I’m gonna soak up the sun… or maybe not with the Biore UV Aqua Rich sunscreens

by Paris B on · 64 comments

in Cheap and Good?,Product Reviews,Sunscreen

Sunscreens. I love them. Without them, I’d probably look 10 years older *insert cute face* icon razz Im gonna soak up the sun... or maybe not with the Biore UV Aqua Rich sunscreens

If the plethora of information out there isn’t enough, let me remind you again – sunscreen is your first step in an anti-aging skincare routine and no one is ever too young to wear sunscreen. They even make baby sunscreen these days and there are prices ranges to suit everyone. Which brings us to 2 sunscreens from Biore.

biore uv Im gonna soak up the sun... or maybe not with the Biore UV Aqua Rich sunscreens

These 2 sunscreens in the Aqua Rich range were released some time early this year in 2 formula – Aqua Rich Watery Essence and Aqua Rich Watery Cream Whitening. Both sport SPF50+ PA+++ claims which is about as high as they legitimately go for broad spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Now you know I love my Shiseido Perfect UV Protector sunscreen. I have finished it thanks to my beach holiday and I really like it. However, the price is hefty on the wallet so I was wondering if these two from Biore would be more wallet friendly substitutes. I’ve never tried any Biore ones despite the popularity – these are supposed to be the No. 1 sunscreens in Japan!

As the names of the product imply, there are different textures in both tubes of sunscreen.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence (blue tube 50g)

This has a very light water-gel texture that is very comfortable on the skin. It is almost like applying a gel moisturizer on your skin – its that light!

I find that it leaves a light cooling feel after application and has a light citrus scent tinged with alcohol. Like many Japanese sunscreen formulations, these contain alcohol. Initially, I find that it feels a little sticky but the feeling soon passes and the skin feels comfortable but it does feel like there’s a layer of product on it. It also feels smooth to touch, like a silicone layer.

biore uv2 Im gonna soak up the sun... or maybe not with the Biore UV Aqua Rich sunscreens

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Cream Whitening (white tube 33g)

This has a slightly thicker cream texture that is also very easy to apply on the skin and feels comfortable. Unlike the Watery Essence I do not get the initial sticky feeling.

I however am put off by the scent in this one. It has a very strong alcohol smell laced with citrus. Believe you me, it is not something my nose likes getting assaulted with early in the morning. Whilst it feels very comfortable on my skin and is not thick or oily or sticky, I find it drying. I know, that is very odd in a product with a name like Aqua Rich and Watery Cream. I liked it initially. I was willing to forgive the scent. But after I used about half the tube, I realised that my skin felt dry and it wasn’t very comfortable.

Apparently, there is chamomile extract to suppress melanin production and prevent age spots in this one, hence the “Whitening” label in the name. I personally feel one can’t judge something like this visually so all I’d say is that if it works, great. Oh and I also find that this one leaves a bit of a white cast on my skin. All very little things that just irk me in general so I don’t like the Watery Cream version.

biore uv3 Im gonna soak up the sun... or maybe not with the Biore UV Aqua Rich sunscreens

You can see from the swatches that the Watery Essence version is much lighter in texture than the Watery Cream. Both feel light on the skin and if I had to pick one of the two, I’d pick the Watery Essence because the scent is lighter, there is no white cast and it does not dry my skin out.

One thing I noted of both of these sunblocks is that they did not seem to protect my skin as well as say, the Shiseido one can. I noticed this because my face would feel warm after a short time in the sun as opposed to when I wear the Shiseido sunscreen, when I do not. In fact, I don’t even feel this uncomfortable when I’m using a sunscreen like La Roche Posay Anthelios or Kiehl’s which I also happen to like despite the heavier texture. When I’m at home I actually find myself reapplying 2-3 times just to avoid this warm feeling. Although it says SPF50+ and PA+++ protection, which is equivalent to that in the Shiseido UV Perfect Protector, I have repurchased the latter despite the price tag, simply because I feel more comfortable with it.

In a nutshell

The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence and Watery Cream Whitening sunscreens contain SPF50+ PA+++ protection against UVA and UVB rays. The Watery Essence has a light gel-water texture which is very light on the skin and absorbs quickly although it starts out with a bit of sticky feel. The scent is light. The Watery Cream Whitening is supposed to help control melanin production as well as protect the skin. The scent is very strong and I feel that it leaves a white cast on my skin and is drying on my skin. I personally do not like the Watery Cream so if forced to choose I’d pick the Watery Essence. I find that my skin burns faster with these than with a comparable SPF sunscreen so I will not repurchase.

Pros: Affordable, Light texture, Absorbs quickly, High UVA and UVB protection, Watery Essence has a light scent

Cons: Watery Cream Whitening felt drying with prolonged use and has a very strong scent, I felt it did not offer my skin as much protection compared to a similar product with similar SPF and PA readings

Who will like this: Anyone who wants a light and easily absorbed sunscreen, Anyone on a budget

I know Biore sunscreens get a lot of love from the budget category. Just look it up online and a billion people (almost!) love this brand. Personally I have never tried any before this because the one time I tested it, it gave me a dry papery feel to my hands like Sunplay (awful!). I am quite tolerant of most sunscreen textures, having used heavy oily types and light types with no real preference so long as they do a good job but anything that dries my skin and leaves a papery feel is a no go.

Here is the ingredient list for both the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence and Watery Cream Whiteing for those interested.

biore uv4 Im gonna soak up the sun... or maybe not with the Biore UV Aqua Rich sunscreens

Are you a fan of Biore sunscreens? Have you tried either of these and have thoughts to share on them?

My test is always how my skin feels after going out in the sun for about an hour (lunch time) or driving in the afternoon. If my skin feels warm from the inside after that sort of sun exposure, I look askance at the sunscreen and rarely if ever repurchase. I’m glad Biore has now got a much more comfortable textured product but I will not repurchase because I am not comfortable using them. In the budget category, I actually prefer using the Hada Labo ones (both cream and emulsion) which have no scent and to me, feel better on my skin. That however, is me. Don’t let me put you off these because they really are very affordable and worth trying to see if they work for you icon smile Im gonna soak up the sun... or maybe not with the Biore UV Aqua Rich sunscreens

Paris B

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence and Watery Cream Whitening sunscreens Price: RM32.90/50ml and 33ml respectively Availability: Most major pharmacies

Disclosure: Featured products were press samples for consideration. For posting guidelines please read my disclaimer.

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[ 64 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

LeGeeque August 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

Awww… I was close to asking you to please add this to my stash. Good thing you don’t quite like it hence my credit card has heaved a sigh of relief :D

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

Nope, I think its safest to just stick with whatever you’re using now :)

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dom August 23, 2012 at 9:00 am

Haha we published similar entries today! I’m not a big fan of the alcohol so I’m still searching for the perfect, not-too-expensive sunscreen. I gave the Cream one to Suan, not sure if she’s already reviewed it yet.

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:26 am

Oh my! Synchronicity! :D I can usually tolerate alcohol in most skincare (Japanese brands are chockfull of them!) but this one, I just did not like. The smell was so strong!

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Cynthia August 23, 2012 at 9:02 am

My friends around me was raving about this sunblock especially the water essence. I was quite close to buying them because their price are great especially when Watsons has sale it make them more affordable. Yet I am still sticking with my Hada Labo one as it works great with no mineral and alcohol contents. I guess this is why we differ because our skin works differently.

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:26 am

Actually, loads of people love this one Cynthia and the price is very tempting but like you, I’m sticking with Hada Labo for a pharmacy pick, because it just works better for me too! :D

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Jyoan August 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

While I am a fan of Japanese sunscreens, and had at one point loved Biore sunscreens, I eventually realise that the alcohol in it is too much, and causes bumps to appear on my skin. I also think it’s kind of oily. But I guess it’s just being sensitive.

My favourite one is specifically Sunkiller Kiss Me, which does not smells of alcohol (because many Sunkiller sunscreens do smell like alcohol). Unfortunately, I can no longer find them in Singapore!!!

For some reason, I still think Japanese sunscreens are more well-rounded and complete than their Western counterparts. So yay for Biore!

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

I remember many girls raving about Sunkiller a few years ago but I never could find it here so I’ve never tried it. I hear its very good! Pity that Singapore no longer carries it :(

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trah August 23, 2012 at 9:33 am

I’m using Biore’s sunscreen too but not this range as I don’t like the scent. While testing the product in pharmacy I do like the texture but it doesn’t look suitable for users with oily and combination skin.

Although I love Shiseido’s, I really dislike the white cast on my face. I do remember you telling me that the new range has different formula so I may pick-it up at duty free shop LOL

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

Ah I don’t experience a white cast with the Shiseido one I’m using so I hope it will work for you ;) Duty free is a wonderful place to be in :P

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KS August 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

I actually have not seen Watery Cream Whitening before… In Singapore, what we have is the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Mousse which is a different texture from the cream and very light and comfortable. The mousse was very popular with musingsofamuse and lotuspalace. If you can get your hands on it, do try the mousse version.

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

I have heard that the Watery Mousse is very nice and many people have raved about it. I am a little wary about trying another Biore sunscreen now since it doesn’t seem to protect my skin but who knows, maybe I’ll try it some day, thanks for the rec!

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Stacey August 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

I like Biore’s UV bright face milk (which is a pink bottle). it comes in blue and white bottles and I like them all. it is easy to spread and doesn’t feel sticky.

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

Oh I think I remember that one – you have to shake it up right? I see that around a lot too!

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gin August 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

i am using biore water essence and i am loving it! coz it is so affordable, i could just use as much as i could…. i dont really go under the sun so it works great for me… if i go to sunny area, i reapply before i go out XD

hada labo emulsion one works great too but it is slightly more expensive and a bit too moisturizing for me… i spare it to the lazy/in-a-hurry day where i just slap it on as a moisturizer and suncreen! (i know i know..not a good thing to do!)

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

Great to know that the Biore sunscreens work for you Gin :) And you’re right. The texture is so light that reapplication is a breeze! I just did not like how my skin would get all warmed up like it wasn’t getting any protection. Maybe I’m just too used to a sunscreen that stops that happening hehe…

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Nikki August 23, 2012 at 10:05 am

Seriously, why don’t we have Biore down here even at Watsons???? WHY????

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

Goodness! You don’t get Biore?! I thought it was everywhere.

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kuri August 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

Thanks for the review! I was just thinking of picking up the Watery essence after I use up my small size of Allie sunscreen, so it’s good to know what you didn’t like about it. That’s interesting about the warm feeling – I guess that’s a sign that the sun is hitting our skin cells? It feels good but if it means skin damage I’m going to avoid it!

I’d used the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Mousse one last year and quite liked it – it has that citrus scent that you mentioned but I guess I’m not as sensitive. However, I thought that the small tube wasn’t very good value.

I hate that dry papery feeling too! It seems to be the default texture among Japanese sunscreens, so I have to be really careful about which ones I try. I guess I’m picky about texture because I don’t like sticky feelings either.
I’ll check out the hada labo emulsion.

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

Ah someone who understands the dry papery feeling! I find that many shake up Japanese sunscreens have that texture and I hate that. Some of the newer versions are more moisturizing so maybe they have all improved. I have heard that Allie is quite good too although I’ve never given it a go. I personally feel that the warming of the skin is basically insufficient protection against UVB rays because that’s what warms up and tans skin. Some sunscreens do that to me and I rarely if ever repurchase or even finish using them because I also find that my pigmentation will go mad :P

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germs August 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

i’ve tried the one of Biore’s sunscreens (can’t remember the name.. oops!) before but simply didn’t like it because it felt drying and left a white cast, haha. i prefer either hada labo or aqualabel (shiseido’s sister brand) for a drugstore sunscreen, though the hada labo one takes a little longer to absorb on my skin :)

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

Haha I think you tried one of the shake up bottles with the dry texture :D I find many people love Biore sunscreens but I never have anything good to say about them :P

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ponikuta August 23, 2012 at 10:45 am

I love the Aqua Rich Watery Essence. Could not even tell it’s a sunscreen by its texture and smooths the skin like a primer too! Score!

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

Oh yes, it does smooth skin so that’s quite nice. I remember seeing that you liked it – pity it just didn’t work for me :(

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Renata August 23, 2012 at 10:54 am

I don’t like these either. My skin felt dehidrated after using them. I still prefer Sofina Jenne spf50+PA+++ and Shiseido Anessa (the golden version, for super protection).

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

Ah, I guess not everyone loves these sunscreens after all! ;) Thanks for sharing your faves, Renata! I haven’t tried the Shiseido Anessa one yet but I know it gets a lot of raves too!

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plue August 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

i do love the watery essence so! i brought this along to Bangkok and had no problems with it. Didn’t quite like the whitening cream version because it feels too thick and when I tried the watery essence, the mousse version just didn’t feel as light anymore. I also love the Perfect Face Milk too!

I didn’t like Hada Labo’s sunscreen, felt it was a little too oily and heavy for our weather here, I guess one man’s meat is another man’s poison! ;)

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

Great to know it works for you Plue :) I guess maybe I’m just terribly picky :D

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Firn August 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

I break out horribly from drugstore sunblocks (Biore, Aqualabel etc) and Japanese ones tend to make my face feel slightly itchy and dry. So I’m terribly afraid of trying out your recommendation of Shiseido’s Perfect UV protector because it will be a very expensive gamble. :(

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Marina(Makeup4all) August 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I haven’t tried Biore…I would really love to try Institut Esthederm, I know some people swear by it!

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:39 am

Ooh you have me intrigued, Marina! I’m going to check it out :)

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Angel August 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I’ve been using the second tube of Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence now and love it. Initially, I thought it’s gonna break me up but it didn’t after the first few weeks using it and now, I’m stuck to this UV protector!

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

Great to know it works for you, Angel! :)

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casey23 August 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Because of oily skin, I am really having the hardest time to get used to sunscreens or sunscreen containing moisturizers. They are usually very thick and oily and sticky and white and all gooey and all that (you feel the love? lol!). But if all this blog reading thought me something, that is not to judge anything and not to keep close mind to a brand and/or product simply because it didn’t work for me before! I know it is wrong, and I know this because I am a chemist who works in a pharmaceutical company and working on clinical studies about oncological products, but I never used sunscreen either summer or winter. But I noticed that since last year I am having the hardest time to turn to my usual skin tone in winter time after tanning at summer. So this summer, I searched a bit about tinted moisturizers containing spf and I bought a bb cream of Clinique’s which contains spf 35 and doesn’t make my face oilier than usual.

And you always mention in your blog to try new sunscreens, that scientists work on them and develop them to work on every kind of skin, so I went to Sephora last week and bought Clarins’ UV Plus stuff.. And I love it!! So to make a long story short (too late ha?!) thank you very much for encouraging me and all the others like who don’t use sunscreen for similar reasons to go out and try!!

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:42 am

Oh I remember you searching for a sunscreen and its good to know you found one in Clarins! The texture of that one is very lovely and I like how it even acts as a primer :D I am a huge sunscreen advocate so I’m pleased you found one despite all your earlier misgivings – good on ya for being brave and trying out different brands :D

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casey23 August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Oh yes I gave it a go yesterday. We were gonna be out in the sun whole day so I used this onto my moisturizer and I never felt the burning feel on me even at noon! But when we returned home, the water was gone and I couldn’t wash my face and around midnight I felt rashing on my face and I had a few whiteheads this morning on my cheeks which made me feel very bad :( I know products with sunscreen properties should be washed properly (mostly with oil cleansers) but the whiteheads gave me the creeps..

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Paris B August 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Yikes! Sorry to hear that >.<

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Becca August 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I’m so jealous that we don’t have these Biore sun creams here in the U.S. I often see it mentioned on blogs and can’t help but to think what if that were my “HG” sunscreen and I didn’t know it?? :P

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:43 am

LOL! That would be a tragedy, Becca! Are there any Asian drugstores around your area that might stock it? I have read that some places do carry these in Chinatown or the like.

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Esther August 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

oooh! I’ve always wanted to try this! But I’m still not done with my Hada Labo one =S and I was aiming for the Khiels one as well so wasn’t planning on getting this soon…. but the Gel one does look promising though… *in dilemma*

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:47 am

If its any consolation, this one is way way cheaper than the Kiehl’s one ;)

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VirHolmes August 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm

i`ve tried the biore sunscreen and my skin breaks out :( would you recomend another sunscreen without alcohol?

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:53 am

Hi there. Hmm… most the sunscreens I use all contain alcohol so I’m not sure if I can help you there. I don’t know if you can get Hada Labo UV Emulsion but I believe it is alcohol free.

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Applegal August 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Oh! I don’t think I will be buying sunscreen any time soon, I think I still have 3/5 of my 1 litre Cancer Council sunscreen that I bought last year, lol! Was tempted to get the Shiseido SPF 50+++ one for days on the beach. . .

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:54 am

LOL You got the 1 litre bottle! :D Be careful though, sunscreen only has a 2 year shelf life before it loses its efficacy so slather it on! ;)

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Lily August 24, 2012 at 11:45 am

I still haven’t found an affordable sunscreen that I like. Guess I won’t be trying this either. I tried the Hada Labo one but I suspect it breaks me out. Do you have any other recs? I’m about to re-purchase the Shiseido one too :-)

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:56 am

Erm… I just repurchased my Shiseido one and am so happy with it I can’t imagine trying another LOL! So I think that answers your question? ;)

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Michelle Beh August 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I never tried any Biore products before. I think I still prefer to use Shiseido Perfect UV Protector although it’s a bit pricey actually :)

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

Haha we could get 3 tubes of Biore for 1 bottle of Shiseido but if it works better for us, then so be it eh? ;)

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Callie August 24, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I’m using sunscreen from Clarins. I’m using the original one, no tint of color, if you know what I mean. It’s light and nice. Not oily and easily absorbed. I almost wanted to get the sunscreen from Shiseido after reading your entry posted some time back. BUT! I believe you mentioned that it’s tough to get rid and hence, I stepped my brakes there… I’m happy with Clarins though I hardly make it a point to re-apply. Oops!

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Paris B August 27, 2012 at 11:08 am

I like the Clarins one too but I found that the Shiseido offered me better protection. That said, I do use a cleaning oil daily so removal wasn’t an issue. If you use a cleansing oil too then it should be alright :)

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