Hyram and the Everyday People’s Skincare Revolution

“Before my big break in 2019, I was at about 50,000 followers,” Yarbro told the Observer. “I then went from 50,000 to about 500,000 followers in less than two weeks.”

Hyram in Hawaii
(Selfless by Hyram)

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If you’ve ever wondered if you can use lube as a makeup primer, Hyram Yarbro (@skincarebyhyram, 6.5M TikTok)  is here for you. (Short answer: you can, but that doesn’t mean you should.) I recently spoke with the 25-year-old beauty connoisseur who has built a following around skincare advice. Yarbro even has his own line of products “powered by” the personalized skincare company The Inkey List. He reviews serums and sunscreens in sassy YouTube videos and shares short-form wisdom in TikToks. 

From Living on a Cattle Ranch To Becoming a Full-time Beauty Guru

Yarbro, who grew up on a cattle ranch in Arizona, moved to Hawaii to attend Brigham Young University. He studied international cultural studies, peace building, anthropology, and entrepreneurship. After BYU-Hawaii, however, Yarbro worked as a makeup artist at Saks 5th Avenue. He began to cultivate an interest in skincare, but he noticed that there were not enough resources available for people who aren’t beauty gurus. So in 2017 he started making YouTube videos targeted towards general consumers.

“I felt that there was so much out there to be learned, but it wasn’t being presented in a way that was understandable to the average person who, you know, most more than likely didn’t even know they needed to do a skincare routine just like me,” he said.

When Yarbro decided to devote himself more to his brand, he was only making $30 or $50 dollars a month off of his YouTube channel. But he was excited about the possibilities that would come with a large social media following and decided to invest in his passion.

“Before my big break in 2019, I was at about 50,000 followers,” Yarbro said. “I then went from 50,000 to about 500,000 followers in less than two weeks.”
And when he joined TikTok in May 2020, his brand achieved more notoriety. Now he has 6.5 million followers on the platform, 4.59 million YouTube subscribers, and 1.1 million Instagram followers.

“I think TikTok has definitely been part of my growth and recognizability! Having started on YouTube, I was able to build the YouTube community to over a million followers before starting on TikTok, but I certainly think TikTok played a role in the continued growth across all platforms and the opportunity to connect with a Gen Z audience,” Yarbro said.

He applies the same smart-but-simple talk on both platforms, and sees one TikTok as a sort of amuse-bouche to more main-course content on YouTube. “TikTok has played the biggest role in the explosion of skin care, and I love being able to follow up that content with deep dive videos on YouTube.”

Building a Beauty Brand

Carving out a niche as a beauty influencer can prove challenging for two reasons, Yarbro explained.
“Beauty definitely has, it is something that most people will interact with at some point in their life, whether it’s makeup or skincare,” Yarbro said. “So it’s something that pretty much on every level people can relate to.”

More than that though, beauty videos often center around specific products. A single video might feature 10 products, he said.

“So naturally there’s gonna be a lot more business opportunities,” Yarbro explained. “A lot more, you know, monetary opportunities. And because of that, there’s a lot of competition. So beauty is definitely one of the most difficult industries online to enter, but if you can find your own unique voice and your own unique value proposition, you know, something that you can provide to your subscribers that no one else is providing, that’s really where you can stick out.”

What makes Yarbro’s content stand out is what drew him to content creation in the first place: His focus on “simplified skincare information.”

Determining Strategic Brand Partnerships

Yarbro likes to say “ingredients don’t lie.” But his commitment to top-notch products can make it hard for him to find brands he wants to work with. Hyram said his high standards for skincare formulas force him to turn down around 90% of the brands that approach him for deals.“I just want to make sure that I’m recommending ingredient formulas that I’m really proud of,” he said. “And then I like to look at the brand, the messages that they’re promoting, the price points of the brand.”

Yarbro generally promotes products that are $50 and under, which sometimes excludes certain brands who might want to work with him. He also feels committed to serving as a real voice for his audience and doesn’t like to do scripted work.“That’s where I get kind of turned off because if I need the brand to know that any material I produce has to be from an authentic tone and has to be true to my opinions and my beliefs,” he said.

Yarbro makes money through affiliate earnings, where he gets percentages of sales on products he promotes if consumers use the links in his posts. He also generates income through ads that play before his videos on YouTube and he sometimes does brand sponsorships with brands that fit his criteria.

Misconceptions About Creators

“It’s a 24/7 job,” Yarbro said of being an influencer. “You don’t really get to have breaks because you always have to be connected and on the next trends. It can be pretty exhausting and the workload can be pretty severe, until you can build up a team to be able to kind of assist you with it.”

When I asked Yarbro how he responds to critics of influencers, he said he chooses not to engage.
“I have had my run-ins with people who don’t consider it a serious job,” he said. “And for me, I always prefer, you know, silence because, them discounting it and thinking it’s not legitimate is actively helping the people who are on it and the creators who are on the platform, because it’s less competition and more opportunity at the end of the day,” he added.

This interview was originally published in The Creators, a newsletter about the people powering the creator economy. Get it in your inbox before it’s online. 

Hyram and the Everyday People’s Skincare Revolution