Updated: Oct 27, 2020
How Social Media Is Changing the Health Industry
Hyram Yarbro lives a quiet life in his home in Hawaii. He wakes up around 7 AM each morning to attend meetings for a few hours and finds solace in keeping busy with work throughout the day. After attending meetings and filming some content for his social channels, Hyram checks in with his social media followers -- all 6.2 million of them.
Hyram’s content blew up at the beginning of quarantine - going from 2,000 followers in January 2019 to 6.2 million followers in a year and a half. In the world of content creators and social media influencers, these numbers in such a short amount of time are almost unheard of. However, Hyram’s charismatic outlook on life paired with his tips and tricks for skincare won over the hearts of a primarily Gen Z and Millennial audience as his content rose to the top of numerous social channels. Because of this, Hyram has been given the title of: “The Future of Gen Z Skincare and Activism.”
After sitting down and chatting with Hyram, CulturIntel was able to learn a little bit more about the 24-year-old viral TikTok star along with more about the “why” behind his content.
What got you into the skincare industry?
“I originally started out as a makeup artist and loved the sales environment. I would watch people spend upwards of $1,000 and I started to become interested in what made these products so expensive. I quickly realized that a lot of the product’s ingredients were not worth the price point and a lot were actually damaging for the skin. I found this to be unethical, so I started doing my own personal research. Now, I am working with chemists and dermatologists to help people realize which products are worth it and which are not.”
What inspired you to become a content creator?
“I honestly never anticipated to become a content creator full time, it is nothing similar to what I majored to in college. Since I was a makeup artist, I would always watch makeup tutorials and reviews on YouTube. I started to make my own makeup videos just for fun. When I didn’t really like the outcome of those videos, I switched over to skincare because I was knowledgeable on the topic. Making videos was always just for fun and my own personal enjoyment rather than a job. Once I reached 2,000 followers in January of 2019, I started to see lots more engagement and started putting more effort into my content. I never believed my videos would go beyond just being for my personal enjoyment.”
When did you notice that the engagement with your content started to skyrocket?
“Similarly to YouTube, I was hesitant to start making TikToks. I was already so busy and had a lot on my plate with YouTube content, but I made TikToks for fun and put out similar content to my YouTube channel. Like everyone else at the beginning of quarantine during the pandemic, I spent a lot of time on social media. The TikTok algorithm picked up my videos and, since a lot of people were already on their phones, my videos were being shown to millions of other people also spending lots of time on social media. Once my TikToks started to gain momentum, I noticed my engagement and follower count growing extremely rapidly as well.”
While the viral TikTok star is now one of the largest creators on the app, along with quickly rising to the top of multiple other platforms, Hyram states that the biggest shock to him was the normalcy of how his life still feels after rising to fame. He states that so many aspects of his life have changed as a result of creating content, but he enjoys the aspect that it all still feels as normal to him as when he first began. He says there is no pressure with creating content because it is still for his own personal enjoyment and he constantly wants to produce content that he is personally proud of, but people engaging with the content is just the icing on top of the cake.
Hyram also opens up about the overwhelming positivity he now receives on social media after going viral, as the initial negative backlash from the online community often made him feel restricted about posting online. Opening up about mental health, especially in the online community where influencers depict having “perfect” lives, is really important to Hyram as he is an advocate for mental health himself.
It’s no secret that acne and “imperfect” skin can have a huge impact on mental health, especially with younger audiences constantly comparing themselves to the “perfect” influencers they see on social media. What are your thoughts and what is your advice to someone currently struggling with acne?
“Everyone’s skincare journey is different. The process of getting clear skin is often slow and is very rarely quick. It takes so much patience and understanding that different products work differently for everyone. There is so much testing and experimentation involved to find out what works best for you. You have to find out what works with your complexion and roll with it. People also frequently compliment my skin or compare themselves to other influencers online. A lot of them don’t realize that good cameras and lighting help more than you think. Nobody has “perfect” skin up close, but anyone can have good looking skin on camera, so you shouldn’t try to compare yourself to what you see on a screen.”
CulturIntel uses an AI-powered algorithm to mine the internet of unsolicited data points across numerous locations and segments. Multiple CulturIntel studies have proven that minorities often lack the proper resources for healthcare and health-related issues. Because of new social channels such as TikTok, many doctors, lawyers, and health professionals are hopping on the trend of providing free information and resources for those who may not be able to afford this information otherwise.
For example, Anthony Barbuto is one of the many lawyers one Tiktok who provides information and tips for different law-related conversations with his own personal twist to appeal to younger audiences. Not only does Barbuto provide free resources about law and specific topics, but he also dances and lip syncs to popular TikTok songs while doing so.
Hyram comments that he has learned so much more about real-life events and information than he had ever learned in high school or college. He says that access to medical advice can be very expensive and believes social media helps people answer the questions they want to know without the crazy costs.
Hyram believes that it is very important for people to know their rights with law, which is an aspect social media also provides. On his end, he helps people learn about the basic level of taking care of their health and skin while also using social media resources from health professionals to ensure that he is providing accurate and helpful information to his own audience as well.
Besides skincare, Hyram is well known for his activism as he often goes to great lengths to inform his audience about good (or meaningful) causes and how to take action.
How important is inclusivity in a skincare brand for you and do you have any skin care tips specific for People of Color?
“Selfless is a second YouTube channel of mine that is being “Accessibility for everyone is what’s most important to me with a skincare brand, especially when it comes to price point and inclusivity. I want to recommend products that include everyone. I know that having fragrance in skincare products can be non-inclusive as some skin types do not react well when it comes to fragrances, so I tend to lean towards products that are fragrance-free.
There are also still so many undertones of racism and racist beliefs in skincare that people still don’t talk about. For example, sunscreen can be a very controversial product as it often leaves as white cast on darker skin tones. I do feel skin care is universal, however, I also feel that I can not speak for other ethnicities when it comes to their skin and skin care routine, so I like to direct my followers to other BlPOC and POC content creators or dermatologists who speak on similar topics.”
What is your personal brand “Selfless” that you are currently developing and how can people get involved?
“Selfless is a second YouTube channel of mine that is being used to educate people on the social issues often being ignored. Regardless of if we have money or not, through social media, we have access to so much information on different things and problems going on in the world. The purpose of Selfless is to shine a light on these problems and provide a solution. My goal is to work with other content creators to help spread awareness on these issues going on in the world and how everyone can help. People can start getting involved by subscribing to the Selfless YouTube channel as I will begin making more and more videos and providing different resources through the videos.”
All in all, Hyram emphasizes that his rise to social media fame came as a complete shock to him and it has been an amazing, empowering experience. However, for Hyram, it’s more than skin deep. Skincare is a catalyst for him to start helping people in a more meaningful sense. Helping people with their confidence, inspiring people to do good things, and reminding everyone to be good others are just some of the things that he wants to be known and remembered for.
Hyram Yarbro wants to help people want to make the world a better place. When people think of him, he wants them to have the urge to do something amazing and create great principles for their own lives, all while helping others and helping the rest of the world. Hyram’s goal is to create a domino effect of meaningful actions, going beyond skincare, and empowering anyone who comes across his content.