Hair

Natural Hair in Nigeria 101 (The Cheap Products!)

Him: It’s like you’ll soon cut this hair.

Me: Argh! Lol! Why would you say that?

Him: Because it takes up a lot of your time.

Me: Haha. It’s for a noble cause.

Him: Really? What noble cause?

And so this blog post was born. My noble cause is to help you figure out how to hack this natural hair thing as cheaply as possible in Nigeria. Again, for emphasis, as cheaply as possible in Nigeria. Because…saint, pass me my halo. Lol.

Sometimes, women walk up to me and ask how long I’ve had natural hair for. I tell them the truth: 3 years and counting. Some of them look so disappointed that Kingsley has asked me to tell them 6 months instead so they don’t despair and give up.

Does This Look Like A 6-Month Old Afro?Would you believe me if I told you that this is a 6-month old Afro? Didn’t think so.

So this is a list of my natural hair hacks in Nigeria.

  1. Cut your relaxed hair already. Transitioning was a painful process for me, I didn’t see the point really. Just. Do. It. Buy a wig if you’re afraid of how you’ll look. But really, just cut your hair. It’ll be infinitely less traumatic than detangling your different textures, or having your relaxed hair fall out every time you wash it.
  2. Prepare your hair for washing sessions by detangling first with a pre-poo treatment. The cheapest, most accessible product I’ve used for this is Emily Millionaire’s Coconut Cream and Herbs (N300 for 300gm). You can thin it with water, honey or olive oil. Apply it to your damp/dry hair for at least 30 minutes.
  3. If your hair is longer than 6 inches, wash it in sections. Some people do about 10 braids. Some people do 4 twists. I do 6 twists. You can wash section by section, or you can just be lazy like me and wash only your scalp. Same difference, and you’d be less likely to tangle your hair. Cheapest shampoo I’ve used is Dudu Osun soap. (You make a soap solution; don’t rub the soap bar on your head).
  4. Condition your hair and detangle using your fingers or a wide-toothed comb. This is straight forward enough. Cheapest conditioner I’ve used is VO5. It costs N400 to N500, depending where you shop. Leave it on for about 30 minutes with a shower cap on your head and then rinse it off.
  5. Now, I like to oil my hair immediately after rinsing out the conditioner. A lot of websites will tell you to use a leave-in conditioner first. Do what works for you. I whip my own shea butter with oil to create my hair butter. Shea Butter: N200 for a brick (stuff is cheap!) and Olive Oil a.k.a. anointing oil: N200. Melt the shea butter a little, add the olive oil and whip it with a whisk or electric mixer.
  6. I’ve experimented with a bunch of leave-in conditioners. There are a lot of products on the market and I recommend you experiment as well. My hair has responded best to light conditioners so even when I get a thick conditioner, I’ll add water to it. I’ve used Dark and Lovely, African Pride and Organic Root Stimulator products. The price differs but I’d say between N1000 and N1500.
  7. My favourite deep conditioner is Motions CPR Conditioner. I’ve used this deep conditioner at least once a month since 2008. I like it. It costs between N900 to N1200. Use it after the Shampoo when you need some extra nourishment. You could also make your own conditioner. I’ve blended overripe bananas with mayonnaise and honey for my hair. You could add avocados. Or a raw egg.

A rough total of the figures above gives N3500. You might run through these products in a month or two. Fair enough, right?

When you feel fancy enough and your pocket allows it, you can, of course, graduate to the more expensive products’ rack. But if you’re still a student, or trying to experiment with natural hair before you make a significant investment in products, this should work.

There’s a lot of talk about products that contain sulphates and silicones and whatnot. All this talk is valid, I think. Your hair will feel better if you don’t use products that contain sulphates and silicones, I think. However, I don’t check my products. I use anything; a few applications lets me know if it works for me or doesn’t. And my hair has fared okay, I’d say. So it’s a personal decision, really.

And this is my good deed for today! πŸ™‚ So what are your natural hair “hacks”? Please share in the comments’ section. And if you have any questions, I’d be glad to answer them in the comments’ section (or maybe another reader will). And if you liked this post, please share it with your friends!

P.s. I’d really like to put up a post on caring for healthy relaxed hair. But I don’t know that much about it. So if you have any tips, or you’d like to write the post, let me know and I’ll get in touch.

P.p.s. I’ve answered some of your questions in a new blog post. Hope it helps. 

107 Comments

  1. Love the photo! #HairGoals 😊😊😊

    Hair care is as easy or hard as you make it- but some people’s hair (like mine now) can be picky. It doesn’t really like coconut oil, or shea butter- most naturals’ besties. It wasn’t until I had deep conditioned my hair to a certain standard of high moisture levels & good behaviour that it started being social with different products.

  2. hmm…thank you oh! this post is timely and a confidence boost for me. For the first time in a year of growing my natural hair, i did and took out twists yesterday to the consternation of everyone in my house and office who think i’m not fine anymore because i don’t have my regular extensions on. Lol. but trust stubborn ole’ Lizzie, i’ve been popping my collar and feeling good with myself.
    P.s; your picture and easily practicable tips give me hope that i too can make it. Thanks ma’am.
    Bless your heart!

    • You’re welcome! Just be patient and enjoy the journey. But above all, remember your hair is an accessory. Not the entire package.

  3. i tell you.love dis post.once you know ur hair u find out u don;t need to spend so much. Tresemme is my brand of choice for shampoo n conditioner and i stalk Park & Shop for when they are having their 2 for 1 price sales. Asides that baking soda,apple cider vinegar (ACV), shea butter, palm kernel oil n olive oil work perfectly for me. coconut oil is a bit too much for my hair so i use it very sparingly. Voila! when splurging money dey we can do hemp seed oil, jamaican castor oil and all the others. Just gotta know the basics your hair loves and works fine with

    • Hi Hamira. Im actually in-between right now πŸ™‚ Trying to decide if I should go natural. I have about 4 inches of new growth. I noticed you mentioned baking soda, ACV, and some oils too. What do I do with all that?

      • It’s for washing hair. But use with caution. Baking soda and ACV can damage your hair, long term.

  4. Dedicating this song by Mzvee – Natural Girl to my very own Osemhen…Anytime i listen to this beautiful song all i can’t picture is She rocking her Natural’s!!!Go Girlfriend you Rock!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Very helpful.would share it with some natural hair product junkies I know who run on a budget. I actually transitioned. Wasn’t so bad actually.

  6. Dear Osemhen, as you know I eventually transitioned from natural hair(after four years and eight months) to relaxed hair. And I must tell you, I miss having very healthy natural tresses. With relaxed hair, there’s so much you can control. Yes, I have a lot more time to just pour out the really long hair and go about my business. I can now give my two babies all the time i need without worrying about spending hours on my hair. It’s a bit of a relief to stay away from hair extensions.

    But… but i worry about all the hair breakage. I tried a tea rinse, and though it seemed to toughen the strands, it dried the hair. I shall write an entire post on how I have been trying to maintain a healthy relaxed hair. Talk to you later.

  7. Hi Osemhen,

    That photo would make Diana Ross green with envy πŸ˜€

    Super helpful tips, thank you for sharing.

    • Haha. Thanks, Nedoux. I have a picture of her Afro. It’s my inspiration!

  8. I buy in bulk. Shea butter and cocoa butter I bought at the start of last year. Still with me, still very plenty. Keep it wrapped up and dry. I make my own mix, and used to use just that, but I have since included cantu shea leave-in.

    Can’t remember the name of the conditioner I use (it’s N1000). I know it by sight. lol.

    I definitely wash my hair in sections, and I wash just my scalp. I condition the entire shaft though.

    The most expensive year is the first year. I would actually say ditch the weaves and extensions and get to know your hair. It’s cheaper after you guys become buddies.

    • You’re right about the first year being the most expensive. I thought cocoa butter went rancid quickly.

  9. Well this was pretty helpful. I’m taking a break on the whole natural hair thing mostly because laziness. But I’d be back on it especially after reading this post. Btw, what curl defining product would you recommend for (4c) hair type?

    • Hola! Thanks for stopping by. Men, I won’t lie. Curling 4C hair is work. Honestly, I’d recommend Lottabody setting lotion and Ecostyler Gel. Then, apply some heat. Nigeria is very humid so if you want your curls to keep, avoid styling products that contain glycerin

  10. lol,nice post,I love dat Emily millionaire ehn,I’ve got like 5 at home…petals is my to go conditioner,I use dudu osun as a shampoo…organics hair mayonnaise & some other things & my hair is thriving

    • Nnenna says

      Ahhh…You are the one packing it off the shelves abi! Can’t ever seem to find it when I go to the store.

  11. Pingback: Caring for Relaxed Hair in Nigeria Part 1 | eurekanaija

  12. Flow says

    Hi Osemhen.

    I’d really love to try this out with my afro. Although some of your recommended products are not easily available for me here, but I can sure get similar ones. Just curious, do you pour water on it everyday at the shower please?

    • No, I don’t always pour water. I might, if it feels particularly dry. But usually, spritzing with a spray bottle works. Where are you? Most of these products are fairly common.

      • Flow says

        Okay. I live in Canada actually and might surprise you I’m a guy. I may just look for other products here that are similar to those

  13. Pingback: Changes, Mid-Year Reviews and A Book I Loved | eurekanaija

  14. lol. great post. I noticed my hair is compatible with most cheap products too. It’s refreshing to know that you have also tried out these products.

  15. Hi osemhen I am on a natural hair since 2013 but truly I dnt pay attention to it cos I am always on weaves..though most time when I am on my natural people admire it a lot but my problem is I have lost my front hair line and it feels so bald like it isn’t gonna grow again.pls what do I use for it cos I want to stop fixing weaves and b on ma natural hair thanks or should I dread? Though I heard if u dread and want to stop u just have to cut urhair.

    • Hello! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’d recommend you stop the weaves and just let your hair grow. Avoid tight packing styles that will stress your hairline. You might me uncomfortable wearing your hair out like that but trust me, it’s for the best. You can also try oiling it, I’d recommend Virgin hair fertilizer. Don’t rub it hard, just gently massage it. See how it turns out after 6 months. All the best!

  16. Rhody says

    Pls Tel A Product Of Shapoo Conditioner I Can Buy For My Virgin Hair

    • I’d recommend Dudu Osun soap and VO5 conditioner. They’re both cheap and effective. If you’d like more expensive ranges, I recommend going to a store like Casa Bella to browse the products they have.

  17. Anonymous says

    Osemhen, am thinking of having the big chop next as my birthday gift (transitioning to natural hair) but I don’t know what to do or how to go about it afterwards

  18. Comfort says

    Hello,

    Please can you tell me where you buy Shea Butter in Nigeria ?
    I’m not in Nigeria but I have a friend who’s there’s on holiday and in hoping he can bring some for me..
    Please please let me know.

    Thanks

  19. There goes my hair heroine again!!! Oh well…thanks for d tips..I was considering going to retouch my hair again cos most of d product recommendations I got were pretty pricey. I’ve been 1yr and 7months on natural hair and it’s about 8inches long, thankfully it doesn’t shrink as much as most others do. I tried d vinegar and my scalp is yet to recover…my hair now dries out faster than ever. Dudu Osun also left me with a tender (painful) scalp which resolved after a while(tried them at different times though). Someone recommended I try dudu osun again this time with some tea spoons of olive oil. I think I will when my scalp fully recovers….
    My main grouse with natural hair is that I’ve had to wear extensions more often which I don’t like. Is there a way around it?

  20. Amarachi says

    Tnks for d inspo on cheap products, I actually used a dudu osun directly , how do u use t without d use of d bar on the head n can I use t for my p.s

  21. You are a blessing. Was already calculating how much i would need for all the products i want to buy. I’m researching all i need to know but becoming natural, don’t want to get ahead of myself, was already making a list when i found this .
    Really helpful

  22. celine says

    these products you mentioned like African Pride, dark and lovely and ORS stimulator, can one find it in the nigerian market cosmetic shops? even the motions own?

  23. sandie says

    I am transitioning and I don’t have a problem with the two textures. So if you want to transition, I think if you have d patience, transition. Cuz if one cannot handle transition, you may have problems with all natural. Anyway, please apart from motions, what other deep conditioners are available. I’m thinking of African naturalistas deep conditioning mayonnaise cuz their other products really work well on my transitioning hair. But I need more moisture that’s y I want to avoid mayonnaise or too much protein. Pls advise thanks.

    • Hmmm. I’ve never used that conditioner but there’s no harm in trying. There is such a thing as over-moisturizing your hair, though. It might make your hair unnecessarily weak and limp. So do try to balance with some protein.

  24. Jessie says

    Hello Osemhen, your hair looks really great, this is coming really late but I just decided to go back to my natural hair, I don’t want to cut the hair but I’ll do the stage transitioning, I’ll use the products you recommended and some natural oils but how often should I wash and condition the hair in order for it to stay healthy and not pull off? because my hair tends to break alot.

    • Thanks, Jessie!

      Transitioning hair is very fragile because of the difference in textures, so yes, you can expect breakage. I’d recommend you co-wash every other week. Use shampoo sparingly. You’ll have to get products that are specifically for transitioning hair, so check the labels. Good luck with it! How long do you plan to transition for?

      • Oh! Thank you 😊…I don’t have a specific timeline but I’ll do the transition long enough to develop my natural hair to an average length but I’ll be trimming the tip monthly, I hope its okay that way though.

  25. This s my 3rd year in keeping my natural hair and it shrinks each time i wash it and it s difficult to comb and it breaks. My hair is short. What kind of hair product is advice able to use to boost my hair and prevent the scalp from been dry?

    • Hi, Ayo. Yes, everyone’s natural hair shrinks after washing. That’s how our hair is. And there’s no solution, really. The best you can do is to stretch your hair as it’s drying (braid it or thread it). Or you can blow dry it, but be careful so you don’t get heat damage. If your scalp is excessively dry, maybe you’re washing too frequently? If you oil your hair once a week (using Shea butter or coconut oil), it should be enough to keep your hair and scalp from getting dry.

  26. Tomisin says

    nicr piece dear. I have actually been natural for more than 10years now. natural hair wasn’t the in-thing then but I can see everyone is catching the fever…lol. for me, I have seen my hair grow, at least it’s not where it used to be. but I have some issues with my hair…. my front hair had been thinning for about 8 years now. when it started I thought it was an infection or something. so I tried some antibacterial creams. now I see that I had some bad hair practices like having tight weaves and rubbers, hard brushing and even pulling out the hair. but I have turned a new leaf now and have been trying to pamper it every now and then. it’s still not yet yielding. I began using castor oil early this year after being introduced buy I haven’t seen any changes. I previously used shea butter. but there was no improvement. it seems as if the thinning is spreading and I’m gradually losing my front hair. and then, the weekly washing or biweekly washing been propagated; I don’t see how it will suit me. my hair breaks a lot when I wash it. so you can imagine my fears ( my hair is armpit length) and this makes me feel that’s why I haven’t been retaining much length. so I need your help muchly dear….for the rapidly receding hairline and my hair that breaks on every wash. just to add, I now do all d ‘procedures’ for hair washing and I still lose tons of hair. thank you.

    • Hi, Tomisin. I’m going to go a bit radical and recommend hair vitamins. If you go into a proper pharmacy, you should be able to get Perfectil. It’s a vitamin supplement for hair, skin and nails. I’ve used it in the past and it worked for me to make my hair fuller and stronger. Try it out for one month and see if it helps.

  27. peace says

    hi, am 16 and i’ve been on virgin hair seen november 2013 and i dnt rili pay attention to my hair.but afta browsn on hw to take care of natural hair, i derived much interest and i dnt knw where to start and i hv 4c type of hair which is stuborn.pls give me some tips dat might help me and produts dat will suite my type of hair, tnk u.

    • Hi, Peace! Well, this blog post is a good place to start. I have tough hair as well, so do my sisters. And this post highlights the basics. Let me know how it goes and I’ll know whether to tweak it or not.

  28. peace says

    hy, am 16 nd i’ve been on virgin hair since november 2013.i dnt take care of my hair nd i’ve rili got extremly bad dandruff .pls can u give me tips dat will get rid of d dandruff nd products dat will help maintain my hair cause i hv a 4c hair type which is rili strong,painful nd stuborn while combin

  29. onenaijagirldotcom says

    Hi Osemhen

    This is a really great post. I like that you made it easy for everyone to decide how much they want to spend on their hair. A girl on a budget can still be glam. I’ll like permission to reblog this post on my website http://www.onenaijagirl.com. Please check it out and let me know.

    I sure will be navigating other pages on your blog and I love your huge afro.

    • Yes, you may reproduce an “excerpt” that redirects people here to read the rest of the post. Thank you.

  30. omobola says

    I love ur product that u are using ,i wont. my natural hair be like ur hair what canna do

  31. keren says

    Really helpful post. av had my natural hair for like more than a year n its great being unique n all but I have two problems. my hair is always sooo dry that I have to pour water to soften it everyday n another thing styling the hair is always sooo tricky that I have to wear artificial extensions which is breaking my hair of course..

  32. onenaijagirldotcom says

    Thanks Osemhen. I didn’t get notified that you replied my comment. So, you may delete this and the other accompanying one or as it suits you. Keep up the good work.

  33. Racheal says

    my natural hair is still very short but its too thick and coarse nd almost discouraging,am not bouyant enough to purchase those expensive hair products but i realy want my hair to grow fast, what do i do?

  34. Finally! I jst had my BC and the prices of the products I see online jst kill a sister…I ve bn wondering though…Is it wrng to deep conditon every time I wash then wht gel do you think would be good fr my wash and go ?

  35. Zoeyy Nelson says

    Pls what is VO5 conditioner?what is the full name and where can I buy it in Lagos,tank you.

  36. otonyi says

    Tnks jst started mine had a heir cut yesterday cnt wait to start rocking it

  37. otonyi says

    Pls cn i add u on bbm or whatsapp if yes pls post ur num nd bbm pin i will be vry grateful

  38. Oluwaseun says

    Hi. i just discovered your blog and i must say im encouraged. thank you.

  39. Tomilola says

    That will be helpful,I hope. How frequently do you wash your hair ,Osemhen? Say like every week,or every 2weeks? And how do you dry it after washing? Blow drying?

    • I wash my hair every 2-3 weeks. Most times I air dry. I’ve only blow-dried twice this year.

  40. pls I have been transitioning my hair for the past 10 months and I want to trim it. will I cut it dry or wet

  41. Imana precious says

    help osemhen.am inspired.please can I have ur contact so I can add u on whatsapp..do u comb ur afro.thank you

    • Hello, Imana. If you like our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/eurekanaija) you can message me directly. I don’t “comb” my hair root to tip often. Only when I wash my hair (every 2 weeks or so)

  42. gentelle hair fruits shampoo and conditioner are N200 each. the coconut smells great.
    vitale hair mayo for deep conditioning is about 1200 for 30oz jar. Awesome product.

    if u cant afford sulfate free just use sulfate shampoo once a month and cowash other times.
    ORS Olive oil shampoo lasts forever
    vo5 great for cowash.

  43. AmazoN Queen says

    Hi,
    I’m a JJC in this stuff, buh I really wanna go natural with my hair, cos I’ve seen it looking so beautiful on other girls!!! Buh the thing is, I don’t even know if my hair will end up long, full and healthy or what products to help my hair grow to be a beautiful afro………..pls help to advice me, cos I wanna be a naturally beautiful girl!!!

    • Hey! No be small. I’ll do a series of posts this year on caring for natural hair. Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss anything. 😊

      • AmazoN QueeN says

        WoooooooW, ok like this is the first time my comment received a quick reply on a blog……..I’m feeling on top of the world right now!!!!! Ok now, serious ish, I cut my hair about 4mths back n all of a sudden I felt the urge to go Natural this time around………..I surfed the net althrough yesterday n saw different opinions on how to take care of natural hair and make them grow, buh, the whole thing got me confused, with the hair regimen, DCs, MCs, and CO-wash…………..not that iono wat they mean tho, buh I got confused wen it came to tryna make up a routine…………pls help me with a really good monthly routine for all the hair treatment exercises suitable for a student and products that u would prescribe to a JJC like me………..cos of all the blogs I read, I feel so comfy placing my burden here, prolly cos I felt inspired, cos I have a strong feeling I’ll get positive results from here. Pls help me!!!!!

  44. Ehen! Let me call my mates to see this post so that the high chins and “hians” and “nawa o” i get from them will reduce. I actually spend less with my natural hair than they do when they try to cover up their short front hairs and “patch patch” lol
    For me it has been simple for the past 11 months, water, olive oil (300), and shea butter (it was so cheap, i have forgotten the price but let’s say I have been using the one I bought for the past four months!. Black soap (70-150) for washing and Organic hair mayonnaise (800).
    girlupandwalk.wordpress.com

    • Haha! My sister, it’s the simple things that matter. Forget the fancy products, start small and build your way up. Your hair will tell you what it wants.

  45. Mary says

    I really love your Post, thanks a bunch, but i’d love to know about the drugs (perfectil) i hope it without side effect and please how do you make your dudu Osun solution without letting the bar on your hair

  46. please osemhen I just cut my hair last week, when I mean I cut my hair it is very low so want to start my journey with natural hair too. so I want u to help me what do I start with which hair cream can I start with for the to grow faster.

  47. Nkechi says

    Thanks Osemhen…Am doing the big chop tomorrow…your piece will be quiet handy!!!!

    • christine says

      What do u do everyday to moisturize your hair have a very curly dry hair

    • Deenaps says

      Baby, cut it!
      You still have a lot of time to grow it back

  48. osemhen av cut my hair wot is the next thing for me to do, wot are the things will I start applying on my hair for it to grow faster.

  49. IDARA ITIEIMOH says

    CAN THIS ME USEFUL TO MY TOUGH HAIR LIKE MINE?

  50. Esther says

    I have a long full and thick hair i do retouch my hair every three or four months because after three or four months of retouching i would not be able to comb it again so I have to retouch, so now I want to go on natural hair what do l need to do could I cut my hair short please l need your advise thanks.

    • Osemhen says

      Yes. Just go ahead to cut it. It’ll grow back. πŸ˜€

  51. MARIAM says

    I hv a relaxed hair n wish to go natural,what lenght do i hv to cut my hair to start…

  52. MARIAM says

    Hi! I wish to cut my hair n go natural,is there a specfic lenght i should cut n which product do i use ist?

  53. Ifunanya says

    Hello!
    Thank you for this! My natural hair is just two weeks old and I’m already getting stuff to care for it… Do you think it’s too early? Okay, i want to use Natures Gentle Touch products for now… I already have here with me, Natures Gentle Touch Herbalblend Moisture care conditioning Shampoo and Natures Gentle Touch Coconut oil. I’ll be getting the deep cholesterol conditioning treatment and the leave in conditioner tomorrow… However, I’m terrified because I’ve been reading about Sulphates and petrolatum and the shampoo i have here contains Sodium Laureth Sulphate and the coconut oil contains petrolatum! What do you think about this? I have also made a mental note to make my own leave in with shea butter and avocados and olive oil!!!
    Thanks!!!

  54. Mercy Emmanuel says

    Errrrrm. Thanks alot. I like. But how do I apply all dis. If u could help with a routine plz. Coz I’m just confused. I just had my big chop. Thanks in anticipation.

  55. hy dear osehmen I am planning on cutting my hair lol am scared to but then..what and what do I need to do and what are the donts.Pls reply

  56. ikeoluwa says

    Hi I jst retouch my hair abt a month ago now i want to keep my Natural hair Nd its breaking Pls help will be getting.married soon and my husband won’t like see my cut or not long Pls help Nd he doesn’t wanna see me on artificial hair

  57. am just starting d process, my hair is 4months now but I’ve not used any product yet. I still wash it with my regular bathing soap, but I want to start taking care of it now. what do u recommended

  58. becky says

    Hi am becky my hair is relaxed nd i want to keep d afro hair nd i dnt want it too long wat sild i do
    .

  59. I have been on natural but still quite short because my transition took place just last year,and I think you could help me with few things,first,I was using Nature gentle touch products but not really loving the result,especially for the dandruff I was trying to get rid off so I plan on changing products since it is even expensive,so I would prefer something a little bit less in price,might not be something specifically for dandruff but at least product good for natural hair,then if you know any dandruff remedy, pls do help with that too,and finally I am planning to do this kiko on friday before I remembered that my hair is not too long meaning I wont be able to get that twisting around they did with your own and did it damage your edges or your hair was perfectly intact after the loosing.Great work by the way. Pls do reply soon.

  60. hi, i stumbled on this page today… i have been a natural for a year and 3months…. my middle hair is 9.5inchs long, my nape hair or back hair is 6.7 while the hair at my sides are 8.5inchs… i want to know if my hair is growing well and why d hell are lengths with sooo much difference

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