“More than anything I always like to look at the ingredient list. I look past marketing or branding or cute packaging or anything like that or even express results,” Hyram says.
“For me to approve it, I usually keep in mind not just my skin but the people who are watching my videos, because any products that I use I want to talk about on my channel, but I want to make sure they’re as accessible as possible (for people with sensitive skin).
“The ingredient list will really help me navigate that and if I see a lot of really beneficial, moisturising ingredients, active ingredients, barrier protecting ingredients, there’s a good chance I’m really going to love it. If there’s a lot of irritants, harsh treatments, unnecessary components that could irritate the skin, then I’m more than likely not going to recommend the product.
“There’s also other factors that are relative to that as well like what the brand’s positioning is overall, and also the price-point of a product; because, I will say, if a product is in the high luxury tier, even if it has a good ingredient list, I would hesitate to recommend it to my audience.”
In order to endorse a particular skincare product, Hyram tells us he usually trials it for at least a month to two months before providing his final verdict. The exception is if he’s reacting to the product where he disclaims in his videos that he is merely reading the ingredients list.
“I wish my skin could tolerate trying every single product out there but it’s just not the healthiest for the skin, so I do react to a lot of products and, in that sense, I’ll look through the ingredients list and, if I see a product has a lot of really beneficial ingredients that are great for the skin, a lot of the times I say ‘This looks like a really great ingredient list'," he says.
“But as far as more personalised recommendations that are about the experience and results, that’s definitely something that I want to use before recommending it to people.”
When asked if he has ever initially approved a product before retracting the recommendation further down the track, Hyram confessed he has - owing the change of heart largely to a subscriber.
“I remember there was a product at the very beginning of my channel when I was still learning about skin sensitivity and irritation and just barely starting into my YouTube journey, and this product is discontinued I believe, but it was the Origins Zero Oil moisturiser," he says.
“I was talking about how much I loved it, how beneficial it was, and I had a subscriber kind of call me out and say ‘Hyram, this product has a lot of fragrant essential oils which can be irritating to the skin – you might want to check through the ingredients list’. And once I read through the ingredients list and kind of had a little bit of a wake up call, it helped me understand more what to look out for when it comes to potentially irritating fragrant essential oils.”
Hyram tells us that being held accountable by his subscribers in this fashion has been “amazing”.
“It’s one of my favourite things because it’s played such a critical role in me being able to grow and having moments where my subscribers will say ‘No that’s not right’ or ‘You should look at these studies’, ‘You should look at this data’, ‘You should watch this person’ and how they encourage me to educate myself more. It’s really great.”
Over time, the skincare expert explains he has developed a greater understanding of his skin and how to spot results while using products.
“Because I’ve had time and experience to know what to look for when it comes to testing out a product, it helps me understand a lot more quickly what I think about a product say than when I first started into skincare where I didn’t really know what to look for," Hyram says.
When it comes to navigating ingredients lists, being able to identify hidden nasties can be difficult if you’re not a skincare expert. Hyram shares his tips for spotting ingredients that you might not want to be lathering onto your face.
“It’s always a good idea to kind of look at the first five ingredients in the formula - the first five to ten - because it gives you a good idea of what the formula has overall, and that will really give you a good idea of: What are the main ingredients in this? How do they affect the skin? Are they really beneficial for the skin?
“One of the things I recommend people kind of look for is undisclosed fragrance. If you see ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ or something like that – just because it can be a masking ingredient for potentially hundreds of ingredients all under that one term and it’s hard to know what’s in it and how our skin is going to respond to it.”
Hyram goes on to advise against purchasing skincare products where alcohol is listed as an ingredient, as well as paying special attention to the packaging.
“A lot of brands are starting to be more transparent about what percentages of actives they use and if you see a product has – this is an extreme example – but say it has 40% glycolic acid – that’s a sign that this is definitely going to be really strong and potentially irritating for the skin.”
Overall, the skincare expert recommends opting for products with concise ingredients list as they will lessen the risk of potential sensitivity and reactions.
Hyram’s passion and knowledge surrounding skincare is what led him to create his own range, Selfless by Hyram. According to the TikToker, its creation was both stressful and rewarding.
“For the first few years essentially working on it, it was very stressful but in a good way, because I think, for me, launching a brand without that attention to detail wouldn’t be OK with me. Since launching it’s just been a sigh of relief and it’s just been so cool seeing the positive response.”
What’s more, Hyram’s range also helps provide clean drinking water and protect tropical forests from deforestation. With skincare and philanthropy being his main passions in life, the YouTuber stresses he is “so fortunate and grateful” to be able to make a career out of the combination, emphasising just how critical ethical and sustainable skincare is in the current climate.
“I didn’t want to start a skincare brand until I realised it could be a catalyst for social change and, for me, I was looking for an opportunity to be able to use my platform to channel it towards bigger issues and social good; it was only when I realised that pairing my passion for skincare with that desire would fill a really big void in the space.
“Having been in the cosmetic industry for a while, it’s an amazing industry that’s focused on self-empowerment, self-beauty and self-love, but in this exploding space that consumers know is very profitable, I felt that there needed to be more focus on philanthropy and social good and talking about bigger issues, especially in this current climate with the world rapidly descending into climate change and so many different problems happening around the world; human rights problems, lack of access to basic resources.”
Hyram goes on to say how “encouraging” it is that Gen Z as a generation is “extremely passionate about social issues”. And he hopes that because “people really believe in the mission”, this will start more conversations about how to utilise these platforms to bring attention to important issues, as well as offer solutions.
The 25-year-old says that philanthropy is “pretty much the central focus” of his brand. “My team kind of has to remind me: ‘Hyram, remember people are interested in skincare, talk about the skincare, don’t just talk about the social change part’ and I’m like ‘I know, I just love it so much. I’m so excited about this’.”
Selfless by Hyram is available in all Sephora locations - in 29 countries - as well as online.
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