Skincare guru Hyram created his own line—here’s what he got right
Walk into your closest drugstore and peruse the beauty aisles. I guarantee you will find someone with their phone lit up and a Skincare by Hyram video playing quietly. Hyram Yarbro is the New York City-based, 25-year-old skincare specialist and influencer behind the YouTube channel that turned into a skincare bible. After gaining more than 4.5 million followers on YouTube and 7 million on TikTok (at the time of publication), Hyram took his skincare expertise to the next level by launching his own brand, Selfless by Hyram, in collaboration with The Inkey List. Now, instead of making sure every product you purchase is Hyram-approved, you can shop his Sephora-exclusive line beginning on June 24.
What is Selfless by Hyram?
We’ve seen influencers and celebrities launch makeup and skincare brands time and time again. But there’s something different about Hyram’s brand and it’s hinted at right there in the name—“Selfless.” The brand aims to “spark social change” by tackling “two of the most pressing global issues of our time: clean drinking water and climate change,” Hyram says in the brand reveal video on his channel. Each of the line’s five products is labelled with either “supporting health equality,” with your purchase providing one person in Eswatini, Africa with clean water for a year through Thirst Project, or “helping fight climate change,” with your purchase helping to protect land from deforestation all over the world through Rainforest Trust. “My goal is to connect skincare and social change by giving you the opportunity to make an impact that’ll last for generations and change the world,” Hyram adds.
Aside from its philanthropic mission, Selfless by Hyram claims that its ingredients are “mindfully sourced to ensure we’re empowering, not harming, the communities or natural regions where they’re from.” If you’ve watched Hyram for any length of time, you know that it’s not just what’s in the products that counts, it’s what’s not in them. Hyram’s skincare philosophy is that products should not have: fragrance (which can be irritating for people with allergies or sensitive skin); fragrant essential oils (these can be equally irritating); denatured alcohol (an ingredient that can dehydrate or irritate the skin); palm oil (which is difficult to ethically source); or “overloaded” formulas (because you don’t need complicated skincare for it to work). Instead, each product in the Selfless line “is the perfect balance of powerful ingredients that treat skin concerns and gentle extracts that nurture and support the health of the skin,” Hyram says.
How did I test Selfless by Hyram?
To find out what a marriage of skincare and social change looked like, I put Selfless by Hyram to the test in my own beauty routine. My skin is “normal,” leaning dry in the colder months and oily in the warmer ones. I have acne scars, mostly faded hyperpigmentation on my cheeks, and some texture around my mouth and forehead. Other than those pain points, my skin is easy to take care of—it’s not sensitive, meaning I can change up my products with regularity and add in fun extras, like an exfoliating serum or a hydrating mask, with little concern for a reaction.
I received the products about two weeks prior to publication, so my testing time, and therefore my opinions, are limited. Despite not having sensitive skin, I wanted to avoid irritation by not all-at-once overhauling my normal routine, which consists of Bliss Makeup Melt Jelly Cleanser, Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant at night, Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion, and a rotation of sunscreens in the morning. Still, I was able to use each product at least twice (more, when it came to the cleanser and moisturizer) and took notes on packaging, ease of application, how they felt on my skin, and any results I saw.
Below are my thoughts on each product, from my favorite to least favorite—which is also the products I used most to least often.
1. Niacinamide & Maracujá Daily Barrier Support Moisturizer
What it claims: A pea-sized amount of this moisturizer can be used in the morning and evening after cleansing the skin and adding any treatments. It claims that the 5% niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, reduces the skin’s oil and the appearance of pores; maracujá, an oil from passion fruit seeds, strengthens the skin barrier and promotes healing in damaged or weak skin; madecassoside, an extract from the centella asiatica plant, soothes sensitive skin; and murumuru butter, an extract from the seeds of palm trees, softens the skin. It’s suitable for all skin types and comes with 1.7 ounces.
What it’s like to use it: I’m not surprised that I love Hyram’s take on a moisturizer after trying some of the ones he recommends, like the Cerave Moisturizing Cream and First Aid Beauty Coconut Water Cream. Beginning with the exterior: The long, slim tube is sleek looking and makes this easy to store in a cosmetic bag, a vanity drawer, or on the bathroom shelf. Plus, this eliminates the unhygienic aspect of digging your fingers into a jar over and over again.
The moisturizer itself has a lightweight-lotion consistency that glides onto the skin without being too runny. I needed more than the suggested pea-sized amount—more like a blueberry’s worth of moisturizer. Without added fragrance, the product’s aroma is dirt-like and unpleasant to my nose but mild upon application and not noticeable once it absorbs into the skin. After application, my skin feels well moisturized and soft to the touch. I haven’t noticed the oil- and pore-reducing effects that the niacinamide promises, but I think my skin looks healthy when I wear this. When I’m looking for a moisturizer, I want something that’s easy to blend into the skin, non-irritating, and hydrating, and this delivers on all of those fronts.
2. Centella & Green Tea Daily Gel Cleanser
What it claims: This cleanser should clean the skin of makeup, oil, and other impurities without drying or stripping it. It also claims to soothe the skin with 3% centella (a plant extract), calm and reduce redness with green tea, and hydrate with glycerin. The directions suggest massaging a raspberry-sized amount of product, dispensed from the 5-ounce bottle, into the face and neck in the morning and at night before rinsing it away with water.
What it’s like to use it: My skin used to be much drier than it is now, but I still gravitate toward creamy cleansers, like the Bliss Makeup Melt or Cerave Hydrating Cleanser for their hydrating attributes. This cleanser deviates from that pattern with its gel consistency that leaves my skin feeling film-free and cleaner than my old go-tos. With previous cleansers, I’d use my Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water to remove my makeup and then go in with the face wash, but I’d still transfer traces of makeup when I pat my skin with a towel. The Selfless by Hyram cleanser removes all excess makeup post-micellar water, and when I’m not wearing makeup, it whisks away any sunscreen residue or oil left on my face from the day.
It lathers as you massage it into the skin, but doesn’t amount to a thick foam—it’s just enough of a froth to feel like it’s doing its job. At first, I thought it may be removing too much oil because my face felt squeaky clean in a way I’m not used to, but my skin seemed to adjust after a week of use and no longer felt too dry after a wash. One attribute I look for in cleansers—and found in this one—is the ability to use it around my eyes without irritation. I could massage the delicate area to remove makeup and still open my eyes to look in the mirror to check my progress without any stinging. I can see this working for any skin type, as promised—those with dry skin will enjoy that it’s not stripping the skin and those with oily skin will love the frothy texture that sweeps away oil.
3. Mandelic Acid & Rice Bran Gentle Exfoliating Serum
What it claims: The brand calls this product its “don’t over exfoliate exfoliator.”
And that actually makes sense: Exfoliating the skin too much can damage the skin barrier (the outermost layer of the skin), which is why a gentle touch is the way to go. This chemical exfoliant uses 3% mandelic acid, an AHA, to remove dead skin cells; polyhydroxy acid, referred to as a PHA, to exfoliate and add moisture; rice bran (phytic acid) to exfoliate and control oil production; and salicylic acid, a common anti-acne ingredient, to keep pores unclogged. You can apply three to four drops of this every other evening after cleansing the skin and before moisturizing, but you should not layer it with other exfoliating products or retinol. One bottle contains 1 ounce.
What it’s like to use it: The packaging for all three of Selfless by Hyram’s serums is top notch. The slim, squeezable tubes are easy to use and make it possible to get a precise amount of product. Though it’s not in a dropper bottle, which is common for serums, you can squeeze out individual drops instead of getting a steady stream of product. This particular serum has a water-like consistency that’s clear and odorless (or I’m using so little product per the instructions that I can’t notice a smell).
I dispensed the recommended three to four drops into my palm, dispersed it between my palms, and patted it into my face and down my neck. I saw no sheen or oiliness on my skin and any wetness went away within a minute when it absorbed in. I haven’t used the product long enough to determine how well it lives up to its exfoliating claims, but I felt zero irritation upon or after application, indicating to me that it’s as gentle as it claims. I have no reason to doubt that it would in fact exfoliate my skin, even on a microscopic level that I can’t see, as the ingredients in it have proven to do so. And I’m impressed with how easy it is to use and implement into my routine with no irritation or sensitivity. If you’ve wanted to try a chemical exfoliant that works overnight instead of using a harsh scrub, this could be a great option for you to try.
4. Retinol & Rainbow Algae Repair Serum
What it claims: Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, can help prevent acne as well as reduce the appearance of acne scarring, fine lines, and wrinkles in the skin. It’s often touted as a holy grail anti-aging ingredient. This serum puts a 2% retinol at the forefront of its ingredient list, claiming that it can smooth the skin and even out its tone. It also includes rainbow algae to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation; tranexamic acid, a synthetic derivative of amino acid lysine, to prevent or reduce already-existing dark spots; and squalane, a lipid derived from plants or animals, to hydrate. You can apply four to five drops every evening, assuming you’re not using another exfoliant, like the Mandelic Acid & Rice Bran. Retinol can increase sensitivity to the sun, so it’s best to only apply this at night and be vigilant about sunscreen application in the morning. The bottle contains 1 ounce of formula.
What it’s like to use it: If you are interested in incorporating retinol into your routine for the aforementioned benefits, this seems like a solid choice. Though I can’t speak to the long-term benefits of this particular product, I’m impressed with the lack of irritation I experienced when I used it. In the past, I’ve used retinol-containing products that have either stung my skin upon application or made my skin sting with the application of any other product after a week or so of regular use. Though I don’t have sensitive skin, anyone can be sensitive to retinol—it’s that powerful. But after speaking with multiple dermatologists during my time as a beauty editor for Reviewed, I know it’s a worthwhile ingredient in a skincare routine if you’re concerned about the reducing the effects of aging.
The formula has a milky color and consistency that’s odorless and easy to spread onto the face. I applied it the same way I did the other serums—adding the drops into one palm, tapping my hands together, and patting it into my face and neck. I let it sink into the skin before following up with the moisturizer and never experienced irritation. I did not use this every night, as recommended, because I was experimenting with all three Hyram serums and wanted to try the cleanser and moisturizer on their own, too, but I plan to integrate this into my routine for everyday use after seeing how well my skin adjusts to it.
5. Salicylic Acid & Sea Kelp Pore Clearing and Oil Control Serum
What it claims: There’s no question that salicylic acid is a go-to ingredient for preventing and treating acne. It’s also an ingredient Hyram has recommended before in products like the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, which I used nightly before switching up my routine to try this line. Hyram’s iteration on a salicylic acid serum contains (ahem) 0.5% salicylic acid to unclog pores; niacinamide to control oil production; succinic acid, a naturally occurring chemical, to reduce bacteria and prevent future breakouts; and sea kelp to repair and protect the skin barrier from outside stressors and moisture loss. You’ll want to shake the bottle and apply three to five drops to the skin every morning after cleansing. The bottle contains one ounce.
What it’s like to use it: You know the drill by now—I haven’t used this long enough in isolation to glean what benefit it has on my skin. However, I can speak to the short-term experience. The formula is thin like water, clear, and odorless, just like the Mandelic & Rice Brain serum. In fact, I wouldn’t know the difference between the two if you blindfolded me. What I’d be more interested to know is if, long-term, I could tell the difference between the results if I used them side by side, limited to one half of my face each without knowing which was which. Of course, no one would actually use the products that way, but I’m curious as to why Hyram decided to include two gentle exfoliating products (both of which contain salicylic acid) that boast similar claims as well as a retinol, which in and of itself is exfoliating.
Still, I like this product and it could be a great addition to your routine to prevent or tackle breakouts without using something that takes much thought (i.e., you can use it every day and not worry about overdoing it).
What do I like about Selfless by Hyram?
The message behind Selfless by Hyram is something to be proud of. If you’ve watched Hyram’s YouTube channel, you know that he is critical of products for their ingredients, claims, results, and even packaging. With Selfless by Hyram, it feels as though he’s taken all of his own criticisms and used them to inform his brand under The Inkey List. I appreciate the attention to detail—from including ingredients that Hyram has spoken positively of on his channel to using packaging that’s hygienic and made with sugarcane to keep the environmental impact in mind.
I also think this brand feels approachable, as it explains exactly how much of the product to use (down to the drop), when to use it, and how often to use it. If you’re creating a skincare routine for yourself, these instructions are easy to follow and the packaging even has cues on it (a moon, a sun, or both) to help you remember. Plus, the squeezable bottles on the serums and moisturizer have long, tapered tips that allow you to deposit a precise amount of formula on your hands to make the application product as easy and controlled as possible. Again, the detail that went into the creation of the products is visible.
What do I dislike about Selfless by Hyram?
I’ll be the one to say it—where is the sunscreen? After watching Hyram review plenty of SPF products with great attention to how easy they are to blend into the skin, what kind of white cast they leave, and how reef-friendly they are, I was surprised to not see one in the line. The Inkey List sells its SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen, so it’s not beyond the scope of the company to create one. (Maybe one is coming? Crosses fingers.)
The other head-scratcher is whether you’re supposed to incorporate all of these products into your routine as a skincare system. My guess is no, considering you’re supposed to use the Retinol & Rainbow Algae every evening, but not in tandem with the Mandelic Acid & Rice Bran (recommended for every other evening). It seems as though you would have to choose between these two products, but you can use the Salicylic Acid & Sea Kelp alongside them, as long as you’re only using it in the morning per instructions. To me, even being a skincare fanatic, it feels like too many products to have in my routine, even choosing between the retinol and mandelic acid serums.
So yes, these are beginner-friendly in terms of the easy-to-follow instructions, but only if you’re not planning to use all of the serums at one time. I’d recommend starting with the cleanser and moisturizer, integrating in one serum that aligns the most with your skin concerns, and then reevaluating how you feel about the products from there.
Should you try Selfless by Hyram?
If you’re a Hyram fan, I’m not sure how you could resist—and there’s no reason to, either! The products all feel gentle and luxe on the skin and the packaging only aids in the ease of use.
The non-frilly product names also make the buying process easier—you know exactly what the highlighted ingredients are and can shop the line based on your skin needs rather than trying to weed through the claims.
If you’re not sure where to begin but you know you want to support Hyram, try the cleanser and moisturizer (or even just one of them). You’ll enjoy the simple and effective duo and get to try the trendiest skincare brand out there right now.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.