Project Natural Glow

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Some of you may remember the Project Glow challenge I put together for Caitlin a while back. Well, I’m cooking up a similar challenge, but this time it has an all-natural twist.

The questions I am asking are:

Can I commit to switching to all natural cosmetics?

Will using all natural products improve the appearance of my skin, hair, etc.?
Will I be able to find all natural products without breaking my budget?

A little while ago, I mentioned that I wanted to start buying more natural cosmetic products to replace the current ones that I use. So far I have switched to coconut oil as a body moistruizer and I replaced my non-natural toner with Desert Essence Australian Tea Tree Oil.  I love this product. It is quite drying so you have to be prepared to back it up with lots of moisturizer before you put your make-up on though. I just love it. After cleansing my face, I swipe this product all over my face and then I moisturize. I find it really cuts down on shine throughout the day and it has cut my break-outs down so much they are virtually non existent! I think I first found this at Wal-Mart, but I also spotted it in the natural foods section of Loblaws/Superstore (where they have their natural beauty products located).

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I will be the first to admit, I have never paid much attention to what ingredients I put on my body, but after some thought, I realized that it was a bit silly of me to be so careful about what I put into my body but not what I put on it. Afterall, skin is the largest organ in the human body!

A few readers pointed me to Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database.

I found this description on the About page:

In 2004 we launched Skin Deep, an online safety guide for cosmetics and personal care products. Our aim was to fill in where companies and the government leave off: companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish, and our government doesn’t require companies to test products for safety before they’re sold. EWG’s scientists built Skin Deep to be a one-of-a-kind resource, integrating our in-house collection of personal care product ingredient listings with more than 50 toxicity and regulatory databases.

Now in its fourth year and third major update, our Skin Deep database provides you with easy-to-navigate safety ratings for nearly a quarter of all products on the market — 46,432 products with 8,582 ingredients. At about one million page views per month, Skin Deep is the world’s largest and most popular product safety guide.

After searching some of the products that I use, I was down right disturbed by the ingredients I put on my skin each and every day.

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A few weeks ago, I purchased Yes To Carrots Pampering Carrot Juice Shampoo. It is not tested on animals and it is made up of many natural ingredients like dead sea mud, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, melon, and honey.

I was pretty pumped to try out this shampoo.

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So what did I think of it?

Well, for starters it was sort of nice using a very mildy aromatic shampoo. I am used to using shampoos with a strong scent, so this was a nice change. Secondly, it was a bit hard to get over the fact that it doesn’t sud up a lot like most shampoos. I believe this is due to it not using common chemicals that result in lots of suds. After a bit of investigation, I found that this shampoo uses an ingredient called Sodium Coceth Sulfate which is “a semisynthetic detergent-like compound derived from fatty acids obtained from coconut oil, modified using ethylene oxide (oxirane). It is a milder foaming agent found in baby cleansers, gels, and cleaners.” (Source). So by no means does this shampoo contain entirely natural ingredients, but I guess it is a good start.

The shampoo seems to do a good job, despite myself having a hard time to accept the lather-less wash. I’ve been told time and time again that the lather and bubbles in soaps were created simply to make people think they were getting clean, when in reality it has nothing to do with it.

I find myself using a huge glob of this shampoo to ‘get the job done’. I think that because it doesn’t create a large lather, I feel like I need to use more to get my hair clean. This probably is far from the truth though.

It is a bit difficult for me to give this product a rating since it is my first time using any sort of natural shampoo, but all and all I was fairly pleased I guess. I will continue to use this HUGE bottle (another bonus) and then move onto another new product.

I must also admit that I have a lot to learn with respect to cosmetics, ingredients, and safety hazards. I kind of see it as a new challenge to do some reading on it and research some ‘friendly’ brands that I can test out and review. Unfortunately, this Yes To Carrots product has not been reviewed on the website yet, so I couldn’t check it out.

Of course, I won’t be going cold turkey on my current stuff. I am using up what I have now, and as I run out, I will be replacing the products with natural ones. This will be a gradual process that will occur over the next several months!

Now here’s where you come in!

I know many of you are so savvy in this department. And I would love your advice, tips, and pieces of knowledge that you have learned from using natural products.

Have you found any products in particular that you loved or hated?

Do you ever think about what ingredients you are putting on your skin?

Could you ever see yourself switching to natural products?

Will you join me in this challenge?

Share your thoughts below! :)

I would love to hear of some great natural brands out there. I think I have heard Burt’s Bees is a good one?

Angela_Signature

See you later…be sure to check Twitter for some fun updates while I’m away! :)

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bdsmhardtube September 2, 2010

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Kathryn August 26, 2010

I LOVE tea tree oil. We use a few drops in the washer to wash our workout clothes (we do sweaty yoga, so ya gotta disinfect!). It smells so good in the laundry room. I found some wipes from the same brand that I use right after class and it totally helped with the random break outs I was getting on my chest.

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Sasha July 14, 2010

Just stumbled on this post and love the topic.
Yes, natural it is for inside and out.
My face wash for years: lightly massage face with coconut oil, splash cold water and gently scrub with chickpea flour. Even green lentil flour is a gentle and good face scrub.
My anti-acne regimen for years: dab a little turmeric paste and wash after 30 minutes (better still to leave it overnight) Turmeric is a natural anti-septic. It makes a for great glow-giving face pack too (mixed with milk and rose water).
My eye tonic every night for the last 17-18 years: dab a bit of castor oil on my eyelashes and upper eyelids every night before bed. Castor oil is a natural coolant. Plus it sweeps all the night-eye-dust in a neat bundle and can be cleaned easily in the morning. Despite all ‘scientific’ reports refuting the claims, I can honestly vouch that my eyelashes are longer and darker because of the regular use of castor oil. Cross my heart, I would never lie about beauty issues!

ps: I am going through your old blog posts (from before the time I first ‘met’ you) so you can expect sporadic replies on older topics. Curiously, the change in your food habits are so evident when I read your older posts – you seemed to use white sugar, all-purpose flour, eggs liberally back then :)

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Amanda January 1, 2010

I am so excited about all this consciousness. Skin Deep is a fabulous site. So many great products out there but it is hard to find a true all natural product. I am in love with Dr. Hauschka skin care. I went to Massachusetts for the training and fell even harder for the products. As an Esthetician I am naturally concerned with what goes on my skin and I spend my days trying to educate people about all the good stuff. Keep up the good work.
Healthy Regards

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Eliana >^..^ November 26, 2009

Great post. I will say that 99.9% of my products are not tested on animals, for me, that is a VERY important thing. Most of the products I buy, I get them at whole foods. I use Alba, Nature’s Gate Organics, J.A.S.O.N. They all use a lot of natural ingredients and dont test on animals. Now, the products that I buy for cleaning the house are Method and Seventh Generation–they both use completely natural ingredient, dont test on animals, and use recycled materials for the packaging. ;o)

Hope you try some of those. ;O)

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Kimberly December 16, 2009

Take a look at http://www.100percentpure.com
The mascara is amazing! All of the products are made from fruits and vegetables. You can also find the products on QVC. They smell sooo good!!!

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Foodie August 16, 2009

Hi, everyone! I love this idea. I have been really wanting to add more natural products to my routine but, like so many of you, am confused the prospect.

@Clare: you stated that the “Burt’s Bees lip stuff-as well as some of their other products have lanolin (sheep fat!) in them.” However, as someone who lives on a sheep farm, I beg to differ. Lanolin is not “sheep fat.” It is a wax-like substance found on the WOOL of sheep and other similar (wool-bearing) animals. A Wikipedia quote further outlines the extraction process:
“Lanolin’s ability to act as a waterproofing wax aids sheep in shedding water from their coats. Certain breeds of sheep produce large amounts of lanolin, and the extraction can be performed by squeezing the sheep’s harvested wool between rollers. Most or all of the lanolin is removed from wool when it is processed into textiles, such as yarn or felt.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanolin)

As I am sure you know, shearing sheep to remove the fleece does not harm the animal at all (unless the shearer is careless and accidentally nicks the animal); in fact, getting rid of the wool actually does the sheep a favor, as such a thick coat can get extremely unwieldy and hot (this explains why sheep are often sheared in spring or summer, so as to prevent them from heat-related discomfort). Thus, to my knowledge, sheep are not harmed at all from the process. Vegans may have problems with using lanolin simply because it is from sheep. But considering that the animal actually benefits from its removal (because it comes off the HARVESTED wool–wool that can be bothersome to the creature–and is thus no longer needed in anyway by the animal.) I am assuming most vegans care about the planet, and wasting that wool and lanolin, seeing as it does not harm the sheep, would be environmentally unfriendly. Especially when such a natural, useful product can be used in place of many other toxin-ridden moisturizers and products.

So, yes, lanolin is “sheep fat”, but it is important to note that that “fat” is not from inside the sheep, but rather is discarded from its exterior.

Perhaps there is a side to this argument that I am not yet aware of, but to my knowledge, anyone who cares deeply for animal welfare and seeks to live this conviction through their lifestyle and consumer choices, should feel absolutely no guilt at all for buying products including this ingredient. Please educate me if I am incorrect. : )

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Beverly August 3, 2009

I use Everyday Minerals makeup (www.everydayminerals.com) and it is by far the best makeup I have ever used (and I’ve tried a ton!!).

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Jordan August 3, 2009

I use coffee grounds leftover from my boyfriend’s morning coffee as a body exfoliant. Sea salt and olive oil makes a good base for a body scrub, and I play around with a drop or 2 of different essential oils (lavender, etc) to mix it up!

Coffee mixed with conditioner rinse is good for brunettes and helps with shine too. I use overripe avocado as a deep conditioning hair treatment sometimes.

Yogurt, honey and oatmeal make great soothing face masks if your skin is irritated. I use Burts Bees SPF 15 as my face lotion.

For products, I’m using John Masters Organics soap/shampoo/conditioner. Looking to try some different lines and play around.

And finally, coconut oil on the skin! I love reading everyone else’s suggestions too!

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Heidi August 3, 2009

Hi there! I really love my current shampoo and conditioner. It’s from a company called Mop (Modern Organic Products). I highly recommend it. I have always had a problem with dry hair and Mop really helps keep my hair moisturized, especially when I going longer than I should between trims ;). Here is their website: http://www.mopproducts.com/

I hope you find something that works well for you!

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Thien An August 3, 2009

a good moisturizer is Jojoba Oil, also from desert essence. I’ve been switching over to natural skincare and make up. Even mineral make up as most claim to be all natural is not healthy for usage. This topic is interesting and I’m glad to see that you’ve blogged about it.

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Angela August 3, 2009

My FAVORITES are always from Mario Badescu (Celebrity favorite in NYC but moderate prices) and AVEDA (hello arm and leg).
They are more about calming the skin and nourishing it so it behaves well rather than using harsh chemicals to treat it. Email if you want some suggestions– i’ve tried a few of the products!

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Jessica August 3, 2009

oo and of course as i have mentioned before, bare minerals :)
-muffy

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Jessica August 3, 2009

the shampoo im using currently is ABBA and i love it. i also really like the Avocate skincare that morris organics developed. you can check em out at morrisorganics.com :)
-muffy

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Kristy August 2, 2009

I love all the products from this site that I’ve found:

http://www.chagrinvalleysoapandcraft.com/

Good luck in your search!

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Jess August 2, 2009

I LOVE the Say Yes to Carrots but I did have a hard time with the lather issue too. But I use their body wash and will condinute to do so for as long as possilbe (I have this horrid trend wherever I find a product I love they discontinue it.) I’ve hard a hard time with the Burt’s Bee’s products simply because they have strong odors. Similarly with the LUSH products I reviewed on my blog (http://justjess-itsallicanbe.blogspot.com/2009/07/overdue-reviews.html) but I haven’t given up on them yet. My bestie Jenna (who got me on the SYTC stuff) also has had great sucess with Alba’s line, and I enjoy “borrowing” her facewash and facial lotions too when I go to visit! I’m for sure switching when I run out of my current products.

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Carla August 2, 2009

For years and years I’ve been using Kiss My Face body moisturizer. My favorite is the lavender and shea butter one, but they’re all fantastic. The large size lasts me for several months and I use it after every shower and before going to bed. Great ingredients, respectful of the environment, and affordable for how long it lasts.

Sunblock – I always use Alba’s in lavender. It has been put to the test in big ways over the last several years. A great company, great ingredients and it really works. I also use their lip balm with sunblock.

And ladies, this one is SUPER IMPORTANT . . .

Organic cotton tampons. There are two brands: Seventh Generation and Natracare. I usually use Natracare because that’s what my local health food store carries. They are more expensive but worth it. I buy them applicator-free and order a case at a time. One case will get me through almost an entire year.

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Abby Tichenor August 2, 2009

I started with natural products by researching them online first and checking ingredients and then slowly added them in as I finished my non-natural products.

Check out http://www.beautytruth.com – It gives you the breakdown on ingredients in a very simple way.

I buy Jason products (often on clearance at big box retailers and VERY cheap online..)
http://vitacost.com has most of these products much cheaper than stores and it’s just as affordable as buying non-natural. I have noticed a HUGE difference in my hair and skin by using Sweet Almond Oil and Tea Tree Oil and using Shampoo and Conditioner free of all the chemicals. (LOVE ORGANIX brand!!)
Watch out for Lush (http://www.lush.com) -They have a lot of products with bad ingredients still.
Sorry for the long comment-I’ve just been learning all of this over the last 6 months!

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Yolanda August 2, 2009

Burt’s Bees is AWESOME!!! My face tingles after I use it!

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Madelin @ What is for breakfast? August 2, 2009

I use a shampoo and conditioner called Organic Care (think it’s Australian though so you probably can’t get it there) but I don’t think its completely chemical free or anything just free of parabens etc. I want to try burt’s bees too.

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Laura August 2, 2009

I’m really happy you’ll be reviewing natural cosmetics on your site because as others have said, it’s hard to know where to start. Thanks also for mentioning where you find products – I really want to try the tea tree oil and will be checking at Loblaws for it!

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Katherine August 2, 2009

I am all over skin deep.

The thing is you really have to be careful about the products you buy. Some say they are natural, but they still have parabens, pthlates, or things in them that are bad for you. So really, really, read the label.

For body soap, I try use natural soaps. Yes, more expensive, but in the ones I use, there’s no parfum or anything which could be harmful.

Shampoo- I’m still looking for one.

Moisturizer. I found a great moisturizer made from alocal shop. It’s amazing!

I’ve switched over all my cleaners. Nature Clean is an awesome, inexpensive Candian product to use (I believe they are out of Ont.) Or I just use vinegar to disinfect, and baking soda for stain and smell removal.

Natural product use is something I’d love to hear more about.

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CD August 2, 2009

Burt’s Bees is great.
I use the face wash – it smells wonderful and it makes your skin feel refreshed and SOFT.
I also use the conditioner.
Love to hear more about the Yes to Carrots stuff when you have more of a chance to see the results.

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Joanna August 2, 2009

I love coconut oil as a body moisturizer as well. Especially for my elbows, feet and my hands. I do a lot of weight training and that can do a number on my hands…coconut oil helps smooth out those rough spots.

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Angi August 2, 2009

I have been toying with ordering from this line http://morrisorganics.com/ after reading about it over at Eat, Live, Run.

I currently use stuff from Thymes in the states, but would love to try more natural products.

To be honest, during the off season, I don’t wear more than mascara and carmex lip balm ( and sunscreen, of course!). I generally like my face better without makeup, although I do have fun playing with make up.

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Meghan@traveleatlove August 2, 2009

I love using food products for my skin and hair! Honey, banana faces masks, greek yogurt as a cooling face mask, oatmeal as an exfoliant, olive oil to condition the hair. I have learned so much from the different cultures I have encountered and especially from the older generations.
I really love Burt’s Bees as well.

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jessinnyc August 2, 2009

Thank you for the useful information! That website rocks. I really need to pay attention to the products I use. I put a lot of effort into eating organic and locally when possible. I should put the same effort into what I’m putting on my body. I think its the next step I need to take.

My biggest struggle is that these products tend to be a little more expensive than conventional ones. Any suggestions on where to get them at an affordable price?

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Greta August 2, 2009

Angela, I’m so glad you’re working on the switch to all-natural cosmetics and body care! I have troublesome skin (oily with occasional breakouts)(mostly hormonal around the same time of each month, if you know what I mean!) and have always had a hard time finding a reliable product line/lines to use. Once I started using more natural products, I swear the condition of my skin has improved immensely! Also, even though I know what I use isn’t 100% all natural, I know it doesn’t contain any known carcinogens or chemicals.

My routine and favourites::

Face-
Burt’s Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream
Burt’s Bees Garden Tomato Toner
Coconut butter to moisturize (just a LITTLE bit!)

Body-
Hugo Naturals Grapefruit Shower Gel
Coconut butter to moisturize

Hair-
Aubrey Organics Blue Chamomile Shampoo & Conditioner

(like you, it took a little while to get used to the lack of suds, but I swear my hair is a lot softer and smoother since I’ve been using this!)

Makeup-
Well, I actually don’t wear makeup anymore, with the exception of mascara (it’s MAC mascara… my one guilty pleasure!), and some lip gloss occasionally. But I’ve used Bare Escentuals in the past, which works great – and it’s all minerals!

I also second the Skin Deep website for cosmetics research… I’ve definitely been surprised when I’ve looked up some old favorites!

Good luck with everything!

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AshleyH aka Organic Girl August 2, 2009

yeah sulfates are what makes products bubble up and its toxic so stay away from those. I have been using alba products until I realized that they have sulfates so now when I run out I have been switching to other products. I like organix shampoo and conditioner. I am very picky about my s&c because I have very oily hair and these work great. I also like KissMyFace start up fash wash it has almost all natural ingredients. :) Dr.Ken has the best toothpaste that I’ve tried.

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Ashley @ On The Rocks August 2, 2009

Burt’s Bees is awesome! Definitely try it.

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Sara August 1, 2009

Great post!

I really love Jason Natural Products. Here are my favorites from them:

Vita-C Max Instant Facial (this is a light oil scrub that makes your face feel amazing afterwards. I make everyone try it when the visit and they cannot believe it!)

Ester-C Super C Cleanser Gentle Facial Wash

Ester-C Crème

Peppermint PowerSmile All Natural Whitening Toothpaste

Natural Jojoba Shampoo Scalp Balancing

Natural Jojoba Conditioner Scalp Balancing

I also love the Brand Shikai. The Color Reflect Moisture Conditioner makes my hair super soft.

I order most of my natural products from http://www.luckyvitamin.com/

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Priyanka August 1, 2009

My Mom gave me vials of tea tree oil, fantasia and lavender a few months ago. I knew the benefits of Lavender and fantasia so I applied that but ignored the tea tree oil. I now know how to use my tea tree oil!

I have always used pure almond oil for removing my make up/moisturizer, rose water as a rescue tonic on my skin after sun exposure and also toner. Also sandalwood paste to rejuvenate and cool off my skin!

love this post!

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Mimi (Damn the Freshman 15) August 1, 2009

I haven’t yet found a natural shampoo I’m crazy for. My hair is cranky as hell. However, I get good results when I use Burt’s Bee’s Raspberry with my normal (nonnatural) shampoo. I use one for the first wash, then rinse and use the other.

But I LOVE Alba’s shower gels. They make my skin super soft and they smell very mild and comforting.

And Tom’s of Main makes great toothpaste.

But the one product I’ve never heard anything good of is natural deodorants. Jillian Michaels says even she gave up on that one.

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Heather August 1, 2009

Good luck with this! I am still in the process of overhauling my cosmetics/beauty products. I am about 90% there. I switched to Everyday Minerals and Phyisicians Formula Organics makeup, both of which are mostly vegan, not tested on animals, and made from all natural ingredients. For body washes, I really like Nature’s Gate & Jason Organics. Shampoo has been the trickiest one, because if I find one that is paraben free (like Yes to Carrots – one of my favorites) then it does have sulfates, so for me, it’s all about picking my battles. I’ve tried countless numbers of natural shampoos to be let down. I even did the “No Poo” routine where you use a baking soda and vinegar rinse, but couldn’t handle it. As for face care, I use the Oil Cleansing Method with castor oil & jojoba oil, and use coconut oil as a moisturizer and tea tree oil for blemishes and redness. I’ve been doing that for about 5 months now and I love it. It can definitely be tricky with makeup, which seems to be the most expensive, but you can find affordable cosmetics, you just have to do some searching. Good luck!

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Christina August 1, 2009

I’m actually looking for a more natural face wash right now. After much research, I think I’m going to go with Juice Beauty. It’s made from actual juice!

I have tried Burt’s Bees products before. Right now I’m using their conditioner but I don’t really like it that much. It smells like clay! I will say that they have good chapstick though!

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Amanda August 1, 2009

Im really careful about what goes on my skin. I have really sensitive skin so I have been paying attention to ingreds for a long time. I use Burts Bees and Juice Beauty and LOVE them both!!! I also like Alba and Desert Essence products.

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