Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Moisturizer leaving a waxy residue - Lecithin to blame?

  • Moisturizer leaving a waxy residue - Lecithin to blame?

    Posted by Zink on March 24, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    I’ve been prototyping a Natural Moisturizing Factor based moisturizer that to some extent mimics the skin’s lipid and NMF profile with the addition of small amounts of vitamin “actives” with the goal of making it suitable for daily use.

    One common complaint that I notice myself is that it leaves some residue/a waxy sheen, and before I start eliminating ingredients I wonder what the most likely culprits are: soy lecithin, lanolin, sterols? Here are the ingredients (not in perfect order):

    Water, Allantoin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Sclerotium Gum, Glycerin, Beta-Sitesterol, Campesterol, Stigmasterol, Fish Oil, Lecithin, Polysorbate 80, Lanolin, Squalene, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5), Ascorbic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 II, Ceramide 1, Phytosphingosine, Cholesterol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Retinol, Polysorbate 20, Lactic Acid.

    Zink replied 8 years, 11 months ago 7 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • belassi

    March 25, 2015 at 1:29 am

    The lanolin and the safflower seed oil.

  • MichelleReece

    March 25, 2015 at 3:44 am

    What Belassi said, and glycerin and the fish oil might be making it worse.

    The problem with plant and animal oils is that their emolliency can noticeably differ among different batches, which is the reason mineral oil is so popular.

  • Zink

    March 25, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Not had a problem with (high linoleic) safflower seed oil in other formulas, but could potentially be the lanolin or fish oil. If you apply enough you can rub it off your skin post application.

  • ElaineB

    March 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I’ve never had lanolin rub off my skin post application, and I’ve used it in high concentrations in some formulas. Sticky? Yes. Waxy? Not in my experience. But I don’t know what grade lanolin you’re working with. I always stayed as close to pharmaceutical grade as possible. It’s possible the lower grades still have a greater percentage of the waxes that are part of raw lanolin. If you wanted to test this, you can get a small tube of pharmaceutical grade lanolin at most drugstores. It’s marketed as Lanisoh, and is used by nursing mothers as a salve to protect their nipple areas.

  • MarkBroussard

    March 25, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Do a knockout experiment first eliminating the Lanolin, then the fish oil, etc.  You’ll find the culprit quick enough.

  • Pharma

    March 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Depending on the amount beta-sitesterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, and squalene leave a waxy residue on the skin and have an unpleasant feeling (like a mix of cold bees wax with chalk) which also depends on other lipids mixed with them. Though, at reasonably low concentrations and when mixed with oils they shouldn’t.
    Lecithin is a very large term and can be a lot of things. I don’t like the liquid (soy) lecithin which contains roughly 50% soy oil (triglycerides) and can be very sticky but never waxy in my experience. That’s why I prefer granulated (deoiled) lecithin.
    Apropos lecithin, it’s said that adding lysolecithin (which usually contains only a fraction of actual lysolecithin and still a lot of original lecithin and oil) to bees wax reduces the waxy feeling of the latter and makes it comfortably smooth and silky. Was it 1 part lysolecithin per 4 or 5 parts wax? I still have to try that myself…
    As several others stated too, lanolin is quite sticky but I’ve never experienced it to be waxy unless you mistook wool wax alcohol for lanolin.

  • Bobzchemist

    March 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Sometimes the fix is not to pull out an ingredient, but to add one (or two). One approach would be to add feel-improving powders - DryFlo starch, for example. The other would be to add a lighter oil, maybe Jojoba, since you seem to be trying to stay “natural”.

  • Zink

    April 29, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    So I got a similar effect with a new formula using a different emulsification system (ewax), which I think makes it reasonable to exclude lecithin or lanolin as causes. The commonalities that could be causative unique to these two formulas:

    Squalene 5%
    Retinol 0.1%
    Ceramide Complex from Makingcosmetics (Ceramide 3, ceramide 6 II, ceramide 1, phytosphingosine, cholesterol, sodium lauroyl lactylate, carbomer, xanthan gum)
    Hyaluronic Acid 0.5% ~10kDa

    They could only cause problems in combinations with other ingredients, so testing them alone might not work. Thoughts?


  • Zink

    May 8, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    So I found the culprit, >50 kDa Hyaluronic Acid, in the emulsion it becomes weirdly stringy and I doubt much or any of it penetrates the skin.

  • Zink

    May 8, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Is there any way to change the topic title btw? would be useful to mark it as resolved :)

Log in to reply.