Lecithin as a sole emulsifier in a W/O Body Oil

edited May 22 in Formulating
Hello there! Brand new formulator here with a need for some advice:

I am in the middle of formulating my first body oil. My formula began as anhydrous without any thought to solvents or emulsifiers until I decided to use Bakuchiol extract (which says it is oil-soluble but its components are Bakuchiol and water on the Making Cosmetics detailed info) and Vitamin A Microcaps from the same supplier (Glycine soja, retinol, cellulose gum, acrylates/ c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, chitosan, glycolic acid, polysorbate 20, sorbitan oleate). Although they both state that they are either miscible or soluble in oils, in the past, if I do not account for the other components then I can have issues. So, I decided to add an emulsifier that can help bring together the oils with the other ingredients, understanding that I will not have much to emulsify. This is when I came across lecithin. After using cera bellina and not liking the texture it gave, even at different %s, lecithin looked to be an answer to my prayers, including based on what I read on many formulating threads and works of literature that I have. I also an not terribly worried about texture because I don't believe I will need to use much, and the oils I am using are already very thin and dry-feeling. The form I have has an HLB of 4, is liquid, and is made from soy.
But now I am a bit worried. I have perused the threads on there regarding lecithin as an emulsifier, and I am glad I did because there are formulation issues that have not been discussed in the literature I have, yet clearly, they exist. 
What can I expect in a formula that is 93% oils (including vitamin E) 5% retinol microspheres, 1% Bakuchiol extract, and 1% lecithin (so far that is the plan)?
Or, do I need the lecithin at all? Seeing that the Bakuchiol is composed of Bakuchiol and water, plus the ingredients in the retinol microspheres, I have a hard time believing that I will not need a solubilizer or emulsifier of some kind. Plus, these ingredients are not cheap, so I want to be ahead of the game.

Thank you in advance!


  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist

    You can greatly simply things by using Bakuchiol and Retinol, both of which are oil soluble as opposed to these extracts from Making Cosmetics.

    Lecithin generally will give you an unpleasant, soupy mess.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • In my experiencie, lecithin goes to the bottom (I used a granulated form, prediluted in sunflower oil).
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