Is high-end makeup worth the splurge?

Is high-end makeup worth the splurge? Share!

Some products are, some products aren’t. It also comes down to what your expectations are, what you already have and are happy with, and what your budget is. If you spend your entire six-month budget on a single item, there are a lot of expectations for it to live up to or you may feel like, “this isn’t that good” because it’s rare that a product is 10x better just because of price.

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Sometimes: depending on the product, performance, and how dupeable it is. For example, for me Guerlain Meteorites Perles are, but Guerlain Rouge G lipsticks aren’t.

I agree. I use Guerlain Lingerie de Peau, Les Voilettes and pressed Meteorites and choose to never be without them, no matter what I have to give up in lieu of them. They are just so much better on my skin than other products. Thank you Christine, again, for introducing me to them via your reviews. They’ve made a big difference in how my skin looks.
However, I have two Guerlain lipsticks and I’m not sure they’re any better than MAC or my fav Too Faced La Creme. Same with the one Tom Ford lipstick I own. However, my favorite lipstick of all time is a Chanel, and if they brought it back (it was discontinued) I’d purchase five back ups!

+1 for the Guerlain Meteorites bandwagon! I splurged on the Wulong Compact and most days it’s all I wear for base product, it’s beautiful!

Most of the time, yes (with the exception of indie-brands, because I feel their products are generally way better than your typical ‘drugstore’ products. Often you can find high-end quality in indie brands). I think high end eyeshadows are practically always worth it (I have yet to find something at Walgreens or Target that even comes close in quality to the brands you’d find at Sephora). High end powder highlighters usually seem to be far superior than drugstore highlighters, so I’d say those are worth the splurge too. Foundation is worth it if what works for you is a high-end product, but it’s a bonus to find an HG foundation at the drugstore because the price is great and a lot of drugstore brands do foundation quite well. I have some great drugstore blushes, brushes, and lipsticks, so I don’t think it’s always worth it to spend a ton of money on those products! That being said, I can’t live without my Mac brushes and lipsticks! It’s all about what you feel comfortable spending and which products are most important to you.

Overall: Eyeshadow/Splurge, Highlight/Splurge, Foundation/WhateverWorks, Blush/Save, Brushes/Save, Lipstick/Save.

Agree with Christine! While some products are irreplaceable some can easily be duped at the drugstore! I like to spend on high end lipsticks and base makeup.

I think there’s a big misconception between high end and lower end products, whatever they may be. Many want to one day own something expensive only because they think it represents status and luxury, while in truth, in my opinion, everything is a luxury. If one can use the most inexpensive products without adverse reaction and achieve a positive outcome, them they are lucky and have no reason to wish to spend unless they truly want it, and that’s their personal choice. Some are in a category that just use what is best for them, whether it is high end of otherwise, and I’m one of them. The purchases I make that are considered high end are worth it to me. I don’t go through makeup quickly so they’re appreciated. Yet I also have an addiction to collect. That is where I subsidize my spending and shop my stash. Still, whatever is worth to you will always be priceless and that’s worth it in my eyes. I think perspective is key. Understanding that it won’t make you better or more luxe, only you can do that from within, and it won’t elevate status because status is irreverent. Just do what works for you. That is your needs being met and wants as chosen. On another viewpoint, I believe Christine summed it up flawlessly. πŸ™‚ It does depend, and her explanation is great. <3

Anything can be unworthy of its price, but I think I’ve had better luck with high end base products than drugstore ones. Certainly high end concealers and foundations have almost always worked better for me. I’m willing to shell out for those without much grumbling.

As a very (very) general rule, yes for me. If something is pricey, I’m never buying blind…I’ll always look at reviews and swatches if I can’t see it in person. If I see a ton of bad or mediocre reviews, I know I can pass on it. If it’s getting raves, I feel pretty confident in making a purchase.

My skin is also notoriously impossible to work with, and I went years looking for drugstore products that would stay on my face (they never did!). I had much better luck with higher-end brands and have been sticking with what works. I also find high-end makeup takes me much longer to get through and lasts forever. Not to say that there aren’t budget brands popping up that I’m having success with, because I’m loving ColourPop’s shadows/blushes/highlighters right now and am super impressed with how well they stay!

I think it all depends on what you are looking for, I think that splurging on your base “foundation” is good if your base looks janky then it will take away from everything else. Somethings are like, eyeliner is eyeliner. I think that its good to make the investment on the particulars, like a good basic everyday palette, highlighter etc.

Heather, I love that word “janky”. Not sure what it means, but I’m assuming it’s a negative! It’s now in my vocabulary!

Definitely. Just depends on the brand, the product and what is so unique about it. Think Guerlain meteorites pressed for, Chanel lip lacquer. Urban Decay eyeshadows (well not too high end), Suqqu eyeshadows and brushes, Tom Ford lipsticks and many more. But not every high end product is wonderful.

Depends. I’m going to assume if this question is asked, there is some reluctance to fork over for high-end (bc if there was no reluctance, the question wouldn’t be whether it’s worth it).

Friends have asked me this question bc they know I’m obsessed with makeup but my answer is “Not necessarily–especially not for the average person.” I think budget-end makeup has a lot of amazing products and has come a long way in the last decade. Especially if you consider brands like Makeup Geek, Milani, NYX and Colourpop–each of these have a large color cosmetics selection–something that was lacking 15 years ago. If you’re super happy with budget-end products then I would save the money for other experiences.

For myself: I have a ton of allergies–so to me, if the higher end product has the formulation that won’t irritate my skin, then it is absolutely so worth the splurge for me. In general, I just like having plenty of options.

This-“if the higher end product has the formulation that won’t irritate my skin.” This is why some of my makeup, such as mascara, eyeliner, tinted moisturizer, concealer, all tends to be high end. A lot of items that fall into those four categories (we won’t get into the dry, sensitive skincare issues) have a tendency to not like my skin, ESPECIALLY any Dior mascaras. Major allergic reaction to that sucked, so when I find something that works well with my skin and plays nice, I tend to stick with it.

Exactly like you said, Christine. Sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. I think it is more the issue of comparing high end products among the same price range, though, that makes people disappointed sometimes, am I right?

That said, I am convinced (and that’s just my view, s/o may think differently and that’s totally legit) that high end products generally perform better that their drugstore counterparts, so most of the time I find that yes, it is worth it, especially for long lasting products. What is more, I’ve noticed that the older you get, the more you appreciate the high end, maybe cause when your are young, even the simplest makeup will make you pretty and flawless, which becomes more difficult with age and that’s where the high end comes in handy.

i think it depends on what it is. if i treat myself to a lipstick that happens to cost Β£35, for example, but it makes me feel unstoppable, then i would say yes. i think the idea of a splurge indicates that it’s a treat or that it isn’t something you buy everyday. i mean, if it’s something that you’ve saved for, can afford, and it makes you happy, then i say yes!

Sometimes yes and sometimes no. That’s why researching a product and trying it out for myself, in-store is so important to me. One example is those Hourglass newish eyeshadow palettes. I thought I would want ALL of them just from looking at them on line. Then you did your reviews, Christine, and those reviews made me to a 180 flip. I tried them in-store when they finally arrived and that confirmed your findings but the Sephora nearest to me doesn’t have Colour Field for some strange reason. A few weeks ago, I was a the larger store a bit further away and tried Colour Field and now I’m planning to go back and get it. So that one will be worth it to me but the others – pricey but not worth the price!

Be careful not to accidentally drop it if you get one of the Hourglass palettes! I had two that I had purchased and one fell 12 inches and shattered EVERYWHERE (the eyeshadow, that is.) All of the shadows were in pieces, and I had only used it once or twice before. $58 down the drain.

All that matters is whether or not the product is worth it to you, never mind what everyone else thinks, says. It’s not their splurge. It’s not their money and sometimes it’s not about money. I make products that are not necessarily ‘worth’ the money work for me all the time because I really enjoy something about it; the colour, the packaging, whatever. Aside: I was just eyeballing that damn LMDB London Kaleidoscope (grrr..something about has been calling my name), but then I noticed it is just under $200 freaking Canadian dollars. I cannot be happy with $50 dollar a pop eyeshadows regardless. For someone else, it might be just the ticket to make them feel extra special. Don’t judge people for what they spend on their items. It’s not your call.

Depend, sometimes yes, sometimes no.

P.S.: Did you see my last comment from yesterday? I can’t add a screenshot to the contact form, so can you give me an email address for that ad issue?

I replied a few minutes after you left the comment yesterday! πŸ™‚ Here it is again: christine[at]

Some of them are! It can be done through cookies, what you searched for, the last website you were at, or it can just be pulled from words from the post. Ads get served really dynamically, so unless it’s a major campaign, it’s entirely possible that I won’t see the same ads you’ll see. LOL, I know when I’ve gone to Orvis (for dog beds) and come back to Temptalia, it’ll be all Orvis ads — totally unrelated to the site’s content!

For some products I have ended up with holy grails just because I splurged. Otherwise it would have been a line of DS products until I got to the HE ones wasting more money in the trial and error. But my splurges were the result of reading a ton of reviews and knowing whether they fulfilled my requirements beforehand. If the better reviewed products had been DS then I would have gone with them too. For some products I know I won’t go HE because it’s not worth it to me. Like mascaras and nail polish.

Glad that you say that. There is a popular you tuber that commented that more expensive products have more high end ingredients. That might be true sometimes…but it was interesting when I started to order colourpop-because their product, packaging, imprint and all-was the same as a $25 shu umera blush. I felt like I was duped. :/

One thing worth noting is that many things have grades, so even though it has the same name, it may have a higher grade (and therefore quality) to it (and equally possible they’re the same). There may also be a greater amount of one ingredient than the other, even if the ingredient lists are the same or similar. Sometimes it makes a difference, sometimes it doesn’t, but it can be really hard to compare either way, other than by ultimately how well it works!

It depends on what it is and how it performs. Something that makes a big difference in your routine is probably worth it. And some powder products can last a long time, so the cost per use is relatively low.

I like getting mid- to high-end makeup to reward myself for a job well done. I always check your reviews and swatches before I take the plunge on a lot of high-end makeup, though, and thankfully I can return anything that isn’t worth my money! This is slightly off-topic, but do you think you would ever be able to program your website so we can scroll over swatches and zoom them in? For those of us with severe vision problems! LOL

Hi Raeanne,

On my computer, pressing ctrl/commmand+ several times enlarges the image and gives decent resolution, though I am not sure how this would look on your computer.

Depends. It might be worth the splurge if the product performs well, is a unique shade, is LE, and/or has elegant or special packaging. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of HE products that are depending on their brand name or pretty packaging to sell mediocre products ( ie shadows from Dior, Guerlain, YSL) and I see a lot of formulas with alcohol or fragrance. At the same time, there are some really great products from drugstore or middle end brands that are much more affordable.

I don’t know if there is a blanket yes/no answer to this! And it also varies by product, personal budget, and formula preferences. Personally, I consider budget, formula and then unique shades!

I tend to find there’s a bit of a distinction between drugstore and mid-range, but not that much of one between mid-range and high-end (not saying there aren’t good DS products, just I’ve had more consistency in mid-range brands). With that in mind I tend not to be that exited by high end, simply because it’s not going to blow me away *enough* compared to cheaper stuff for the amount I pay.

Some things I do splurge on a bit though: I rate the Hourglass Immaculate foundation a worthwhile splurge because it works so much better than every other one I’ve tried. I’m also very happy with my Hourglass Ambient powders and my Guerlain Meteorites, I don’t think they’re necessarily the greatest powders of all time, but they were expensive products that have lasted a long time and that I’ve never regretted buying. They haven’t made me more likely to check out other offerings from either brand though.

Not always. My suggestion is: always do your homework. Get samples of skincare and foundation. If it is an internet only available product with a no return policy- I would look elsewhere. Also, ask details about skincare and cosmetics returns. In some cases for cosmetics or skin care online sales, if it is open, they will not take it back or exchange. So, I have them put me through to an actual counter. Generally they will include a return slip. I have also found that to be helpful if you want to sample something first if there are no counters for a particular brand.

It really depends. I think foundation and concealer, face makeup in general, is/can be worth it because the colour match is usually better. For lipsticks, I’ve finally come to the realization that while some high end ones are amazing, my Milani Color Statement is freakin’ beautiful.

Everything you just said, Christine! There are high-quality, well-performing products or brands that cover the price range span. Also, the opposite is true as well, there are some really crappy products out here spanning the entire range, too. This is why, even though I was head over heels for the shades within the UD Vice 3, I already was aware that it may not be as great as my other UD eyeshadows, and so decided to ONLY buy it with my 20% Sephora coupon. And then there are HE/ Luxury offerings that are worth it if one can splurge, ie; TF Spring 2015 collection, especially the cream eyeshadow! Other times, so bad that I cringe, ie; Hourglass eyeshadow palettes this year and those Guerlain eyeshadows, yikes!!!

It truly depends on your preferences. I tend to buy what I like whether it’s drugstore or high end but I do think there are instances where you can save over splurging and vice versa. Again, they all boil down to the person though. I think the only thing I prefer high end is mascara. I haven’t quite found a drugstore mascara that does it all but I prefer falsies over mascara anyway. I guess I just see the benefits of buying it all LOL

Like what other people said, it all depends. Each of us has different likes, preferences and make up needs. I own a lot of mid range and drugstore makeup, because either the price was right or they have a formulation that works. I could never get into high end make up just because my expectations are so high. If I am going to plunk, 50 or 60 dollars on one produt, I want it to be amazing. Comparing indgreient lists and performance… I feel like these luxury brands are charging for their name. However, when I have bought a high end product, I adore it utterly (after long hours of research and hemming and hawing online over dupes or swatching in a store.) like my guerlain metorites, no other product can dupe that effect, it’s all in their manufacturing process.

But in the end, different strokes for different folks. What I like and what works for me, may not work for someone else. I feel fortunate that we have so many options!

I’d say so, as long as you’re comfortable with it. If you’re not the type to spend a lot of money on pretty little things then don’t, it’s not worth it being upset over splurging on makeup.

I would say in foundaton and lipstick it is woth the splurge. Eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, finishing powder and highlighters have great drug store substiutes .

I agree with everyone – it depends on the product. I recently moved to using high end foundations and the difference is more than worth the extra money, but pretty much all my eye shadows, mascaras and lip products are budget (or they will be until I get my hands on a couple of those new Clinique lipsticks!). Where I want a range of choice in a product – like different coloured shadows – I’m happy to go budget but where it’s a single product which has to be the right colour and formula I’d rather spend more making sure it’s just right. Where I will cheerfully spend more money on products I want a choice with, though, is indie nail polishes. You just can’t get the same things in the drugstore so it’s worth it.

Having said that, I don’t think having a high price tag makes something “high end” – it’s about the quality of the product. I tried a couple of expensive mascaras and frankly they weren’t nearly as good as my favourite Β£7.99 drugstore one.

It really depends! I find many high-end foundations and powders are markedly better than drugstore. Eye shadow and blush too. Lips, eyeliners, and mascara aren’t worth it unless you want a more sophisticated or nuanced shade!

Only if the formula is non-dupable to lower end products. a great example in my personal opinion is the Tom ford Cream shadows. Very expensive but there is nothing lower end that compares to the formula, application & lasting power. Even the Charlotte tilbury although a little less money & similar in formula is not as good as the TF one. It all comes down to performance, what you expect out of the product & what you’re willing to settle for.

Heck no. They only save people the time of looking for an “alternative” (read: a great drugstore product that works just as well, if not better).

For myself, l I would say no. This is a very personal question. Everyone will tell you a different product they like high end or drugstore which I find funny. Money isn’t an issue for me yet I still love buying drugstore products. No one knows if you used all drugstore or high end so, the only person it is worth it for is yourself. That being said, the packaging is always so nice on high end and I think eyeshadow palettes are so worth it, at least for me πŸ™‚

Personally I still want to believe that there should be a correlation between high price = high quality although experience has showed me again and again that is not always the case. Today I have had an off-day, I have set up to swatch very cheap eyeshadows and palettes by a newish co called Makeup Revolution but haven’t bought any. It is perfectly packaged but the prices are so ridiculously low that I kept thinking…. What can they be made of? During the week I got in ebay a tiny tiny grey MaryKay eyeshadow for 5.95 pounds- got it just because I liked how it looked in a youtuber- and there I had entire palettes of MakeupRevolution consisting of 12 plus colors for 4 to 5 pounds. After all the swatching and comparing I don’t know how because I have a bit of a blur but at the end I found myself t the till buying the Amazing Concealer.. just because its prize is so “reassuringly” high that I have convinced myself that it MUST be worth it…! I will be in a no new purchases ban for the rest of may and all of june and maybe july because I cannot believe I have spent so much in an impulse.

For me yes. I used to be a drugstore shopper but as I get older and do not like drug store makeup at all. The only drug product I like is my favorite mascara which is the L’OrΓ©al telescopic. As well I stopped shopping at online sites like bh cosmetics and such and I’ve recently given my younger sister all of it. I had tons of cheap brushes as well and have got rid of them. I’m now choosing to spend my money on high end, especially MAC since I love them and what they stand for as a company. I also dislike these brands these YouTube beauty gurus promote. Many times it’s over priced junk in cheap packaging. They get sent these items for free and these indie brands LOVE it. I advise investing your money in brands like Mac, Nars, Make Up For Ever, etc that have a long history in makeup and know what they’re doing. Quality over quantity is my moto. That being said this is why I’ve returned all my ABH products. Too much hype for low grade stuff. MAC brow products kick butt! And as a side note has anyone noticed how MAC didn’t jump on the whole “contour kit” bandwagon? MAC has always had products for contouring for a while now but didn’t run out and fall into the hype like many makeup companies. Another reason why I love them. They set trends and don’t follow them. Sorry for my long comment but it had to be said πŸ™‚

Well said, I totally agree with you! These are the brands that are reliable (IMHO NARS lipsticks will kick Tom Ford ones butts any day πŸ™‚ ), trend setting and cover all the needs you might have in makeup well.

That really depends on the product. I usually find luxury brands aren’t, but there are exceptions such as Guerlain Meteorites, fragrances/perfumes are usually better. If we’re calling brands like UD, Tarte, Too Faced, The Balm, etc. high-end, then I would say usually, but not always.

That’s another really good question. And my answer would be the same as yours Christine. Most of the time it is not, unfortunately. Only by reading reviewers such as you Christine, do we find out what product is worth spending the money on – should you want it.
High end products that I have spent money on have all received an A or A+ from you: Guerlain’s Les Gris palette, Tarina Tarantino’s Emerald Pretty, bareMinerals the Playlist, UD’s Naked 1. All exceptional products (note that they were from the recent past – not too many great ones lately, apart from Colour Pop).
I wouldn’t advise spending one’s whole monthly or six monthly beauty budget on a high end product unless it was holy grail. There are always cheaper and just as good alternatives.

My experience is 9 times out of 10 yes. I want my products to be as “clean” as possible because the skin is the largest organ and the ingredients will eventually end up in my blood stream. I’ve found that mid to high end brands cater to my needs and if the products have skin care benefits all the better. There are some really good midrange indie brands and there’s Colourpop which is the exception and I’m sure there are some exceptions at the drugstore but I just prefer high end.

I used to think high end was the way to go. Then I found out about the Beautypedia. Paulas Choice reviews not only skin care products but makeup as well. Some makeup that was super hyped on youtube turned out to not be that good. Now I check reviews on everything before I buy. Also, with companies like Makeup Geek there is absolutely NO reason to shell out for expensive eyeshadow. The same with the Colorpop Lippy Sticks.

Since I’m almost fifty, I’d say that some high-end products are 100% worth the money. Before I turned forty, I could get away with more inexpensive products. Now that I have fine lines and the texture of my skin has changed, I absolutely see a very noticeable difference in the way my makeup performs when I use high-end brands. However, I do, and will continue to, purchase certain less-expensive items that perform just as well (sometimes better) than their high-end counterparts.

My first instinct was to say, Sometimes yes, more often no. But upon reflection, I think it depends on what your personal definition of “high end” is. Me, I use that to refer to the true luxury brands, most of which are also fashion houses (Chanel, YSL, Dior, Armani, etc.), so that answer is specific to the luxury brands and their luxury pricing.

If “high end” is being used to refer to the lower end of the beauty counter spectrum, then I’d have to say yes, worth it. Urban Decay is my favourite cosmetics brand; I have a lot of it and I have no problem spending on it. I have a similar love for Illamasqua powder products (although to be fair, I have a huge stash partly because the website has a sale every so often where stuff is on for Β£5-Β£7.50, or Β£10 for powder foundations and such).

A high quality product is a high quality product regardless of price point. I think your comment about expectations is bang on, though – I am more willing to tolerate sub-par performance in a product that doesn’t cost the earth. That said, if I find a wonderful performer that happens to be super expensive, I will splash out for it. The example that comes to mind is the Chanel Vitalumiere loose powder foundation. I LOVE it. I didn’t expect to love it; didn’t really even think about it much, as I’d never bought any Chanel previously! But my local department store had a beauty event last September and you could wander around trying everything whilst eating chocolates and drinking champagne (it was fancy, lol), and the powder foundation was so new that the SA hadn’t even tried it yet. So she put some on me and we were both like, Ohhh. It really brightens and has a beautiful finish. It’s also really expensive! But I bought it, and I have no regrets. Still love it. I mostly use it layered over a BB cream so I get the best of all worlds.

[/novel, lol]

Yet again, depends on the product, but I would just add that it also depends on how much you’re going to use it. I don’t have many (If any) high-end products – they’re just not in my budget, and I’d rather spend the money on other things anyway – but as far as what I do stock, if it’s something I’m going to reach for all the time, I often price up, knowing that it will more than pay for itself in the long run. Or it will save me time, look good with minimal effort when I’m in a hurry, stay put but not irritate my skin… that sort of thing. At some point I’ll probably try Chanel or Tom Ford lipsticks because their reds look amazing even on a cell phone. But I’ll sample a lot first.

Lipstick Queen is probably more upper mid-range, really, but I will probably own everything they make at some point, because I swear they have no bad colors, and they wear like a dream (no, they don’t survive eating, but I’d rather have a hydrating lipstick anyway). Same for JINsoon polish, which I can’t find anything bad about. But I’m not going to buy Dolce and Gabbana green lipstick, because a color like that is an occasional pick at best. I’ll find an inexpensive alternative that gets good reviews, like NYX’s comparable green. (Not Lime Crime either, whom I’ve read has yet to really apologize to its customers who fell prey to credit card theft in February, I think.)

The only inexpensive makeup I tend to avoid is nail polish and eye makeup. The polishes don’t apply or last well, and my skin usually reacts badly to budget eye products, sadly.

I especially agree with the budget part! If a person wants to keep their makeup expenses low, they should stick with a small variety of mostly drugstore products with possibly a higher-end go-to eyeshadow palette. It would make no sense for a 100$ stash to have high end products, the person wouldn’t get a full face of makeup out of it.

If a person has enough money and passion to spend 100$ every month for example, they probably won’t mind getting less products because with time they accumulate more than they can use anyway and they get to know the difference between “decent” products and “awesome” ones in terms of quality, and mostly there are some more exciting and higher quality products available in the higher price ranges.

As Christine said, it might not be 10x better in quality though, but a person with experience could notice, and a person with passion might be more excited by high end brands and a person with budget might find it worth it to go for higher end more often.

That depends. My biggest beef is knowing which brands test on animals – for me, that is a big No-No – and I find a lot of indie/niche brands are cruelty free, so I tend to favour those.

Generally yes, I think high end makeup is better, with some notable exceptions (such as Makeup Geek & Colour Pop). However, not all high end makeup is great. As a general rule the textures are better, the colors more pighmented.

Sometimes. For me when it comes to skin cleansers and foundations, I have found that high-end products are well worth the money. As for other products, such as bronzers, highlighters, and lipsticks, I have found that drugstore can be just as good, if not better than high-end. Some high-end lipsticks are ridiculously priced (I think that a lipstick more than $20 is somewhat absurd), and there are some fantastic drugstore lipsticks that are great! Just to have the name-brand high-end products in my makeup collection is NOT always worth the money. I also have experienced that certain high-end eyeshadows, for the most part, have been worth the extra money. Again, it varies.

For me yes, my skin is too sensitive to accommodate drug store and after using high end when I go to use one of my old drug store products the difference really stands out in texture, longevity and pigmentation. I do however feel like there is a lot of mid range products that don’t cost a arm and a leg that are great like urban decay and Mac but I still turn to chanel, Dior and la mer for my face products as I feel they perform best and are the most beneficial for my skin with my favorite being the la mer treatment foundation which Is the best foundation I have ever used and has made such a change in my skin double bonus! Well worth every cent! However there are products that I paid a bunch for that are just awful in my opinion in a brand that I have something from that I love.

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