An effective and simple way to disperse essential oils into water. It is also moisturising and biodegradable.
A viscous, clear to yellow liquid with a faint, characteristic odour.
It is a non-ionic surfactant that can make stable Oil in Water (O/W) emulsions.
Derived from Coconut Oil, it is soluble in water and alcohol.It also acts as a stabiliser for emulsifiers.It is compatible with anionic, cationic and amphoteric surfactants.
Polysorbate 20, previously known as Emulsifan, is a non-ionic surfactant, that is an emulsifier and solubilizer (solvent) of essential oils and fragrance oils, without the use of alcohol, in skin care products and hair products.
It is often used as a base for the dissolution of essential oils for perfume compositions on a water basis and is effective even at high concentrations of essential oils.
As Polysorbate 20 is so mild, it may be used to decrease possible irritation from harsher anionic surfactants but it is important to bear in mind that it will also cause these to become thinner in viscosity.
It will also decrease foaming when used with some surfactants.
This can be advantageous in a low foaming surfactant based product such as a facial cleanser where a lot of foam is not desirable.
HLB value : 16.7 Sap value : 40-50
According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Database (CosIng), the functions of Polysorbate 20 are: Emulsifying, Surfactant.
To view more information, visit the CosIng Database.
HOW TO USE IT
It is moisturising for the skin when used at the lower percentages.
At 10%, it starts to feel sticky on the skin. It is soothing to irritated skin and is an excellent lubricant which is ideal for shaving oils.
Excellent as a soft emulsifier for cleansing gels and makeup removers for sensitive skin.
A good solubiliser and stabiliser for essential oils so they can be used in facial toners, water based air fresheners, body sprays and alcohol free deodorants. Improves the glide and softens the skin.
Helps cleaners to rinse off the face more easily. Use to solubilise essential oils and freagrance oils in perfumes. Depending on the blend used, the finished spray may be cloudy.
As a co-emulsifier it is best used to emulsify very light oils such as those used to enhance body wraps.
Can be used as a soft emulsifier for children's shampoos to give soft conditioning and moisturisation to the scalp.
Use 2% to 10% as a stabiliser or co-emulsifier when combined with Cetearyl Alcohol.
Use at a ratio of 1:1 when solubilising light essential oils for use in a water based spray. If your essential oils are heavier eg Vetiver, Patchouli etc use more Polysorbate 20 and leave the mixture to sit for longer while it solubilises. The amount needed will vary so try increasing it 1% at a time until you find the best amount for your blend.
Soluble in water, oil and alcohol.
Polysorbate 20 is not suitable for use with Preservative Eco as it can deactivate benzoic acid, sorbic acid and benzyl alcohol.
Use at room temperature.
Note that it can change the viscosity of emulsions and make creams or lotions thinner.There are times when this can be an advantage.
RECIPES & BLENDS
Combine with any of the oil based CO2 Extracts to make them usable in a facial toner.
Click on the links below to be directed to great recipes featuring Polysorbate 20: