Sun, Surf and Salads:
How YouTuber Hyram Yarbro Spends His Day Off in Honolulu
The skinfluencer enjoys a good cup of coffee, connecting with nature, and culturally rich experiences.
By Annie Harrigan and Hyram Yarbro
Published on 8/8/2023 at 12:00 PM
Hyram Yarbro – YouTuber and skinfluencer | Photo by Elyse Butler for Thrillist
Known online as Skincare by Hyram, Hyram Yarbro shot to fame on YouTube, making videos that review skincare products, offer skincare advice, and react to others’ skincare routines. In 2021, Yarbro dropped his own line of products, Selfless by Hyram, in collaboration with The Inkey List. Raised in Arizona, Yarbro has lived in Hawaii for the last eight years, where he continues to promote good skincare practices to his six million TikTok followers and four million YouTube subscribers—all while connecting with Hawaii’s nature and people.
I have lived in Hawaii for the last eight years. Moving here was an unexpected decision. I was planning on being an English teacher in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the program fell through and I was no longer able to travel there, so I had a last minute change of plans. At the time, I thought, “What is somewhere that is completely different from the little ranch town in the middle of Arizona that I grew up in?” Somewhere with lots of diversity and a strong culture. And that’s how I ended up picking Hawaii. I thought I was only going to be here for one, maybe two months, but I just absolutely fell in love with it here and decided to stick around.
I start my day off in Honolulu with a cup of coffee. I never grew up drinking coffee. The only type of coffee I would drink would be something like a pumpkin spice white chocolate cappuccino. I truly just did not like coffee. And then I was introduced to The Curb. The Curb is a small coffee spot that has helped me gain a true appreciation for the artistry and expertise behind making a good cup of coffee. Because of this spot, I’m now the type of person who only drinks black coffee. They have really helped me develop my passion for coffee. For the most part, I make my own coffee at home, but I do enjoy stopping by The Curb every once in a while too.
Koko Head | Photo by Elyse Butler for Thrillist
“I really enjoy experiencing nature in all ways, but I especially love to hike. The kinesthetic nature of hiking definitely pushes you to your limits, but I love how it gets my blood flowing and endorphins running.”
Another thing I’ve gained an appreciation for since moving to Hawaii is nature and having a connection with nature. It's pretty hard not to appreciate the absolutely breathtaking scenery in Hawaii. Growing up on a cattle ranch in Arizona, I, personally, didn’t find my surroundings very beautiful. But here, I’ve found I have a holistic, meditative and calming experience whenever I'm outside in nature. I especially noticed a dramatic increase in my appreciation for nature once I started working online. Sitting at home, being on a computer all day, and filming so many videos, I can get overwhelmed by not only technology but the [entire] online world—the constant inundation of comments, messages, emails, and notifications. So being in nature definitely centers me.
I really enjoy experiencing nature in all ways, but I especially love to hike. The kinesthetic nature of hiking definitely pushes you to your limits, and I love how it gets my blood flowing and endorphins running. One of my favorite spots to hike is Koko Head. There are a bunch of different trails, and I enjoy exploring them after work or on a day off when I want a short hike that isn’t too intense. While Koko Head is a relatively easy hike to do, whenever I do have the time, I am that crazy person who loves going on the six- or seven-hour hikes with thousands of feet of elevation gain. But on a casual day off, the Koko Head hike is perfect.
Another way I like to get my nature fix is by going to the beach and surfing. Surfing is something I only started a few years ago. I wasn't originally into it, mostly because I used to live on the North Shore of the island where there are famous international surfing competitions because of how massive and extreme the waves get. So I was always very intimidated by surfing. It was something that I had never tried until about two years ago. I started at Waikiki Beach and literally within 20 minutes of being in the water, I was like, “I am a fool for waiting six years to start surfing.” Like hiking, I find surfing and being out on the water to be a very meditative experience. And I love Waikiki Beach. Most legitimate surfers would probably say that Waikiki is not the best area to surf, but I love it because it's very calm. The waves are very chill and it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset. You get to see the entire city skyline and the sun setting on the water as you're catching the waves or you're just peacefully sitting on your board in the water. You don't have to worry about getting pounded by massive waves. I've even gotten to meet subscribers while I'm out surfing on the water, which is also super fun.
Waikiki Beach | Photo by Elyse Butler for Thrillist
“I love Waikiki Beach...You get to see the entire city skyline and the sun setting on the water as you're catching the waves or you're just peacefully sitting on your board in the water.”
When I’ve worked up an appetite surfing or hiking, I like to go to Aloha Salads for lunch. Aloha Salads is a unique spot, because, in Hawaii, salads are not really a thing like they are in LA or New York. In general, the food here is very rice-dominant and meat-heavy. For most people in Hawaii, if you suggest going to get a salad, they'd be like, “What? Why? That's not a meal.” But with Aloha Salads, they make the most decadent, overflowing, just delicious salads. They have so many different options. My favorite salads, for example, will have dried blueberries, pomegranate seeds, mangoes, and acai dressing. My love of Aloha Salads got so bad at one point that I was eating it at least once a day, sometimes more, for months. And during the pandemic they were one of the only places that could deliver to where I lived. So to this day I just love Aloha Salads.
Another one of my favorite food spots on the island is Itchy Butt. I have no idea why it's called that, but I think it is genius marketing. Whenever I tell people about it, they say, “What the hell is that? Itchy what?” But the food is amazing. Itchy Butt is this tiny hole in the wall, the size of a bedroom. It’s the type of place where you just walk up to the window to order, they hand you your food through the window, and that’s it. They have these amazing chicken rice bowls with a signature sauce drizzled over the top that is absolutely delicious. I used to live within walking distance from there, so I’d go all the time to get the bowls, which are super affordable. It's a small business that I just love to support.
If I’m craving something sweet, I’ll drive across the island to Seafood City and get the cascaron. Seafood City is a large Filipino market. You can try a variety of different Asian cuisines, but the focus is on the Philippines. It's one of the only places on the island where I can find cascaron. Cascaron are fried pastry balls that are put on a stick and then dipped in a caramelized type of glaze. They’re very soft and have the most decadent warm caramel flavor. It’s one of my favorite desserts. Seafood City is about a 30- to 45-minute drive from me, but I will drive all the way over there just to get cascaron. It’s that delicious.
Waikiki Beach | Photo by Elyse Butler for Thrillist
“It’s the type of place where you just walk up to the window to order, they hand you your food through the window, and that’s it. They have these amazing chicken rice bowls with a signature sauce drizzled over the top that is absolutely delicious.”
On my days off, I also enjoy making a trip to Ala Moana Shopping Center. Ala Moana is the massive, open-air shopping center on the island. I’ve spent countless hours there. I used to work in the center, and to this day, I don’t think I’ve explored every part of it. Most of my days off involve me running errands there. It’s one of those environments where you get to be in the hustle and bustle of the city of Honolulu, and I enjoy being in that environment in doses. It’s a great designated area for a lot of people on the island to just do things. So you'll find me there a lot.
Another way I like to spend my days off is by visiting the west side of Oahu. I have a special place in my heart for the west side. It's definitely a more local side of the island. There are not very many tourists there and it doesn’t cater to tourists whatsoever. It’s very quiet there. It’s a great place to go on a drive, which is something I enjoy doing when I feel stressed or overworked. I’ll typically just go on a drive, listen to music and just enjoy the more serene scenery of the west side.
When I want to do something more energetic, I enjoy seeing a DJ set at Hawaiian Brian’s. Hawaiian Brian’s is a small event venue for EDM DJs. It’s a great spot because I’ve been able to meet DJs I’ve connected with on social media there. It’s one of my favorite places to go to on the weekends. I get to just vibe with music I love, enjoy the energy of the crowd, and have a good time. The same feelings of calm and peace I get from being in nature, I get from being in an EDM crowd. I think of Hawaiian Brian’s as one of my “third places.” It’s somewhere that is outside of work and my home that I enjoy spending time at. It's where I can just fully relax, disconnect from any stressors in life, and focus on the moment. You can pretty much always find me there whenever there's an EDM event.
The Polynesian Cultural Center is another one of my favorite spots on the island to just connect with people. The Center is a really cool institution that works to preserve the cultures of all the different islands in the South Pacific that a lot of people would otherwise not know about during their tourist vacations to Hawaii. I used to work at the Center as a server in one of the buffet dining areas and it’s one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had. Although I don’t work there anymore, I still enjoy going to the Center to see the different performances they put on. There's a show called “Hā Breath of Life” that highlights all of the different cultures in Polynesia. It's a magnificent production. Every time I see it, I end up crying because it's just beautiful.
I really love the Center so much because of the people that I worked with. The environment was so positive and I really felt like I was working amidst a family. At the Center you have people from Samoa or Tonga who dance. Working with them allowed me to get incredible insight into their life experiences and what it was like growing up on those islands. I’m super grateful that they brought me in. It’s been a sacred experience for me, being able to participate and be shared in these incredible cultures.
If you’ve ever vacationed in Hawaii, open your wallets to donate to their wildfire recovery efforts. Here’s how you can contribute.
Annie Harrigan is an editorial coordinator for Thrillist, Eater, and Punch. Find her on Twitter @AnnieAHarrigan.