Meet my favorite Korean brand : Hera (full review)



Founded by Amore Pacific, Hera is a popular high-end brand that bring us powerful, effective & high-quality skincare products for adults with all skin types and various skintroubles.
The brand offers high-quality & effective skincare products and makeup, all priced for high end users. Most famous among adults for its popular line Age Away, Hera took the beauty community by storm and became widely known when they hired Jun Ji Hyun as their model and released the extremely popular Cell-Essence.
Hera is not quite a luxury brand but the quality of their products and their beauty concept is very close to it.

The main inspiration for the brand is the modern Korean woman, the Seoulista.



Their products pretty much target every skin troubles women living in a large city can have : loss of moisture and suppleness, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven and dull skin due to external factors like pollution, sebum and large pores.

If you’re a long-time reader of my blog you must already know Hera is my all-time favorite brand, and the reason why I have a neverending love for this brand is because they offer outstanding products : great quality, impressive results and of course classic & very chic packaging.


At the moment six lines are available:

  • Cell-Bio, the versatile line for every skin troubles.
  • Aquabolic, the moisturizing line that protects and strenghten the skin.
  • Waterin, a similar line to Aquabolic but richer, provides intense moisture.
  • White Program, the lightening line that brighten and even out dull/uneven skintones.
  • Age away, the anti-aging line for adults and mature skin that reduces signs of aging.
  • Signia, the luxurious anti-aging line for mature skin.



The White Program line is probably my favorite line from Hera with its six incredible products for lightening and brightening care, which makes it perfect for dull & uneven skintones like mine. The main lightening ingredient in this line is Niacinamide, a powerful and well-known skin lightening ingredient. It also contains a bunch of moisturizing and anti-aging ingredients. What I like the most about this line is it reduces the yellow tones in my skintone.

The only product out of the whole line I have not tried yet is the Powder Ampoule. It is already on my future purchases list, thus I will review it before the end of the year.

The White Program Foam Cleanser contains white clay powder for reducing sebum & removing impurities, and papaya enzyme capsules for removing built-up dead skin cells, which makes it perfect for minimizing & reducing all kinds of skin troubles. I already showered it with love in this post.

Available here

The White Program Radiance Water is a versatile toner for brightening, moisturizing, balancing and soothing care. Chesnut extracts removes dead skin cells and reduces dullness. Even though I did not include this toner in my skincare routine since I prefer the Aquabolic Moisturizing, I have to say the brightening results are quite impressive.

Available here

The White Program Radiance Emulsion is a very lightweight, non-comedogenic emulsion for all skintypes. It brighten the skin, provides moisture and forms a protective shield against dullness caused by pollution. I find this emulsion to be an excellent alternative for those who dislike using a whitening cream as they are often too rich.

Available here

The White Program Effector is the best product out of the whole line, and definitely the best skin lightening & brightening serum on the market. It provides amazing brightening and lightening results to dull and uneven skintones. After only one month of use I noticed my skin had drastically improved : my skintone was visibly brighter and more even, the few scars I had and hyperpigmentation spots diminished and my skin looked overall more healthy and resilient. What amazed me the most about this serum is it reduces the yellow tinge in my skin. If you need only one whitening product in your routine I strongly recommend this one. After trying many lightening serum I always go back to the W.P Effector.

Available here

The White Program Powder Ampoule is an intensive 6 weeks skin whitening program against freckles. It contains a two in one solution, a powder (vitamin C & Kazinol C), and a serum for preventing skin damages & improving the overall condition of the skin.
This is the only product of the line I have not tried yet, but it is already on my future purchases list since it has excellent reviews even from those who do not have freckles as it apparently really lighten the skin and reduces discoloration.

Available here

The White Program Radiance Cream is my all-time favorite moisturizer. It stabilizes ceramide, protects and strengthen the skin’s barrier and forms a shield of moisture against external factors like pollution. Just like the rest of the line, this cream provides outstanding brightening results to dull skin and lighten uneven skintone as well. It is non-comedogenic thus it won’t clog pores.

Available here

Each product of this line may cost an arm, but if you’re looking for truly effective brightening (or lightening) skincare products I can’t recommend them enough. I find the radiance cream and the effector to be the best products out of the whole line.



The Cell-Bio line targets and prevents all kind of skin troubles adults can have : sebum, large pores, lack of resilience, sensitivity, dullness and more.
According to a survey this line boosted resilience, clarity, suppleness, skintone, skin texture and radiance of the skin after two weeks. <= I can relate.


When the Cell Essence came onto the beauty blogging scene I couldn’t wait to try it since it had excellent, and mostly positive, reviews.
It took me a while to appreciate it since I did not notice any results while using it, and it was once I stopped using it that I clearly noticed all the good it did to my skin while I was using it. This water-type essence treats and targets all kind of skin troubles with moisturizing, purifying, anti-aging and skin lightening ingredients. After a few weeks of using it the skin becomes less sensitive, less irritated, more healthy and more supple. The statements of the survey I listed above are true. The Cell-Essence is sold with 60 textured cotton pads. I don’t find them very useful since I apply the Cell-Essence with my fingers thus I use them to apply my Pixi Glow or my Aquabolic toners instead.
I find this line quite interesting so I will purchase the Cell-Bio cream very soon.

The Cell-Essence is available here and the Cell-Bio cream here.



Age Away is the most popular line from Hera among adults. This line targets and prevents wrinkles, refines mature skin texture, boosts resilience & firmness of the skin. It also contains pores tightening ingredients, making it perfect for adults with oily skin as well.

I have only tried two products of this line myself since it is for mature skin, but I gifted the full line to my mother at Christmas one or two years, therefore I asked for her opinion. My mother found all of the Age Away products just as effective as her beloved Sulwhasoo Ginseng line and wasn’t able to tell me which brand from the two brands she liked the most, which is quite incredible considering she’s addicted to the Ginseng line. Her favorite product out of the whole line is the oil as she told me it really made a huge difference in her skin’s appearance, leaving it firmer and more supple after only a few uses. It isn’t as powerful as the Signia line against deep wrinkles but it’s still a good investment for older women & men who wish to improve the overall appearance of their skin.
I got excellent results with a few samples of the Modifier serum and the Hyaluronic Ampoule Filler thus I am planning to introduce both in my skincare routine pretty soon.

Available here : Age Away Intensive Water (toner) | Age Away Intensive Emulsion | Age Away Modifier (serum) | Age Away Intensive Eye Cream | Age Away Intensive Face Oil | Age Away Intensive Cream | Hyaluronic Sheet Masks | Hyaluronic Filler Ampoule



These two lines strengthen, protect and provide intense moisture to the skin.

I tried every products of these two lines and while I am not a huge fan of the Waterin I find the Aquabolic to have the best moisturizing products for all skintypes.

The Aquabolic Moisturizing Water is one of the best soothing and moisturizing toner I have ever tried. It’s closer to a liquid-type essence than a regular toner, with a slightly thick (yet lightweight) and moisturizing texture. Soothing, anti-irritating and rich in anti-aging & moisturizing components recommended for the most sensitive skin the Aquabolic Moisturizing Toner really keeps its promises and leaves the skin moisturized, incredibly soft and less irritated/sensitive. It’s a little bit more moisturizing than the Cell-Essence of the CellBio line, which makes it perfect for dry skin.

Available here

The Aquabolic Balancing Water is a refreshing moisturizing toner for combination to oily skin. It tighten pores, refresh the skin, remove dead skin cells and reduce sebum production. I also own this toner even though I have dry skin because I accidentally purchased it, and I use it whenever my skin feels greasy (especially in the summer) since it really reduces sebum and refreshes the skin. I strongly recommend storing it in the fridge in summer, your skin will thank you for that.

Available here

The Aquabolic Moisturizing Emulsion is my all-time favorite emulsion, and a must in my skincare routine. I showered it with love in many of my posts, including my current skincare routine, and that’s because it provides incredible results to my dry skin. Just like the Aquabolic Moisturizing toner it leaves the skin incredibly soft, moisturized and bright. It’s been over a year since I included it in my daily skincare routine and I can say without a single doubt this emulsion greatly helped my skin in many ways : before using it my skin felt tight and dry throughout the day even with a rich moisturizing cream, and it was very sensitive. Because of various reasons my skin was a little irritated and even a simple cotton pad would somehow hurt. Since I started using it my skin stays soft & moisturized all day-long, it is also definitely less sensitive (I can now use cotton pads!) and it is soft like a baby’s bottom. I also suspect this emulsion of having brightening ingredients, considering how my skin looks flawless and bright in the morning. I highly recommend it to dry, sensitive skin.

Available here

The Aquabolic Balancing Emulsion is a refreshing and balancing emulsion for combination to oily skin. It is lighter than the Aquabolic Moisturizing Emulsion and is non-comedogenic. This emulsion doesn’t really treat skin troubles like pimples, expect tightening pores, but is a great addition to a skincare routine for oily/combo skin since it moisture the skin without clogging pores.

Available here

The Waterin Gel Serum is an intensive moisturizing serum for dry and combination skin. It contains moisturizing, soothing and strengthening ingredients which makes it perfect for sensitive skin as well. I have to say this is the product from Hera I like the least. Even though it does provide moisture to the skin I find it a little too rich even for my dry skin. I might give it another chance in the future but right now I am more than satisfied with the Aquabolic emulsion only.

Available here

The Waterin Gel Cream is an intensive hydrating gel-type cream for all skintypes and is quite similar to the gel serum of the same line. Just like with the serum I did not have a pleasant experience with this cream so I did not use it much, though I found it to be an excellent moisturizer for very thirsty skin.

Available here

The Waterin Roll-on Eye Serum is, at the moment, the only product from the Waterin line I enjoyed. This gel-type eye serum is very lightweight and perfect for those like me who do not like rich eye creams. It soothes dry and irritated skin around the eyes, firm the skin and massage it with the roll-on massager to enhance blood circulation. It also strengthens the skin to reduce fine lines and protect the delicate skin against external factors. Most eye creams I have tried are too rich or irritate the skin around my eyes, leaving it reddish and very sensitive, or with milia seeds (the odd small bumps), but I never had this problem with the Hera Roll-on.
I really like storing it in the fridge to get an extra cooling sensation as the coolness makes my eyes less puffy and the cold roll-on relieves my tired eyes.

Available here


2016 new products & future purchases


Hera recently added three new products to their skincare collection: The Signia Ampoule, a total anti-aging 4 weeks treatment ampoule program with Vital Narcissus extracts as the main ingredient to firm the skin & make it more supple.
The Retinol Wrinkle Corrector, a retinol cream that helps reduce the appearance of different types of wrinkles to give smoother skin.
Finally the most exiting of the three products for me, the Oil Serum Magic Formula. A deep-hydration serum with a refreshing gel texture, rich in tiny oil particles & with 42% of ylang-ylang blending oil and effective in moisturizing and anti-aging.


Above is the list of Hera’s products I’m going to purchase later this year.



Hera and Laneige (also founded by Amore Pacific) both offer the best high-end  makeup in Korea, with outstanding quality and excellent lasting power. Around 90% of my makeup routine consists of both these brands and I can say without a doubt my makeup is always on point. If I had to compare Hera with a Western brand it would probably somewhere between YSL (or Dior) and Hourglass.


Generlash Mascara – I purchased the Generlash earlier this year, and upon applying my very first coat of it I knew I had found THE mascara for thin, droopy lashes like mine. One coat makes your eyelashes jet black, thicker yet natural looking, while two coats the difference in length and volume is dramatic as you’re given long, thick and sultry lashes. The formula is 100% waterproof, doesn’t smudge or clumps at all, even when applied several times. The Generlash also contains nutrious ingredients to moisture, protect and help your lashes grow. Investing in a great-quality mascara like this one does make a noticeable difference at the end of the day. The only thing I kinda dislike about it is how hard it is to remove it since even with a powerful makeup remover like the one from Laneige’s and an oil cleanser I often still have a little bit of mascara left.

Available here




Rouge Holic Lipstick – If you’re looking for an elegant, long-lasting and moisturizing lipstick search no more because Rouge Holic might be everything you’ve been looking for. So far I – unfortunately – have only one shade but it was enough to make me order four more shades since I absolutely LOVE this lipstick. The shade I have is 229 Seoulista, a warm pink-coral with orange undertones. The color is stunning, the coverage is surprisingly opaque with just one coat even on dark lips, the formula is moisturizing and non-drying which is great for dry lips like mine and the lasting power is amazing, and trust me I am more than qualified to talk about the lasting power of a lipstick since the Rouge Holic is the only lipstick in the world that last more than one or two hours on my lips. One of the main reason why I adore this lipstick so much, beside the stunning color and the stunning packaging, is even if the color faded away at the end of the day there is still a pretty coral tint left on the lips.

Available here (Seoulista)



Magic Starter – The Magic Starter has been on my wishlist for a fair while and this year I finally purchased it. With this primer Hera gives the most beautiful, radiant and dewy finish to the complexion. The price is outrageously high online (around 50$) but definitely worth the splurge. I don’t know if any primer is worth so much money but the skin looks incredibly beautiful with it. It works at treat at adding radiance, smoothing the skin and help foundation adhere to skin. Large pores and fine lines vanish right before your eyes and you’re only left with a bright, radiant and outrageously beautiful skin. I highly appreciate how lightweight and moisturizing it is, especially since it doesn’t leave a greasy silicone feel like most primers do.

At the moment three shades are available. The three of them are very similar with little to no real difference as they are all moisturizing, brightening and smoothing. The green base can be used on its own as well since the green tint is very light and barely noticeable.

N°1 – First Radiance | Transparent, for a bright and clear skintone.
N°2 – Inner Glow | Lilac, illuminates dull complexion and minimizes discoloration & yellow tones.
N°3 – Blooming Moisture | Green, slightly minimizes redness.


CC Cream – First of all I have to say I’m absolutely not a fan of BB creams and CC creams. Even though I find them very useful and easy to use/apply I hate how they make you look either ghostly white or grey. I had horrible experiences with most CC Creams I tried, like the ones from Banila Co and Tony Moly, therefore I am always suspicious about CC creams. The last one I purchased was around one or two years ago and it was the Laneige CC cream, it wasn’t very bad but it made me look extremely white and it didn’t look natural at all. I wear this CC very often, expect when I need a little more coverage and decide to use a foundation instead, and every single time people ask me if I’m wearing makeup or if my skin is naturally so flawless. That’s how great and natural-looking this CC is. Basically a CC is nothing more than an improved tinted moisturizer, but I find this one much better and more interesting than the others since it contains a few anti-aging, moisturizing, purifying and brightening ingredients.The coverage is slightly more on the medium, buildable side than sheer. One layer is enough to even out and brighten skintone, and two layers are perfect for brightening/covering dark circles, freckles or small imperfections. The finish is matte, surprisingly, and looks extremely natural, which makes it perfect for daily uses or for a no-makeup look. Only a little amount is needed to cover the entire face (I use a little less than a pump) thus the bottle lasts for a long time. The formula isn’t very thick but not liquid either, which makes it easy to blend with fingers or with a sponge.  I don’t recommend using a brush with this CC though since it will shows brushes strokes. It is not very moisturizing thus whenever I feel like my skin needs extra moisture I like to mix a small amount of the CC Cream with a little bit of the Aquabolic emulsion or the White Program Radiance Cream.

Three shades are available : #01 Pink Beige, a very light beige with pink undertone. Perfect for pale women with cool undertones (Mac NC/NW 15) | #02 Natural Beige, a slightly darker beige with yellow/neutral undertones. Perfect for women with warm or neutral undertones. (Mac NC/NW 20 to 25) | #03 True Beige, similar to Natural Beige with neutral to yellow undertones but slightly darker. (Mac NC/NW 25 to 30)

Available here, use code 11244608 to get a 5$ discount


UV Mist Cushion Ultra Moisture – Just like BB and CC creams cushions are the kind of products I really dislike since they emphasize my fine lines, pores and dry patches. I received this one as a gift for my birthday a few months ago and so far I am really liking it. I’m not using it very often since I prefer liquid foundations in the first place, but whenever I am too lazy to grab my beauty blender I reach for this cushion instead.I find this cushion more interesting than the others for various reasons, but the first one would be the beautiful finish. Since it blends seamlessly into the skin it looks extremely natural, yet at the same time it provides a subtitle glow that doesn’t turn matte before a few hours.I also love how it doesn’t settle into enlarged pores, fine lines, or emphasize dry patches.The Ultra Moisture Cushion lives up to its name and is very moisturizing, which makes it perfect for dry skin. Camellia oil, mineral water, hyaluronic acid and glucomannan soothe and moisture the skin while yarrow extracts remove dead skin cells and is also anti-aging.The lasting power is excellent, especially with a primer or a powder, even for oily skin. I once applied it in the morning without any skincare product under (bad idea, I know, but I was in a rush) and at the end of the afternoon it was still in place.

Available in Cool Beige and Cool Ivory



At the moment I do not own any more makeup from Hera, unfortunately, but since I like this brand’s makeup so much I already made plans to purchase some more.



29 comments on Meet my favorite Korean brand : Hera (full review)

  • Kate

    Hi Hye Mi!

    Love the post! I’ve recently run out of my cell bio essence and would just like to know if you know of any decent websites that ship to North America ? I’ve been looking around but everybody just seems to … genuine but scary at the same time ! Much thanks!
    Xx Kate

    • Hye Mi (author)

      Hi Kate! You can purchase it on W2Beauty. 🙂

  • Christine Juliet Choi

    Hi Hye Mi,
    As I’ve read the comments here in your blog, Hera was the best for face and skin. I just want to know if there’s a store here in the Philippines that sells Hera skin care products? Thanks and God bless.

  • Shan

    Hi Hye Min,

    I am interested In trying our Hera and Jada labo products. But I am not very sure which series should I start with. I have been using Laneige water bank full set for for many years. My skin is still Super dry and sensitive at the Chin and forehead while oily and blackhead at the nose. Can you recommend me some combination to start with?

    Also for Paula skin refining, how frequent to use it?

  • Sonia

    What an epic post on Hera!

    I’ve 30s oily combination skin and live in a tropical humid climate all year round. Would you recommend Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream or Hera waterin gel cream for night time? Am not sure which to get and would appreciate your input.


    • Hye Mi (author)

      Hello Sonia,

      Both are excellent but I find the Waterin to be a tad richer than the Laneige Water Bank. I would go with the Laneige.

  • pita

    hi, is Hera safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding mom? cause I’m still breastfeed my child…and by the way, I have oily skin and a lot of comedo on my face. which Hera series suit me? or maybe could you suggest me which skincare suit for my condition. thanks a lot.

  • Amy

    Hi Hye Mi,

    Thanks for such a comprehensive review of Hera, which has also recently become my favoritel. I’m 30 years old, and have always had pretty good skin, but recently noticed that my skin has become dry (I used to have combination skin in my 20’s). Currently, I use the Age Away line for everything, but I’m considering switching to Cell Bio with the White Program Effector as my serum after reading your reviews.

    My skin doesn’t get irritated easily, but I have some freckles and large pores. I also started developing wrinkles on my forehead. What do you think about my switch and do you have a different product from Hera that you would recommend?


    • Hye Mi (author)

      Hi Amy,

      Glad to meet another Hera lover! Seems like we have a similar skintype, you may want to check this post to see if there is anything to your liking. I strongly recommend you to check the Aquabolic part (toner and emulsion) as it is the most moisturizing line I have ever tried.
      To minimize your freckles you can try the Hera White Program Powder Ampoule, it is especially formulated to minimize them. The Biogenic Effector is also an excellent pick, but it doesn’t work as well on freckles. For large pores the best product I know, and use all the time, is the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid.
      The White Program line is formulated with brightening and skin-lightening ingredients to even out uneven skintone, so unless you have an uneven and dull skintone you may want to try the Aquabolic line instead. You might also want to check out the Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion, it’s cheap and truly excellent at moisturizing dry skin.

      • Amy

        Thanks so much for the detailed reply! I will give the Aquabolic line and the White Program Powder Ampoule a try. I actually use Oseque face washes (it’s been popular from Korean Home Shopping for years), and it really clears my pores. As long as I’m diligent about washing my face in the morning and at the end of the day, my pores stay very clear.

        • Hye Mi (author)

          Let me know your thoughts about the Aquabolic line, I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

  • April

    Heya, I also just started with cell essence, and I was already using pixi toner, how do you use them together? What is your process? haha thanks for helping me!

    • Hye Mi

      Hello April,

      I use the Pixi Glow first with the exfoliating cotton pads from the Cell-Essence, wait for 2 to 3 minutes until the Pixi is fully absorbed, and pat the Cell-Essence with my fingers all over my face.

  • Aggie

    I am a huge fan of HERA! Currently using their aquabolic & cell-bio skincare range (they hydrate my skin so well!) and slowly moving on to their cosmetics line. Have you tried their lippies? Would love to see your reviews on them! 🙂

    • Hye Mi (author)

      Hello Aggie!

      Yes I have tried their lipsticks, and I love them very much. They’re very creamy and moisturizing. 🙂

  • Coco

    Did you mange to try the hera white program ampolues? Am thinking of trying that but am hesistant because i have sensitive skin. Excessive use of whitening sometimes makes my skin go darker instead.
    Please do review if you did try that product or if you have other recommendations.

    • Hye Mi (author)

      Hi Coco,

      I have only tried a few samples of it and it did not irritate my sensitive skin at all. I’m not planning to purchase/review it since it is for freckles, and I don’t have any. 🙂

      • Coco

        Hi Hye Mi

        So the Hera Ampoules will not help with pigmentation? Am looking for a product that will reduce my pigmentation. My pigmentation are very stubborn. 🙁


        • Hye Mi (author)

          Hello Coco,

          The ampoules are for freckles only, if you suffer from hyperpigmentation and dull skin you should try the Biogenic Effector instead. It’s very effective.

  • Eric

    I’ve intrigued whether to get it pr not. I always been curious with this brand. People said that it’s really popular in Korea and gives you great results. But the downside beside the high price tag( close to sulwhasoo), is that the ingredients somehow harsh and wouldnt be suitable for sensitive skin. Maybe the alcohol. Hopefully i can try it out later.

  • Tn

    I bought my Hera cosmetics at incheon airport and the prices were significantly cheaper than at department stores. You don’t pay duties. There was this pink tube of leave on overnight gel that I used. Can’t remember which Hera product it was. Anyhow my husband is heading through incheon and I’ve asked him to pick up Hera skin care.

    I bought too many uv mist cushion. It makes my skin look older and cakier. Don’t know why because it used to look nicely on my skin.

  • Sher

    Thanks for this post! I just bought myself the Aquabolic balancing line and cannot wait to try them XD
    Question – have you tried Iope bio essence? If yes, how does it compare to Hera one? I started using Iope one and so far so good but if Hera’s one is as good, then I might switch since I’m trying to stick to one brand

    • Hye Mi (author)

      Hello Sherly,

      Yes I tried it and I don’t find it extraordinary. I find Iope’s products very acceptable but too expensive for the quality. The Cell-Essence by Hera is (very) much better, in terms of quality and results. Keep using your Iope Essence until you finish the bottle then switch to the Hera Cell Essence, or stay with the Iope if it gave you good results.
      Let me know if you liked the Aquabolic line, I absolutely LOVE this line. 😉

      • sherly

        Good idea. Will try the cell essence once I finish IOPE.
        I tried the aquabolic twice so far and yeah so far so good but Might switch to the white radiance series. The latter makes my skin appear more moist and I LOVE the texture of the emulsion lol.

      • Olivia_nguyen

        Hi hye mi, could you tell me what is the difference between aquabolic mosturerizing and balancing …. could i use aquabolic mosturerizing line if my skin is oily and ance…. i’ve recieved a set hera aquabolic mosturing from brother as a gift… but i wonder i should use or not

        • Hye Mi (author)

          Hello Olivia,

          The Balancing line is for combination to oily skin and the moisturizing line is for dry to normal skintype. 🙂 Both are excellent and don’t clog pores though.

  • Jenny


    I’ve been using Hera makeup products and I love them. However, my skin is extremely allergic to anything with alcohol in it. The white from Hera broke me out so badly. I think it was the alcohol. Do you have any recommendations for skincare products suitable oily skin types (without alcohol)? I just want pore reduction and redness balancing


  • Idoia

    W o w! First of all- congratulations on this post! I can’t even think about how much time it must have taken away from you, so informative and straight to the point! Thank you :3
    I always wanted to try skincare and makeup from Hera, but when I went to Seoul and went to Aritaum, I was already with so many bags from other shops I couldn’t stand looking in the mirror… next time! haha
    This post is definitely very very helpful and I will read it again when I decide to finally buy something from them, to follow your advices in what you have already tried.

    • Hye Mi (author)

      Thank you! 🙂

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