"Gen Z is really the first generation where skin care is fully adopted by everyone. It's almost an assumption that you have a skin-care routine," Skincare by Hyram's Hyram Yarbro, fresh from a "jetlag nap" (he arrived in New York City just hours before) tells Allure.
The 25-year-old is posted at a sun-drenched room at the Dominick Hotel in SoHo until he settles into an apartment nearby that will be his home for the next two months. Yarbro, who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, is giddy about spending the summer in downtown Manhattan. It's the first 90-degree day of the year, but Yarbro's wearing a fitted, navy button-up (his favorite Alexander McQueen "Harness" shirt) tucked into slim, black American Eagle jeans. Vans sneakers tone down his bling: a sizable silver and cubic zirconia tennis bracelet and earrings, both Pandora, and a pair of silver necklaces, designed by Rose Wong, a close friend of Yarbro's and founder of Kolohe, a Hawaiian jewelry brand.
"Literally right before my flight, I did five corporate office tours because it's at that point where I'm going to be scaling up more and more and more," Yarbro says. "Technically, I have five different assistants." He's in New York to debut his new skin-care brand, Selfless by Hyram, which goes on sale June 24 in close to 700 Sephora stores in 29 countries and on Sephora's e-commerce site. The five-product range retails from $20 to $30 and is said to be the beauty megastore's biggest launch since Rihanna's Fenty Beauty came out in 2017.
In a little over a year, Yarbro's gone from relative obscurity to beauty mogul. A one-man show with about 100,000 TikTok followers at the onset of the pandemic, now employs a team of eight to keep up with the demands of his rapid ascent as the go-to skinfluencer. By last summer, Yarbro surpassed over 5 million, mostly teenage TikTok followers who bought so much CeraVe (per his recommendation) that shelves at drugstores and Target were ransacked.
Yarbro's neither an aesthetician nor dermatologist, but that hasn't stopped Sephora from rallying behind Selfless by Hyram as the line's exclusive retail partner. "He's definitely a force," says Artemis Patrick, Sephora's executive vice president and global chief merchandising officer. "We know that public-facing founders like Hyram help to personify the brand and what they stand for, which is why they resonate with our clients."
It makes sense then that Yarbro's fans – nearly 7 million followers on TikTok and 4.6 million YouTube subscribers – became the ultimate focus group. The thousands of comments and DMs he gets per day from followers asking about their skin-care routines informed Selfless's first products. The majority of comments are from Gen Zs who are concerned with acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, Yarbro says.
Today, he's giving his followers a glimpse of his first product, a $30 Retinol & Rainbow Algae Night Repair Serum. It's made with an encapsulated retinol that's mild enough for teens, he explains, yet effective enough to appeal to their Millennial and Generation X parents. In the coming weeks, Yarbro will introduce products to his followers one at a time – culminating in the Sephora launch in three weeks.
"When I looked at what was available on the market, I was like, 'Nothing is necessarily provided or marketed to people who are struggling with those specific concerns,'" Yarbro explains. "Retinol has great benefits for repairing aging, but what if I could flip it on its head and utilize the benefits for hyperpigmentation or acne?"
"Gentle actives" are the pillar of the brand. Yarbro doesn't want to "fix" your skin in 15 minutes with a high percentage acid-packed mask that delivers instant results; he wants to be a seller of daily, preventative health care for your skin. He's focused on overall skin health, not just results.
"Hyram's audience is crazy young and trying to get that Gen Z consumer using gentle, effective actives is absolutely critical," says Colette Laxton, cofounder of Selfless by Hyram. Laxton and Mark Curry, cofounders of U.K.-based skin-care label, The Inkey List, teamed up with Yarbro to create Selfless by Hyram.
Even though Selfless is a separate brand, it's been able to use The Inkey List's expertise in the skin-care industry, Laxton explains. She and Curry co-own Be for Beauty, the parent company of The Inkey List and Selfless by Hyram. Previously, Yarbro's worked with The Inkey List several times in a paid capacity, including Instagram Lives and a collaboration on a limited-edition skin-care set. "The last thing I would want to introduce to the industry is some crazy powerful ingredients," Yarbro adds.
Selfless is in line with the skin-care philosophy that made Skincare by Hyram a must-follow YouTube channel and TikTok account. No products will contain fragrance, high percentages of active ingredients, physical exfoliants (like tiny beads or grainy, sand-like particles that slough off the skin), or essential oils. For each product, Yarbro pairs a hero active ingredient with a naturally derived substance, such as retinol and rainbow algae.
"They're using really tried-and-true ingredients with well-known and well-studied skin-care benefits, things like retinol," says Allen Sha, chemist and founder of Sha Consulting Group, a consultancy that works with skin-care and makeup lines in product development. Sha, unaffiliated with Selfless, has worked with brands such as Lancôme, Kiehl's, Beautycounter and Nyx Professional Makeup.
For Yarbro, where raw materials are sourced and how they're harvested are just as important as the actual ingredients. He includes sourcing information in addition to listing ingredients, an added touch sure to attract a Gen Z clientele who prioritize founders' beliefs. Yarbro says sourcing either "doesn't hurt the environment" or helps the environment grow or re-grow the ingredient. For example, the rainbow algae stems used to make the retinol serum are sourced from France and individually hand-cut to make sure roots are left intact to re-grow. A percentage of each purchase of this serum will be donated to Rainforest Trust, a nonprofit organization that works to protect tropical rainforests and endangered species. (A percentage of proceeds from other products in the range will benefit Thirst Project, which empowers youth activism to end the water crisis.)
Now that he's a founder, viewers will notice some changes to Yarbro's content. The brutally honest "The Truth About" series, featuring candid (and not always positive) reviews of some of the most popular beauty lines, will wind down. So will Yarbro's dramatic reaction videos to celebrity skin-care routines, many of which have gone viral. Yarbro will not stop working with other beauty brands, he says, but definitely plans to scale back the amount of paid partnerships he does. "I've made so much content surrounding that," Yarbro says. "So, if people want to find it they can find it. I don't feel there's a lot more I can contribute in that way."
Videos will become more Selfless by Hyram-centric. Once traveling is permitted, he'll fly to the places his materials are sourced, take viewers inside labs and manufacturing facilities and show the complexities of creating better-for-the-environment packaging. Is he worried that his viewership will fall off? Not at all. Yarbro's ethos remains the same: to give his followers the honest take on beauty that propelled him to "Gen Z Whisperer" status in the first place.
Instead of critiquing Charli D'Amelio's skin-care routine, Yarbro will take the followers behind the scenes of building a beauty brand. "I hope that YouTube can more be a platform where I can share my journey, share the process, share everything rather than be forever dedicated to this one scope of trying to achieve virality," Yarbro says.
Yarbro's skin-care brand, Selfless by Hyram, will retail for $20 to $30 and will be available exclusively at Sephora stores and sephora.com on June 24.
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Originally Appeared on Allure