Hyram Yarbro has been called the Gen Z whisperer.
The 24-year-old has taken his passion for skin care and shared his growing knowledge — while referencing experts like dermatologists, estheticians and scientists — with his 6.8 million TikTok fans, 4.44 million YouTube subscribers and 1.2 million Instagram followers.
For Yarbro, beauty starts with the ingredient list.
“I’m very picky, in particular about what I want in a product, and I think it’s because I am able to listen to all the concerns of my audience and gauge what kind of products they’re looking for, and I never want to make recommendations that would exclude a certain group of people,” Yarbro said at Beauty Inc’s Digital Forum in conversation with Alexa Tietjen, beauty and influencers editor at WWD.
His audience is Gen Z, 18- to 25-year-olds, he said, and 90 percent women.
“I have noticed that more men have been becoming more interested in my content and skin care in general, as originally it was about 3 percent of men watching my content and now it’s risen to 10 percent,” he added.
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When it comes to paid content, his philosophy of putting ingredients first has helped him navigate the landscape: “I’ve tried to be very purposeful about how I go about it, so fortunately my audience has responded very well to my paid content, and I think it’s because there’s this phrase I use on my channel all the time called ‘ingredients don’t lie.’ I try to be very transparent about what my ingredients standards are, what ingredients I like, what ingredients I don’t like and communicate that to my audience as much as possible so that they’re able to take that information and apply it to their personal skin care shopping.”
He collaborates with brands that take that standard into account, while also being sustainability-minded and creating products for all skin types and skin tones, he said. It’s what his audience expects of him.
“The amazing thing about it is that they can hold me accountable, based off of their mutual knowledge of the ingredient list,” said Yarbro, who grew up in Arizona before relocating to Hawaii. “I can’t, you know, work with brands that would stray from my personal skin care philosophy. The ingredient list is available to all of us as consumers….They’re able to really see through marketing, and not only that, I think they’re also very intentional, and they want to learn as much as they can. That’s one of the most incredible things about Gen Z.”
What brands are getting wrong today is putting too much focus on aesthetic, he said, and not enough on educating the consumer and showcasing science-driven data.
“Traditional marketing strategies of the past, where it’s all about branding, won’t go as far with this generation,” he said.
Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid are ingredients that have been most popular with Gen Z lately, he noted.
“I see an uptick in ingredients that are focused on reducing pigmentation and also ingredients that are focused on consumers with darker skin tones to be as accessible as possible,” he added. “So, we’re seeing things like tranexamic acid or even ingredients like licorice root extract start to be really popular.”