

This week, Jeanie of Makeup Merriment shares with her readers why she's so smitten with Le Metier de Beaute true color eye shadow in Jojo.

Zuzu's Petals at Everyday Beauty has discovered the perfect sheer red lipstick for summer, appropriately named Sweet Cherry.

This week Jane at Modesty Brown shares her brush collection. She talks us through her favourites and which ones aren't so great. If you like a peek at other people's collections, this one is for you!

London Makeup Girl has succumbed to the allure of the limited edition Mimosa nail polish by Chanel. She's not entirely convinced that Big Bird yellow nails work for her.

Perilously Pale is basking in the glow of Le Metier de Beaute's Tuscan Sunset True Colour Eye Shadow.

Curious about what how makeup application can be different when you are a 40+ lovely? Older Girl Beauty has tips from Emmy award winning Makeup Artist, Eve Pearl - "What the Pros Say..." - Eve Pearl.

Styrch from Pretty in Dayton attends the wedding of Project Runway Season 6 Alum Althea Harper and has way too much fun!

Image Credit
Photography: Claire Harrison -
Make up: Cheryl Corea-
Model: Pixie @ profile models

Friday, 27 May 2011

Giveaway - CLOSED

I bought a few bits recently with a view to putting them together as a prize. There's no particularly event to celebrate, this is more of a just-for-the-hell-of-it kind of thing! Anyway, here are the JFTHOI prizes.




There's a BECCA Automatic Eye pencil in Majorca (black) released with the Halcyon Days collection. a BECCA Professional Brush Soap, an Avoir La Pêche collection palette from Sleek and an All For Eve Body Scrub. I've included a close up picture of the Sleek palette and you can see it is a little dusty but it is brand new and unused.

To enter you need this giveaway you need to do the following.

1. Leave me a comment to this post telling me which are your favourite kinds of posts on Modesty Brown (have I mentioned before that I am nosy?).

2. You need to be a follower of this blog via Google Friends Connect or email. Please let me know which way you follow in your comment.

3. Please leave me your email address to contact you if your comment does not link to your blog or profile.

This is an international giveaway so it is open to everyone. I know this a bit dull but as this a giveaway for followers, I reserve the right to remove any entries that I suspect are not from genuine blog readers.

The giveaway will remain open for entries until 10th June 2011, 21:00 BST. 

Best of luck! x

A Prime Confession!

When Cindy from Prime Beauty Blog asked if she could take a turn in the Friday Confessional, Aunty Brown rubbed her hands together. Cindy writes a blog aimed at women who are 40+ and in their prime. With age comes not only experience but also the distinct possibility of juicy skeletons lurking in the closet...

Image credit

Confession is good for the soul, go ahead and unburden yourself! I promise I won’t judge.

At the risk of being drummed out of the beauty blogosphere I will confess that for the first oh, forty to forty five years of my life I didn’t take care of my skin. At ALL. My skincare routine consisted of washing my face in the shower with deodorant soap. I of course have changed my ignorant and disgusting ways and my skin is all the better for it.

Or should I say non merci?

As far as hair goes—I hate my fine, flat hair and am hopelessly clumsy with hair tools. I cannot for the life of me work a flat iron and am barely competent with a blow dryer. I have to use approx. 2,683 products to get any volume in my tresses so now maybe you can understand why I hate it so much.

There, don’t you feel better now?

Aunty Brown has a few more questions though; it’s true that I’m the nosy type.

When was the last time you visited the hairdresser?
Actually just last week I got my hair cut and colored blonde for the summer.

Which bit of beauty trickery couldn’t you live without?
I have 2:
1) I always, always wear fake nails. I originally got acrylic nails to help with my nail biting but I have kept it up for probably 15 years now and I feel naked without them.
2) Faux tan. I’m from the ‘no sunscreen’ generation where we slathered on baby oil and fried ourselves in the sun to deliberately get sunburn to ‘start’ our tan. I am seeing the damage showing up on my skin now and in fact, had two basal cell spots on my legs burned off. For the last several years, the tan-in-a-can has been my lifesaver!

You watch, I'll be golden brown tomorrow...

You’ve overslept and have 5 minutes to get out of the house. Are you going out with dirty hair or no makeup?
Most definitely dirty hair—I love dry shampoo. I have too many sins to cover up to go without makeup!

Which trend still makes you cringe?
I detest dark lip liner! I don’t even wear lip liner because the horrible dark lip liner days of yore when everyone looked like a vampire before it was trendy. Call me old fashioned (and I am) but I have a thang about bra straps showing—ewwww.


Thank you for sharing Cindy! I'm stunned at the soap confession, were you a regular makeup wearer at that time? If you have something you need to get off your chest and want to take a turn in the Friday Confessional you can email me at It's open to everyone: if you have something to confess, I'm happy to hear it!

Image of Sunburn from

Thursday, 26 May 2011


For those in the UK, there has been a lot of talk about the recently released Glossybox scheme. The idea is that you keep up to date with current product trends with a monthly delivery of five sample sized products. You pay £10 a month for your box which includes delivery and I believe you can cancel at any time without being tied in to a notice period.


I must admit, I'd decided not to buy a box the first month as I wasn't sure if it would be for me. When I was offered a box to try for review I freely admit that nosiness got the better of me and I couldn't resist checking it out. The presentation is impeccable, the pink box that it comes in is sturdy and attractive and I will be using it for storage. I liked the tissue paper and ribbon touch as it really feels like opening a present. Who wouldn't want to open a nice gift to themselves once a month?


Inside there were five products ranging from small sample size to full size. There was a small sample of BIONOVA Bioactive Cleanser for Normal/Dry skin (an oil based cleanser), a travel size bottle of Coco Shambhala Invigorate Body Lotion, a purse sized spritz bottle of Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Rapid Repair Spray, a full sized All For Eve lipstick and a full sized NARS Orgasm Illuminator. I am very interested to try the Coco Shambhala, Alterna and BIONOVA as I've never tried these brands before and Alterna is the only name I have come across before. The All for Eve lipstick and the Orgasm Illuminator are duplication of products that I already own.


This brings me to my thoughts on Glossybox. I think it is a really great idea, you get a lot for your £10 and I think for the vast majority of women (that aren't obsessed beauty bloggers) it really is a great scheme. I think if you're a bit beauty mad like me you run the risk of duplications or ending up with items that you tried but decided against purchasing. Having said that, I still think it represents great value for money if they keep up the current standard.

I'm not sure whether boxes will be tailored to skin type and colouring in the future. I think all the boxes that went out this month contained the same products but there is mention of them being tailored to individual needs. Glossybox has an online magazine and blog and will encourage subscribers to give feedback about the samples and gain loyalty points towards free products in future which sounds interesting. I will be interested to see how things evolve in the future. You can find out more about Glossybox from their website

What do you think of the scheme? For those in the UK, is this something you're likely to sign up for? I believe similar schemes exist in other Countries so I'd be interested to hear what my International readers make of it too.

Disclosure: This box was sent to me without cost for consideration for review.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

My Brush Collection

It's been almost a year since I posted this look at my brush collection. It would be fair to say that time flies and my collection continues to grow. I've even manage to outgrow the vase and quite a lot of them have found a new home in my brush roll.

My urge to post this came after my brush washing session at the weekend. I hate washing brushes, it's so boring and my dislike is often used as an excuse to buy more so I can go longer between washes (you can't beat a bit of girl logic). The trouble is, the more brushes, the longer it takes when I finally get around to it. Here are most of them lined up after my efforts on Sunday.

brush collection2

Face Brushes
face brushes1

I seem to have quite a collection of face brushes. I have a lot for cheek application, a few general powder brushes and not much in the way of foundation brushes. I have a foundation brush from The Body Shop, I don't really get on with it but keep it mostly because I'm a hoarder. Since I originally purchased it, the synthetic GOSH brush seems to have undergone a name change and is now listed as a foundation brush. I've only ever used it to blend out blusher so maybe I should give it a try with a foundation to see how I get on.

Large Face Brushes
face brushes2

Of my large face brushes, I get most use from my Sigma F25 and MAC 129. I use both regularly for bronzer. The ELF Complexion brush is lovely and soft and is a favourite with my daughter (I don't mind letting her play with this one because of the bargain price). The MAC 187 is mostly reserved for pigmented blushers.

Small Face Brushes (Contour and Blusher)
face brushes4

I do seem to have a little *thing* for contour brushes. I tend to prefer them for applying blusher as I find their size and shape good for precise application. I suppose I reach for my MAC 168 brushes most of all. The Ruby + Millie is the least use and I tend to use that for dusting face powder on the T-zone. The Rouge Bunny Rouge Contour brush is super soft on the face and I find the size and shape excellent for blusher application. Like the 187, I'd always used the MAC 188 for blusher. After seeing a couple of makeup artists use it for foundation I've given it a try myself. I love the polished effect it gives but it is a beast to clean afterwards!

Fluffy Eye Brushes
eye brushes2

I love my MAC 227 brush. I suppose I shouldn't really class it as a fluffy brush as it's probably more like a super-sized laydown brush. I bought it after watching a Pixiwoo video and it's been an excellent investement. I use it for applying a base colour all over the lid, I also use it on the brow bone.

Of my fluffy blenders, I like the Sigma the least. It's a bit too big for me and quite floppy! The travel sized MAC 224 is my most used and one of these days I will treat myself to a full-sized version. The RBR has become a favourite for a light wash of colour in the crease. I used it to apply LM Sable to the crease in this recent post.

Crease Brushes
eye brushes5

The MAC 217 really is an excellent shaped brush. I do find mine isn't as soft as I'd like and the hairs have been prone to breackage but I wonder if this a fault with my brush as I've never heard these complaints before? The Sigma E35 (or SS217 as it was called) is ok, it's softer and not as densely packed as the MAC  217. It still does an reasonable job of crease application but I prefer the MAC. The No.7 blender is very similar in shape to these other two but I haven't used enough yet to give a fair review.

The Cozzette brushes were sent to me recently for review (coming shortly). Cozzette brushes are vegan professional standard makeup brushes made from synthetic fibres. They are incredibly precise for application of colour, especially the Stylist Illustrator D330 brush.

I've ranted about the MAC 226 brush before. It's a great brush, it's just a shame it's so scratchy. The Smashbox has potential but could do with being more densely packed and I recently reviewed The London Brush Company blenders here. The smaller of the two is such a little gem of a brush and I've found myself reaching for it a lot to apply darker colours along the lashline.

Lid Brushes
eye brushes7

These are pretty much a staple for me. Without a decent brush for packing on lid colour, I'd be lost. I'll start off by saying The Body Shop eyeshadow brushes just don't work for me. The synthetic fibres simply don't pick up or apply product properly. I think it's preferable to use these for cream products. The MAC 213 was my first 'lid' brush and I still think it's a great little brush but I tend to reach for the 239 in preference, possibly because of the shape.

The ELF C-shape brush is ok for eyeshadow application but it's a little short on surface for good lid application. I tend to use it more for applying dark colour precisely on the outer corner before using a blending brush. The RBR Large Shader is excellent for adding a base colour quickly to the mobile lid and it's a good multi-purpose choice because of the size and shape.

Both The London Brush Company Shadow Blender and Cozzette D225 are excellent brushes for eyehshadow application but they shine at different things. The Cozzette is great for cream or wet products. The LBC is very good at gripping product, so a good choice for eyeshadows that I have a tendency for fallout. I must review both of these brushes very soon.

Small Detail Brushes
eye brushes8

Although I tend to just use a brow pencil these days, the MAC 266 is my brush of choice when using powder to fill in my brows. The bristles are quite stiff and scratchy but they work very well on brow hairs. The Ruby + Millie eyeliner brush is my favourite slanted eyeliner brush. I haven't used it with gel eyeliner, I always use my MAC 210 for that but I like this for applying eyeshadow along the lashes. It hasn't been totally usurped by the small London Brush Company blender as this one is good for a more definite line as opposed to a smoky line. I don't seem to reach for my MAC 219 as much these days but I still think it's a well made and quite versatile brush, especially for those with larger eyes.

I do have some other brushes knocking about it different makeup bags and even some in palettes which I've missed here. I do hope this post has been interesting. If you have any questions about particular brushes do feel free to ask away, I know I've rather whizzed through them all!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Nail Varnish in Dionysus

As a child I was pretty fascinated by Greek Mythology so I rather like the idea of a collection of nail varnishes named after Gods and Goddesses. The four nail varnishes from the Le Métier de Beauté summer collection are all beautiful but the one that demanded my attention first was Dionysus, a stunning deep, turquoise blue shimmering with fine glitter. No one needs to comment on the fact that Dionysus is the God of winemaking......

Le Metier+Dionysus6

I'm a Pisces and really do feel drawn to all things to all things water related. I studied in Marseille for a year and would often take a walk down to the craggy beaches of the Calanques nearby to my University accommodation. Dionysus reminds me of how the sea looked as the bright sunlight bounced off the turquoise blue of the Mediterranean. I honestly don't think my 21 year old self really appreciated how lucky I was!

Le Metier+Dionysus2

Le Metier+Dionysus5

Le Metier+Dionysus4

Le Metier+Dionysus3

The LMdB nail varnishes are 3-free and are fortified with strengthening proteins and hydrators. The bottles are very small and the brush is quite narrow. It doesn't splay like the pro-brushes that I'm used to but I experienced no difficulties in applying. The polish goes on nicely and only requires two coats. It seemed to level up the uneven surface of my nail a little to give a nice looking manicure even with my scrappy nails. It lasted well but I think some of this may be down to 'capping' the tips which I've only just learned. I did find my nails stained a little, even with Nail Envy as a base coat.

The colour and sparkle of Dionysus is spectacular. I kept admiring my nails the whole time I was wearing it and I don't think my pictures (or nails) do it sufficient justice. In terms of a dupe, the closest I have to this is Barry M Racing Green but Dionysus is definitely more 'peacock-y' in comparison.

Les Calanques de Marseille

Le Metier is currently only available in the US and the nail polishes are priced $10. 

Disclosure: PR Sample

Monday, 23 May 2011

Simple Eye Look with Laura Mercier Sable

This post is actually for a reader, Erin, who got in touch to ask for recommendations to recreate the eye makeup I was wearing here.

I guessed at Kjaer Weis Wisdom or colours from the BECCA Enigma palette but these are not easily accessible for Erin and she asked if could recommend anything similar. I enlisted the help of Twitter friends to get suggestions for similar mauvey-taupe colours with minimal shimmer that are available in the US. I had loads of great suggestion, many thanks to those of you that helped me!

Erin is looking for a colour to create a sophisticated but soft smoky eye. She particularly wanted to avoid anything too dark or warm as she struggles with colours looking bruise-y. She has Laura Mercier Vanilla Nuts eyeshadow already as a base colour and I wondered if either LM Topaz or Sable would work. I only have Sable out of these two but thought I'd use it in a look to see how it would look in a less intense application. In these photos I have paired it with MAC Brule eyeshadow.

Laura Mercier+Sable1

Laura Mercier+Sable3

Laura Mercier+Sable4

Laura Mercier+Sable6

Laura Mercier+Sable5


When I swatched Sable it was clear that it's an eyeshadow that can be used for a soft or more dramatic look. It's not very pigmented but buildable which gives it this flexibility. The light swatch is a couple of swipes and the heavy swatch was at least five passes with a clean finger. Normally I use a flat, lay-down brush to apply this colour all over the lid but in this eye look I used a fluffy brush in the crease.

I hope this post will be useful for others as well as Erin. Please feel free to add any alternative colour suggestions in the comments too. They would be most welcome I'm sure!


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