For years, I assumed the mentality of a serial Tinder swiper when it comes to skincare products: Anything will do. My skin regimen was sporadic, consisting of product samples from Ulta and whatever colorful tube caught my eye at CVS. At age 20, I’d accepted having acne as an inevitable part of life, like sleeping or eating, and resigned myself to bemoaning pimples until old age.
Then I got on TikTok. Soon enough, the algorithm introduced me to Hyram, a Honolulu-based “skincare specialist” who has garnered four million subscribers on YouTube and six million on TikTok at the time of publication. Hyram became a beacon in the Gen Z skincare space in 2020—a single mention from him can make or break a brand for viewers. (Take Kosas, a skincare brand whose website sales reportedly tripled within 48 hours of a Hyram mention.)
With his informative and sassy videos, Hyram opened my eyes to the folly of my skincare ways. I binged his YouTube playlist “Skin Care 101” in one sitting and learned how to identify my skin type and how to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize. I can say with confidence that I learned more about skincare in less than one hour from Hyram than I did in 20 years of trial and error.
So I tossed my old samples and decided to start a Hyram-sanctioned skincare routine. For three months, I used only four products he recommended. Now I’m here to tell you if he led me astray or to clear-skinned bliss.
I decided to keep my routine to just the essentials—a cleanser, exfoliant, moisturizer and sunscreen. Every video in the “Skin Care 101” series includes product recommendations curated specifically for each skin type, so I fever-scrolled to the links in the description to check out which ones would best suit me.
Because of my dry cheeks and oily T-zone, Hyram helped me identify that I have combination skin. From there, I shopped the products he suggested for combination skin and made sure the total cost of my routine would fit within my budget of $100. Finally, I started on my skincare journey.
What it claims: Though Hyram recommended the Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser for combination/oily skin types, I went with his Krave cleanser suggestion because of the $20 price difference. Hyram said the two cleansers are very similar—the difference being Krave offers more hydration and could therefore especially benefit dry skin—so I decided to stick with the budget pick. The Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser is a water-based gel cleanser that claims to remove impurities and irritants without leaving behind a tight, dry feeling. It uses coconut-based surfactants to cleanse the skin without stripping it and matcha and hemp seed oil to “restore essential amino acids and antioxidants.” It’s supposed to be a gentle, bouncy cleanser.
What it’s like to use: This was the first step of my new routine, and as claimed, the Krave cleanser felt very gentle and rinsed off my skin almost as easy as water. The green gel lathered into a thin, white foam, had a hint of a matcha smell, and left no tight after-feeling. This is a great option if you’re looking for a silky cleanser that feels like it glides around your face, but it might not be the move if you’re looking for a product that takes off super heavy make-up in one go. I was generally fine with this, but next time around, I’ll use this as a second step following an oil-based cleanser in a double cleanse system to make sure I’m removing makeup and excess oil. Or I’ll splurge and try Hyram’s Youth to the People suggestion to target my combination skin.
What it claims: The Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Exfoliant is a cult-favorite product among skincare fanatics with over 20,000 reviews and a 4.6-star rating on Amazon. It’s a leave-on exfoliant made with salicylic acid that claims to unclog pores, even out wrinkles, and brighten skin tone. BHA (beta hydroxy acid) helps the skin shed its old layers, and the product is gentle enough to be used twice daily after cleansing. One of its product reviews even compares it to the Holy Grail, so naturally, I was curious to see whether this was a slight exaggeration or a plain misnomer.
What it’s like to use: This was my first time trying any chemical exfoliant—I’d previously only used physical ones thinking they cleaned pores better. (Hyram—who abhors physical exfoliants like the St. Ives Apricot Scrub—is screaming somewhere). Why did no one tell me about chemical exfoliants sooner? The Paula’s Choice exfoliant didn’t make my skin feel raw or tight like scrubs do, and it was easy to apply with a cotton pad or my fingertips. It has a noticeable alcohol smell, but it’s not strong enough to offend the nose. I used the exfoliant after the Krave cleanser in the morning and at night, and after a few weeks, I started to see results. I’ve had persistent acne and bumps on my forehead for years, and with this product, that area was the smoothest I’ve seen it in six years. Not to say the bumps completely disappeared or I didn’t get the occasional zit, but still—progress. This is a great option for anyone looking to address acne bumps and scars. I did, however, start to feel like my results were plateauing at the end of the three months. Not my Holy Grail, but a Super Solid Grail for sure.
What it claims: The Evenprime Daily Moisturizer is a daily moisturizer that claims to control excess oil and shine, strengthen the skin barrier, and fight signs of aging. It uses centella asiatica (an herb also called cica) and allantoin (a chemical extracted from plants or made synthetically) to soothe redness, niacinamide and galactomyces (a type of fungi) to improve the appearance of large pores, and licorice root extract and madecassoside (from the aforementioned cica plant) to “combat the effects of environmental stress.” It’s main selling point, though, is that it’s a lightweight and non-greasy moisturizer.
What it’s like to use: I want to be buried with the Evenprime Daily Moisturizer. Just from my vain, surface-level observations of this product, the packaging is impeccable. The pump is so functional that I had passing urges to press it for fun. The moisturizer comes out a creamy, thin consistency and lives up to its claims of feeling lightweight on the skin. I’d sometimes second guess whether I’d already applied it due to how well it absorbed into the skin, leaving no shininess. If you’re looking for a thicker moisturizer, especially if you have dry skin or live in colder climates, this might not be your end-all-be-all. But, on my combination skin, it felt smooth and sufficient and kept my perpetually oily T-zone at bay throughout the day.
Get the Evenprime Daily Moisturizer for $32
What it claims: The Krave Beauty Beet Shield is a sunscreen with SPF 50+ advertised as a “lightweight, soothing day fluid that protects skin from environmental aggressors,” like the sun or pollutants. You’re instructed to “think of it as your own Secret Service”—it should protect you from the harrowing threat of turning into a beet (i.e. getting sunburnt). It uses beetroot extract to reduce hyperpigmentation and vitamin C to brighten skin. It also claims to work as a non-greasy makeup primer when used as the last step of your morning skincare routine, and unlike many sunscreens, it shouldn’t leave a white cast.
What it’s like to use: Prior to this product, I had associated sunscreen with sticky toddlers at public beaches and deemed it another necessary evil of life. The Beet Shield changed my mind. Not only is this product super easy to apply, but Krave Beauty is not messing around with its no white cast claim. The product is a light yellow color and dispenses out of a compact, squeezable cylinder. It feels more like a makeup primer than a sunscreen because of its skin-smoothing effects, and it leaves zero lingering residue, making it a great option for any skin tone. Also, the smell—this is a sunscreen that won’t remind you of your great-uncle Jerry from Naples. Instead, it smells slightly fruity and floral. This was the last step of my routine, and it made the process of applying sunscreen not only tolerable but enjoyable. I applied a bean-sized amount of product every morning, and it was so lightweight that I didn’t feel like it clogged my pores or made me oilier throughout the day. And did I mention the SPF 50+ yet? Does it get any better than that?
Three months later, I feel more confident about my skin than I have since middle school. I see less redness, more evenness in tone and, overall, less acne. I also feel better knowing I’m protecting my skin with regular sunscreen application. This hasn’t completely cleared my skin or eliminated my acne, but solidifying a regular routine reduced the frequency of my breakouts. This routine—and Hyram’s advice in general—has made my skin concerns feel more manageable.
I’m not letting the Krave Beauty The Beet Shield and the Evenprime Daily Moisturizer out of my sight. I’m in love with how both look and feel on my skin, and how easy they are to apply. After my foray into skincare, I feel emboldened to try new products, too. For example, I liked the Paula’s Choice exfoliant, but I’m interested in trying other chemical exfoliants as I address acne scarring, and I also plan to experiment with cleansers for a double cleanse system. Also—why not spice things up? Now that I’ve solidified the four main steps of my routine, maybe I’ll try a serum or an eye cream. Time to go wild.
One thing’s for certain, though: Whatever new products I try, I’ll only use them if they have Hyram’s seal of approval. He has yet to lead me astray. These three months have been the longest period of sustained time I’ve felt confident about my skin, and, for the first time, I feel I have the tools and desire to craft a good routine for myself. Hyram’s cult has officially increased by one.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.