Lecigel - An Experiment

This is my final post about the Lucas Meyer emulsifying/gelling agents.  We have looked at Heliogel and Ecogel - both with their own quirks and advantages and now on to what I would say is my favourite of the three in terms of skin feel and ease of use.  

It is not completely natural which is a disadvantage for some and I certainly would not be able to use it in my own products however for anyone wanting to formulate a non natural product and wants an elegant, high end gel cream, then this is probably the one to use.  Some pretty massive brands are already using it and it won a prestigious award last year, so it is not to be scoffed at!  

So what exactly is it?

This is what the manufacturer has to say:

LECIGEL™ is a gelling agent with emulsifying properties. It allows the increase in the viscosity and the stability of formulas. Suitable for both cold and hot processes, it also helps to adjust the viscosity at the end of the formulation process. Easy-to-use, it is compatible with most emulsifiers and is stable over a wide range of pH. Especially adapted for the formulation of gel-creams, it provides the typical “phospholipid touch” with a cool, soft and non-greasy skin feel.'

Lecigel's inci is  Sodium acrylates Copolymer (and) Lecithin.

Lucas Meyer recommends the following dosage.

  • As stabiliser: 0.2% and above

  • As thickener: 0.5% and above

  • As emulsifier: 0.5% and above for Lecigel™

Lecigel comes in the form of a beige powder that can be added at virtually any stage of formulation. This means that you can either put it in with the liquid oil phase and then disperse in with the water which will make it almost instantly thicken or you can add it to the water and then introduce it to the oil.

Putting it in a small amount of liquid that is not water, helps a little with dispersion but it is not necessary to do so.  It can also dusted in at the end of the process if you want.

It is not shear sensitive which means blending at high speeds will not break the gel.  You can use it hot so that comes in handy if you want to use hard butters that need melting. If you are using ingredients that need melting / heating I suggest that you heat the oil and water phase (lecigel can be in either) and then when the fat is melted and both phases are at a similar temperature, combine them.  I suggest doing this as you don't want the cold water causing your fats to solidify before they have a chance to blend with the water/emulsifier.

Meyer suggests that you need at least an RPM of 1500 for full emulsification however I have hand stirred it.

Lecigel can emulsify up to 20% oil phase, 10% oils can be emulsified per each 1% of Lecigel and the final viscosity depends on the type of oils and butters used.

Surprisingly, 1.5% Lecigel can take 20% ethanol (alcohol) too so if you wanted to use that as your preservative it is possible. It can tolerate up to 50% ethanol with 2% Lecigel.   It is also fairly resistant against electrolytes but the manufacturer advises to add them after emulsification if possible.  They also suggest that Lecigel has a synergy with xanthan and sclerotium gum which helps if you want to use electrolytes. So far so good!

So what is it really like? I played around with this quite a bit. I have had it for quite some time (possibly over a year) and have been impressed each time I used it however I haven't properly documented my experiments until now.

I made a few creams with it, varying the  ingredients.  I also made two simple gels.

Firstly lets look at how it gelled. I made two gels, with no added oils.  One with 1%  Lecigel (Left) and the other with 0.5% Lecigel (Right).    


As You can see the one on the left is a lot thicker however it still feels very light with a very slight film when applied.  The one on the right is interesting, it is less viscous as one would expect with a more dewy like texture.  What is interesting is that it breaks down on the skin instantly releasing water with no residue.        

The simple one


Simple Lecigel Creme
1 Water Aqua 90.00
2 Rice Bran Oil Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil 8.00
3 Lecigel Sodium Acrylates Copolymer and  Lecithin 1.00
4 SymTriol™
Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Methylbenzyl Alcohol 1.00

So this one has a very velvety skin feel, a nice rub-in and no greasy or sticky after-feel and and as you see it is very glossy.

Lightening Multifunctional Night Cream for Acne Prone Skin  

So this one was made for people who want something that will work some magic in the  night.  It contains niacinamide and glucosamine - this combination has been shown to help even out skin tone as well as  have a positive effect on fine lines and wrinkles.

Bear berry extract contains arbutin, a chemical thought to inhibit tyrosinase, the enzyme that controls melanin formation.  As we know melanin is the pigment responsible for tanning.  

We also have pomegranate seed extract, a strong anti-oxidant which contains ellagic acid proven to reduce UV-induced cell death and counteracts inflammation. This combines well with Embilica extract, another strong antioxidant that protects against UV damage.

Lightening Multifunctional Night Cream for Acne Prone Skin
1 Water Aqua 75.70
2 Glycerine Glycerin 3
3 Dermosoft OMP Methylpropanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenylpropanol 3
4 Amla Extract Emblica officinalis Extract 1
5 Bearberry Extract Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract 1
6 Niacinamide Niacinamide 5
7 N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine
Acetyl Glucosamine 2
8 Lecigel Sodium Acrylates Copolymer (and) Lecithin 2
9 Vitamin E Acetate Tocopherol acetate 1
10 Pomegranate Co2 Extract Punica granatum seed extract and Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract 6
11 Frankincense EO Boswellia carterii Resin Oil 0.3

So, with all these extracts and actives how did Lecigel hold up?

As you can see below, it isn't the prettiest of colours however it is glossy, applies smoothly and spreads well with no oily, tacky residue. Although light to use it does leave an occlusive film on the skin. When squeezed out of an airless pump the colour isn’t so dark.  The colour comes from the Bearberry.


Vitamin C Day Balm

Finally, this is the last cream I made. It's a whopping 10% Tetra C gel cream. Its adjusted to pH 5.5 ish which did not seem to have a negative effect on the viscosity.

Vitamin C Day Balm
1 Water Aqua 78.00
2 Glycerine Glycerin 8
8 Lecigel Sodium Acrylates Copolymer (and) Lecithin 2
9 Vitamin E Acetate Tocopherol acetate 1
10 Oil Soluble Vit C Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate 10
11 Sensive PA 20 Phenethyl Alcohol and Ethylhexylglycerine 1

I love lots of glycerin so I put 8% in and it is essentially oil free. So this is sticky and non greasy but it is for me and this level of glycerin is definitely not for everyone!    

lecigel experiments

Final Word  

This is not for people that want to get their products certified by any organic standard however it is still a great product with so much potential.  It can be used at a fairly wide pH range and is tolerant to a small amount of electrolytes which can be helped with the use of xanthan and or sclerotium gum.  The texture is phenomenal whether you use 0.5 or 2%.  

In the UK the distributor is Infinity Ingredients and it is also sold in small quantities from The Formulary.