There is a single person on the internet capturing the trust of all skincare enthusiasts. That person? Hyram Yarbro, known to YouTube as Skincare by Hyram, a Honolulu-based 24-year-old and “skincare specialist.”
If you’ve ever waded into the skincare side of YouTube, Tik Tok, or Instagram, you already know Hyram, and likely already know about his must-try products (in addition to his list of untouchables, like the infamous St. Ives Apricot Scrub). While he’s vocal about not being an expert—he’s not a dermatologist or licensed esthetician—he sees clients on a regular basis and works with skincare brand Youth to the People as an “educational trainer.” (He confirmed this in a video dated to Sept. 4, 2019, but it’s unclear if he still works with the brand at the time of publication.)
Hyram’s philosophy is that “the ingredients don’t lie” and everyone should search for the products that work best for their skin type. He also nixes products with essential oils or fragrances, as these can be irritating to the skin, and he says that great skincare doesn’t have to come at a high price (and high-priced skincare isn’t necessarily the best).
Below, we rounded up over a dozen Hyram-approved staples for you to incorporate into your skincare routine.
1. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Lightweight Hydrating Facial Cleanser
For anyone with very dry or flaky skin, Hyram recommends this drugstore cleanser, which washes away dirt and makeup without stripping the skin of its moisture. It even includes hyaluronic acid to help the skin keep its hydration, and it’s fragrance-free, making it a safer option for sensitive skin.
2. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser and Renewing SA Cleanser
If you have oily skin, Hyram recommends the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. It washes away dirt and oil while keeping the skin barrier intact with ceramides (lipids found in the outermost part of the skin) and calms redness and irritation with niacinamide.
For anyone with oily skin who also gets frequent breakouts, Hyram recommends the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, which uses similar ingredients but also includes salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin and keep acne at bay.
3. Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
If you have very sensitive skin and have yet to find a cleanser that doesn’t feel overly drying or irritating, Hyram says this one could be your golden ticket. The Vanicream cleanser is free of controversial ingredients, like dyes, fragrance, lanolin, and sulfates. It’s also oil-free and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores), making it great for anyone with oily or acne-prone skin, too.
Get the Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser on Amazon for $8.99
4. AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Exfoliating Powder Cleanser
You don’t need to spend a lot to get great skincare, but Hyram says this cleanser from luxury brand AmorePacific is worth the splurge for the instant results it gives.
This product starts out as a powder and turns into a foam once you add a little bit of water, and it uses green tea-derived probiotic enzymes to slough off dead skin cells. If your experience is like Hyram’s, you can expect glowy, smooth skin after every use.
5. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
After cleansing and before moisturizing, you can apply serums to the skin to target specific concerns, like uneven texture, redness, acne, or fine lines and wrinkles. First up on our Hyram-approved list is this one from The Ordinary, which claims to reduce skin blemishes and brighten the skin tone with niacinamide and regulate sebum and oil with zinc. Hyram calls one of his “favorite products of all time” and a “steal” for its price.
6. The Inkey List Q10 Antioxidant Serum
If your focus is on protecting the skin instead of targeting problem areas, Hyram swears by this serum from The Inkey List, which uses Co-Q10 (a “vitamin-like” substance found in the body that acts like an antioxidant) to protect the skin from pollution, Syn-Tacks (or peptides) to improve elasticity, and squalane (a moisturizing ingredient) to hydrate. Despite its small bottle, Hyram says it lasts a long time.
Get the The INKEY List Q10 Antioxidant Serum on Sephora for $6.99
7. The Inkey List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum
Sticking with the Inkey list, Hyram recommends this retinol. He says it’s great for anyone just beginning with the anti-aging ingredient, as he has never experienced any irritation while using it—which isn’t always the case, because retinol can burn or dry out the skin during the first several uses until your skin adjusts to how quickly the cells turn over.
This retinol works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but it also contains squalane to moisturize and soothe the skin. Just make sure you only apply this at night and remember to wear sunscreen during the day, as retinol can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
8. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
If you’re willing to splurge on a treatment, Hyram stands behind this popular one from Paula’s Choice. It claims to exfoliate, unclog pores, smooth wrinkles, and brighten the skin with salicylic acid, and it’s gentle enough to use morning and night. If you need more convincing, Hyram jokes that this must contain “magic” because it’s the only product that visibly shrinks his pores.
9. First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream
Just because your skin is oily does not mean you don’t need to moisturize. (In fact, you may even cause your skin to over-produce oil if you skip moisturizer.) But you can use a lightweight gel product like this one from First Aid Beauty to give your skin what it needs without adding a slick feeling.
This moisturizer uses coconut water to hydrate the skin, sodium hyaluronate (the salt of hyaluronic acid) to retain moisture that’ll plump up fine lines and wrinkles, and alteromonas ferment filtrate (a plant extract) to soothe and retain moisture.
10. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
If your skin leans more normal to dry, reach for a moisturizer with a cream formula over a gel one for your moisturizer. For this, Hyram recommends the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, which contains ceramides to protect the skin barrier and hyaluronic acid to maintain moisture. You can use it on the face and all over the body when your skin is especially parched.
11. Purito Comfy Water Sun Block SPF 50
As Hyram says, having a top-notch skincare routine means nothing if you don’t wear sunscreen. He prefers physical (a.k.a., mineral) sunscreens that sit on top of the skin and deflect the sun’s rays to keep them from penetrating the skin’s surface, as opposed to chemical sunscreens, which convert the sun’s UV rays into heat that’s then released into the air. Physical sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to provide protection.
Hyram loves this one from Purito because, in addition to being a physical sunscreen, it feels ultra lightweight on the skin, it’s fragrance-free, and barely leaves any whitecast—a rarity for mineral sunscreens.
12. Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen
If you want to pick up a sunscreen at the drugstore, Hyram has you covered there, too. He says this SPF 50 option from Neutrogena is ideal for anyone with sensitive skin, as it is free of ingredients like fragrance, parabens, phthalates, and dyes, and it includes colloidal oatmeal to soothe the skin and glycerin to hydrate.
13. Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask
When your skin is breaking out or feels clogged, reach for an exfoliating mask like this one Hyram raves about from Herbivore. It claims to use white willow bark extract (which contains salicylic acid) to unclog pores, fruit enzymes to exfoliate away dead skin cells, and blue tansy oil (Hyram typically stays clear of essential oils, but says he loves this mask enough that the inclusion of one doesn’t bother him in this case) to reduce redness and soothe irritation.
Hyram says this is the only exfoliating mask that leaves his skin glowing immediately and doesn’t cause redness or inflammation. You can leave this mask on for up to 20 minutes and use it two to three times per week for best results.
14. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
Hyram loves the gentle exfoliation that he gets from the Herbivore mask, but he also praises this affordable and mega-popular (read: beloved on Tik Tok) mask that is a bit more extreme. (You should only leave it on for 10 minutes and use it twice a week at most.) This mask includes glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, all of which exfoliate the skin, and Hyram says you’ll see a difference in your skin’s texture after just one use.
15. Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask Extreme Detoxifying Hydrator
For a mask that requires much less fuss (you can leave this on for as little as 10 minutes or as long as overnight and use it up to three times a week), look to this hydrating one from Peter Thomas Roth. It claims to soothe and hydrate the skin with cucumber extract, smooth the skin’s appearance with exfoliating papaya extract, and calm with chamomile extract. Hyram says this is the mask he recommends for any clients that need moisture and relief from sun irritation and damage.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.