This is a brutally honest review of Selfless by Hyram, a skincare line that aims to create social change while having gentle yet effective ingredients. This line is built for everyone, and Cassandra is going to speak openly about her before-and-after experience upon using it on her oily, acne-prone skin. Moreover, she's going to cover some controversies about the brand, her concerns, and her not-so-favorite products. However, there are definitely things she appreciates about the brand.
To begin with, the brand has strong message of sustainability, and upon first glance, it seemed like greenwashed, overpriced skincare. With that being said, these types of brands are normally ineffective. They're often just another thing for influencers to slap their name on so they can make a quick buck. But, Cassandra wanted to see if Selfless by Hyram is a truly efficacious, affordable, skincare brand.
Furthermore, another thing that distinguished the brand was it's non-traditional approach. This is not a celebrity skincare line. Rather, it's powered by The Inkey List. Hyram is a co-founder along with Mark and Colette, the ones who have founded The Inkey List among other products. Cassandra has taken partnerships with the Inkey List before as well, and she genuinely loves their brand. The InkeyList is affordable and efficacious, but in this review, we’re removing all bias and looking at the skincare line objectively. So, let's begin reviewing the cleanser since it's the first step in a skincare routine.
Centella & Green Tea Hydrating Gel Cleanser -$16
Overall, this cleanser was like a 6 or 7 out of 10. The brand says this product helps to fight climate change upon being purchased. Selfless by Hyram partners with two charities, and they donate specific amounts from each product to those charities.
Regarding the formula itself, it is five fluid ounces, making it the most ample of all the line's products. When Cassandra first used the hydrating cleanser on her oily-prone skin, she was skeptical about whether it would give her a full cleanse. However, it seemed to clean her skin well, and as Hyram loves, it was very gentle and fragrance-free.
This cleanser is very comparable to the Pyang Kang Yul acne cleanser but for non-acne purposes. It is very gentle, and it gives a mild lather.
Cassandra did try it while wearing mascara and brow products, and yes, it worked without double cleansing! At the same time though, it did not leave her feeling stripped or irritated which was really refreshing. Cassandra was not expecting it to work that well.
But, it turned out to be a nice, gel cleanser that grew on her. When it comes to ingredients, they’re pretty basic and relatively non-irritating. It contains centella asiatica or tiger grass, an ingredient Cassandra loves. This ingredient is great for antioxidant and soothing properties, and there's also green tea which has potentially beneficial components like caffeine and catagens
However, will these ingredients even work on the skin in such small quantities? Plus, this is a cleanser. Cleansers only stay on the skin for 60 seconds to three minutes. Then, you wash them down the drain.
Nevertheless, Cassandra found this cleanser to be enjoyable, but is it truly worth $20? If the antioxidants are just going to be rinsed off, will they do good work for your skin?
For Cassandra, the cleanser worked fine, but she doesn’t think it’s for everyone though. And specifically for her oily-prone, it was just okay.
Next, let's cover the line's serums. The packaging for the serums originally put Cassandra off because it’s really hard to get the product out of it, and it wasn’t until later that Cassandra discovered that you have to squeeze the bottle from the top. But even when you squeeze a lot, you get a very small amount. From a perspective of waste, Cassandra thinks that’s great because it prevents consumers from overusing. But simultaneously, Cassandra wonders if using less of an amount led to her seeing fewer results.
Selfless by Hyram Serums
Cassandra first began with the mandelic acid serum
Mandelic Acid & Rice Bran Gentle Exfoliating Serum 1Fl oz -$20.50
This serum is marketed to be safe for all skin types. But, when Cassandra used it on her more sensitive skin days, it did leave a tingling feeling, meaning it wasn’t completely sting-free. Granted, it could have been because of other products she uses. Overall though, this serum didn’t irritate Cassandra’s skin too much.
It's a very nice exfoliant with gentle polyhydroxy acids, and the PHAs work well with the mandelic acid.
Polyhydroxy acids are very large molecules that sit on top of the skin and gently exfoliate the outer layer. So, they don't penetrate the skin very deeply. But, for someone new to chemical exfoliation, it’s a great AHA. And in regards to the rice bran, this ingredient contains beta-glucans which are very soothing. The formula also contains a small amount of salicylic acid, a BHA.
Salicylic acid is oil-soluble and works in tandem with mandelic acid. Together, they create a potent but effective AHA/BHA blend that combats oiliness. The formula also has some bonus ingredients like gluconolactone, phytic acid, and niacinamide.
Retinol & Rainbow Algae Repair Serum -$24.50
This product is one of Hyram’s favorites, and Cassandra loves retinol in her skincare routine too. The rainbow algae sounds super amazing so Cassandra thought she was going to love this one. But in reality, it was slightly disappointing. Cassandra only tried it for about a week and a half, but it was not a slam dunk. She does like that it helps to fight climate change. But, when it comes to the ingredients and how they worked on her skin, it doesn't seem to absorb well.
The product is an off-white color and contains encapsulated retinol. Encapsulated retinol releases slowly throughout the day, and it is more gentle on the skin.
In regards to the retinol, Cassandra knows a dermatologist who had an issue with how the retinol component of this product was marketed. Although retinoids are the gold standard in dermatology, this retinol was marketed by the brand as if it does something new or unique. They claim that retinol in this product is different because it helps with acne, fine lines, wrinkling, scarring, and hyperpigmentation. But that’s what all retinoids do! It’s not a problem that these benefits are being promoted, but to say that the formula is unique for this is a stretch.
However, it is indeed wonderful that the retinol is encapsulated with phospholipids and combined with squalane. This makes it very gentle on the skin. What's even better is that this product also contains tranexamic acid. Tranexamic acid is very effective, and it’s very stable within the formula. So overall, the ingredients are great, but Cassandra didn't see major results, especially for the price.
To be honest, Cassandra likes the retinol from the Inkey List much more. It’s less expensive, easier to get out of the package, more potent, and it absorbs better. As someone with acne-prone skin, Cassandra is accustomed to using products that are more potent and efficacious. This isn’t something she'd use again, and it actually contributed to some of the breakouts she experienced.
As for the rainbow algae, Cassandra thinks it’s cool, but she isn’t necessarily sure about how it works on the skin. She's never heard of it in skincare even though many types of algae are used in beauty products.
So, she's not sure if the ingredient truly works. When Cassandra looked it up, she did find a non-medical article describing its benefits. According to the article, rainbow algae grows underwater, and it has a rainbow appearance. Supposedly, it leads to the evening of skin. But, the article never mentions rainbow algae being a tyrosinase inhibitoror anything, and it's benefit isn't clear. So, Cassandra would not consider it an active ingredient, an ingredient that’s proven to treat skin concerns.
Salicylic Acid & Sea Kelp Pore Clearing and Oil Control Serum -$20.50
Next, we have the salicylic acid sea kelp serum which donates to the fight against climate change. At first, Cassandra loved the ingredients, but she hated the stickiness. Then, upon using it a bit more, she realized that it was sticky and pilling because she was using too much. The way it combines with other serums might make it sticky too. But, when Cassandra used the right amount, it worked very well.
Although it’s not the most potent salicylic acid, it’s gentle, non-drying, and slightly combats acne without stinging the skin. It is very smooth, and Cassandra loves that it has sea kelp in it. This product was harvested in California, and Cassandra’s skin truly liked it. This also has key ingredients like niacinamide and succinic acid. Succinic acid helps to prevent free radical damage and soothe the skin. Succinic acid is one of Cassandra's favorite products from The Inkey List, but this Selfless by Hyram product is very different.
For one, it’s not green like The Inkey List's, and it’s a liquid whereas the other one is more of a paste. The Inkey List one balls up on skin if you use too much, but this one doesn’t do that at all. It absorbs very well and nicely. This serum has niacinamide too, and once she finally used the right amount, the serum blew Cassandra away. However, it didn’t get rid of her acne. It’s mostly for young teenagers who are struggling with acne that is not severe or cystic. Overall, it's abundant with skin-supporting ingredients, and it’s her favorite product from the entire line.
Niacinamide & Maracujá Daily Barrier Support Moisturizer -$20.50
The purpose behind this moisturizer is to support health equality. Cassandra had very high expectations for this moisturizer, and she thought she was going to love it. But, she was not a fan. Maracuja (passionfruit) is something that Cassandra has used from Tarte cosmetics, and it has a small amount of antioxidants, but it doesn't have that much vitamin C.
This product is basically an antioxidant-infused oil that adds some slip to the skin and gives it a nice glow. This product has also propanediol, some different seed butters, and a couple of different olive ingredients like olive leaf extract. This also has ethyl oleate and madecassoside, better known as tiger grass or centella asiatica.
These ingredients provide an antioxidant boost as well, and they are humectants that hold moisture into the skin. This moisturizer is made for day and night use, and it’s supposed to be for everyone. Cassandra has oily acne-prone skin so she thought it would be awesome, but this was not a win for Cassandra. It absorbs very nicely into the skin, and it comes nicely out of the package, but Cassandra doesn’t feel like it’s very hydrating. Rather, it just kind of absorbs on the skin. It's underwhelming, and it’s almost like you need to apply another moisturizer on top. For Cassandra, this was surprising since she’s oily and acne prone and normally doesn’t need another moisturizer.
The next product to review would have been a sunscreen, but Selfless by Hyram has not created one yet. This was the one thing Cassandra felt was missing from the line. The Inkey List does have a sunscreen, but it’s not available in the US so Cassandra hasn’t been able to try it.
However, all of the Selfless by Hyram products layer well even though they peeled sometimes. This was especially true for the niacinamide, salicylic acid, and sea kelp product. It wasn’t bad, but she could see it coming off in clumps on her skin.
Who is Selfless by Hyram for?
Based on the price, Cassandra thought this would be for Hyram’s primary demographic, Gen Z . Gen Z cares so much about the environment and social good. Cassandra aligns with this as well, and she loves to see it. Brands like this spark a ton of pressure from other large conglomerates in the industry to step their sustainability up.
The ideal customer for this line is someone who’s starting a skincare routine for the first time, someone who doesn’t necessarily know how ingredients work and the science behind them. In regards to whether it's for sensitive skin, the ingredients are relatively non-irritating. But of course, whenever there are actives present, you can develop sensitivity or a breakout.
This is also a great skincare line for people who want to use something efficacious and support a purpose-driven brand. However, we don’t know what amount of proceeds are being donated.
What skin type is Selfless by Hyram for?
This product is not overly stripping, but it’s not that potent either. So while it’s “made for everyone,” it's still not going to take care of oily-prone, acne-prone skin. Another thing to consider is whether or not putting mandelic acid, salicylic acid, and rice bran is truly best for sensitive skin. So, while it is one of the better fragrance-free options on the market, it’s not absolutely perfect for sensitive skin.
In review, Selfless by Hyram reminds Cassandra of K-beauty and a little bit of Clear Start from Dermalogica. She prefers it much more to Cetaphil. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, and if you had to choose, Cassandra would suggest sticking to the two serums.