Mascara.

For several years now, I’ve been buying (despite the $24 price tag), using, and loving Diorshow Mascara. I loved it, that is, until I didn’t anymore. At some point, either the formula changed, or it started to conflict with my body—it was flaking, clumping, smearing, and generally doing all of the things you don’t want your mascara to do.

Sadness. I take my mascara seriously—my lashes are naturally quite long, but I like to make them FAT and DARK and TRUE BLACK. Also, because my lashes are long, I need a mascara that will dry quickly and hold the curl (yes, I use a lash curler, and so should you) all day long. I don’t like anything that looks “natural”, but I also don’t like my mascara to look clumpy. It was hard to find just the right one, and I was so disappointed when Diorshow stopped loving me (and vice versa).

Enter Max Factor Volume Couture mascara. Hello! I love it, and it costs about 7 bucks. It’s perfect. Okay, so the description does lie on one count—it most certainly does not “wash off easily”. I still have to use an oil-based eye makeup remover (recommendations?), but I think that’s probably the case with any long-wearing mascara. I don’t expect it to wash off with just my face wash.

Anyway, it’s a great mascara, and I highly recommend it.

Dior still makes the best eyeshadows, though! Smoking Black applied with a small, flat angled brush and a drop of water makes a better, longer-lasting eyeliner than any pencil out there.

55 comments
  1. P.Oct 14, 20085:06 pm

    I’m laughing because I’m DEAD SERIOUS about my mascara, but completely fickle. I change all the time. I guess I haven’t found true love yet…though I may try Max Factor Volume Couture and see if it’s meant to be.

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  2. AmyOct 14, 20085:29 pm

    Anna, I love that you are writing these sorts of product reviews. Many many years ago I picked up a tip for my very favorite “Cherries in the Glow” lip gloss from you, and wondered what other magic products you may have found.

    Regarding your search for remover, my SIL, an esthetician and the world’s most dedicated practitioner of heavy eye makeup, uses the Sephora brand, though occasionally splurges on the Lancome Bi=Facil.

    Hi! I’m Amy, obviously a long time reader, but a first time commenter. I love your blogs.

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  3. AdamOct 14, 20085:58 pm

    Your lashes should be studied by scientists so they can be replicated!

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  4. CaityOct 14, 20086:28 pm

    Wow that must be great stuff to be that expensive. I might have to try this out. Mascara lasts me a long time and if the results are good it might be worth it.

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  5. JJOct 14, 20086:37 pm

    I am a mascara whore. I buy all kinds. I have so many many tubes but not this one! I will go get it ASAP.

    My lashes are medium length but full so frequently I pop on some obnoxious false lashes. Frequently includes wearing them to work.

    I will try the Smoking Black trick. I usually wear liquid liner.

    Yesterday while I was trying on some big feathered headband I realized that I am basically a showgirl at heart. I seem to want to be feathered and dripping in crystals/diamonds at all times.

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  6. rebeccabOct 14, 20087:29 pm

    I love, love, love Shu Uemura mascara (the gel one) but I do not know why I pay $27.50 for the privilege.

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  7. Anna at D16Oct 14, 20087:54 pm

    Amy! Cherries in the Glow? Wow! I haven’t used that gloss in a long time, do they still make it? (Glad to see you’ve de-lurked…it sure took you long enough!) Thanks for the tip on the remover, I’ll try the Sephora brand next time. :)

    Caity: It’s not the expensive stuff (Dior) I’m enamored with (anymore), it’s the cheap stuff (Max Factor). Don’t be fooled by price tags! Sometimes the cheap brands are better than the pricey ones.

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  8. RobinOct 14, 20087:55 pm

    I’ve been using lash blast and mac gel eyeliner. What brand of eyeliner brush do you use? I sadly/strangely don’t have a steady enough hand to line my eyes with regular eyeliner but can draw it on with a brush. I always feel like the handles on the dispensers aren’t long enough to get a good grip or some such thing.

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  9. CharlieOct 14, 20089:09 pm

    I have been using Rimmel London Very Black waterproof mascara for years. (I know – a little trashy but it really works). I have tried the Maybelline Great Lash (all the makeup artists swear by it) but it doesn’t leave enough on my lashes. The Rimmel is hard to get off. I used to use an oil-based eye makeup remover, my eyes would get all blurry but there’s just no way not to get it in your eyes. But I have found something new – you should try it – its great. Neutrogena oil-free eye makeup remover and it really removes the waterproof stuff.
    Black eyeliner is L’Oreal Color Truth Cream Eyeliner – stays in place. Its perfect.

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  10. FionaOct 14, 20089:17 pm

    I also cannot find a mascara I truly like. I try to use non-animal tested products, and I know the L’Oreal and Lancome brands are reowned for their mascara, but they unfortunately do test. But I just googled and Sephora is not animal-tested, and it’s apparently good. Jackpot! Thanks, ladies!

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  11. Anna at D16Oct 14, 200810:01 pm

    Robin: I use a MAC #266 Small Angle Brush for my eyeliner. I’ve had it for at least a decade now, and I don’t think it’s shed a single hair! Excellent quality. It’s very firm, but not at all scratchy against the eyelid.

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  12. RachelleOct 14, 200810:55 pm

    I’ve been preaching the greatness of Max Factor mascara to all my friends for the last year! It’s possibly the only thing I’ve used completely up, and then bought again and again. I’m also blessed with long, thick lashes, but I want to show them off as much as I can. I’d wear fakes daily if I thought I could get away with it, but this stuff is a close second.

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  13. larissaOct 15, 200812:04 am

    Yay! I love your makeup posts!! Thanks, Anna!

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  14. Barb F (Australia)Oct 15, 20081:47 am

    I have also recently become disillusioned with my mascara. I’ve been a dedicated MAC fan for at least 10 years now but the last one I bought makes me look like a clumped up drag queen. Not happy. So your tip is very timely, I think I will give the Max Factor a whirl.

    I also recommend MAC brushes, my blusher and eyeshadow brushes are as good as the day I bought them! (10 years! Christ, suddenly feeling old…)

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  15. CatherineOct 15, 20082:52 am

    I used to love Diorshow too but then it changed, or I changed… whatever it was I was no longer happy to pay that much money for a mascara I wasn’t in love with anymore. I moved on to L’Oreal Double Extend and was amazed how good it was. I now alternate between that and Maybelline XXL. They’re very similar (probably the same formula). They last all day (and all night) and don’t flake or leave marks under my eyes. I used to use Max Factor back in the day but found it lacked staying power.

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  16. SusanOct 15, 20086:31 am

    I am now a mascara monogamist, Clinique Lash Power. BUt I am tempted by the eyeshadow……hmmm

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  17. karleeOct 15, 20088:22 am

    Maybelline pink and green. (what is it even called? great lash?) I love it. Nothing else works. But something I can’t find is eyeliner.. I think I have weird shaped eyes or something, because immediately after I put it on it’s wearing under my eyes and by the end of the day it’s gone. Gives me grief.

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  18. KathleenOct 15, 20088:25 am

    I use the oil-free Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover. It says it is oil free but acts and separates as if there is some sort of oil in there. It gets my Mac liquid liner and L’oreal waterproof mascara right off.

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  19. PennyRouletteOct 15, 20089:31 am

    I love the Clinique eye- makeup remover :) maybe you will too!

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  20. cassieOct 15, 200810:26 am

    my favorite mascara is zoomlash by mac. it isn’t clumpy, it doesn’t flake off, and it doesn’t instantly give me black tears if i happen to be watching a sad movie. it’s $11. i also really like benefit’s bad gal lash $18, but it flakes horribly. i look like a racoon in the afternoon. to remedy that you have to buy another product of theirs, she-laq $24. she-laq is a liquid sealant that comes with a variety of brushes. i use it to keep my eyeliner in place. it even kept my red lipstick in place for my wedding. i don’t use bad gal with she-laq anymore because i am lazy and don’t like doing that one extra step with my mascara. plus the zoomlash is less expensive.
    i swear by keihl’s supremely gentle eye make up remover. it is amazing and removes everything so easily. it never stings my eyes and gets the make up out of my brushes as well.

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  21. erin@designcrisisOct 15, 200811:35 am

    Darnie, I just bought two new tubes of goo yesterday, wish I had seen your review earlier! I usually use Maybelline Full and Soft during the day, and L’Oreal Voluminous at night.

    To take my makeup off, I use DHC Deep Cleansing Oil followed by Mild Soap (although you don’t really have to use the soap). Good stuff.

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  22. LisaOct 15, 200812:30 pm

    My super greasy face will melt standard mascara off within an hour, which is why I was so thrilled when I first discovered Blinc’s Kiss Me mascara (the one that forms tubes around your lashes). It doesn’t do much in the way of extending or fattening lashes though, and like you mentioned above, it doesn’t dry quickly enough for my lashes to hold a curl. Which is why I was then even more thrilled to find FiberWig mascara at Sephora (same tubing concept, thicker, more flexible formula, dries pretty much instantly). I’ve been really pleased with it, but the last tube I bought started to go downhill after less than a month and I just can’t bring myself to buy such an expensive mascara on a monthly basis.

    I’m curious to try this Max Factor mascara that you’re recommending now. Have you had much of a problem with mascara melting off in the past? I’m wondering how well this one would hold up for someone with an oily complexion. Thanks!

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  23. Anna at D16Oct 15, 200812:46 pm

    Lisa, you NEED to try Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. It is makeup-life-changing! I have really greasy eyelids and always had the same problem you did with the melting mascara (and weirdly, it had gotten worse as I got older), but this has solved the whole problem for me completely. I can even wear eyeshadow and it won’t crease all day! It’s amazing stuff. I should do another post about it at some point, because it’s definitely a miracle product for me.

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  24. AliciaOct 15, 20085:41 pm

    I use MAC black mascara, but recently my mom gave me a free sample of some other kind in a brown, so I’ve been alternating. I’ve been thinking about testing some drug store varieties.

    I can’t believe you have to use an oil based remover! Have you always had to? I use a foaming makeup remover from Neutrogena which works really well. I have fair skin so sometimes my eyeliner or mascara doesn’t come off completely, but its always gone by the next morning.

    You should definitely do a post about that urban decay primer, I’m going to have to look it up, too.

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  25. AliciaOct 15, 20085:44 pm

    By the way, Anna, do you by any chance know of any websites that show different ways/styles of applying eyeshadow? I’m so uncreative with it, so I usually opt out.

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  26. Anna at D16Oct 15, 20087:57 pm

    Alicia: Yes, I definitely have to use an oil-based remover. True waterproof mascara does not come off with facial cleanser (unless it’s a cleansing oil, but I still prefer to use a separate remover since it’s less messy), and I’m too old and fair to rub and scrub my delicate eye area. If I use facial cleansers around my eyes, the skin gets very dry and itchy. Also, I’m meticulous about removing every last speck of eye makeup at night. Oil-based removers just make it all so much easier and less traumatic for my skin.

    I don’t get very creative with my makeup, but Allure magazine is great for seeing trends and techniques up close (I don’t trust them for product reviews, though, since it’s all ad-driven). I also love Kevyn Aucoin’s books.

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  27. nicoleOct 15, 20088:01 pm

    i’ll give yet another nod of approval to the neutrogena oil-free makeup remover. works like a charm.

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  28. Mary-EllenOct 15, 20089:47 pm

    My recent discovery is CoverGirl Lash Blast. I didn’t believe it but it is so amazing. The wand is so fat, you have to be very careful. It is so black, it doesn’t clump, it makes your lashes long and thick. It comes off easy when you wash your face. It doesn’t flake and it dries fast.

    I also vote for more makeup tips here. What foundation do you use? Your skin looks flawless and are you still using that eye cream? Would you still recommend it?

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  29. AliciaOct 16, 200812:50 am

    Thanks, Anna!
    Well you seem to have it down pat as to what works. I know what you mean about getting dry and itchy!
    Good recommendation on Allure, I do remember them being that way, I’ll check it out. =)

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  30. JoOct 16, 20083:37 am

    I’m with Cassie.

    Discovered Kiehls Supremely Gentle about five years ago and never looked back. There is just enough apricot kernel oil to remove every last speck of anything at all, yet it is as light and fluffy and gorgeous as can be.

    $16.50 for the small size which lasts me almost a year.

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  31. Anna at D16Oct 16, 20089:17 am

    Mary-Ellen: Definitely not flawless, but thank you! And yes, I still use the same eye cream, and I still recommend it wholeheartedly. I’ve been using it for several years now, and I can’t be without it.

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  32. katOct 16, 200811:12 am

    I miss (and love) your makeup related posts! I use Diorshow as well, but lately I’ve been hankering to try something new – I agree that something is ‘off’ with the new formula. It’s clumping a LOT. Will try the MF on your recommendation!

    I also use Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle m/u remover. It’s a staple in my kit!!

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  33. ReganOct 16, 20087:52 pm

    One night after a show I found myself without eye makeup remover. Over the course of the play I kept spackling on the eyeshadow and mascara and it was not pretty sight. I was desperate so I just pulled out the olive oil. I still use it to this day to remove eye makeup. It takes a little more time and sure, my eyes might get blurry for a bit afterwards but it really does work. Then I just wash my face as usual and the cleanser gets the olive oil off. The olive oil does offer some relief during the winter.

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  34. Samantha WalesOct 16, 200811:28 pm

    I use loreal voluminous mascara and need a good remover too. I found that the neutrogena and the mary kay eyemakeup removers are both awesome….and they are noth oil free!

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  35. lolaOct 17, 20081:52 am

    For eye makeup remover try olive oil, it takes off the hardest makeup!

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  36. JessOct 17, 20081:08 pm

    me too! It was great when they first launched it. I just bought the Dior show blackout and thats rubbish too : (

    Time to down grade!

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  37. EvaOct 17, 20086:07 pm

    I’m also disapointed with DiorShow in the last year but to scared to try a diffrent mascara. I think I’ll try MF, though. I agree that the Urban Decay primer potion is the best.

    Anna, I have been reading your blog daily for while and I’m a huge fan.

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  38. Ma Petite AmyOct 17, 20088:58 pm

    This is a great post. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels all serious business about one’s lashes! Don’t forget the eyelash comb, though! They’re wonderful for de-clumping in-between coats.

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  39. melissaOct 18, 200811:56 am

    l’oreal lineur intense with the felt tip is the best and easiest eyeliner i’ve ever used!

    but i’m still searching for the perfect mascara!

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  40. verhextOct 18, 20087:43 pm

    benefit get bent

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  41. verhextOct 18, 20087:44 pm

    oops i tried to put a heart and it cut me off. ♥???

    anyway, the rest of my comment:

    i left my makeup bag in a rental car (yes, i want to die) and have to replace EVERYTHING. perfume. everything. sigh.

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  42. AnaOct 19, 20084:27 pm

    Greetings from Portugal!

    Just dropping a line to tell you how much I like your blog and to let you know about two great oil-based makeup removers: Sephora (bodget frindly)and take the day off bt Clinique (if you’d like to splurge a little, though I know that Clinique isn’t as expensive in the US as it is in Portugal).

    I’ll will sure try Max Factor (probably vie Ebay as it isn’t sold in Portugal) and will keep you posted about it. I had the same problems a year ago with Maybelline Great Lash (the one people have mixed feelings about… :) )

    Thanks a lot for keeping this great blog and keep up the good work!
    Ana

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  43. KristenOct 20, 20088:29 pm

    I totally agree with you about the Dior Show mascara. It no longer works for me. I thought it was because I’m now 32 and maybe I’ve changed. Now I’m beginning to think it’s not me. Anyway…I’ve switched to Laura Mercier and love it. I too, have long eyelashes and when I use this mascara it makes them even longer. It does wash off nicely. I was also using Lash Injection by Too Faced which I liked for thickness but it doesn’t come off easily. You can even get a small one for about $8.50 to try out. If you want to try a lot of different kinds of mascaras go to The Lash Stand. I think I might just do that. Anyway…love your blog! Good luck.

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  44. anneOct 23, 20084:24 pm

    Jojoba oil works very well for taking off eye make-up AND it’s good for your skin AND you can even leave it on AND won’t make you break out (at least, it doesn’t me).

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  45. Donna SueOct 23, 20085:45 pm

    I love Mary Kay’s eye makeup remover. It separates, so you have to shake it, and it’s a pain to find someone selling Mary Kay to get it, but it’s the best remover I’ve ever used – it even softens “permanent” lash adhesive very quickly.

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  46. DanaOct 24, 20087:29 am

    I have tried lots of make-up removers but they all stung my eyes or were WAY too oily. I found a great one that has chamomile in it from Yves Rocher. I forget the name but it is in a blue bottle and retails for about 8.95 but you can fequently find it on sale on 2 for 1. Great stuff and seems to soothe tired eyes.

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  47. michelleOct 24, 20085:43 pm

    Just discovered your blog via Not Martha. I tried the DiorShow (got a sample) and I wasn’t impressed. Perhaps it was the later formula. I, too, have long lashed and am going for the thick, dramatic look. I love Cover Girl’s Lash Exact and MAC’s Mascara X. They both wash off with my regular cleanser, Philosophy Purity. But if it leaves a little bit, I use Lancome’s Bi-Facil. It’s awesome.

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  48. Lynn in TucsonOct 24, 200810:32 pm

    Thanks for the tip; I need something new!

    I have been using Cover Girl’s “Clean” make-up remover on my eyes for…maybe 20 years (I always choose waterproof mascara). It’s still under $5 and I will be sad sad sad when it disappears. A bottle lasts forever and I’m always a bit scared that I won’t be able to find it when I go to buy more.

    And don’t be fooled: Almay makes one in a similar bottle but it’s no way near as good.

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  49. laurenOct 26, 200810:02 am

    I am so glad to see someone else has the same problem with Diorshow. My most recent tube would come out clumpy, thick and gross. And the brush even started sticking together the mascara was so heavy and goopy.

    I am going to try the MaxFactor as well, thanks for the tip!

    Also, I use the Neutrogena eye makeup remover and it’s wonderful. I used Clinique before but I swear it is the exact same formula. It took off layers and layers of makeup one Halloween that was held on with Benefit She-Lac. One swipe and it was all gone!

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  50. laurenOct 26, 200812:32 pm

    I have used Lancome Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover since I started wearing mascara. I have tried some drug store brands, but nothing has worked so well as this except Vasoline. I have sensitive eyes and this is like water to them.

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  51. poppyOct 26, 20081:14 pm

    Ditto the Blinc Kiss Me mascara. It’s weird but it’s the only mascara that doesn’t make dark circles under my eyes. I’ll have to try the FiberWig.

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  52. SophieOct 28, 20085:19 pm

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned this, but my favorite makeup remover *by far* is Borghese Gel Delicato. It is light, clean, and very effective.
    http://www.borghese.com/product_detail.cfm?c=0&cat=1&pid=470415

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  53. kerryNov 9, 200812:59 pm

    maxfactor waterproof lash lift is amazing, i have super long lashes and also like something that keeps the curl.

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  54. MaryNov 16, 20084:59 pm

    I’ve been using Max Factor Stretch and Separate since Dior cake mascara became available only in Europe. And I’ve been getting my Max off Ebay since it went off the market here in Canada. Thanks for the suggestions. I prefer something I can apply with a separate brush. Dove soap has been enough to remove anything I get on my skin when applying and everyhing at the end of the day. I find oil removers as hard to remove as the mascara..

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  55. courtneyJul 1, 200912:57 pm

    The only Avon product I love is their moisture effective eye makeup remover. It does the job really well. My mom gets it for me when it’s on sale for 99c and puts it in my stocking every year. It’s regularly like $5 but it’s always on sale.

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