15 Best Water-Based Moisturizers For Dry Skin Of 2024

Keep dry skin hydrated and healthy with these non-greasy, potent formulas!

Medically reviewed by Patricia Gaile Espinosa, MD Patricia Gaile Espinosa Patricia Gaile EspinosaMD facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness Aditi Naskar MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
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All products recommended on StyleCraze are independently selected by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through any of these links, we may receive a commission. Learn more about our product selection process.

Dry skin needs excess hydration to keep skin healthy. Sometimes, a generic or daily moisturizer may not be helpful for hydrating dry skin. So, dry skin needs the best water-based moisturizer that keeps your skin hydrated without making it greasy. Hydrated skin is healthy and smooth. “Moisturizers increase the water content in the stratum corneum. This maintains the normal function of the lipid bilayer of the skin,” explains Dr. Patricia Gaile Espinosa, MD, Philippine Dermatological Society. Try out the list of the 15 ideal water-based moisturizers specially made for dry skin that provide the necessary skin hydration. Check them out below!

Top Picks
CHECK PRICE
Best For Skin Elasticity:Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
Price on Amazon
Best Cruelty-Free:Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream
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Best Anti-Aging Formula:Tatcha The Water Cream
Price on Amazon
Best Non-Greasy:Bliss Drench & Quench Cream-To-Water Hydrator
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Best Oily Skin Type:Nature Republic  Aqua Fresh Watery Cream
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Best For Dullness:Belif the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb
Price on Amazon
Best For Skin Irritations:Murad Hydration Nutrient-Charged Water Gel
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Dermalogica Calm Water Gel
Price on Amazon
Best For All Skin Types:First Aid Beauty Coconut Water Cream
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L'Occitane Ultra Thirst-Quenching Gel
Price on Amazon

15 Best Water-Based Moisturizers

1. Best For Skin Elasticity:Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

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4.5
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Image: Neutrogena

The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel softens and hydrates the skin, makes it supple, and help improve elasticity. It is absorbed into the skin easily and prevents itching and skin irritation. This dermatologist-recommended, water-based product contains hyaluronic acid, which locks in moisture. It can also be used as a primer under makeup. This non-comedogenic moisturizer does not contain alcohol, dyes, and fragrances. Here’s a personal review video with the tester’s experience to help you get a better understanding of the product.

Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 2.9 x 4.1 inches | Weight: 1.76 Ounces

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
  • Alcohol-free
  • Dye-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Long-lasting
  • Clinically-proven

Cons

  • May cause skin irritation.
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has gained over 8,067 positive reviews on Amazon, making it an all-time best-seller.

2. Best Cruelty-Free:Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream

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4.3
Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream Image: Simple

The Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream is lightweight and revitalizes the skin. It contains plant extract and minerals that smoothen and firm the skin. This skin care product also works on mature skin. This water-based cream makes the skin supple without being greasy. It is free of artificial perfume and color. The product is not tested on animals as well, making it a great cruelty-free option. The gel cream is also clinically examined and confirmed to provide deep hydration and strengthen the moisture barrier. Click here to check out the reviewer’s experience and a detailed personal review of this product.

Product Dimensions: 1.77 x 1.46 x 4.31 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces.

Pros

  • Perfume-free
  • Dye-free
  • Non-greasy
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Contains silicone
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The extensive 3,850 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are vouching for this product.

3. Best Anti-Aging Formula:Tatcha The Water Cream

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4.5
Tatcha The Water Cream Image: Tatcha

The Tatcha The Water Cream contains Japanese nutrients and pure botanicals that help hydrate the skin. The anti-aging formula with water burst mechanism breaks helps treat the skin. This cream is infused with natural ingredients like Japanese wild rose, which tightens and smoothens the skin.

Japanese leopard lily controls oil secretion and clarifies the skin. Japanese superfoods, Hadasei-3, a trinity of rice, algae, and green tea with anti-aging properties impart a youthful glow to the skin. The 23-karat gold keeps the skin shine-free. This cream is non-comedogenic, non-irritating, and non-greasy. It does not contain mineral oils, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, parabens, urea, DEA, TEA, and phthalates. Here’s a personal review video featuring the tester’s experience to help you get a better understanding of the product.

Product Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 6 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces

Pros

  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Cruelty-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • No synthetic fragrances
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Urea-free
  • DEA-free
  • TEA-free
  • Phthalate-free

Cons

  • Expensive
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received 518 reviews on Amazon and is a popular choice among shoppers.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream
Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream
Dimensions 2.9 x 2.9 x 4.1 inches 1.77 x 1.46 x 4.31 inches 4 x 4 x 6 inches
Weight 1.76 Ounces 1.7 Ounces. 1.7 Ounces
Rating
Reviews8,0673,850518
Price$16.11$8.26$72

4. Best Non-Greasy:Bliss Drench & Quench Cream-To-Water Hydrator

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4.5
Bliss Drench and Quench Cream-To-Water Hydrator Image: Bliss
Now 8% Off

The Bliss Drench &Quench Cream-To-Water Hydrator is lightweight and contains 10,000 marine micro-droplets. It is non-greasy and absorbed easily into the skin. This vegan cream softens, hydrates, and refreshes the skin. It is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and cruelty-free. This lightweight moisturizer does not contain parabens, phthalates, SLS, SLES, mineral oil, and petrolatum. The product has been validated by leading dermatologists and boasts of countless positive reviews on Amazon as well, thus further making it an excellent choice.

Product Dimensions: 2.91 x 2.91 x 2.4 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Lightweight
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • SLS-free
  • SLES-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Petrolatum-free
  • Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • Strong smell

5. Best Oily Skin Type:Nature Republic  Aqua Fresh Watery Cream

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4.1
Nature Republic  Aqua Fresh Watery Cream Image: Naturerepublicusa

The Nature Republic Aqua Fresh Watery Cream replenishes the moisture content of the skin. It is lightweight and adds shine to the skin. The Aqua Capture system instantly pumps the skin, while the licorice extract and portulaca oleracea extract tighten and smoothen the skin. The deep sea waters help hydrate, rejuvenate, and purity the skin. 

Product Dimensions: 2.64 x 2.64 x 2.36 inches | Weight: 8.62 Ounces

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Adds glow
  • Unisex

Cons

  • Strong smell

6. Best For Dullness:Belif the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

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4.6
belif The True Cream – Moisturizing Bomb Image: Belif

Say goodbye to dryness, dullness, and uneven texture with the Belief the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb. This moisturizing bomb is suitable for normal, dry, and combination skin. It effectively hydrates dry, dull, and flaky skin for 26 hours, making it smooth, supple, and deeply nourished. The whipped texture absorbs smoothly on the skin, making it non-greasy. Not to mention, the day cream also offers proven efficacy and visible results.

Product Dimensions: 2.01 x 2.13 x 6.02 inches | Weight: 6 Ounces.

Pros

  • Dermatologically-tested
  • Clinically-proven
  •  Moisture-formula
  •  Mineral oil-free
  •  No synthetic fragrances
  •  No synthetic dyes
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Long-lasting moisturization

Cons

  • None

protip_icon Pro Tip
Mix in a few drops of liquid highlighter with your moisturizer to add shine to your face and to achieve a dewy-looking makeup look.

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 253 Amazon users have vouched for this amazing product.

7. Best For Skin Irritations:Murad Hydration Nutrient-Charged Water Gel

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4.6
Murad Hydration Nutrient-Charged Water Gel Image: Murad

The Murad Hydration Nutrient-Charged Water Gel is formulated with Cumulative Hydration Release Technology that locks in skin moisture for five days. It is enriched with a blend of five minerals, vitamins, and peptides (MVP).

Vitamins B3, B5, B6, B9, and E help reduce dryness and skin irritation. These vitamins also minimize signs of aging, help soothe the skin, and support overall skin replenishment. Iron, silicon, copper, zinc, and magnesium make the skin healthy. Peptides strengthen the skin barrier against damage, making it plump and smooth. This vegan product is free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, phthalates, gluten, and petrolatum.

Product Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 2.3 inches | Weight: 7.04 Ounces

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegan
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Petrolatum-free

Cons

  • None

protip_icon Pro Tip
Mix your foundation with this moisturizer for a light coverage which is perfect for everyday makeup and would not appear too heavy or cakey.

8. Dermalogica Calm Water Gel

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4.7
Dermalogica Calm Water Gel Image: Dermalogica

The Dermalogica Calm Water Gel is lightweight and helps soothe the skin. It changes into a skin-quenching liquid on application. This refreshing cream offers a protective barrier and shields the skin against environmental aggressors. The lightweight cream is enriched with lavender oil, apple fruit extract, and glycerin that soften the skin.

The cactus pear extract with water-binding properties maintains the moisture balance of the skin. The Dual Hyaluronic Acid Technology prevents dryness and makes the skin silky soft. This unisex product is vegan and cruelty-free and does not contain gluten, parabens, and artificial colors and fragrances.

Product Dimensions: 0.94 x 1.97 x 3.94 inches | Weight: 1.4 Ounces

Pros

  • Gluten-free
  • Lightweight
  • Vegan
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial fragrance

Cons

  • Insufficient quantity

9. Best For All Skin Types:First Aid Beauty Coconut Water Cream

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4.5
First Aid Beauty Coconut Water Cream Image: First Aid Beauty

The First Aid Beauty Coconut Water Cream is lightweight and enriched with nourishing coconut water. This amazing moisturizer offers a burst of electrolyte-rich moisture and hydro-charges the skin, treating uneven skin tone, open pores, and dryness.

The water-based formula contains sodium hyaluronate and altero monas ferment filtrate, which help protect the skin against element exposure and damage. This unisex cream is non-comedogenic, vegan, and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive. This dermatologist-tested product is free of gluten, nut, soy, nano, alcohol, artificial colorants, artificial fragrance, lanolin, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, and sulfates.

Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 2.7 x 3.6 inches | Weight: 1.59 Ounces.

Pros

  • Gluten-free
  • Nut-free
  • Soy-free
  • Vegan
  • Nano-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • No artificial colorant
  • No artificial fragrance
  • Lanolin-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Petrolatum-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Clinically-proven
  • Lightweight formula

Cons

  • Insufficient quantity

10. L’Occitane Ultra Thirst-Quenching Gel

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4.5

The L’Occitane Ultra Thirst-Quenching Gel is enriched with hyaluronic acid and Réotier water. It recharges the skin with water, imparting a glow that lasts all day long. This non-oily cream forms a radiant layer on the skin, maximizes the hydration barrier of the skin, and locks in natural moisture. This body moisturizer smooths and refreshes the skin instantly. This unisex product is long-lasting and lightweight. This can undoubtedly be tested on and trusted for all skin types.

Item Weight: 1.5 Ounce

Pros

  • Unisex
  • Long-lasting
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Sticky

11. Best Antioxidants:IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Water Burst

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4.7
IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Water Burst Image: Image Skincare

The IMAGE Skincare Vital C Hydrating Water Burst is formulated with hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, anti-aging peptides, and brightening vitamins. It helps moisturize and revitalize the skin, imparting a youthful glow. This product is lightweight and free of parabens. Ensure to apply the product regularly for visible results.

Product Dimensions: 3 x 3 x 5 inches | Weight: 2 Ounces

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Brightens the skin
  • Lightweight
  • Hydrating formula

Cons

  • Contains silicone

12. Best For Fast-Absorbing:TULA Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream

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4.6
Tula Skin Care Dew Your ThingOil-Free Gel Cream Image: Tula

The Tula Aqua Infusion Oil-Free Gel Cream is powered with apples and watermelon extract that hydrate the skin. Rice water helps firm the skin, while prickly pear extracts calm and soothe irritation. Lactococcus ferment lysate helps lock in skin moisture, and probiotics even out the skin tone. This oil-free moisturizer is non-greasy, non-comedogenic, and does not contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, dairy, and gluten.

Package Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.42 x 2.09 x 1.69 inches | Weight :1.7 Ounces

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Petrolatum-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Clinically-proven
  • Non-greasy
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons

  • Expensive

13. Best For Pores:Mylansea Face Moisturizer

The Mylansea Hyaluronic Acid Face moisturizer maintains skin elasticity. It contains 10% hyaluronic acid that helps prevent dryness. There are three sizes of hyaluronic acid molecules – the macromolecules form a skin-locking membrane, medium molecules transport moisture, and small molecules nourish the skin.

This facial moisturizer is enriched with avocado oil and vitamin E, which promote cell regeneration, strengthen the skin, and improve your skin health. Green tea, matricaria, and Centella asiatica help repair the skin and tighten the pores. This rejuvenating cream also contains blended gold particles, which smoothen the skin and improve skin health and elasticity. It is cruelty-free and does not contain parabens and GMOs.

Number of Items: 1

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • No chemical additives
  • GMO-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Might irritate the skin

14. Best Anti-Inflammatory:dear, klairs Fundamental Water Gel Cream

The dear, klairs Fundamental Water Gel Cream is lightweight, non-greasy, and hydrates the skin. It is formulated with Jeju green tea water and panthenol, which help lock in the skin moisture. This vegan cream contains 63.7% camellia sinensis leaf extract, which is rich in antioxidants that help calm and brighten the skin. “Camellia sinensis has an anti-inflammatory property that can help heal sunburnt skin and wounds. It is also thought to address aging skin by acting as an anti-oxidant,” says Dr. Patricia Gaile Espinosa, a Medical & Esthetic Dermatology with over 9 years of experience.

The advanced liposomes and natural extracts in the cream help nourish and strengthen the skin.

Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 2.17 x 2.17 x 7.2 inches | Weight: 5.15 Ounces

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Non-greasy
  • Non-sticky
  • Lightweight
  • Quick absorption

Cons

  • None

15. Best For Damaged Skin:the SAEM Iceland Aqua Gel Cream

the SAEM Iceland Aqua Gel Cream is powered with 100% Iceland glacier water and ‘Stonecrop ,’ which help lock in skin moisture. It contains Iceland plants like marine plants, Iceland moss, and kelp that help soothe environmentally damaged skin and help with premature aging. These green grade ingredients refresh and plump the skin, adding glow.

Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 2.9 x 2.7 inches | Weight: 7.05 Ounces.

Pros

  • Unisex
  • Long-lasting

Cons

  • None
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Water-based moisturizers come with oil-free compositions that ensure hydration and offer a dewy radiance. Scroll down to know the essential factors to consider before choosing the best water-based moisturizers for dry skin.

How To Choose The Best Water-Based Moisturizers For Dry Skin

Ingredients

Before choosing your water-based moisturizer, check the ingredients list carefully. Look for hydrating and moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and aloe vera. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids improve skin function, while preventing dry skin and dermatitis. Squalane is useful in improving the rough skin texture of dry skin and harnessing free radicals to combat premature skin aging. Niacinamide is a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that reduces water loss from the dermis, and prevents dry skin.

There are some ingredients that can be harmful for dry skin, check the list to make sure your water-based moisturizer is free of these. Parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, phthalates, gluten, and petrolatum should be left out. Scented moisturizers are best avoided, as the fragrance might not be suitable for sensitive skin types. Choose hypoallergenic products that are dermatologist-recommended. Similarly, look for products packed with ingredients that are safe for oily or acne-prone skin.

Formula

After ingredients, look towards the formula of your water-based moisturizer. It should be lightweight and non-sticky and offer an invisible finish. It should be quick-absorbing and maintain the moisture balance of the skin. Besides these factors, look for products that are non-comedogenic and will soothe irritated skin. Ingredients like jeju green tea water and panthenol help lock in skin moisture while maintaining a weightless feel on your skin.

SPF Factor

If you spend time outdoors in the sun, look for the added benefit of SPF in the formulation. Look for a water-based moisturizer that will protect your skin against the harmful UV rays of the sun.

Added Benefits

Unlike oily skin types, dry skin needs constant hydration, and your moisturizer should be able to keep your skin looking radiant throughout the day. Choose a cream that shields the skin against environmental aggressors so that your skin is protected while you are outdoors. You can also opt for a night cream that can help your skin restore its lost moisture and rejuvenate.

Infographic: Tips To Make The Most Out Of Your Water-Based Moisturizers

If you are looking for a super-moisturizing product for dry skin, water-based moisturizers are ideal for you. They provide an extra boost of hydration without making your skin look greasy or oily. Check out the infographic below for some easy tips and tricks to get the most out of these moisturizers.

Tips To Make The Most Out Of Your Water-Based Moisturizers (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Finding the perfect moisturizer that matches your skin type can take a lot of time and trial. Unless you have dry skin, oil-based moisturizers tend to be too heavy. If you have dry skin, to keep your skin hydrated, you need to invest in the best water-based moisturizers. These moisturizers will hydrate your skin without making it greasy. Moisturizers like the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel contain hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture, the Tatcha The Water Cream include Japanese botanicals that nourish and hydrate the skin, and the Dermalogica Calm Water Gel is formulated with the cactus pear extract that possesses water-binding properties to maintain the moisture balance of the skin. They have a gel-like consistency and are absorbed into the skin quite easily. These water-based moisturizers are an excellent option for those with normal and combination skin types too. If you have acne-prone skin, look for products with ingredients that do not flare up your acne. However, always ensure to do a patch test before topical application and find the product that best suits your skin. Choose doctor-recommended products if you have extremely sensitive skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell if a moisturizer is water-based?

Look at the ingredients list. If the list begins with water or aqua, it is a water-based moisturizer. On the other hand, if the first ingredient is an oil, such as coconut, almond, or jojoba oils, it is an oil-based moisturizer.

Are water-based moisturizers good for oily skin?

Yes. Water-based moisturizers are good for oily skin. They hydrate your skin without making it feel greasy. Their lightweight texture seeps right into your skin and nourishes it throughout the day.

Are water-based moisturizers good for acne?

Yes. Water-based moisturizers do not add extra oil to the skin or irritate your acne. Instead, they soothe your acne and heal it.

Can you use water-based moisturizers after retinol?

Yes. Apply a water-based moisturizer after using retinol to boost moisture in the skin and lock the anti-aging and toning benefits of the retinol.

How do you use water-based moisturizers?

• Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
• Dab your face with a soft towel. Let it be slightly damp.
• Scoop a generous amount of the moisturizer on your finger.
• Rub it between your fingers to activate the molecules in it.
• Apply it gently all over your face.

How long do water-based moisturizers last?

The shelf life of water-based moisturizers is two to three years.

How often should water-based moisturizers be used?

Use a water-based moisturizer twice daily to retain your skin’s natural bounce and health.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The writer of this article, Shiboli Chakraborti, is a certified skin care coach and is well-versed in writing about beauty and wellness. If you are looking to get your hands on a good quality water-based moisturizer, then her expertly written article will help you find the right product. For this list, she thoroughly researched and read user reviews about the water-based moisturizers available on the market. These moisturizers are mostly chemical-free, lightweight, and non-greasy.

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Dr. Patricia Gaile Espinosa has 9 years of experience. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society, and a member of the Philippine Academy of Dermatologic Surgery Foundation Inc, Philippine Society of Venereologists, Inc, Philippine Medical Association, Rheumatologic Dermatology Society, and International Society of Dermatology. She has published papers on psoriasis and has done oral and poster research presentations...read full bio

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