Known best as Skincare by Hyram, the YouTube and TikTok creator reveals what it's really like becoming one of Gen Z's most influential voices in beauty

By Kaitlyn Frey
December 22, 2020 09:00 AM
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Credit: Akoni Phoenix

When social media skincare guru Hyram Yarbro, best known as Skincare By Hyram, puts his stamp-of-approval on a product, it's common for his loyal following to swipe it off stores' shelves (just look at the influence he had on CeraVe's booming success this past year). Since joining TikTok in March (he's been a Youtuber since 2017), the 24-year-old gained a following of nearly 7 million and the hashtag #hyramapproved has been viewed on thousands of videos over 34.7 million times. But what exactly is it about Yarbro's content that gets Gen Z  to slather on sunscreen and keep coming back for more?

"When I worked as a makeup artist, I was seeing people drop thousands of dollars on skincare products trying to get the best skin possible," Yarbro tells PEOPLE. "It had me wondering if you need to spend a lot of money to have good skin. Once I started learning a lot about it, I realized that you don't."

He found that there wasn't a place online for young people to get simplified, clear and transparent information about their skin — so Yarbro decided to create one himself on YouTube.

"Skincare is changing from something that was really only meant for older people to try and reverse aging, where now it's viewed as preventative care. So when I realized that YouTube is going to be the next big space for it," Yarbro says.

Yarbro holds high standards for the products he reviews (and isn't afraid to get brutally honest), so he quickly gained his followers' trust. Yarbro's all about discovering efficacious products at accessible price points (more on that below), he stays away from fragrance-filled creams and prioritizes sustainable practices that beauty companies both large and small take. Now, it's a mindset that Yarbro's millions of viewers value as well when going skincare shopping.

"Gen Z soaks up information like a sponge. They're so passionate about learning about ingredients, functionality and how to take care of their skin from such a young age," he says.

PEOPLE sat down with Yarbro to talk all things skincare and how he's been shaking up the beauty industry. Read on below for more.

PEOPLE: You're always extremely transparent about disclosing that you are a skincare lover who enjoys educating, but not a licensed dermatologist or aesthetician. When viewers come to your YouTube or TikTok page, what kind of content do you want to give them?

Hyram Yarbro: "It's a very good question and one that I'm not asked very often. I started creating my videos as an opportunity for people to join me on the journey of learning about skincare. Thanks to my audience, I was really able to educate myself a lot more. They would call me out when I was wrong about something and they still do to this day! I never wanted my channel to be perceived as the only source of skincare information and the most reputable one. I want to create a sense of camaraderie so people can learn with me. "

"There's a lot of expectation to be perceived as this sole source of skincare information. My hope was always to create content that would push people to become more passionate about it and encourage them to further their education if they want to. I'll consume content from so many different professional sources — from various chemists, dermatologists, aestheticians — find commonality and reflect that in my personal skincare opinions."

PEOPLE: What's the most underrated skincare step people need to take more seriously?

Yarbro: "Oh sunscreen, absolutely. I hate to break people's bubble who are really proud of having a whole skincare routine, but I'm like, 'If you're not wearing sunscreen every single day, the rest isn't going to do anything.' It's the most underutilized step because it feels like a chore. I try to make recommendations for innovative sunscreen formulas that feel really enjoyable."

PEOPLE: You must see so many new products at all times. What does it take for something to catch your eye? 

Yarbro: "I love seeing companies that go above and beyond for finding new, innovative ingredients and formulas that aren't traditionally used. I also love when they still take a stance of reducing the number of well-known irritants that they're formulating with. I want to see brands push the envelope of what's expected."

"I've seen many people struggle with skin sensitivity to many types of ingredients. It's tempting to jam-pack your formula with a ton of fragrance or essential oils, but they aren't beneficial for the health of the skin. I try to think about accessibility as much as possible. What recommendations can I make for the person who has the most sensitive skin and only has a few dollars to spend on skincare? That's usually the way I first approach trying out products."

PEOPLE: What skin brands are doing it right? 

Yarbro: "The Inkey List is a great example of a brand that pushes me to learn about ingredients. I'm like, what is that? That's what I love because it's so innovative. Krave Beauty is another one. They have great formulas that are great for moisture barrier protection. Kinship uses collected ocean plastic to create their product packaging, which I think is a really smart approach to sustainable packaging solutions. Biossance finds ways to use natural extracts but grows them sustainably."

"I do have high standards because there's really no excuse. I think we as consumers and especially me as a content creator have a responsibility to really push brands and to hold them more accountable so they work harder on more innovation."

PEOPLE: What's the worst skincare mistake you ever made?

Yarbro: "I did a video where I was dared to dye my hair purple. I didn't realize that by applying the deep, rich purple to my sideburns, that it would stain my scalp. The stain was so, so bad. And I used nail polish remover on my skin to remove it. It was the only thing that was going to properly remove it. After I finished, I like looked at myself and I was so ashamed. [laughs]"

PEOPLE: People are begging you for a skincare line. Have you thought about developing your own?

Yarbro: "Right now I'm really focused on content creation. The growth has been really fast, so I want to create as much as I can and see how far my reach can get before fully pursuing anything else. But I'm an open-minded person. It's definitely not ruled out. There are so many more years I will be in this industry and it's only been a short time, so the opportunities are endless."