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NOW READING Vanity Fare: What’s on the Top Shelf of Elisa Lee of Sokobeauty
March 8, 2018

Vanity Fare: What’s on the Top Shelf of Elisa Lee of Sokobeauty

It’s International Women’s Day, so we celebrate one of our favorite international women, Amsterdam-based K-beauty guru Elisa Lee of Sokobeauty. Here, she spills all about her earliest beauty memory, her biggest beauty mistake (ouch!), and what she’d bring with her on a desert island. (Hint: You’d want her with you on a desert island!)



When you think about Korean beauty and its spread and reach around the world today, it’s hard to believe that just six years ago, hardly anyone outside of that tiny Asian peninsula had ever heard of Korean beauty. (Then again, it’s hard to imagine life ever existed without Instagram, but the ubiquitous social media app was a mere twinkle in creator Kevin Systrom’s eye as recently as 2010.)


And yet in 2012, Americans were just learning what a BB cream was. And can you believe there was life before the cushion compact when it debuted in the States a mere four years ago?


2012 was also the year a pioneering Elisa Lee started her blog, Memorable Days. At first, Elisa focused on beauty and fashion, but soon, her Korean beauty reviews started to garner more attention, especially from a growing Asian Beauty community hungry for reviews and information in a digital world with very little info on Korean beauty products in English.


Photo courtesy of Elisa Lee


In fact, Elisa’s journey into K-beauty started a couple years before she started her blog, when she discovered the Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream while studying in Shanghai. K-beauty was already gaining traction in China back in 2010, and “the BB cream from Missha was very popular back then,” says Elisa. “It was always hard for me to find a foundation for my skin tone in Europe, as it was often too orange and it made my skin too dry or too oily.” When she discovered the Missha BB cream, “that was the start that got me interested in K-beauty, and I wanted to learn and try more.”


Today, Elisa has moved on from her blog to focus exclusively on her Instagram feed sokobeauty, where she posts product reviews and gorgeous flatlays for her 13.4K followers, and her brand new YouTube channel, where she gives us a peek into her life as an influencer, filled with lust-worthy unboxings and beauty press events in her hometown of Amsterdam.



Here, we talk to Elisa about her life as an influencer, her beauty mishaps, and of course, how she achieves that amazing complexion.


Q. Hi Elisa! Can you tell us a bit about your life in the Netherlands and how you ended up there?


Elisa: My parents migrated to this city before I was born, and they searched for a job here and never left. I have a full-time job working at a financial institution, which is totally different from being an influencer, but I really love the diversity.


I love the Netherlands because of the fresh air and water that we have but also because of the very relaxed vibe. It is a multicultural country and most people speak English, so you don’t need to be scared that nobody would understand you. Public transport is extremely convenient; you can take the bus, train, tube, tram or bicycle to go to the places where you want to go. You need to get used to tons of bicycles on the streets. The working life is in general not that stressful depending on the industry you are in, and it is not hard to get a job here. I am very happy that I am living in this country.


Q. Your blog, Memorable Days, has been so popular, but you stopped blogging last year. Why the move to YouTube?


Elisa: I noticed I had more joy in Instagram. I love taking pictures, and I am still writing reviews on my Instagram. I am very active on Instastories and have connected with so many people, especially Korean beauty lovers! I feel very honored to be a part of this amazing community called #abcommunity (Asian beauty community). This community is the best I have seen; people are so kind, willing to help and open to give their suggestions and opinions about products.


A month ago, I joined YouTube and started to create videos. The main focus will be Korean beauty as I find that there aren’t many English speaking YouTubers who are focusing on K-beauty. I want to make this community bigger and bigger.


Besides talking about Korean beauty, I create vlogs where I take you with me into a part of my life as an influencer.



Q. What do you find to be more challenging: videos or blogging?


Elisa: Creating YouTube videos is way more challenging. I need to be confident as I talk in front of the camera and accept the flaws that I have. I need to edit and hear my voice 30 times and not get tired of it. However, I have been enjoying editing, and that’s also a way to show my creativity, though I am still in the learning phase.


Q. What YouTuber are you most inspired by and why?


Elisa: Jenn Im from Clothesencounters. I have been following her ever since she started, which was years ago. I love to see how big her YouTube career has become, and I can see how hard she worked for it. I also like Renee from Gothamista; I love her informative videos about ingredients and Korean beauty products. Lamuqe and Pony Syndrome are amazing YouTubers with gorgeous makeup tutorials that I admire — #makeupgoals.


Q. What is your favorite recent Instagram post on @sokobeauty and why?


Elisa: I love creating flatlays and especially color themed ones. These are the hardest ones to make as I need to check my whole collection to see if I’ve got similar colored products. However, these are also the most fun to create as it is always a puzzle to see how to create a gorgeous flatlay with all the products together. Once I’ve gotten it, I add a review with the product that I want to highlight, and these pictures are getting the most likes on my Instagram feed:


• [ J.ONE COSMETIC ] • 🖤 #sokobeautyreview • • 🖤 Swipe to the right for more pictures 👉👉 • 🖤 I was excited and happy when reached out to me to try out some @jonecosmetic products. Products of this brand has been on my wishlist for a long time. This brand is created by the famous actress @hajiwon1023 😍. Her skin is gorgeous! • 🖤 I have tried the Black jelly pack for 2 months now and to be honest I have pros and cons for this product. • 🖤 This black jelly pack is a overnight mask to nourish the skin while you sleep so you will have a gorgeous glowy skin in the morning, but you can use it as a serum as well. • 🖤 The texture is what is says: a jelly. It comes with a pump which is great so you can handle the amount yourself. Though due to the jelly texture it is just too lightweight for my skin if I only apply it once. I apply this at the end of my skincare routine and my skin doesn’t have enough moisture when I wake up while I do have it when using other overnight masks. • 🖤 I find it great as a serum as its lightweight, sinks in fast but you do need to apply a couple of layers as a overnight mask as one layer is just not moist enough for my skin. That also means that the product will run out faster which is not a thing that you want as the price tag is pretty high 🙈 (unless you are willing splurdge ofcourse). • . . . . . . #koreanbeautyproduct #masksheet #jonecosmetic #skinid #overnightmask #serum #radiantskin #rasianbeauty #kbeauty #koreanbeauty #intothegloss #skincareobsessed #asianskincare #skincarekorea #skincarediary #abcommunity #hanbang #sgig #koreancosmetics #cosmeticacoreana #kbeautyaddict #maskaddict #꿀피부 #skincarehaul #hajiwon #amabiebeauty #abskincare #koreanskincare #slaytheflatlay

A post shared by Elisa 에리사 | Beauty Blogger (@sokobeauty) on


• [ NEOGEN ] • • 🌿 I started exfoliating my skin 2 and sometimes even 3 times per week, which seems to be often but my skin can get flakey spots during the cold days and I don’t get irritations when I use these pads from @neogen_official. These are the gauze peeling pads, green tea version. • 🌿 I wrote a review about these pads before but I want to put it in the spotlight again as I have been really loving these the past months. • 🌿 It contains 30 pads, and it has an exfoliating side and a moist side, the pads are soaked in the product and it has a light green tea scent to it, but the product doesn’t drip off and the material of the pad is good and strong. • 🌿 I love these pads as you can exfoliate as hard as you want, at certain spots that you want, YOU are controlling the pressure! So if you got sensitive skin, I would recommend to do this once per week and with light pressure. • 🌿 My skin always feels so soft and not drying after this! The wine version is still on my wish list, I really want to try that version next! Have you tried these pads before? • #gifted a while ago by @beautytapofficial

A post shared by Elisa 에리사 | Beauty Blogger (@sokobeauty) on


Q. So let’s go back a bit. Tell me about your first beauty memory.


Elisa: My mom didn’t use many skincare products, but I always noticed that she uses hand cream. Now that I am older, I know how important it is to keep your hands as smooth as possible. If you do a lot of chores where you have a lot of contact with water, you will get dry hands for sure. Keeping it moist is a thing that I kept on seeing at my mom’s, and now it is a habit of mine, too.


Q. What was your first intro to skincare?


Elisa: I am sure many of you have tried Garnier products, and that was the brand that I used during my teenage years because I didn’t know better and I thought Garnier was the best skincare brand for teenagers. Maybe I got brainwashed because of their commercials and also because it was affordable. Luckily I discovered Korean beauty after — I wish I discovered it earlier!


Q. Can you tell me your skin type and your skin concerns?


Elisa: I have combination/sensitive skin with large pores. I get hormonal pimples once in a while, and I do have some redness around my chin and nose area. I get freckles and dark spots from pimples. Seriously, overall I really can’t complain about my skin.


• [ OH YEH THATS ME 🙋🏻‍♀️ ] • 💕 Hi all! I got tagging by multiple people to share facts about myself. Here are 10 facts about me: • 1️⃣ I am not a full-time blogger, I have a full-time job besides this. • 2️⃣ I am a tea lover, I can drink tea all day long – morning, afternoon, evening and even before I sleep. Genmaicha and Chamomile are my fav! • 3️⃣ I love watching K-dramas and Chinese series. Currently watching I am not a robot and just finished Heart and Greed. • 4️⃣ I started with Korean beauty 8 years ago and my first product was the Missha BB cream. I started my blog Memorable Days back then to share more about Korean beauty. • 5️⃣ I love trying different cuisines, I love food and I am always craving for GOOD sushi 🍣😋. You can wake me up for that in the middle of the night. • 6️⃣ I bought my own appartment last year 🏡😄🙌, very proud of myself for that haha. • 7️⃣ I only started Youtube 3 weeks ago, I am still in a research stage, not so sure how everything works yet and I have created 3 videos so far, link in bio. • 8️⃣ I am born and raised in Amsterdam, and I have stayed in Shanghai for 1 year during uni. • 9️⃣ I started coloring my hair since I was 12. I had purple hair before, red hair, blond, brown and ash blond. I have always colored my hair since then. • 🔟 I can put my whole fist in my mouth. My hand is either small or my mouth is just big 😂🙈• 💕 Tagging these peeps to share their 10 facts: @lazyglow @larahensen @peachkao @ryanraroar @rosesandbeauty @tsacredtruth @winterchee @beautybyluchessa @matcha.maidn @electraheartx @theblackandgrey @yourgirlbossbeautyblog @beautybemused @heytherejacquelyn @hiddenharmonyworld

A post shared by Elisa 에리사 | Beauty Blogger (@sokobeauty) on


Q. Describe your skincare routine, step-by-step.


Elisa: Step 1 — 1st Cleanse: I love using cleansing balms to remove my waterproof makeup. I am currently using the Heimish All Clean Balm.

Step 2 — 2nd Cleanse: I am using the Huxley Secret of Sahara Cleansing Gel, and on some days I use the Manyo Factory Blue Vita Aqua Gel Foam Cleanser. I will just see what my skin needs.

Step 3 — Exfoliation: Two times a week, I exfoliate by using the Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea Pads.

Step 4 — Toner: I apply 3-5 layers of the Dear Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner; it feels so moist afterwards!

Step 5 — Essence: COSRX Advanced Snail Mucin 96 Power Essence, my holy grail of all time.

Step 6 — Serum: Troiareuke Acsen Selemix Serum, one of my HG that heals my pimples.

Step 7 — Sheet mask: Once in a while I like to add a sheet mask into my routine. I use it 2-3 times a week. The one that I absolutely love is the A by Bom Ultra Cool Leaf Mask.

Step 8 — Eye cream: Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream — a little goes a long way. You only need a tiny bit to keep the eye area moist with this baby.

Step 9 — Moisturizer: COSRX Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion with birch sap. I love how this feels on the skin. It glides onto the skin, keeps my skin moist, and it is not sticky. I repeat: not sticky!

Step 10 — SPF/Cream: In the daytime, I use the Waterful Sun Gel from Earth’s Recipe, which I absolutely love! At night, I use the Overnight Vitalizing Mask EX from Sulwhasoo, on some days the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask from Glow Recipe, and when I feel like I just want a cream, I use the Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream.


• [ ✨🌷 AM ROUTINE 🌷✨ ] • 🌷 Todays’ AM routine is all about hydration! My skin is so dry these days due to the cold so I am trying to keep it moist! Stay warm girls! • 🌷 My AM routine consists of: • • ✨ @leegeehaam_global grow hyal b5 toner, feels moist on the skin, have not used it long enough to give a review about it. • ✨ @troiareuke cocktail with acne ampoule, easy spray bottle. • • ✨ @cosrx advanced snail 96 mucin power essence, my HG, it heals my skin faster. • ✨ @troiareuke_korea acsen selemix serum, love this serum!! It works great on pimples and evening out the skintone! • ✨ @pyunkangyul moisture serum that I use as a moisturizer. • ✨ @nonique_official eye cream. • ✨ @earthsrecipe waterful sun gel, my HG sun gel, so cooling and sinks in directly! • ✨ @larocheposay effaclar duo on certain areas. • 🌷 PS. Thank you so much for the sweet messages after watching my first vlog 😭! I appreciate it a lot! If you haven’t seen it yet, the link is in the bio. 💕 Please subscribe to my Youtube channel, it would mean a lot to me 🙏✨!

A post shared by Elisa 에리사 | Beauty Blogger (@sokobeauty) on


Q. Do you have any unique beauty tips that work well for you?


Elisa: My hands are dry during the winter, and they always need moisture. Before going to bed, it is the best time to give it some extra moisture. I apply a creamy hand cream and mix it with a vitamin E oil, and it will feel extremely soft. If you keep on doing it every single night and, if you’ve got time, during the day as well, your hands will feel baby soft after a few weeks.


Q. What are some of your favorite skincare brands or products and why?


Elisa: Troiareuke, COSRX, and Huxley. I have tried a couple of Troiareuke products before and none of them have disappointed me. Their aesthetic cushion is one of the best cushions that I have tried — good coverage and it contains 99% skincare and 1% makeup. Also their Acsen Selemix Serum, which heals my pimples — instant results were visible after using that serum.


COSRX is a brand that most people love in the abcommunity. It is affordable and their products are great and effective.


The Secret of Sahara line from Huxley just makes me feel like I am in a spa. The scent, the texture, and the packaging are gorgeous. The ingredients are really good as well; my skin just loves this whole line.


• [ TROIAREUKE SELEMIX SERUM ] • 💜 I have found my Holy Grail for my scars & pimples!!! Korean brand @troiareuke_korea has been surprising me more and more! They released a brand new product called Acsen Selemix Serum. This product is created for acne prone & sensitive skintypes. • 💜 What does this serum claim? It claims to control pores, control sebum, it removes scars, is anti-inflammatory & has an anti-bacterial effect. Sounds good right 😱?! • 💜 The main ingredients are bean sprout, magnolia tree bark, chamomile extract, salicylic acid (what my skin loves!), centella asiatica and natural essential oil. • 💜 It has a gel type consistency, no scent, spreads easily, non-sticky and sinks in straight away! Also a little goes a long way. I use one pump per usage and I use it day and night in my routine. I love it so much 😍! • 💜 As some of you may know I had lots of hormonal pimples a few months ago and I have been using this serum every single day since 2.5 months ago and I can say I noticed difference since DAY 1!! I normally never have that with products, but this one I did. My pimples were very very calm, not red anymore and it went smaller too 😅, like magic?! All that after day 1! It controls my sebum well too, and after using it for a few months I noticed that my pimple scars/marks were significant lighter than before. My sensitive combination skin absolutely love this stuff! So this product, you guys, I swear by it! It is a miracle serum to me! •• 💜 I gotta say this serum isn’t a thing that you would buy every single day as it costs USD$156 for a 100ml bottle, I wish it was more reasonable priced. However, if you got really troubled skin, this is definitely worth every single penny. You won’t regret it 🙇🏻‍♀️😍. And maybe ask it for Christmas 😏🎄? • 💜 Thank you so much @troiareuke for making this amazing product to save our skin. #prgifted #sokobeautyreview

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Q. Tell us about your biggest beauty mistake?


Elisa: Don’t laugh, but I used a dupe of the magic wand to remove hair on my moustache and chin area. The next day I had a really bad reaction on my face; it was all swollen, and I went straight to the doctor. It was a wand that was in my drawer for a year or so, and I didn’t disinfect it before usage, so the bacteria that was on it must have piled up and caused that bad reaction. I threw away that wand straight away when I got home. Lesson learned: Always be aware what you put on your face and clean it properly.


Q. Biggest self-care indulgence?


Elisa: My own home spa. I love to treat my skin and do a full skincare routine and create my own home spa. I steam my face, remove all whiteheads, treat clogged pores, do my skincare routine with a very soothing mask, light a lavender candle, and listen to chill Korean music. Ahh, that just feels amazing to me!




Q. Whose skin, makeup look, or just life in general do you admire and why?


Elisa: I just finished the K-drama I Am Not a Robot, where the lead is Chae Soo Bin. I really love her skin and dolly makeup look that is also very natural looking. And I also admire the life that YouTuber Jenn Im has, although I probably only see the bright side that she shows on YouTube. I like how bubbly she is, her makeup looks are nice and wearable, and her skin always looks good!


Chae Soo Bin with her co-star Yoo Seung Ho in MBC’s I Am Not a Robot. MBC


Q. If you had to recommend a few beauty products for a K-beauty newbie, what would they be?


Elisa: Definitely the COSRX Advanced Snail Mucin 96 Power Essence, Dear Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream, and the Dear Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner. These are all affordable and great for sensitive skin types and acne-prone skin. I just love the Snail Essence from COSRX as I feel that my skin heals faster when I applying it. The Midnight Blue Cream is my savior when I get pimples; it removes redness and cools the area down while keeping it moist. The Dear Klairs toner just gives a massive moisture boost and even more so when you layer it.


▪️FLATLAY IN BLACK▪️ • 👁‍🗨 For today I have created a flatlay full of black shades. I love colored themed flatlays 😍! I have been testing out the Black Jelly Pack for a while now (provided by but I got mixed feelings about it. Review will be up soon! Have you tried anything from before? • 👁‍🗨 Products in the picture: •• • ➖ @aprilskin_korea magic snow cushion 2.0, review is up in my first vlog. • ➖ @3rific_skincare radiance revitalizing cream • ➖ @makeupartistsnederland ultra HD stick foundation • ➖ @esteelauder x @victoriabeckham eyeshadow and blusher • ➖ @dear_klairs facial toner • ➖ black jelly pack overnight mask • ➖ @anastasiabeverlyhills brow powder duo • ➖ @annieswayofficialtaiwan secret garden mask • ➖ @dear_klairs midnight blue calming cream, I love this cream, my HG!! • ➖ @filorga_france time flash • ➖ @smashboxcosmetics liquid lipsticks • 👁‍🗨 If you would like to see a review of any of these items, let me know in the comment section below 😘💕. #prgifted

A post shared by Elisa 에리사 | Beauty Blogger (@sokobeauty) on


Q. If a beauty fairy appeared in front of you and offered you one imaginary beauty product, what would that product be and why?


Elisa: An all-in-one skincare product that is affordable and comes in a big tube size. A skincare product that would directly even out my skin tone, remove all dark spots and freckles, prevent all pimples, keep my skin moist while controlling my sebum. It should have SPF, it shouldn’t have any harmful ingredients, it won’t clog the pores, and it still gives a radiant, healthy finish. I wouldn’t need to apply any foundation or BB cream when I have such perfect skin. I can just wash my face every morning and just apply that cream and I would be good to go — save a lot of time, too!


Q. If you could take one beauty item, one fashion item, and one other item to a desert island, what would they be and why?


Elisa: One beauty item has to be an SPF. I cannot live without it, and it must be hot on a desert island — got to prevent those sun spots! One fashion item — hmmm, probably a massive backpack that I can carry around to fill with food and wooden sticks to create fire. Last item, a pocket knife as that can always be handy to survive.


Follow Elisa on her Instagram account and YouTube channel at sokobeauty.


Do you have any questions for Elisa? Let us know here and she’ll answer!


She may have started her career as a lawyer, but Anna found her true calling long before that, while poring over the beauty editorials and skincare how-to’s in teen magazines. Sure, the ladies at the Estée Lauder counter may have scoffed at her when she asked for an eye cream at the age of 16, but hey, she was just ahead of her time. Today, Anna is a beauty editor, obsessing over skincare ingredients and the Oxford comma. Follow her travels on Instagram at @annanymity.




Great interview. @sokobeauty, the magic want answer was hilarious.


Great interview. sokobeauty, the magic want answer was hilarious.


never ever will I be using a magic wand again 😭 learned my lesson

Jane Heur

My hands are definitely always being forgotten! Will have to start shopping for some great hand moisturizers.

I'm actually thinking about visiting the Netherlands! When's the best time to go??


If you want to see the largest flower garden, its best to come between april/may because its only open for 3 months during the year. Otherwise Summer or Fall period is nice time. Its a rainy country so make sure to bring umbrellas at all times

Ruth Kim

I love Elisa! She's so sweet. And I'm eyeing a lot of the similar products in my own skincare routine. (Oh hey #skincaretwin!)

Using hand cream is such a good reminder. I always forget to apply hand cream after washing my hands and by the end of the day, my hands are such a dry mess!

I'm looking forward to adding Elisa's YouTube videos to my queue!


Twinning!!! Thank you so much Ruth! Our hands are so important, we use it the most during the day but somehow we all neglect them and don’t care about them enough. I keep reminding myself to apply hand cream after washing it during the day, but I never forget it before I go to bed. Its in my night routine now :).

Ruth Kim

I'm definitely going to keep it bedside from now on, too!


I keep a hand treatment on my nightstand and it really has made a difference in my dry, dry hands!


I added some hand cream into my skincare basket so I remember to slather it on right when I'm done with my last step. I think I'm trying to get any leftover product on my hands from patting in my layers to help my cuticles lol


I totally do that too — get leftover product onto my hands. I swear my fingertips are probably the youngest looking parts of my body LOL


So cool to read! I feel like the Missha BB cream was the gateway for so many of us lol. I'd love to know what music you have on your "Chill Spa Playlist". IU's Palette album has been my jam when I need to relax.


Surprisingly there are so many people who have tried the Missha BB cream before. I have created my own playlist on spotify but I recently discovered the playlist called Korean Chill on spotify and love it! So relaxing!


Lol I've gotten lost in the rabbit hole of Spotify playlists so many times. I'll have to check that one out!