The 7 best facial shaving soaps, and why I prefer them over shaving cream every time

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Best Shaving Soaps of 2021 4x3

If your skin is on the dryer side, you may want to swap in your shaving foam for a shaving soap. To start with, the right soap will help your razor move cleanly across your face with enough protective lubrication for the skin and the whiskers you’re getting rid of. You also don’t want to lose the moisture that’s already in your skin during shaving, as that will lead to irritation and increase the likelihood of pseudofolliculitis barbae, or razor bumps. For those with sensitive skin (like myself), shaving foams can also lead to irritation because of the ingredients that are used.

Shaving soaps are made primarily with added fat from plant or animal sources. Some also contain glycerin. These components are what help give the soap the smooth consistency needed to produce the protective layer of lubrication for your skin without sacrificing any hydration. This was something important for me as I have a bald head (which besides a killer smirk is the only thing I have in common with The Rock), and I need that extra protection.

If you’re going to make the switch, it’s best to find the right shaving soap that factor in skin protection and good hydration. We’ve got seven soaps lined up that will be the centerpiece for your wet shaving kit and a ticket to making your routine a time of luxury.

Here are the best shaving soaps in 2021:

Floris “The Gentleman”

Floris London Shaving Soap ("The Gentleman")

NO. 89 (small)

Pros: very gentle but consistent lather, great moisture, exquisite aroma

Cons: the price might deter some depending on their budget

Chances are, you might remember Floris from the 2012 James Bond movie “SkyFall”.
This shave soap certainly has that air of elegance, made by a fragrance company that has been in existence in Britain since 1730. The No.89 is a triple-milled soap that has a highly pleasing scent with notes of bergamot and sandalwood. It lathers up very well with a wet brush, and I found that lather held up for my entire shave. The No.89 gives you a smooth shave from start to finish, leaving the skin soft and well-hydrated afterwards. And
the scent is magnificent – I actually got complimented by a few people thinking it was a
cologne I was wearing.

Col. Ichabod Conk

Col.Ichabod Conk Shave Soap

Bay Rum Shave Soap (small)

Pros: Fabulous scent, provides excellent moisturizing throughout, pleasing soap texture

Cons: The packaging isn’t that attractive 

You might be tempted to whistle an old-fashioned show tune while using the Bay Rum Shave Soap from Col. Ichabod Conk. No judgement here – it is a soap that does give you that vintage barbershop feel beginning with that stunning bay rum scent. I found myself transported back to when my late father cut my hair with that fragrance. This is a reformulated version of their most popular shave soap. The first lather is a good indicator as to why, as it’s smooth and doesn’t overly lubricate. It handles the razor well and has the best finish with no residue left on the skin afterwards.

Badger Balm

Badger Natural Shave Soap (Badger Balm)

Shaving Soap (small)

Pros: Good initial lather, rich texture and feel, high quality moisture

Cons: Moisture residue but slight, lather does fade within a minute of application

Aiming for a shave experience steeped in sustainability? Then Badger Balm is one you might consider. Made with organic ingredients including aloe vera and coconut oil, this soap gives off a good initial lather and a really soothing texture. I found that this soap helped to soften the whiskers swiftly, allowing for a nice and crisp shave. There’s a good layer of moisture left afterwards, with a scant bit of soapy residue but not much to be bothered by. It also blends well with many of the aftershave products I have.

Olivina

Olivina Men Shave Soap

Classic Shave Soap – Bourbon Cedar (small)

Pros: Decent scent, soap texture is pleasant without too much lather

Cons: Lather disappears frequently, the scent doesn’t carry for too long after the shave

This company’s soap offers up a decent shave, with a gentle bourbon cedar fragrance to it. The lather starts out strong off the brush but does fade quickly. That doesn’t take away from its positive capability to work well with both traditional and multi-blade razors during a shave. As mentioned before, the scent’s nice but it doesn’t linger. It’s a good starter soap for your budget if you’re just building your wet shaving setup.

Gentleman Jon

Gentleman Jon Shave Soap

Glycerine Shave Soap (small)

Pros: Great hydration from lather, nice texture to the soap, works well with other aftershave products

Cons: You do have to lather consistently during your shave, slightly smaller than other soaps

Gentleman Jon is a company that’s committed to giving a truly classic shave experience with their glycerin-based soap. I found the lather was very smooth at the outset. One striking point is that while shaving, there wasn’t that much buildup on the razor but the skin felt very hydrated without much leftover moisture. The aroma is highly pleasant and blends in well with aftershave balms without any irritation. Using the soap also left the skin extremely smooth compared to the other soaps tested on both passes.

Molton Brown

Molton Brown Shaving Soap

Moisture-rich Shaving Soap (small)

Pros: Good lather, works well with straight razors, leaves skin feeling softer after shave

Cons: Leaves a considerable amount of moisture buildup after, a little thick when using Multi-blade razors

The London-based company has been among the premier grooming companies, and their moisture-rich shaving soap with its own bowl is a reason why. Made partially with coconut oil, it provides a decent lather when starting out, but it can leave a little bit extra moisture afterwards so it’s best to go lightly with it. Its scent is pleasant, but not overly aromatic if you’re looking to not have it conflict with other grooming products. The soap does leave your skin feeling supple without any irritation, and it has a distinctive hydrating factor in helping the razor get rid of hairs.

The Art of Shaving

The Art Of Shaving Sandalwood Shaving Soap

Sandalwood Shaving Soap (small)

Pros: Good initial lather, helps you get a close shave right against the skin

Cons: Skin dryness and potential for irritation afterwards depending on your skin makeup

The sandalwood shaving soap by The Art of Shaving represents a lot of thought given to what one desires in a shave. It gives off a good lather, and on the first shave it helped a lot towards clean hair removal close to the skin. There’s a brief bit of moisture residue afterwards but nothing too obvious. On the second pass however, I did feel my skin feeling drier than expected afterwards and a tad irritated which suggests this might be better for special occasion shaving.

How we tested

The process of testing each soap was based on shaving every two days, with each having two passes. Each pass was done using a wet brush made with badger hair and a shaving bowl owned by myself. Soaps that came with their own bowls are noted below. Every soap was also gauged on how smooth they left the skin, and if there were any irritation or potential for tonal changes.

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23 last-minute gifts you can still get in time for Mother’s Day, including gift cards and subscriptions

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Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Products in the Drunk Elephant The Littles™ 4.0 lying flat on a pink background

  • If you’re purchasing a Mother’s Day gift last minute, there’s still time to order something special.
  • We rounded up 23 options – from luxurious hair products to cookbooks – that will arrive by May 9.
  • If you’re not in a hurry, check out these 54 Mother’s Day gifts under $50.

Mother’s Day is around the corner and there are just a few days to get a gift for the moms in your life. For those living on the edge and have yet to pick up something, we have you covered with last-minute gift ideas that can be ordered, delivered, and presented, right in time for Mother’s Day. If you’re cutting it close, we also have recommendations for subscriptions and gift cards that can be purchased and gifted on the day of.

Here are 23 of the best last-minute Mother’s Day gifts that will arrive by May 9

The most stunning bouquet we ordered and reviewed

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - UrbanStems The Hema Bouquet on a living room table

Gift an UrbanStems bouquet, starting at $50

Let’s start with the Mother’s Day basic — a beautiful bouquet. UrbanStems offers a range of fresh, modern bouquets and other arrangements that are a step above the average flower mix. They were the best flower delivery service we tested, and the best part: they offer next-day delivery for 48 states and same-day delivery in New York City and Washington, DC.

A clothing subscription to switch up mom’s wardrobe

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A Stitch Fix subscription box, including tops, bottoms, outerwear and a pair of shoes

Gift a Stitch Fix subscription, $20

Amp up the traditional blouse you get mom with a Stitch Fix subscription, which will deliver a customized wardrobe based on a style quiz and the plan you choose. There’s a $20 styling fee, and then you can personalize your picks after.

A sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner set for salon-looking hair

Last minute Mothers' Day gifts - Kristin Ess The One Signature Shampoo and Conditioner lying next to each other on a table

Gift Kristin Ess’ The One Signature Shampoo and Conditioner, $20 each

If healthy and shiny hair is important to mom, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, like Kristin Ess’ The One Signature line, won’t dry out hair, so it’s perfect to gift — especially with summer coming up. When ordering online from Target it will arrive by the weekend, or you can pick it up at a local store.

A clothing subscription to switch up mom’s wardrobe

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Everlane Gift Card in an envelope

Gift an Everlane gift card, from $25

For cozy, luxe basics, Everlane is one of our favorite retailers. Simply enter the gift card amount of your choice, print out a few options to stick in a Mother’s Day card, and you’ll be all set.

A pair of designer shades to sport this summer

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Ray Ban Clubmaster Square Sunglasses

Gift the Ray-Ban Clubmaster Square Sunglasses, $161

For a timely, practical gift for the warmer months, you can’t go wrong with a classic pair of Ray-Bans. They’re one of our favorite retailers for womens’ shades and are Amazon Prime-eligible too.

An oversized beach tote for all the necessities

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - CGear Sand Free Gray Stripe Tote

Gift the CGear Sand-Free Gray Stripe Tote, $49.99

For moms who can’t get enough purses, crossbody bags, and clutches, gift her another carrier — a spacious beach bag. The CGear Sand-Free tote has a gray- and turquoise-striped design and is Amazon Prime-eligible. You can even fill it with a reusable water bottle, high-end sunscreen, and wireless headphones for the beach.

A smart tea kettle for making tea or preparing baby formula

Last minute Mother's day gifts - Smarter Electric iKettle standing upright on a kitchen countertop

Gift the Smarter Electric iKettle, $99

For frequent tea drinkers, the Amazon Prime-eligible Smarter Electric iKettle boasts Wi-Fi and voice activation with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant — you can control the temperature from the Smarter app on your phone. The iKettle is wonderful for new moms for hassle-free nighttime feeding.

A Walmart+ subscription for the savvy shopper

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A Walmart tote bag with what you can get with a Walmart+ Subscription inside, including groceries, Play-Doh, and a Nintendo Switch

Gift a Walmart+ subscription, $12.95 per month

Walmart is known to sell almost everything under the sun, and gifting mom a Walmart+ subscription adds the convenience of items shipped directly to your door. We tried it out and, whether shopping for groceries or video games, Walmart+ is a practical idea.

If mom is a big Amazon shopper and isn’t already an Amazon Prime member, here’s how to sign her up — a monthly subscription costs $12.99.

The comfiest pair of sneakers you’ll find

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman walking on pavement wearing the gray Allbirds Wool Loungers

Gift the Allbirds Women’s Wool Loungers, $95

From grocery store runs to walks in the park, moms are frequently on the go. The Allbirds Women’s Wool Loungers are some of the comfiest shoes we’ve reviewed, and the brand appeared not once, but three times in our best white sneakers for women guide. The shoes will arrive in two business days or can be expedited in one business day.

A nostalgic and sentimental coupon book

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A mother writing on one of the Knock Knock Vouchers for Mom

Gift the Knock Knock Vouchers for Mom, $12

If you have an all-I-want-is-a-card type of mom, the Knock Knock Vouchers for Mom is a fantastic, sentimental idea. It’s Amazon Prime-eligible and contains 20 “coupons” that you fulfill, ranging from breakfast in bed to a day without complaints (two things that mom will adore).

A wine subscription for the so-called sommelier

Last minute Mother's Day gifts  - A Winc subscription box and four bottles of wine on a doormat

Gift a Winc subscription, $39 per month

If mom is a wine fanatic, Winc is a fitting gift. The most affordable subscription starts at $39, which includes three $13 bottles of wine. You can also purchase a gift card for choosing bottles. You can read about our experience in using the Winc wine subscription service

A deluxe skincare sampler to boost hydration and self-care

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Products in the Drunk Elephant The Littles™ 4.0 lying flat on a pink background

Gift the Drunk Elephant The Littles 4.0 Set, $90

Skincare can be an expensive gift for Mother’s Day. Drunk Elephant, one of our favorite brands, offers the 4.0 Kit, a sampler of not one but eight great skincare products that include the Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer, the Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, and the C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream. And, these cruelty-free products are packed in a reusable case.

When ordering at Sephora, you can opt for one-day expedited shipping, or order and pick up at a local store.

A cookbook with 100 cookie recipes for the baker

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - The "100 Cookies" cookbook on a pink table surrounded by baking tools

Gift the “100 Cookies” cookbook, $23.55

If the kitchen is your mom’s most-visited spot, gifting a cookbook is thoughtful and will offer inspiration for whipping up more sweet treats. The Amazon Prime-eligible “100 Cookies” cookbook highlights — you guessed it — 100 cookies, brownies, bars, and other yummy recipes to bake over the weekend. 

If you want to splurge, you can pair it with one of our favorite KitchenAid stand mixers.

An Audible subscription for the reader

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman listening to an Audible audiobook while at the gym

Gift an Audible subscription, starting at $7.95 a month

For a really last-minute gift idea, Audible is an instantaneous subscription after ordering. The platform serves as a digital audio library of popular books — play them as you would your favorite podcasts. You can pair the subscription with some bestselling audiobooks.

A beauty and grooming subscription box to switch things up

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A Birchbox subscription box with assorted makeup and skincare items to its right

Gift a Birchbox subscription, $15 per month

Birchbox packages makeup, hair, and skincare products, which is perfect for providing mom with new products to try. It’s a perfect IOU to include in a card, so you’ll have something ordered in time for May 9.

A gel manicure kit if you can’t get to a nail salon

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit

Gift the Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit, $79.99

Give mom a salon-like manicure without the need for an in-person appointment. Red Carpet is the best at-home gel nail kit we tested, and it will arrive from Ulta in two to three business days with premium shipping, or available for in-store pickup after ordering.

The Dyson Airwrap mom will never purchase for herself

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman curling her hair with the Dyson Airwrap Styler Volume and Shape

Gift the Dyson Airwrap styler, $778.99

If you’re chipping in with your siblings or simply want to splurge on mom this year, the Dyson Airwrap styler is your best bet. We tested it alongside a celebrity hairstylist and found it to be a quality, versatile tool that produces gorgeous salon looks with its air-and-no-heat technology.

A sleek essential oil diffuser for a fresh-scented room

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - The URPower Essential Oil Diffuser in use on a carpeted bedroom floor

Gift the URPower Essential Oil Diffuser, $19.99

While we love our candles, a diffuser is a no-flame option that will make a room smell like eucalyptus, peppermint, or fresh linen — the latter perfect is for bathrooms. URPower is our favorite essential oil diffuser on a budget and when paired with an essential oil kit, it’s an all-in-one thoughtful gift for Mother’s Day — Amazon Prime-eligible.

An exercise bike and work desk duo that’s super practical

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman on a call while on the Bike Desk 3.0

Gift the FitDesk Bike Desk 3.0, $299.99

Does mom want to stay active while working from home? The FitDesk Bike Desk 3.0 is a laptop desk and exercise bike hybrid that will get her feet moving while in meetings. Even better: it’s Amazon Prime-eligible and something that will boost productivity.

For an add-on, pair the bike desk with a pair of our favorite spin shoes we tested.

A Nespresso machine for cafe-style brews at home

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine Bundle

Gift the Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine Bundle, $160

If your gift recipient is always running to Dunkin’ or Starbucks, the Nespresso VertuoPlus will be much appreciated. It’s Amazon Prime-eligible, and it comes with a milk frother and a coffee pod sampler to get started. 

A waffle robe for getting ready after the shower

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - A woman wearing the Bohang Summer Waffle Bathrobe in Light Purple

Gift the Bohang Summer Waffle Bathrobe, $25.99

Fluffy robes are great for winter, but a waffle robe is perfect year-round — especially to throw on after a relaxing bath or shower. It’s Amazon Prime-eligible, comes in three colors, and feels like one you’d find at a hotel.

A meal delivery service to take some stress off cooking

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - The ingredients that come in a HelloFresh meal kit box alongside the final meal

Gift a HelloFresh meal kit subscription, from $33.97

Meal delivery is all the rage these days — you get pre-selected meal options shipped to your door, with pre-portioned ingredients included. We tested HelloFresh and deemed it as one of our favorite meal delivery kit services.

For shipping, HelloFresh offers expedited delivery, depending on the plan selected.

A gold bangle that is dainty and will match any outfit

Last minute Mother's Day gifts - Kate Spade New York Idiom Bangle

Gift the Kate Spade New York Idiom Bangle, $26.60 

Designer for less than $30? The Kate Spade New York Idiom Bangle is a classic, gold-plated bracelet proven to match any outfit. It’s also Amazon Prime-eligible and makes for a simple and dainty jewelry piece.

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I try a lot of skincare for my job, and Maelove makes some of the best products I’ve ever reviewed

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Maelove Collection

  • I try a lot of skincare products for my job, and Maelove is one of my most recommended brands.
  • Maelove is a skincare line founded by MIT grads and most of the products are under $30.
  • Learn more about the company, the products, and how they make skincare so affordable, below.

When you step into a Sephora, it doesn’t take long to realize that plenty of skincare is not affordable. Glossy tubs of La Mer go for $190, and there’s an $85 Peter Thomas Roth mask made with pure 24-karat gold.

But, if you know where to look, you can find skincare products that perform on par with luxury picks. Companies like Maelove, a startup founded by MIT grads, use many of the same ingredients and cosmetics labs as high-end brands but sell products for a fraction of the cost, like a skincare version of Italic.

Formulas are based more firmly in exhaustive research than the farm-to-face movement, and each product in the line is listed under $30, with the exception of the Love 31 face oil ($74.95) and the Moonlight Retinal Super Serum ($34.95, currently sold out).

Maelove, $28

What’s better, though, is the quality for the price. I try a lot of skincare products – both luxury and drugstore – for my job at Insider Reviews, and if I could only recommend one skincare brand to my friends and family, this would probably be it. The products work well, they’re not expensive, and the startup rarely disappoints. Like the loophole of buying Differin gel rather than Differin cream to save $200, Maelove is one way to save hundreds on the essentials without making any concessions when it comes to what goes into the products themselves. Below, you can learn more about what makes up the Maelove skincare line, including many that I’ve personally tested and reviewed.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The Glow Maker serum

The Glow Maker ($28) is a vitamin C serum that works to brighten your complexion, even tone, and lighten dark spots. It’s lightweight and sinks in quickly and completely without leaving any tacky residue. And while vitamin C serums can be drying, Maelove’s iteration has a botanical blend and hyaluronic acid (which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water) to prevent it.

Consumers have been quick to note the Glow Maker has a very similar ingredient list to the multi-award-winning C E Ferulic Serum ($166), despite being more than $130 cheaper.

Read my full review of The Glow Maker here.

The Night Renewer cream

The Night Renewer ($28), is one of my favorite products. It uses 10% medical-grade AHA, a blend of soothing ingredients, and hyaluronic acid to gently resurface the skin for better texture and more even tone without being too harsh or drying. It took the company years of research to master something gentle and effective, and they’ve nailed it here. After one night of use, I noticed an improvement in my skin’s texture and tone and have noticed my dark spots fading over time. My pores also look a little smaller.

Read my full review of the Night Renewer here.

The One Cream daily moisturizer

The One Cream ($28, currently sold out) is an everyday moisturizer that will hydrate without clogging pores. It’s good for all skin types, and it goes on lightweight and absorbs quickly and completely. When I’m not testing another cream, this is the budget-friendly one I prefer – there’s never any irritation to my sensitive skin, and it deals with dry patches well.

Read my full review of The One Cream here.

The Eye Enhancer eye cream

The Eye Enhancer ($28, currently sold out) hydrates, tightens, and brightens the delicate skin around the eyes. A little goes a long way, and it absorbs into the skin for an all-day brightness and de-puffing boost. Cold-pressed Robusta Coffee seed extract, which is full of antioxidants and polyphenols, reduces water retention and puffiness, and a botanical complex soothes the thin, sensitive skin around your eyes. But if you’re used to a thicker eye cream this may not be for you – it’s very lightweight.

The Deep Exfoliator face polish

The Deep Exfoliator ($24) is a good, relatively gentle exfoliant. Its ingredients include BHA (salicylic acid) and pulverized clay to draw out impurities and absorb excess sebum, and niacinamide (vitamin B3), glycerin, allantoin, and vitamin E to restore moisture. When used a few times a week, it helps resurface your skin for better tone and texture. It works best when combined with another AHA/BHA like the Night Renewer, but it’s nice on its own – and especially for sensitive skin types. If you’re looking for a stronger exfoliant and don’t want to buy both, I recommend buying the Night Renewer.

The NIA 10 Calming Serum

The NIA 10 Calming Serum ($27.95) is designed for dry, inflamed, sensitive, acne-prone skin. Niacinamide (vitamin B3), zinc, and white tea extract work to calm the skin and improve redness and tone over time. I noticed it helped calm my blemishes and made my pores look noticeably smaller. In terms of redness, it’s helped slightly with steady use, but the results have not been drastic. If redness is your main concern and your skin is too sensitive for vitamin C serums, this is worth checking out as an alternative. Otherwise, the Glow Maker may be better for overall tone correction.

Read my full review of the NIA 10 Calming Serum here.

The Refresher face wash

The Refresher ($18.95) is a gentle cleanser that helps clean the skin without disrupting its natural moisture barrier, but it can be slightly drying if you’re used to other simple, gentle cleansers like Cetaphil. The Refresher uses a blend of AHAs (lactic, malic, and tartaric) to remove dead or dull skin cells, and without a moisturizer after, it can be drying. Personally, I like that the AHAs help calm my breakouts and remove dull skin, but if you’re prone to dryness, you may want to stick with Cetaphil. The internal straw also doesn’t reach all the way to the bottom of the bottle, so you may have to dig for the last bit of the face wash.

The Moonlight Retinal Super Serum

The Moonlight Retinal Super Serum ($35, currently sold out) is Maelove’s first retinal product and, while it uses an ingredient that’s more efficient than retinol, it’s relatively inexpensive at $35 an ounce. It’s currently sold out, but you can sign up for alerts here. Like other vitamin A products, Moonlight is designed to increase the body’s natural processes that combat signs of aging: cell turnover, collagen production, improving discoloration, hydrating the skin, and reducing acne.

Maelove claims its Moonlight serum delivers “prescription level benefits” over-the-counter. And, retinaldehyde is actually stronger than retinol according to celebrity dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman. However, Dr. Engelman also says it can have more intense effects – like dryness. To balance out the formula, Moonlight includes niacinamide, bisabolol, ceramide, tea extracts, hyaluronic acid, and squalane.

It’s also important to note that vitamin A derivatives are a “known teratogen” according to Dr. Engelman, so it must be avoided if pregnant or breastfeeding. You can learn more about retinol and vitamin A and how it works here.

The Stargaze Enhanced Retinol Serum

Recently, Maelove introduced a gentler retinol serum that contains the dermatologist-recommended concentration (0.25%) for those who are uninitiated with the ingredient. Called the Stargaze Enhanced Retinol Serum ($28), this formula is a good choice for those who are prone to sensitivity, too. Retinol has plenty of benefits when it comes to reducing fine lines and evening out skin tone, but it’s also known to cause dryness and irritation. The Stargaze serum lessens the effects by including a host of hydrating and calming ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. If you’ve been wanting to try out retinol but you’ve been worried about potential irritation, this option is a solid entry point with a fairly affordable price tag.

Read my full review of the Stargaze Enhanced Retinol Serum here.

Stargaze Enhanced Retinol Serum (small)

How Maelove made good skincare cheap

Maelove CEO and cofounder Jackie Kim wanted to cut prices on grooming products, and cofounders Brad Yim and Rishi Khaitan were looking for ways to apply artificial intelligence techniques to unexpected industries. Skincare – with its glamour and markups – seemed like a natural fit.

As industry outsiders, Kim and company were able to pinpoint the norms that needed challenging. “The first oddity of the skincare industry that we noticed was that it’s run like the fashion industry,” Kim explained. “Marketers create trends and endless product varieties in an attempt to maximize sales. What you end up with is a ton of undifferentiated products hyped by overzealous marketers, which leads to confusion among shoppers.”

The team recruited friends from all disciplines – cancer and brain researchers, chemical engineers, lawyers, and medical doctors – to hone in on the research without the baggage of preconceived notions. In essence, Maelove is one huge – and very successful – science experiment.

First, the team leverages decades of clinical research. “There are abundant and widely accepted published works that show which compounds work well for maintaining skin health. These are the tried-and-true ingredients recommended by every dermatologist and [which] are available in both over-the-counter and prescription strengths (the classic ingredients like retinol, AHA, certain vitamins and peptides, etc).” In short, these are the ingredients that should work.

Then, Maelove uses artificial intelligence to scan millions of self-reported product reviews – what Kim refers to as empirical real-world data – to determine which ingredients correlated with success, and which to avoid. These are the ingredients that, according to users, do work.

Finally, the company finds human volunteers to test the formula to verify that it’s effective. So instead of building a business around variety for the sake of variety, Maelove focuses on making one line of stellar skincare that can work for all skin types.

The bottom line

This radically affordable luxury skincare line is the real deal. Maelove makes some of the best and some of the cheapest skincare products that I’ve found. And while I don’t often get to stick to my own skincare routine as a product reviewer, I’ve surprised myself by preferring to use the cheaper Maelove products over luxury skincare I often test for work because they’re simple, gentle, and effective.

I recommend Maelove to everyone who asks me for recommendations because it works for all skin types and doesn’t cost much, but skincare is also a notoriously subjective experience. What works for me may not work for you – even a skincare line built to cater to every skin type. Luckily, Maelove has a 100-day, 100% money-back guarantee, so you’re not risking much if you want to give it a try yourself.

Shop Maelove here.

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These are the 12 best bronzers for every skin tone

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Best blush 4x3
  • Many of us strive for sun-kissed skin sans the sun damage, and a bronzer can help.
  • Not to be confused with contouring, bronzing is meant to create natural-looking warmth.
  • To choose the best bronzer for your skin, we recommend going one shade darker than your complexion.

No sun? No problem. Your totally believable, sun-kissed glow is just a bronzer away. No matter your skin tone, the best bronzer will give you an effortless, natural glow. And unlike contour, which creates shadows on the face, bronzer provides a lovely wash of warmth to your complexion. Whether you love a cream, powder, or a hybrid, these bronzers will become your makeup bag mainstays, no matter your complexion.

Here are the best bronzers for every skin tone in 2021:

The best bronzer for fair skin

Westman Atelier’s Beauty Butter in Coup de Soleil

Best blush_Westman Atelier's Beauty Butter in Coup de Soleil

Beauty Butter (Coup de Soleil) (small)

The Beauty Butter Bronzer in Coup de Soleil by Westman Atelier is designed to leave skin looking naturally bronzed. This wearable lighter-toned bronzer, contains no parabens, PEGs or synthetic fragrances. Shimmer-free, its innovative pigment technology protects skin from harmful toxins, while the plant butters nourish the skin.

NARS San Juan

Best blush_NARS San Juan

Bronzing Powder (San Juan) (small)

The NARS bronzing powder in San Juan delivers all-over warmth to create or enhance a naturally tanned look. Diffused powders with a golden shimmer help give skin a smoother, more even-looking complexion with an undetectable finish. To warm skin, sweep the face in the shape of a 3, beginning at the temple and continuing through the jawline.

Cover FX Monochromatic Bronzer Duo (Sunkissed Bronze)

Best blush_Cover FX Monochromatic Bronzer Duo

Monochromatic Bronzer Duo (Sunkissed Bronze) (small)

This monochromatic bronzer duo by Cover FX was consciously formulated without talc for a weightless texture. Vegan & cruelty-free, this powder duo delivers a natural glow. Use a powder brush to apply the matte and shimmer shades individually or layer them for a customized finish.

The best bronzer for medium skin

MAC Cosmetics Bronzing Powder in Refined Golden

Best blush_MAC Cosmetics Bronzing Powder

Bronzing Powder (Refined Golden) (small)

MAC’s Golden powder is perfect for enhancing your skin tone or accentuating a tan. Dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested, it contains light-reflecting bronzing pigments and was designed to provide a smooth, even application. Apply wherever the sun would naturally hit you.

Sephora Bronzed in Santorini

Best blush_Sephora Bronzed in Santorini

Matte Bronzer (Santorini) (small)

Sephora’s creamy bronzer offers a buildable, soft-matte finish for medium skin. Easy to blend, one small tap of your brush will add warmth to the whole face and visible depth to your complexion. This vegan powder can be used all-over bronzing or targeted contouring.

Danessa Myricks Power Bronzer in Medium

Best blush_Danessa Myricks Power Bronzer

Power Bronzer (Medium) (small)

Add instant warmth to the skin with Medium by Danessa Myricks. Its creamy formula melts into the skin, making it a dream to blend under or on top of powder. Infused with hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C, it hydrates the skin, yet leaves a matte finish. Apply easily with your finger, sponge or brush.

The best bronzer for deep skin

Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer in Mahogany

Best blush_Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer

Powder Bronzer (Mahogany) (small)

This finely-milled bronzing powder from Anastasia Beverly Hills provides a natural-looking matte finish for mocha brown skin. It’s permanent, easy to blend, and a little goes a long way. It can be layered on top of liquid, cream or powder complexion products, and feels weightless on the face and body. For a “just back from the beach” look, choose a shade that is 1–2 shades deeper than your skin tone.

Morphe Glamabronze in Leader

Best blush_Morphe Glamabronze

Glamabronze (Leader) (small)

Morphe Glamabronze in Leader captures the undertones and depth of tones to brilliantly accommodate darker tones. This buildable bronzer is ideal for rich to deep skin tones. Since it’s highly pigmented, build slowly. You can dust this face and body bronzer all over.

Fenty Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer in Thick Mint

Best blush_Fenty Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer

Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer (Thick Mint) (small)

Thick Mint is the newest addition to Fenty Beauty’s bronzer collection. Deep and reddish-brown with subtle, warm undertones, it’s blendable, buildable, and transfer-resistant. Its mango and papaya fruit extracts bring out the warmth to help give skin an instant but natural, “sun-soaked glow.”

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I tested the 10 best safety razors on the market – here’s how they rank

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The best safety razors 4x3

For decades, multi-blade razors have been the most popular razor, with commercials and advertising flooding the men’s grooming market with promises of ultra-glide shaves without nicks or cuts. While these advertising buzzwords might prove true for men who have fine, straight facial hair, multi-blade cartridge razors just don’t have the same positive effect on guys with coarse or curly beards. Enter: The old-school safety razor.

Crafted with a permanent handle and head with a slot specially made for universal disposable razor blades, safety razors are designed to sit comfortably in the hand. They also provide a clean, smooth shave when used with fluid, slow strokes. The weight of these safety razors, combined with the insertion of a new blade every shave, makes for an altogether luxurious shaving experience compared to a cartridge razor.

So, if you’ve ever thought about making the switch, why not now, and why not with one of these tested and trusted safety razors?

Here are the best safety razors in 2021:

The best overall: Standard Razors Aluminum Series

The best safety razors_Standard Razors Aluminum Series

Hefty, handsome, and crafted to last a lifetime, the Aluminum Series razor from Standard Razors takes the top spot. 

Pros: Great weight, nice hand-feel, easy to clean.

Cons: Matte black coating requires wiping with a dry cloth to prevent water spots.

Our favorite safety razor has everything you want and nothing you don’t. Crafted and machined from aircraft-grade aluminum, both the handle and head of this razor have a surprising heft with an excellent hand-feel. The handle itself quickly unscrews from the head mount, which allows you to quickly insert a new blade. Plus, this safety razor is compatible with all brands of double razor blades, meaning you’ll never have to search for the “right blade” again. The anodized coating does double-duty as a minimalist aesthetic choice and a slightly textured surface, great for a wet hand grip. The Aluminum Series Razor comes in both matte black and raw silver, both of which would look great on anyone’s counter. 

Aluminum Series Double Edge Safety Razor (small)
Merkur Futur Safety Razor Matte Chrome

The best safety razors_Merkur Futur Safety Razor Matte Chrome

With a matte aluminum coating and sci-fi design, the Merkur Futur razor is a functional and futuristic grooming game changer.

Pros: Looks cool on the counter, shaves well, easy adjustment for blade gap.

Cons: Take time to clean due to its inset lip below the blade.

A major player in the razor game, Merkur is making its modernist mark with its stunningly designed Futur safety razor. Chrome-plated with a matte finish offering a performance grip, this futuristic-looking safety razor is as utilitarian as it is aesthetically pleasing. To key in on the perfect angle for closest shave possible, twist the handle to narrow or widen the gap between the blade and the bar. Adjusting the aggressiveness of your gap provides the right amount of nuance customized to each user. The Futur also sports a good weight, making it a solid choice for guys with butter fingers.

Futur Safety Razor Matte Chrome (small)
Vikings Blade The Chieftain Jr.

The best safety razors_Vikings Blade The Chieftain Jr

Long and slim with a hint of retro-styling, the Vikings Blade Chieftain Jr. safety razor is an attractive and adept grooming companion. 

Pros: The long handle is good for precise shaves, great grip, low cost.

Cons: Some men might find this one too light in weight.

At first sight, the Chieftain Jr. looks a touch too delicate. But this razor’s slim, long handle is designed with crosshatched channels machined into its shaft, which makes for a robust grip —even the biggest and clumsiest of hands. The razor’s classic double-flapped opening functions beautifully as an easy-to-access cradle for a double-blade razor. 

The Chieftain Jr. Safety Razor (small)
Bevel Safety Razor

The best safety razors_Bevel Safety Razor

Created specifically for curly and textured facial hair, the Bevel safety razor leaves skin smooth and helps prevent ingrown hairs. 

Pros: Gentle shave thanks to special razor head, attractive shape.

Cons: With a shorter length and lighter feel, this razor can feel toy-like at times.

At four inches long, this razor hews toward the middle of the pack in size — and at 3.2 ounces, it’s also surprisingly light. The highly angular razor head and the slim gap between blade and bar make for an extremely close, yet gentle, shave. Plus, the single blade prevents the snagging found with multi-blade cartridge razors, making it a much better option for those with especially coarse, curly facial hair.

Safety Razor (small)
Baxter of California Safety Razor

The best safety razors_Baxter of California Safety Razor

A design piece that functions as well as it looks, the Baxter of California Safety Razor is a safe choice for the guy who likes the finer things in life.

Pros: Old-school aesthetic, comes with blades.

Cons: Chrome plating requires wiping after use to prevent water spots.

The Safety Razor from Baxter of California evokes the feel of a classic, old-school barbershop, thanks to the engraving on its handle that mimics the red, blue, and white barber poles. The chrome plating may require a little extra polishing before you put it away, but the extra work is worth it. This razor also starts you off with five double-blades for a week’s worth of shaves.

Safety Razor (small)
Rockwell Razors 6S Adjustable Stainless Steel Safety Razor

The best safety razors_Rockwell Razors 6S Adjustable Stainless Steel Safety Razor

The Rockwell Razors 6S scores high marks for its heft and its ability to precisely fine-tune the blade gap to suit your face. 

Pros: Visually appealing, excellent grip, precise blade gap adjustment.

Cons: Can feel a bit clunky and chunky for guys with smaller hands.

The textured shaft of this razor makes this safety razor a striking addition to your medicine cabinet. Aside from its good looks, the texture holds your grip — even while shaving in the shower. The 6S sports a precision blade gap adjustment, which is as easy to use as turning a screw. The razor itself is made from robust 316L stainless steel, meaning it’ll last through decades of future clean shaves. 

6S Adjustable Stainless Steel Safety Razor (small)
The Art of Shaving R106 Short

The best safety razors_The Art of Shaving R106 Short

The shortest safety razor of the group, the R106 Short fits precisely in the palm of your hand, affording users a surprising amount of control.

Pros: Closed-comb head offer gentle shave and prevents nicks.

Cons: Small size doesn’t work for guys with big hands and big faces.

Featuring a handle of just 3.75 inches, this black matte, closed-comb safety razor from The Art of Shaving works great for guys with smaller hands or who struggle with coordination. Its short stature offers a sturdier grip and a more precise movement. The closed-comb nature of the head makes for a safer, gentler shave, and prevents knicks, cuts, and razor burn. 

R106 Short Black Safety Razor (small)
Maapilim Safety Razor

The best safety razors_Maapilim Safety Razor

A faux-bronze coating on this simple safety razor makes it an irresistible shaving assistant. 

Pros: Comb straightens and aligns hair for a clean shave every time.

Cons: Like others, the shiny plating on this razor requires extra care.

The Maapilim Safety Razor lives up to even the highest of standards. It utilizes a fine-toothed comb to straighten facial hair before cutting, which provides a much closer shave. The easy-to-remove head makes changing your blade a snap, and the weighted handle feels great in your hand. Combined with the can’t-look-away color, this razor makes is a solid buy for anyone.

Safety Razor (small)
Supply The Single Edge 2.0

The best safety razors_Supply The Single Edge 2.0

Standing out for more than just its single-edge design, The Single Edge 2.0 is a unique take on the traditional safety razor. 

Pros: Easy to replace blades, an innovative design offers ultra-close shave.

Cons: The razor’s single-edged blades are often more difficult to find.

While this option might look like a disposable cartridge razor, that’s as far as the similarities go. Crafted from stainless steel and engineered to offer three shave styles — sensitive, comfortable, and ultra-close — this safety razor takes single blades that can be replaced swiftly and safely with an accompanying insertion mechanism. 

The Single Edge 2.0 (small)
MÜHLE Hexagon Bronze Safety Razor

The best safety razors_MÜHLE Hexagon Bronze Safety Razor

The sleek look of MÜHLE Hexagon Bronze Safety Razor belies a perfectly functional grooming tool underneath. 

Pros: Bold, artsy look, hefty weight, easy grip.

Cons: Polished razor head, as with several others, requires a post-shave wipe down to prevent spots.

Bold is an understatement when it comes to the look and feel of this hexagonal-handle safety razor. The handle is properly weighted, easily gripped, and offers ease-of-use as well as visual appeal. The head, held aloft by a polished silver neck, features a standard double-blade razor bed and screw-on cap.

Hexagon Bronze Safety Razor (small)

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I tested 14 pairs of false eyelashes to see which ones actually stay on and aren’t horribly uncomfortable, and only 7 survived my test

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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • False eyelashes are a great way to get the look of full lashes without the hassle of mascara.
  • With so many on the market, it can be difficult to suss out which are the best option for you.
  • I tested 14 styles to find the best false lashes in a variety of categories.
Best false eyelashes 4x3

Few things can boost your confidence as instantly as a good pair of false lashes. Whether you’re looking for something subtle or prefer to go full-on glam, falsies can add the perfect finishing touch to your makeup look or even help you feel a bit more put together on a no-makeup day.

But finding the best false lashes for you is certainly not a one-size-fits-all situation. Besides the fact that we all have different preferences, our individual eye shapes also play a huge role when it comes to choosing falsies. This is why it’s so helpful to do your research before purchasing false lashes; after all, it’s not like you can try them on before you buy.

Here, I tested nearly 20 different styles of false lashes – everything from the cult-favorites to new launches – to bring you the best of the best in a variety of categories. Read on to discover your perfect pair of falsies.

Here are the best false lashes in 2021:

The best false eyelashes for everyday wear

Best false eyelashes_MyLashButBetter

If you love everyday glam, look no further than Kiss’s My Lash But Better collection.

If testing lashes has taught me anything, it’s that a thin band is key for all-day comfort. Kiss has long been in the falsies game, but the My Lash But Better collection hits it out of the ballpark. Their supposed “Superfine Band Technology” sounds pretty gimmicky, but the band is extremely thin, flexible, and easily adheres to the lash line. Perhaps the best part? They’ll only cost you five bucks — an ideal price point if you’re wearing them daily. 

My Lash But Better (small)
The best natural-looking false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_LoveSeen

LoveSeen allows you to customize your lashes based on your coloring, eye shape, and preference, resulting in the most natural-looking style. 

As someone with hooded, slightly downturned eyelids, it’s often difficult to find false eyelashes that fit properly and don’t stick out at the outer corners. This is why I was thrilled to come across the brand LoveSeen — they offer a quiz that recommends the best styles based on your eye shape and preferences. They also offer both Brown/Black and Light Brown shades, which I’ve rarely seen in falsies. 

I particularly love the “Jack” lashes — they looked so incredibly natural while also giving me the perfect amount of volume. Plus, the band is extremely thin, making them a breeze to apply. I also tried (and loved) two other styles (Iris and Cate), but felt Jack looked the best on my specific eye shape. 

LoveSeen lashes range from $20-$24, putting them on par with other mid-tier brands. However, they do not come with eyelash glue, so that would be an additional cost.

Luca (small)
The best magnetic false eyelashes lashes

Best false eyelashes_Velour

Struggle with applying lashes? You’re not alone. Velour Beauty’s magnetic lashes make it incredibly easy.

If you’re clumsy (and impatient) like me, lash glue can quickly become a giant mess. Magnetic lashes were created to take the guesswork out of applying falsies since they are meant to adhere to a magnetic eyeliner. Velour Beauty’s Vegan Mink Luxe Lashes apply exceptionally seamlessly — and they felt super comfortable all day long. 

The first time I wore them, my immediate thought was that they would be the perfect false eyelashes for someone’s wedding day. Not only are they just the right amount of glam, but they’d be super comfy during hours of smiling, dancing, and photo-taking.

At $27 these lashes may seem a bit on the pricier side (plus, the magnetic eyeliner is sold separately at $23), but I was able to rewear them several times with no issues. For a special occasion, they’re definitely worth the splurge.

Vegan Mink Luxe Lash Collection (small)
The best glam false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_LillyLashes

When you want your lashes to make a statement, these Lilly Lashes will do the trick.

Sometimes you just want the look of long, full lashes. These Lilly Lashes are the perfect compliment to glam makeup because they heighten the look without overpowering it. The criss-cross style of the “Goddess” lashes, in particular, gives such a pretty effect.

I find these quite easy to apply and I love the thin band. Though I wouldn’t say they’re bothersome, they do feel a bit heavier on my eyes than some of the more natural styles. However, if you’re only wearing them for a special occasion, chances are you’ll be peeling them off in a couple of hours anyway. 

These lashes retail for $20 and do not come with lash adhesive. 

Goddess (small)
The best affordable false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_Ardell

Ardell lashes are widely appreciated for their affordability, variety, and accessibility.

Ardell lashes are a well-loved falsies brand and for good reason. Most pairs are around $5 and they offer a wide selection of styles for any and all preferences. I personally love the Natural #110 (they look the most natural on my eye shape), but the Demi Wispies are a hugely popular style. Plus, Ardell is also sold in major retailers like Ulta and Target as well as most drugstores — so you can easily find them in the event of a lash emergency.

Natural #110 (small, Preferred: Ulta)
The best individual false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_KissIndividual

This trio helps you build a natural look — without the commitment of a strip lash.

Let’s face it: false lashes can be extremely intimidating. If you’re new to falsies and want to test the waters (or just want to try something a bit more low-maintenance), individual lashes are a great option. This trio from Kiss is great because it offers three different lengths, so you can easily customize your look to get the most natural effect. I like to apply two of the longer lashes at the outer corner for subtle, wispy lashes.

At only $6 for 30 individual lashes (that you can easily reuse), it doesn’t get much better than that. These do not come with lash glue.

Ever Ez Trio Lash (small, Preferred: CVS)
The longest false eyelashes

Best false eyelashes_Lashify

These innovative falsies are essentially DIY lash extensions — they can last up to 10 days.

Lashify is changing the false lash game with their patented Gossamer lashes. They give you the look and feel of lash extensions, but without the costs and upkeep. It consists of four steps: applying a primer, attaching the lashes, fusing the lashes together with a wand, and applying a clear mascara that’s meant to lock everything in. I tried out the Control Kit (in the style Bold), which provides you with everything you need for $145. It’s definitely not cheap, but the kit comes with two sets of lashes (in two different sizes) and each wear can last up to 10 days. 

I absolutely love the look of these lashes. Because you apply them underneath your natural lashes (rather than on top), they look extremely natural and feel weightless. If you’re someone who’s interested in the longevity of lash extensions but wants to avoid the costs and maintenance involved, the Lashify system is definitely worth checking out.

Gossamer Lashes (small)
Other lashes we tested

Best false eyelashes_What else we considered (Glamnetic Livin; KVD, Qveen)

Although the seven lash sets above were my top picks, I also tested a variety of styles from 7 other brands. Here’s why they didn’t make the cut:

  • Qveen Studio Lashes in Hot Boy Sweat: These did not fit well on my downturned eyelids and they are also a bit heavy, but they do have a soft, fluttery look. For someone with a different eye shape, these could work really well. 
  • Glamnetic Luxe Lash: While these did adhere very well, the individual magnets along the band make it a bit bulky as well as difficult to trim. This particular style was also way too long for my eye shape/preference.
  • Glamnetic Livin’ Lash: While this set was far more comfortable, the lash length was too natural. I could barely see the lashes past my natural lashes, so it just didn’t seem worth it to have on falsies at all. However, if you’re looking to simply add fullness and not length, this could be a good option.
  • Sephora Collection Luxe False Lash in Plume: Again, these lashes are very pretty and natural-looking, but lacking a “wow” factor.
  • Tartiest Pro Cruelty-Free Lashes in Wifey: These lashes are extremely long and heavy, making them difficult to apply. These should definitely be avoided if you’re a natural lash lover, but if you’re after a dramatic look and are an absolute pro at applying falsies, these might be for you.
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11 clean, eco-friendly, and sustainable beauty brands you can find at Target – and what to buy from each

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Target Clean Beauty 4x3

In recent years, Target has made a massive effort to bring on clean, natural, sustainable, or otherwise eco-friendly brands – so you can worry less about buyer’s remorse on your next shopping spree.

From the recycled packaging of Love Beauty and Planet to the botanical-based makeup from W3LL People, the store carries ethically made beauty products at prices we love. Consider it the new “triple threat” – safe ingredients, sustainable packaging, and accessible pricing.

Target currently carries nearly 2,800 beauty products tagged with a Target Clean symbol, so you can make a more informed buying decision quickly and easily. These products meet Target’s own clean standards, so you won’t find formulas with parabens, sulfates, and other ingredients included on the retailer’s “No List.” Read more about this in our clean beauty FAQ, below.

Here are the 11 best clean beauty brands and products you can shop at Target:

Honest Beauty

Honest Beauty EXTREME LENGTH MASCARA + LASH PRIMER

Why we love it: Founded by Jessica Alba, The Honest Company hits the two main components of clean beauty: transparency and safe ingredients. Each product follows a “no list” which is an evolving list of over 2,500 chemicals the brand chooses not to use. Honest also avoids listing fragrance as an ingredient because it can be used as an umbrella term to hide harmful ingredients. We love the Hydrogel Cream and 2-in-1 Mascara that’s won several beauty awards. 

Products you should try:

Hydrogel Cream with Hyaluronic Acid (small)Extreme Length 2-in-1 Mascara and Lash Primer (small)
Function of Beauty

FOB Target

Why we love it: Function of Beauty has changed the world of beauty forever with its line of customizable haircare. (We love it so much we’ve recommended it several times over) Not only is it effective for different hair types but it contains safer ingredients. The formulas are 92% naturally-derived, sulfate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and 100% vegan. Even the bottles and cartons are made with recycled materials that are 100% recyclable.

Take the Function of Beauty hair quiz here

Products you should try:

Wavy Hair Shampoo Base with Fermented Rice Water (small)Wavy Hair Conditioner Base with Argan Oil (small)Deep Condition #HairGoal Booster Shots with Apple Extract (small)
Bliss

bliss Bright Idea Moisturizer

Why we love it: Along with being vegan and cruelty-free, Bliss products are thoughtfully formulated to be free from over 1,300 harmful substances you don’t want on your skin. The brand follows the European Union’s standards, considered to be the highest in the world for skincare safety. And, Bliss does your skincare game justice with its products. Powered by clinical-grade vitamin C and peptides, the Bright Idea line boosts brightness and elasticity in the first use.

Products you should try:

Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum (small)Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting & Brightening Moisturizer (small)
Native

Native Plastic Free Deodorant

Why we love it: Native creates clean bodycare products that are both paraben- and aluminum-free. And, the brand recently launched its fan-favorite deodorant in plastic-free packaging. (We’re big fans of the Coconut & Vanilla scent for its refreshing tropical smell) As a member of 1% for the Planet, Native donates 1% of Plastic Free sales to fight plastic pollution. Switching from the Classic packaging to Native Plastic Free will help reduce plastic waste by about 169 tons each year. 

Read our full review of Native deodorant here

Products you should try:

Coconut & Vanilla Deodorant (small)Coconut & Vanilla Body Wash (small)
Method

Method Men Body Wash

Why we love it: Method makes cleanliness, well, clean. Popular for its gentle yet effective cleaning products, Method lets you clean your home sans the breath-holding side effects. The same can be said for its body washes, deodorants, and haircare, all of which are made without parabens or phthalates. The formulas are packed with plant-based cleansers that can be used by both families and their pets.

Products you should try:

Body Wash Energy Boost (small)Men Aluminum Free Deodorant (small)
Versed

Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm

Why we love it: Versed ingredients aren’t all natural, but they are all proven safe for the skin and body. “Not all natural ingredients are good for your skin — like poison ivy —  and not all synthetic ingredients are bad for your skin — like hyaluronic acid — so our ‘no list’ is informed by what the leading regulatory bodies are doing and what’s important to our community,” Melanie Bender, the president of Versed, told Insider.

Similar to Bliss, Versed formulates to EU standards, avoiding over 1,300 chemicals in their products. In addition to clean, safe formulations, Versed offers sustainable packaging. About 60% of the brand’s bottles, tubes, and boxes are recyclable.

Products you should try:

Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream (small)Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm (small)
Love Beauty and Planet

Love Beauty and Planet Soothe and Nourish Hemp Seed Shampoo

Why we love it: Personal-care company Love Beauty and Planet is all about the little things, making small tweaks to the sourcing, formulating, and design processes for its products (which include haircare, deodorant, and even dish soap), to cut down on waste in more ways than one.

For starters, every bottle is made from 100% recycled materials and can be recycled (by you) once they’re empty. The ingredients are ethically sourced and organic; and while that’s great for your skin and hair, it’s also great for the fair-wage workers that harvest said ingredients. Love Beauty and Planet’s haircare products feature something they call “fast-rinse technology,” which means you can take shorter showers and save water. 

Products you should try:

Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Radical Refresher Conditioner (small)Tea Tree Oil & Vetiver Radical Refresher Conditioner (small)
Hello

hello Activated Charcoal Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste

Why we love it: Toothpaste may be an afterthought for some, but many traditional formulas feature less-than-natural ingredients and potentially harmful chemicals, like parabens and peroxide. That’s where oral-care brand Hello comes in. “Our products are free of artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, dyes, SLS/sulfates, parabens, microbeads, triclosan, and peroxide,” Craig Dubitsky, the founder of Hello, told Insider. 

Its Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste (our top choice) is a must since it leaves your mouth feeling fresh and is sourced from sustainable bamboo. “Our products are vegan and cruelty-free, and our pastes and rinses are made in the US,” Dubitsky added. 

Products you should try:

Activated Charcoal Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste (small)Sensitivity Relief Fluoride Toothpaste (small, Preferred: Target)
W3LL People

W3LL People Expressionist Pro Mascara

Why we love it: All of W3LL People’s formulas — from foundation and highlighter to mascara and lipstick — are formulated with hydrating, plant-based ingredients and contain no toxic chemicals, fillers, or preservatives. Basically, the brand is all about the power of botanicals. Its favorite is aloe vera, which was known as “the plant of immortality” by the ancient Egyptians, and can be found in almost every product W3LL People makes. Plus, one of the founders is a professional makeup artist, so you know the formulas hold up.

Products you should try:

Expressionist Pro Mascara (small)Bio Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer with SPF 30 (small)
Saalt

Saalt Soft Menstrual Cup   Regular

Why we love it: “In the US alone, 20 billion menstrual products are disposed of annually,” Cherie Hoeger and Amber Fawson, the founders of menstrual cup company Saalt, told Insider. Traditional pads and tampons are among the most polluting products on the planet, turning women toward alternatives like the Saalt Cup.

Saalt’s medical-grade silicone menstrual cups are inserted like a tampon to collect menstrual fluid. They can be reused for up to 10 years, making menstrual cups “one of the simplest ways to divert massive amounts of waste,” said the founders. It’s a safe, hassle-free period experience, too. It’s pretty comfortable (I promise), can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time, and it also translates to over thousands in savings, since you no longer have to buy tampons or pads every month.

Products to try:

Soft Menstrual Cups (small)Citrus Menstrual Cup Wash (small)
Rael

Rael

Why we love it: These feminine products use a natural pulp core and non-toxic adhesive, making Rael’s products as clean and eco-friendly as possible, said Yanghee Paik, a co-founder of organic, feminine-care company Rael

“The traditional pads I’d been using contained not only chlorine, fragrance, and pesticides, but also carcinogens and irritants such as styrene (used in car tires), chloromethane (used in petroleum refining), and acetone (nail polish remover), which can often cause cramps, allergic reactions, and skin irritations,” Paik said.  

The brand’s organic cotton pads are now available at Target, making them “easily accessible to all women around the country,” as Paik says. They’re also priced in line with non-organic options ($4.99-$6.99).

Products you should try:

Organic Cotton Regular Menstrual Pads (small)Organic Cotton Regular & Super Tampons (small)

Reviews Style and Beauty FAQ Banner

What does Target Clean mean?

Target Clean is a new, easy way to identify products formulated without harmful ingredients. Look for the Target Clean symbol in store and online to find over 4,000 products that meet their clean standard.

All beauty products certified as Target Clean are formulated without the following: propyl-parabens, butyl-parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-donors, nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs), Oxybenzone, SLES, retinyl palmitate, hydroquinone, triclosan, triclocarban, BHA & BHT.

  • Deodorant: Additionally formulated without aluminum.
  • Oral care: Additionally formulated without artificial sweeteners.

What is considered clean beauty?

Clean beauty follows two simple standards: transparency and safe ingredients. You should know exactly what you’re getting with a glance at the label. As for safe ingredients, the Good Face Index ranks every cosmetic ingredient based on safety and toxicity. But some general ones to avoid are parabens, sulfates, oxybenzone, and formaldehyde.

Just because a product is organic, natural, or green, doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic. Manmade ingredients are clean as long as they’re safe and non-toxic. This also means that clean beauty doesn’t have to be all-natural, preservative-free, etc.

In Europe, over 1,300 potentially harmful chemicals are banned from cosmetics. In the United States, that number is just 11. Unfortunately, clean beauty products are not regulated by the FDA, so it’s up to the brand’s discretion. 

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The 5 best hair dryers for every hair type, according to stylists

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Best hair dryer (Dermstore, Sedu, Babyliss) 4x3
  • Your hair dryer can be the difference between a good hair day and a not-so-good hair day.
  • The best blow dryer for your hair type is less about the dryer and more about the accessories.
  • Luckily, there are expert-approved options at every price point, from luxury to budget-friendly.

When it comes to hair care accessories that can be surprisingly expensive, blow dryers are pretty high on the list. It’s easy to assume that the most expensive tool will always be the best, or work the quickest, but as the experts will tell you, this isn’t always the case. And when it comes to different blow dryers for different hair types, most experts will tell you it’s actually not the blow dryer itself you should be considering – it’s the accessories.

If you’re not quite sure yet whether to prioritize speed, comfort, or luxury when choosing your new blow dryer, though, here are the five best, expert-approved picks to help you make your decision, no matter what budget you’re working with.

Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000

Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000_Dermstore

The Harry Josh Pro Dryer with great reviews that gives you luxury results with a reasonable price tag.

As celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein says, there isn’t a blow dry that this tool can’t handle. Rubenstein says she prioritizes heat and power, the two things best for a quick and efficient blowout when choosing a blowdryer. 

As Josh himself explains, the best tip for getting a professional looking blowout with this tool, or any, is to know your hair well and to use a quality dryer.  “Utilize a nozzle to direct air at a smaller space, then start at the roots and work your way to the ends, in the direction of the hair cuticle, which will add shine,” Josh suggests, noting that heat settings, diffusers, and different types of brushes should all be considered when adjusting the experience for your specific hair type.

Pro Dryer 2000 (small, Preferred: Dermstore)
Sedu Revolution Hair Dryer 4000i

Sedu Revolution Hair Dryer 4000i_Sedu

The Sedu Revolution Hair Dryer is a lightweight, travel-friendly blow dryer that offers heat settings to adjust for any hairstyle or texture.

When it comes to a light-as-air blow dryer that offers different heat settings (and is great for travel), hairstylist Bianca Hillier recommends Sedu Beauty’s Revolution Hair Dryer 4000i. 

“This blow dryer gets hot enough on even the low setting to smooth out any texture hair whether coarse or fine. There is a sneaky cool-blow button that helps completely set the styled look and finish out the job,” Hillier says, noting that the blow dryer works for any style and hair type. 

“Regardless of hair type, you must always use a heat protectant,” Hillier explains, noting that this applies to each and every blow dryer and heat tool, regardless of how safe it may be for hair.

Revolution Hair Dryer 4000i (small)
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer_Ulta

Yes, the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, which is almost-silent when it’s turned on, is as good as everyone says. 

“I have used many blow dryers throughout my styling career and I can honestly say, hands down, that the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer is the ultimate styling tool,” Maria Elizabeth, Founder of Salon deZEN, says. “It’s definitely an investment, but well worth it as it will save your hair from heat damage while also speeding up your dry time.” The Dyson was developed to protect the hair from extreme heat damage, allowing the hair to naturally shine. Elizabeth also points out the magnetic attachments as another boon for this dryer. 

Beauty expert Nick Stenson also listed the Dyson as his personal favorite for efficient use on various hair types. “I love using this dryer behind the chair and behind the scenes, because it gives me so much control and versatility with the heat and speed settings — not to mention the diffuser attachment is an absolute dream for drying curls with no frizz,” Stenson says.

Supersonic Hair Dryer (small, Preferred: Ulta)
BaByliss PRO Titanium Hair Dryer

BaByliss PRO Titanium Hair Dryer_BaByliss

A trusted alternative with an affordable price tag and thousands of positive reviews.

The Dyson might seem amazing in theory, but it’s not necessarily a realistic purchase for many people shopping on a budget. For an alternative, Elizabeth suggests BaByliss’ PRO Titanium Hair Dryer, especially for people looking to achieve a sleeker or smoother blowout. 

“With 2000-watt performance, ergonomic handling, several heat and speed settings, and a cool shot button to help seal up cuticles, the BaByliss delivers less frizz and cuts down on dry time. It is a great option for all hair types, but is specifically great for coarse and thick hair as it assists in creating sleek styles,” Elizabeth says. 

As an added bonus, as Elizabeth mentions, this blowdryer’s handle folds up for easy transport and storage — pretty convenient.  

Titanium Hair Dryer (small)
Dyson Airwrap

Dyson Airwrap_Sephora

Perfect for fine hair, this is the ultimate styling and drying tool in one high-tech package.

By now most of us have seen brushes, styling tools, and blow dryers combined into one. But do they actually work? According to Hillier, Dyson’s Airwrap does, especially for those with fine to medium hair who are trying to add volume. 

“It’s kind of like an all-in-one,” Hillier says. “You can adjust the heat settings and also adjust the tool to be used when creating a variety of styles. It’s lightweight, which makes it easy for traveling and daily use.”

While the AirWrap does use air to style and curl hair while drying it, it’s best used on damp, rather than wet, hair. So if you are looking to use it to dry your entire head of hair straight out of the shower, it might be best to try one of the other options instead.

AirWrap Styler (small)
Check out our other haircare guides

The 12 best heat protectant sprays for every hair type and style


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The best dry shampoos for gorgeous second-day hair

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We asked 7 makeup artists to share their favorite concealer brushes – these are the ones they recommend most

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Best concealer brushes 4x3
  • Concealer brushes can help apply product to hard-to-reach places, like around the nose or eyes.
  • A concealer brush can be the difference between a flawless application and a poorly-blended one.
  • We talked to makeup artists to discover their favorite concealer brushes on the market.

Concealer, for many people, is a product that can feel the most non-negotiable – more so than even foundation or mascara. A concealer brush, however, is often a different story.

Despite the fact that most people who wear makeup own a concealer, concealer brushes are a little less common. Some people may opt to use their hands and fingers for applying concealer and foundation, while others might use a beauty sponge for any and all complexion cosmetics. A concealer brush might not seem necessary at first, but using a specific brush to reach the nooks and crannies of your face (the corners of your nose and eyes, for example), can actually make a huge difference.

These are the best concealer brushes in 2021, according to experts.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Rae Morris Jishaku #6.5 Angle Eye Blender

Rae Morris Jishaku #6.5 Angle Eye Blender_Rae Morris

Jishaku #6.5: Angle Eye Blender (small, Preferred: Rae Morris)

“The Rae Morris Angle Eye Blender is so incredibly soft that it seamlessly blends my concealer while keeping the opacity I need to cover darkness,” says celebrity makeup artist Erin Parsons, noting that a more affordable, synthetic alternative is Anisa Angled Concealer Brush. “It’s a great price point and quality concealer brush made with synthetic hair for those looking for a cruelty free product. It blends concealer quickly but also keeps the coverage in place.” 

Another makeup artist, Rose Siard, also recommended the Anisa Angled Brush because of its unique shape. “It fits perfectly under the eye for creaseless concealer under your eyes but it can also tackle cream blush, bronzer and highlighter,” Siard says.

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Dual Airbrush Concealer

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Dual Airbrush Concealer_IT Cosmetics

Heavenly Luxe Dual Airbrush Concealer Brush #2 (small, Preferred: IT Cosmetics)

Carl Ray is Michelle Obama’s makeup artist, and says that It Cosmetics’ Dual Airbrush Concealer is a great option, especially for “buffing away imperfections.” Plus, the brush offers two options in one — one end with more compact, shorter bristles, and another with a flufflier brush.

Morphe’s M173 Buffer Brush

Morphe's M173 Buffer Brush_Morphe

M173 Buffer Brush (small, Preferred: Morphe)

Makeup artist Nydia Figueroa says this small buffer brush from Morphe is “a makeup artist’s dream.” The brush has a fluffy yet firm, rounded tip, which provides precision and coverage.

“It helps with those hard to reach areas such as the sides of the nose and the inner corners of the eyes,” Figueroa explains. “The brushes are dense so it provides full coverage and gives the concealer an airbrushed finish.”

Huda Beauty’s Bake & Blend Face Brush

Huda Beauty's Bake & Blend Face Brush_Sephora

Bake & Blend Face Brush (small)

Makeup and beauty vlogger Brittany Golden recommends another dual-sided brush as her go-to option for concealer. Golden says Huda Beauty’s Bake & Blend Face Brush is angled enough to allow you to get into the nooks and crannies of your face while still being dense enough to spread the concealer quickly and evenly. 

“The other side of the brush is a rounded narrow powder brush that allows you to set the concealer evenly without using a lot of product,” Golden explains. “When I used a beauty sponge, I would hate having to use the same damp sponge for concealer and powder — sometimes the powder would come out uneven because of the water. I also don’t have to use two makeup-application products to get the job done.”

Smashbox Blurring Concealer Brush

Smashbox Blurring Concealer Brush_Smashbox

Blurring Concealer Brush (small, Preferred: Smashbox)

Tara Dowburd has been a makeup artist for 24 and says she swears by Smashbox’s Blurry Foundation Brush. 

“I love using it with both liquid or cream concealers.,” Downburd says. She notes the smart handle and the dome shape of the bristle, which allow the concealer to apply in a buffing affect.

“It also gives you the opportunity to control the amount of coverage you want from your concealer, from sheer to full coverage,” she notes. “Apply it using small circular bouncing movements to help prevent the concealer from settling into creases anywhere you use it on your face.”

IT Brushes For ULTA Love Beauty Fully Blending Concealer Brush #203

IT Brushes For ULTA Love Beauty Fully Blending Concealer Brush #203_Ulta

Love Beauty Fully Blending Concealer Brush #203 (small, Preferred: Ulta)

Beauty Expert Nick Stenson says that this concealer brush from IT Cosmetics and ULTA is “truly the pinnacle of concealer brush perfect,” so it’s bound to be pretty darn good. 

“It is great for liquid, powders, and cream products and appropriate for all areas of the face. It’s even designed with a tapered edge that allows for easy application to precision areas around the eyes or the corners of the nose,” Stenson says, explaining that the flat side of the brush also builds and blends concealer products seamlessly so you can achieve the exact level of coverage you’re looking for.

Check out our other beauty guides

The 6 best root touch-ups for every hair type, according to experts


The 9 best lip balms with SPF — because your lips need protection, too


The best nail files in 2021, according to nail artists and nail technicians

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A running list of 25+ stores that offer free online returns

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GettyImages 1020173760

You don’t need to be an online shopping veteran to know that it’s a tricky affair – the whole process occurs without you ever seeing or trying the product. To make buying a little easier, many retailers offer helpful policies, like free online returns. Especially with holidays like Mothers’ Day around the corner, it’s good to know which stores you can easily make returns to.

We’ve rounded up a list of retailers offering free online returns, below.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Get free online returns on orders at these companies:

Style & clothing

  • ALDO: Aldo will refund unworn, unwashed, not final sale items returned within 60 days of your purchase.
  • Allbirds: The buzzy shoe brand allows returns for 30 days with no questions asked, even if you’ve already worn the shoes around. You can return or exchange any shoes for free that aren’t to your liking.
  • Bonobos: Men’s clothing and accessories store Bonobos includes a pre-paid return label with every order for hassle-free returns. If you make your return within 45 days of your purchase, you qualify for a refund using your original payment method. If you return within 90 days of your purchase date, you qualify for store credit instead.
  • Bloomingdale’s: Bloomingdale’s has one of the best return policies of any store. You can return an order for free for up to a full year. Just print a mailing label at home for your order.
  • Everlane: All purchases from the popular clothing brand Everlane can be returned for free for up to 30 days after your ship date. That even includes Choose What You Pay purchases. Plus, you can also return anything you bought at a brick-and-mortar store via mail.
  • Macy’s: Macy’s offers free and easy returns on most items by mail. Just print a pre-addressed shipping label and send your items back. They’ve also extended their return window from 30 to 90 days.
  • Neiman Marcus: Almost all merchandise can be returned to Neiman Marcus free of charge if received within 15 days of the delivery date. However, you may want to double-check their return policy as a few items aren’t eligible for free returns, including anything bought on clearance.
  • Nordstrom: The department store offers free returns in the US via a postage-paid return label. Your return is generally processed within 10-14 days.
  • Patagonia: Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia offers free returns on all items, though they’re currently delayed due to staffing and safety requirements. Even better, they also usually offer free repairs on all Patagonia items, though this program has temporarily been suspended due to the novel coronavirus. They do, however, have free DIY repair guides online.
  • REI: If you’re not satisfied with any purchase from REI, you can return it for up to a full year for free. Return shipping labels come with all invoices. The only exception is outdoor electronics, which can be returned for free within 90 days.
  • Shopbop: Shopbop is known for designer women’s fashion apparel, which means items often come with a high price tag. Items returned within 15 days after receipt are refunded with no extra cost – though they’ll accept returns up to 30 days after with a $10 fee tacked on.
  • Sunglass Hut: With summer on the horizon, you may be eyeing new frames from Sunglass Hut, the sunglass retailer that carries brands from Ray-Ban to Gucci. Shop with confidence knowing you can return items for free for up to 90 days with a printed shipping label.
  • Urban Outfitters: Returning items to Urban Outfitters is easy. Just start a return online and print a free pre-paid shipping label. Returns made within 30 days of your delivery date qualify for a refund using your payment method; if it takes place after, you may qualify for store credit instead.
  • Zappos: Zappos has long been heralded as a gold standard for customers when it comes to returns. Return shipping is always free and you have 365 days to do so for all purchases – no exceptions.

Read all Insider’s style reviews

Home, kitchen, and pet supplies

  • Bed Bath & Beyond: Bed Bath & Beyond offers free return shipping on most items. You have a 90-day window after purchase to exchange or return.
  • Chewy: Pet owners will be pleased to learn that returns to Chewy are easy. If you’re not completely satisfied with your items, you can return them free of charge within one year. Just send a message with your order number to receive a shipping label.
  • Home Depot: While there are a few exceptions for bigger items, many orders are eligible for free online returns. Once you start a return you’ll receive a free UPS shipping label via email to print and attach to your package.
  • Target: Shoppers at Target have 90 days to return or exchange items for free. RedCard holders get 120 days.
  • Walmart: Walmart makes it simple to return items for free. Just log into your account, initiate a return or replacement, and print a free return label. Refunds or replacement items are issued as soon as the store receives the item. You have 90 days after purchase to make a return in most cases.
  • Williams Sonoma: Foodies and home chefs will like that Williams Sonoma allows for free returns by mail within 30 days for any items under 70 pounds. You can use the form attached to your invoice or quickly print a label online.

Read all Insider’s kitchen reviews & home good reviews

Tech

  • Apple: Apple gives its shoppers 14 days to return most items after receiving them.
  • Amazon: Most items bought on Amazon can be returned, free of charge, within 30 days of delivery. Plus, Amazon offers multiple ways to return products without boxes or labels.
  • Best Buy: Most items are eligible for refunds if you return them within 15 days of receipt. It’s important to note, however, that some items (like cell phones and DSLR cameras) will incur a restocking fee.
  • Dell: It can be nerve-wracking to buy pricey electronics sight unseen, but you can shop easy at Dell. Ship any items back for free within 30 days of your invoice date for a full refund.

Read all Insider’s tech reviews

Beauty

  • Sephora: Makeup and skincare junkies will love that Sephora.com purchases can easily be returned completely free of charge using a pre-paid shipping label. You have 60 days after purchase to do so.

Read all of Insider’s beauty reviews

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