June 24, 2021: In real life, Hyram Yarbro is just as I imagined: kind, like a close friend I’ve known for years; well-spoken and informative, but not intimidatingly so; and humble, despite his colossal influence in the skincare space. It’s been four years since the content creator launched his YouTube channel to demystify skincare ingredients and teach consumers that you don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to have good skin. As a result, he’s single-handedly sent CeraVe sales through the roof and has challenged popular brands-who-won’t-be-named to do better. All that said, he has rightfully earned his followers’ trust, and they’ve been diligent in pointing out that if anyone is deserving of their own skincare line, it’s him.
Thankfully, the day has come. Enter Selfless by Hyram, the 25-year-old’s skincare brand created in partnership with the affordable, cult-favorite brand, The Inkey List. The line comprises five gentle and effective products: a gentle cleanser for day and night; a powerful, sensitive skin-approved exfoliating serum; a lightweight, niacinamide moisturizer; an oil control salicylic acid serum that simultaneously boosts the skin’s hydration; and a retinol product to target acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, and blemishes. As incredible as these formulas are (I swear, I’ve been testing them, and my skin has never looked better!), social impact is one of Yarbro’s top priorities. The brand has partnered with the Thirst Project and Rainforest Trust so that every purchase provides clean drinking water to under-resourced communities around the world or protects tropical forests.
Ahead, GRAZIA speaks with Yarbro about Selfless by Hyram and what’s next for him as a leader in the skincare space. This interview has been edited and condensed for ease of read.
GRAZIA: How did this partnership with The Inkey List come to be?
Hyram Yarbro: I had already been working on developing Selfless on my own, building it out and everything. It wasn’t until much later when my team encouraged me to consider partnering with a bigger brand to make its social impact as widespread as possible. I realized that launching a brand on my own only goes so far, and if I were to partner at a bigger capacity, the social impact generated would be so much more than anything I could do on my own. So when they asked me, “If you could pick any company in the world to work with, who would you work with?” The Inky List was the only one that came to mind. So we had a meeting with them in which they presented their idea for what we could create together. Funny enough, it happened to be a brand focus on social change and creating a positive difference in the world, having no idea what I had already been working on. I was like, “Yeah, this is my sign.”
G: How did you decide on these five products?
HY:I specifically chose these five because I have always felt that the perfect skincare routine has four primary steps: cleansing, treatment, moisturizing, and sunscreen—sunscreen is something we’re working on. Rather than creating my perfect skincare formulas, that wasn’t the goal. My goal was not to walk away from this saying, “I have the perfect products for my face!” It was to be able to default formulas that were completely dictated by what I saw in the community and fill a void that my subscribers noticed was there.
G: Will there be more?
HY: Oh, of course!
G: I’ve noticed that some of your followers are worked up over the fact that sunscreen isn’t a part of the line just yet. What would you like those people to know?
HY:The testing and FDA approval that has to go into developing a sunscreen is extensive and can take years and years. When it comes to sunscreen, that’s not just about satisfactory skincare results or treating concerns but preventing a serious medical condition—cancer. It’s about protecting people who have compromised barriers, who have health problems. Creating a sunscreen that’s actually enjoyable to use is difficult because a lot of sunscreens on the market are heavy, pasty, have a heavy white cast; just unpleasant to use. I would much rather take our time on something as serious as this and make sure we’ve gone through all the proper testing extensively, to make sure it’s absolutely perfect, rather than bringing something to market as quickly as we possibly can.
G: Is there a specific sunscreen you recommend pairing with Selfless by Hyram products?
HY: I love Bliss Block Star SPF 30 for those who have oily skin or don’t want a heavy sunscreen and like a little bit of a corrective tint. I love the Biossance Squalene Mineral SPF 30—good brand, good values. It works for so many skin tones. My friends who have dark skin tones really love that one because of how well it blends into the skin. I love MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème SPF 50 for those who want a mineral sunscreen that’s a high SPF that works really well on the skin and doesn’t feel thick and heavy.
G: Why did you choose the name “Selfless?”
HY: I feel like we are so fortunate to be in this booming industry that is so focused on self-empowerment and self-love, and recognition of self beauty. But I felt like it was missing something. The mindset I want to encourage with this brand asks how can you take small steps every day, be a little bit more selfless, and think of others a little bit more? It’s about finding that balance between doing what’s best for yourself and doing things to help make the world a better place.
G: I know you’ve partnered with the Thirst Project and the Rainforest Trust, but can you explain how consumers’ purchases will contribute to these important causes?
With selecting the social impacts, we wanted to do what was most impactful, what could create the most significant impact possible, not just short term, but also long term under the two pillars, climate impact, and health. We determined that the most impactful choice would be to protect forests from deforestation by partnering with the Rainforest Trust. So by purchasing a product that has a climate impact, you’re not only protecting the forest from deforestation, you’re also saving the plant species that are going extinct, the animals that are going extinct, and the indigenous groups that rely on those environments for protection. You’re also helping to invest heavily into carbon removal efforts because forests and rainforests are the best carbon we have.
And with water, for our health pillar, we partnered with the Thirst Project. This organization is not only providing people with clean drinking water, but it’s also helping kids stay in school because they’re not going to have to trek to go collect water, which is a task primarily assigned to girls and women. So, women will be able to devote more time to contribute to the community and their families; it’ll help with economic prosperity. It’ll help keep families together, prevent kids or whoever is traveling for water from physical harm.
G: Finally, how does it feel to essentially have the power to make or break a beauty brand?
HY: Truthfully, I try not to think about it because I like to approach skincare with a mindset similar to anyone who’s just trying skincare products. I don’t like to consider all these other factors and biases because I see them as potentially swaying the unbiased approach I want to have. So if I were to think about it the impact I might have on a brand, not only would it terrify me because I would feel so much pressure, but it would also take away from the authentic experience that I want to share. I want my videos to feel the same as they did when I first started my channel of like, someone who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on skincare and just has to judge a formula based on the ingredient list and the experience. I will say that it’s a little mind-blowing and scary to see the stats.
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