Super Moisturizing Lecithin is a perfect conditioning emulsifier for your skin

Now I want to introduce you to one of the safest and most useful ingredients in cosmetics. Lecithin is rarely talked about in connection with home cosmetics. However, it is an ingredient used in many commercial cosmetic products. Lecithin is a very useful ingredient as it is very natural and suitable for almost everyone’s skin. Perhaps you are familiar with the health benefits of lecithin?  In skin care, lecithin is usually not mentioned. Now we are focusing on the properties of lecithin in skin and hair care. How can you use nourishing, protective and moisturizing lecithin in your cosmetics?

Lecithin creme

What is Lecithin?

Lecithin consists mainly of fatty substances called phospholipids. Phospholipids are building material of cell membranes that are particularly rich in choline for humans.

Lecithin is found naturally from many sources like eggs, soy and sunflower seeds. Lecithin is a thick, waxy substance that is soluble in water but also in fat. Lecithin contains, in addition to choline, linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, glycerol and small amounts of biotin. Lecithin is used as a food supplement as it is believed to lower cholesterol level in blood. That’s why it is very easy to find soy lecithin on the shelves of supermarkets.

Lecithin is a very common ingredient in many industrial products

You can easily find lecithin as an ingredient in both cosmetics and foods. Sometimes lecithin may also be called as phosphatidylcholine. Lecithin acts as a thickener and emulsifier in foods. Not so many people are aware that for instance chocolate, is an emulsion in which lecithin is the emulsifier. In mayonnaise, lecithin is an essential ingredient. Humans are not generally allergic to lecithin. Naturally some may be. That is why it is so commonly used by food industry.

Lecithin is used in many cosmetic products precisely because of its emulsifying ability. However, lecithin is also rich in skin care properties. However, the utility of lecithin is rarely highlighted. Lecithin is at its best in creams with high percentage of oils. It is widely used in combination with other emulsifiers and thickeners.  More steady emulsion is obtained by combining other emulsifiers and thickeners with lecithin.

How is Lecithin Made?

Lecithin granules available in shops are usually are made from soy. There is also lecithin made from sunflower seeds, which is sold in liquid and powder forms. Sunflower lecithin is significantly less common than soybean lecithin. Many people prefer liquid sunflower lecithin in cosmetics because it is easy to use. Also, sunflower lecithin is not GMO modified as soy products often are. The soy lecithin I use is GMO free. Sunflower lecithin is extracted much gentler than soybean lecithin. Its production does not require any toxic chemicals.

Use of lecithin as an emulsifier in cosmetics

Lecithin is not a very easy emulsifier. The problems are its slow dissolution in both water and oil. Grinding of lecithin granules helps a little the dissolution. Liquid lecithin is ready for use immediately. If you find some, just buy it.

Dissolve lecithin, preferably in oil

Although lecithin is soluble in both oil and water, I personally prefer dissolving it in oil. I have tested different methods of preparing lecithin creams. It is much easier to get the result you want by dissolving lecithin in oil first and then add the liquid to it. The emulsion requires particularly strong whipping. I recommend the use of an (electric) mixer.

Pure water is the safest liquid in lecithin emulsion

Boiled water is the safe choice for Lecithin emulsified creams. Lecithin is a delicate emulsifier that does not like all ingredients. I managed to dissolve the emulsion simply by adding a few drops of preservative to it.  I will study making of lecithin creams more carefully in the future. I want to find suitable liquids and preservatives for the lecithin emulsion.

Lecithin cream is challenging but worth the effort


One weakness of lecithin is its slow absorption. The skin remains sticky for a long time. That’s why I recommend making lecithin cream as night cream. Allow it to absorb slowly. I do understand well why lecithin as an emulsifier has not been very popular in commercial creams. It is also quite a challenging ingredient in home cosmetics. Despite all of these problems, I am fond of lecithin cream. It makes the skin feel very comfortable, soft and moisturized. There is no any other type of ointment that can deeply moisturize dry winter skin in the same way.

Lecithin is a skin nurturant ingredient

In this article, I’d like to emphasize the skin care properties of lecithin. Because lecithin is generally used as emulsifier, its effects on the skin has not been notified. By using lecithin, you can make a simple lotion and many other products with all the nurturant ingredients.

  • Lecithin is one of the skin’s own, natural ingredients. Therefore, lecithin is particularly suitable for skin care.
  • Lecithin strengthens the skin’s own protection. It helps the skin to protect itself against external stimulus.
  • Lecithin is a humectant. It absorbs moisture and keeps the skin moisturized. Lecithin’s hydrophilic, water-attracting property effectively hydrates the skin.
  • Lecithin also helps skin retain moisture due to its linoleic acid content. It has both moisture-collecting and moisture-retaining properties.
  • Lecithin changes the structure of the skin by helping the active substances penetrate deeper into the skin. Indeed, lecithin is often used as a carrier to deliver medicine deeper into the skin.
  • Lecithin acts as an antioxidant on the skin by resisting the signs of aging

Lecithin also takes care of the hair

Lecithin is really good for hair care. Big haircare product manufacturers use commonly lecithin in their products. As a moisturizing ingredient, lecithin-containing products can be used to treat dry ends. The scalp also benefits from lecithin. Add lecithin to your hair masks.

How can lecithin be used in home cosmetics?

In home cosmetics, lecithin suits well to nourishing creams. Lecithin as an emulsifier is at its best in formulas with equal amounts of oil and water. A very light cream with lecithin cannot be made unless you use other emulsifiers. You can also combine beeswax or vegetable butter with lecithin. This naturally gives you more product stability without using any potentially toxic chemicals.

  • Lecithin emulsion cream is a good night cream because it protects and moisturizes the skin very effectively.
  • Lecithin can be used in hair products to treat dry and damaged hair.
  • Lecithin products have been used to treat skin problems such as acne and eczema
  • Lecithin creams are very suitable for baby care as they are natural and well tolerated.
  • Lecithin may be added to skin serums. Lecithin helps to deliver active ingredients deeper into the skin

You can add small amounts of lecithin to the facial lotions. It helps the facial lotions to soften the skin and create a matte, non-shiny finish on the skin. Please bear in mind that lecithin colours the facial water grey.

Learn how to use lecithin in your products

Soy Lecithin

Once you learn how to use lecithin, you will no longer want to give it up. I’ve used lecithin in my own products for a while now and I’m really excited. I always come up with new uses for lecithin.

I also find it great that I can easily purchase all the cosmetics ingredients I need from local store. Lecithin is a safe ingredient. It is a food that is intended as a supplement. Such cosmetic ingredients are the best. Cosmetics should not contain any toxic chemicals. Everything we apply to our skin is also absorbed by our body. Therefore, we should choose only really safe ingredients for our cosmetic products.

Have you used lecithin before?

28 answers

  1. I sourced liquid sunflower lecithin it is dark and syrupy. In what proportion do you add to a lip balm made with shea butter and how do you disquise the color.

    1. Hi!
      Thank you for asking!
      Sunflower lecithin is dark in color. Unfortunately, the color cannot be changed. All products made from sunflower lecithin have a slightly brown color.
      I have used liquid lecithin 10% if it works as an emulsifier. If you use lecithin as emollient, 0.5-3% is a suitable amount.
      Regards Outi

  2. Ak says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    How much lecithin you need to make 200ml of body lotion?? Can you plz say it in grams!!
  3. I’m making conditioner in large quantities can I put sunflower lecithin in my conditioner for a long period of time

  4. How much lecithin powder would you need to make say a 400ml lotion? Do you have any recipes?

  5. Thanks! I was going to toss out a canister of expired soy granules but saved in the nick of time! Mixed 50/50 boiled water and granules. Stirred. An hour later, applied 1 t liquified emulsion on hands, knees, soles, aged face.
    Pleased and will refrigerate to save for pumpkin muffins or mix a bit of salad dressing. What negative side effects ingesting emulsion?

  6. Greetings. I’m using sunflower lecithin. I’ve mixed water with it. Consistency came out great. But should I use an extra preservative? I’m creating a hair moisturizer , thank you for your help

  7. Thank you so much for this article. My question is: can lecithin next used to emulsify aloe Vera gel with oils? If so, what ratio would I use?

  8. Is lecithin a good preservative for a moisturizer with water and oils? Does it have an effective shelf life?

  9. Thank you so much for the information. . My question is can I use lecithin in the cold phase or hot phase ? It really a difficult emulsifier to use. I have tried several times to make a cream with liquid lecithin but all those times I have failed,

    Thank you

  10. Hello Netia!

    Thank you for your interest in my article.
    Unfortunately, I can’t answer you. I don’t know the exact recipe and haven’t tried it in practice. I always recommend you to prepare small batches. If the recipe doesn’t work for some reason, it won’t hurt that much.

    Regards Outi

  11. Hello Vanessa
    Thank you for asking.
    I have used 100 grams of oil and 2 teaspoons of lecithin granules for the lotion. Unfortunately, I didn’t weigh the pellets. This batch will not be 400 grams. Maybe 250 grams.
    Unfortunately, I don’t have the exact recipe for lecithin lotion.
    Regards Outi

  12. Thank you for your comment!
    All ingredients are edible. Ingestion of the emulsion should not have any negative effects.


  13. Hi Jackie,

    Thank you for your question.
    I have soaked lecithin in the rice bran oil. A suitable dose is about one teaspoon. Keep the lecithin/oil overnight before adding it to the cream.
    Lecithin cream will be preserved in a fridge for about two weeks without any preservatives. Always use a spatula when picking up the cream from a container.

    Regards Outi

  14. Hi, I have some sunflower lecithin powder. I’m unsure how to add to my formulation. I’m making an oil based cream for my 2 yo who has blotchy dry skin. Do I dissolve 1 teaspoon in oil for every cup of oil used for the formulation? Is it much the same way is used for cooking as it is for cosmetics?
    Also, does it extend shelf life of finished product. If so, how do I determine how long it is good for?
    Thanks for article.

  15. H… sorry I started using a liquid version from soybeans and I have been mixing it with olive oil for my skin moisturizer it’s just a safe combination

  16. Fantastic!
    I really like lecithin. It is such a natural ingredient. Lecithin is well suited for many products.
    All the best!

  17. I mixed it in with my conditioner and tea tree and rosemary oil and left it on over night.. omgoodness the results are incredible!!! Super soft and less friz! Love it!! I will definitely continue experimenting with it!

  18. Hi Tami,

    Thanks for your question.
    Unfortunately there is no comedogenic rating available for lecithin.
    I’ve used it in skincare for years. According to my personal experience, I haven’t noticed the clog pores -effect.

    This is naturally a very individual question- I recommend you first try small amounts of lecithin on your skin/scalp. This is how you can be sure if lecithin suits you.

    Best Regards,

  19. Does liquid lecithin clog pores of the scalp when used in leave-in hair treatments?

  20. Hi
    I’m trying to formulate body wash with surfacants , water, and only 5% oils.
    Can I use powdered soy lecithin as an emulsifier?
    Thank you

  21. Hi Pamela,

    Thank you for your interest regarding my article.
    Unfortunately I have no experience using sunflower lecithin in this case.
    I do like lecithin a lot due to its skin caring properties. Please bear in mind that lecithin is a very sensitive and unstable emulgator. It works in emulsions containing only oil and water.
    As we know, essential oils are not exactly oils at all.

    Best Regards, Outi

  22. hi, i would like to make a cologne using sunflower lecithin as a solubilizer of essential oil and water, can you teach me how to do this?im using sunflower lecithin powder..thanks

  23. Dear Dr. Kanak AN
    Thank you so much for your question and interest in my blog.
    I have never tried lecithin in combination with coconut oil. Lecithin is a very sensitive ingredient. I only use it with rice bran oil as well as moringa oil.
    Regards Outi

  24. Thank you so much for this useful article. My question is: can lecithin be used to emulsify coconut oil with water..? If so, what is the ratio and procedure..?? also mention limits of all.

  25. Hi Molly!
    Many thanks for your question and interest. Lecithin is indeed a very natural ingredient for cosmetics. Unfortunately it is also very sensitive and unstable when used as an emulgator. I got successful results when I used lecithin as an emulgator in products containing only water and rice bran oil. In case the oil is not suitable the emulsion gets spoiled easily.
    I myself like this emulsion a lot. It will be preserved weeks in a fridge without any preservatives.
    I have used a teaspoon of lecithin for 60 ml:s of oil.
    Best Wishes,

  26. Thank you Jenna for your interesting question.
    Lecithin is indeed a very effective preservative. It does not, however, prevent bacterial or microbial action. For example, lecithin is used in pastries to hold the structure firm. Lecithin holds the moisture in pastries and prevents them from drying and hardening.

  27. Hello Matilda
    First of all, thank you for reading my pages and testing my recipes.
    Your question is a very good one, making a cream using lecithin is a quite challenging task. I always use it in the cold phase only.
    Selecting the right oil is the key to success when you use lecithin as a raw material to a cream. Different oils do have different fatty acid profile. The best oil to use with lecithin is rice bran oil. The oil I am using is a cooking oil from Thailand. I tried a cold-pressed rice bran oil as well but it did not work, the result was a disappointment. Once you find the right oil, you will succeed for sure.
    Ordinary lecithin grains, available in grocery stores, are the best. I have never tried using liquid lecithin.
    Grind the grains and mix with the rice bran oil. Let the grains to dissolve overnight either on the table or in the fridge. Next day, mix it and filter using a strainer. Then add the liquid to the phase carefully, use a mixer. Do not hurry. I myself use only filtered water as a liquid. I do not add anything else.
    I hope you will manage to create this wonderful cream. It is really nice and it is suitable to everyone. It does not clog pores and it is really mild.

    Best Wishes,

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