Exclusive

Hyram Yarbro Always Had A Plan. Skin Care Was Never Part Of It.

The #skinfluencer talks to Elite Daily about his fears over breaking into beauty, the future of his content after launching his own brand, and the skin care ingredient he describes as “that girl who's friends with every single friend group.”

In They’re Lit, Elite Daily highlights the men and nonbinary creators in the beauty industry who are busting through antiquated gender boundaries and proving beauty is, and always will be, for everyone. In this installment, famed skin care influencer Hyram Yarbro talks his life before YouTube, launching his own brand, and the plan for “Skincare by Hyram” moving forward.

Ever since he can remember, Hyram Yarbro has been a goal setter. As a child, he tells me, he’d sit in church hunched over a pew, fervently writing and planning everything in his life from where he wanted to travel to what he wanted to be when he grew up. Ironically for the #skinfluencer and now skin care brand owner, anything to do with beauty was never one of those goals. Skin care wasn’t even actively on Yarbro’s radar until his late teens and was long written off as “creams for people who wanted to feel fancy.”

“I grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona, so skin care was not something that was ever referenced, let alone discussed. I really didn't know anything about it,” he says. “I washed my face with body wash. When I had breakouts, I was told to go out in the sun and they'll heal right up.”

Then, Yarbro moved to Hawaii for college. At just 18, he’d developed deep forehead wrinkles, eye wrinkles, and other noticeable signs of premature aging — signs his friends at the time weren’t afraid to call him out on. “I’m still friends with them to this day,” says Yarbro. “I was so grateful for it because I was like, ‘Oh, that's something I’d never really thought of.’” Soon, skin care would consume most of his thoughts. He eventually secured a gig as a Saks Fifth Avenue makeup artist, getting up close and personal with beauty products, their ingredients, and how everything works together on the skin. But Yarbro saw a need for skin care education beyond what he could give people at a beauty counter, so he took to YouTube to create it himself, fully ready for a barrage of homophobia and gender-related dismissal.

The channel he started as a “fun side project” that would maybe “fund his skin care [obsession]” is now an army of more than 12.5 million fans and followers across YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram who crave Yarbro’s every waking skin care thought. His reaction videos to celebrity skin care routines have racked up millions of views, as have his videos revealing the “truth” about popular skin care products and ranking popular brands from best to worst. To most of his followers, his knowledge is gospel. They can cancel ingredients like artificial fragrance and denatured alcohol at lightning speed. They’re skeptical of any beauty brand until it’s Hyram-approved. (Yarbro has vocalized that skin care is personal and what works for one person may not work for someone else.)

Courtesy of Selfless by Hyram

The seemingly overnight success of “Skincare by Hyram,” the personality and educator, has inevitably given way to Selfless by Hyram, the brand. Launched in collaboration with The Inkey List, Selfless by Hyram debuted on June 24 with five products: three serums, a cleanser, and a moisturizer. “I really wanted the products to be interesting to both people who are brand-new to the skin care world and people who have been in the skin care world for a long time,” says Yarbro. “But first and foremost, [it launched] under the primary intent of social change and making the world a better place.”

According to the brand, that social change comes in the form of its brand tenets, like responsibly sourced ingredients, climate conscientiousness, and sustainability. Most of Yarbro’s followers welcomed the news, clamoring for the slow drip of product reveals that followed the brand’s initial announcement. Others, understandably, had some questions, largely regarding just how sustainable and responsibly created a whole new brand could really be and what the future of Hyram’s content would look like now that he has his own brand to promote. Ever the planner, he’s got answers.

Read on for a deeper dive into Hyram’s own skin care inspirations, the fear that came with diving into beauty as a man, and what he sees next for his content.

Elite Daily: OK, first and foremost, drop the current skin care routine, please.

Hyram Yarbro: It will always be changing and evolving, but right now, I use the [Selfless by Hyram] Centella & Green Tea Gel Cleanser ($20, Selfless by Hyram) every single morning and every single night. It’s the only cleanser I’ve been able to find that I can use for months on end every morning, every night, and never notice any additional dirt buildup or that my skin is stripped or dry. During the daytime, I use the [Selfless by Hyram] Salicylic Acid & Sea Kelp Serum ($24, Selfless by Hyram) over my entire face. Even though I have dry skin on my cheeks, I find it really hydrates the skin on my cheeks while still preventing excess oiliness and sebum production. I follow up with the nice Maracujá Daily Barrier Support Moisturizer ($26, Selfless by Hyram). Usually, I do that across my entire face because I just love the consistency; it’s very lightweight.

If I’m feeling like it’s going to be a really hot and humid day, I sometimes go in with the First Aid Beauty Coconut Water Cream ($34, First Aid Beauty) ... then I use the Bliss Block Star SPF 30 Sunscreen ($22, Bliss). I’m just obsessed with it. It’s, like, mattifying and has this tint to it. It just works really well for my skin. I'll sometimes use the Kosasport Lip Balm ($18, Kosas). If I’m feeling extra luxurious, I’ll use the Tatcha Kissu Lip Mask ($28, Tatcha). Oh, I forgot one — the First Aid Beauty Niacinamide Brightening Eye Cream ($36, First Aid Beauty). It’s the perfect balance of skin care but with a little bit of makeup effects to help correct without feeling like a concealer.

ED: What's the weirdest or most awful skin care trend or treatment you’ve tried, and how did it turn out?

HY: Brad Mondo had instructed me on how to dye my hair for a YouTube video, and I dyed it purple. I slathered [the dye] all over the sides of my head, which I didn’t realize, Hyram, you dumb person, it can stain your skin. So I had it all over. I asked my assistant, who’s a hairstylist, how long it would last. She was like, “It’ll last for about a week.” I’m not even kidding, it looked horrible. It looked absolutely awful. I was like, “There’s no way I can film videos, let alone walk outside with my head looking like this,” and then everything went black. I don’t know what happened. Someone else took over. I was just determined to get it off my face. What did I use? I used acetone.

ED: Oh my God, stop.

HY: I know. I've gone to confession. I have prayed for forgiveness. I made an apology video on my YouTube channel. It was a bad moment, but I’d say that’s probably the worst thing I’ve done to my skin.

ED: Well, other than acetone, name one skin care trend, product, or ingredient you absolutely love and one you think is a total scam.

HY: I absolutely love niacinamide. Niacinamide is that girl who’s just friends with every single friend group, who can hop from friend group to friend group, skin concern to skin concern. There are so many benefits to niacinamide, and the more research done on it, the more they find out. I think a product that is over-hyped is toners. I understand their original intent to help reset the pH of the skin after the harsh cleansing systems that were present back in the day. But nowadays, cleansers are so gentle and pH-balanced, so ... I think that saying a toner is an absolute must-have step in your routine is overhyped.

ED: Who’s helped teach you what you know about skin care or inspired you to pursue this kind of path?

HY: I think Dr. Dray is just a wealth of information. One of the reasons I am a fan of her content is because she always has skin sensitivities at the forefront of everything she recommends, which is an audience that may seem small, but it’s actually a huge group of people who feel like they’re consistently ignored by the larger skin care space and conversation. I feel like she has such a well-balanced approach in terms of knowing about chemistry and knowing about new studies that are coming out, while balancing what a dermatologist does on the daily, which is diagnosing skin sensitivities and prescribing treatments. ... More than anything, she inspired me to really think about how I can make my skin care recommendations as accessible and inclusive as possible.

ED: Walk me through your most memorable day since becoming “Skincare by Hyram.”

HY: One of the most memorable days is [when] I had announced that I was doing a meet-and-greet in Chicago, at the beginning of 2020 (pre-pandemic) when I think I had, like, 20,000 subscribers or something like that. Within that time, I had gone from 20,000 to close to a million. I showed up to this mall — which I had not notified of this event because I thought there were going to be, like, three people there — to find this long line of people that were waiting for me. We got kicked out of the mall, standing outside in the Chicago cold. I got to meet every single subscriber that showed up.

The most defining moment was meeting this girl who had flown up from Puerto Rico, I believe, all the way up to Chicago and had almost missed me. [She’d initially gone] to the wrong location and didn’t realize, and she was bawling her eyes out, thinking she had flown up to Chicago and was going to miss me. She had made me a painting and wrote me a whole letter and just poured her heart out to me. It was the first moment where I really realized, whoa, this is so much more than just a fun community online. My content has a real, meaningful impact on some people. ... This is actually impacting people’s lives, and it’s impacting mine, too.

ED: Given beauty is so heavily marketed toward women and as something men shouldn’t care about, were you scared to break into the beauty YouTube space?

HY: I was fully prepared to receive a lot of kickback because I’m a guy. ... Also, I was fully ready for a slew of homophobia in the comment section, which, of course, is present, but I will say, it has been so encouraging to see how I’ve largely been met with open arms in the industry. I honestly think that’s due to people who really paved the way, which I think were male beauty influencers within the makeup space. People like Manny Mua or Patrick Starrr really championed that and normalized the conversation around men in beauty. I feel like I really do have people like them to thank for this, because I didn’t [receive a lot of kickback]. Maybe it’s from my home environment, growing up in a very close-minded, homophobic area, but I was just anticipating a lot more.

Of course, there’s always negativity. You’re always going to find it where you look, but I have been overwhelmingly surprised by the receptive feedback. I think what makes me so happy is knowing that not only my recommendations can help people of any gender, but also that maybe people, like men who weren’t initially interested in skin care, are able to find my videos and realize that skin care is for everyone. ... Few things compare to the tangible excitement that I see in the 50-year-old men who have a wife and grandkids and everything when they see me in public and they’ve watched my videos. Or the boyfriends, husbands, and fiancés I see all the time, who will be more excited than their wives or girlfriends to see me. It's so encouraging to see because it's breaking down these harmful stereotypes of saying that [skin care] is exclusive to one specific gender or one specific group of people. Skin care is about health. It's about taking care of yourself. It's about feeling good. It's about self-care. Why are we limiting that to only one type of person?

ED: What will your content creation process look like moving forward now that you have your brand? Are you still going to create videos talking about other brands and products?

HY: For me, I think I want it to be a balance. I love YouTube; it's where it all began. I think, in the past year, I started really creating as much content as I possibly could for my audience to be able to have a positive distraction during the pandemic. It was just go, go, go. Five, six videos a week, just nonstop. But I think it got to the point where it felt like I was creating content just to create content, rather than creating content from the heart, so that's really something I want to realign myself with. With brand reviews, I will never stop talking about products I love in videos. I'll never stop doing reaction videos, I don't think, at least not in the near future. But I think I won't lean into those as heavily as I have in the past because I think, at this point, I've reviewed every brand I can think of.

I never want my content to feel repetitive, to feel like it's been said or done before. We have a new generation of influencers that I think are incredible, creating so much content that I'm not creating, and I always want to be contributing something new to the space. So I feel like now that I do have my own brand, I'm able to experiment with new things on YouTube: talking about my life in Hawaii, talking about building the brand, opening up a little bit more about my personal life, while still continuing with that same style of content that I have for a while. ... I feel like I want to go back to my channel’s roots, which is just to film whatever I want to film. That's really where I want it to be.