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Polysorbate 20

SoapGoods Inc
Price in points: 345 points
Reward points: 1 point
In stock

About Polysorbate 20


  • Synonyms: Polysorbate 20
  • INCI Name: sorbitan monolaurate
  • CAS: 9005-64-5
  • Einecs: 500-018-3

The Science

  • Viscosity: Medium thick liquid, consistency of a hand soap
  • Solublity: Tween 20 dissolves in water at 100 mg/mL, giving a clear yellow solution. It is also miscible with alcohol, dioxane, and ethyl acetate; practically insoluble in liquid paraffin and fixed oils
  • Storage: Cool, dark dry area, air tight container preferred


  • Appearance: Oily, liquid, light yellow
  • Odor: Mild alcoholic odor
  • Natural: Not found in nature. It is derived from the fatty acid Lauric Acid which is derived from Coconut Oil. Polysorbates are usually used with other emulsifiers. These include sorbitan monostearates or mono- and diglycerides to make vitamins and essential oils soluble. It can also be used to disperse colors, flavors and to improve texture and the volume of baked goods.
  • Packaging: 1 Lbs is a single plastic jar, 7 Lb is a single plastic jar, 48 lb is 4 x 7 lb jugs. 420 lb is a steel drum
  • Shelf life: Suggested retest date 1 year from purchase

Usage / Benefits

  • Industries: Cosmetics, Personal Care, Hair Care, Skincare, Bath Products, Fragrance Manufacturing, Soap Making, Aromatherapy, Beauty Spa Products, Sunscreens, Makeup Products
  • Applications: Emulsifier in creams and lotions, solubilizer for essential oils, stabilizer in gel products, dispersant for fragrances in cosmetic products, wetting agent in bath oils and bath bombs, viscosity modifier in hair care products, foaming agent in cleansers, surfactant in liquid soaps and shampoos, consistency enhancer in topical ointments, ingredient in makeup removers, binding agent in compact powders and eyeshadows, clouding agent in beverages, carrier for flavoring agents in food products
  • Benefits: Emulsifying agent, Enhances ingredient solubility, Stabilizes product formulations, Improves texture, Disperses oils in water-based products, Facilitates mixing of ingredients, Non-irritating, Enhances skin penetration of active ingredients, Aids in even product application, Safe for sensitive skin.
  • Products Uses: Emulsifier in creams and lotions, solubilizer for essential oils, stabilizer in gel products, dispersant for fragrances, wetting agent in bath oils and bath bombs, viscosity modifier in hair care products, foaming agent in cleansers, surfactant in liquid soaps and shampoos, consistency enhancer in topical ointments, ingredient in makeup removers, binding agent in compact powders and eyeshadows
  • Safety: Generally safe, however keep out of eyes and do not eat.
  • Cautions: Not for ingestion, keep away from pets and children who may attempt to eat.
  • External Use Only: Even if food grade, we do not provide items for ingestion, all of our items are for external use only.

Polysorbate 20

Polysorbate 20 is a gentle emulsifier and is also a non-ionic surfactant. It is used as a stabilizer for perfumes in water based formulas and as an emulsifier for oils in water. When emulsifying essential oils it is able to maintain the properties and integrity of the oil it emulsifies and so is highly recommended for this purpose.

It is used in creams, body sprays, salves, cleansers, cream rinses, conditioners, scrubs, pomades, lotions, bath oils, lipsticks, glosses, mists, mascaras, ointments, toners and body wipes. It is also used in linen sprays and mists. Polysorbate 20 is not the most effective emulsifier as separation can occur in some of the products it is added in but with shaking it will quickly re-emulsify. It is very lubricating and soothing for the skin. It is best used in products when a very low amount of foaming action is desired.

Polysorbate 20, often referred to by its more common name “Tween 20,” is a versatile and widely used ingredient in the cosmetic and personal care industry. It serves as a critical component in many formulations, especially those requiring solubilization of oils into water-based systems. Derived from lauric acid—a fatty acid found in coconut oil and palm kernel oil—and ethylene oxide, Polysorbate 20 functions primarily as a surfactant, emulsifier, and solubilizer.

Functionality and Benefits

Polysorbate 20's popularity in the cosmetic world is mainly due to its multi-functional properties, which include:

  • Emulsification: The primary function of Polysorbate 20 is to serve as an emulsifier. Emulsifiers help blend oil and water-based ingredients, which naturally repel each other, into a stable mixture. The result is a smooth, unified product that does not separate over time.
  • Surfactant Properties: As a surfactant, Polysorbate 20 decreases the surface tension between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid. This property aids in improving the spreadability of products.
  • Solubilizer: Polysorbate 20 assists in dissolving oils, especially essential and fragrance oils, in water-based formulations, leading to clear solutions rather than murky or separated mixtures.

Applications in Cosmetic and Personal Care

Polysorbate 20 finds its way into a plethora of products, showcasing its adaptability and indispensability:

  • Skincare Products: Used in lotions, creams, and serums, Polysorbate 20 ensures a smooth and homogenous texture while also aiding in the dispersion of active ingredients.
  • Hair Care: In hair sprays, conditioners, and shampoos, it works as a solubilizer for fragrance and essential oils and ensures even distribution of product when applied.
  • Bath Products: Bath bombs, bath oils, and bubble baths use Polysorbate 20 to disperse oils evenly throughout the water, preventing them from floating on the surface.
  • Fragrance Sprays: Essential and fragrance oils can be dispersed in water-based sprays with the help of Polysorbate 20, leading to clear, non-separating liquid fragrances.

Role in Soap Making

Soap makers, particularly those producing liquid or transparent soaps, value Polysorbate 20 for its solubilizing properties. Here's how it benefits the soap-making process:

  • Clarity in Transparent Soaps: Polysorbate 20 aids in producing clear soaps by reducing cloudiness caused by undissolved oils or additives.
  • Scent Retention: It allows for better incorporation of fragrance or essential oils, ensuring the aroma lingers longer and disperses evenly.
  • Texture and Consistency: Polysorbate 20 can enhance the texture of liquid soaps, making them smoother and more consistent.

Safety and Usage Considerations

Polysorbate 20 is generally considered safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products. However, like all ingredients, certain considerations should be kept in mind:

  • Concentration: It's crucial to adhere to recommended usage levels. Too much Polysorbate 20 can thin out formulations or cause them to feel sticky.
  • Purity: Ensure that you're sourcing high-quality Polysorbate 20, as impurities can affect your final product's performance and safety.
  • Stability: When introducing Polysorbate 20 into a formulation, stability testing is vital to ensure the product remains effective and safe over time.

Polysorbate 20 Uses

Polysorbate 20 is a surfactant and emulsifier that is commonly used in various industries. It helps to mix oil and water, stabilizes emulsions, and improves the texture and feel of many products. Here are some of the main applications of Polysorbate 20:

Uses in Cosmetics and Personal Care

Skincare Products

Polysorbate 20 is often used in skincare products such as creams, lotions, and serums. It helps to create a smooth and consistent texture, allowing the product to spread evenly on the skin. Additionally, it aids in the solubilization of essential oils and fragrances.

Hair Care Products

In hair care formulations, Polysorbate 20 acts as a thickening agent and provides a conditioning effect. It is found in shampoos, conditioners, and hair sprays, where it helps to blend various ingredients seamlessly.


Polysorbate 20 is used in makeup products like foundations and eyeshadows to achieve a uniform consistency. It allows for a smoother application and enhances the overall appearance of the makeup.

Application in Household Cleaning Products

Detergents and Cleaners

This emulsifier is also found in household cleaning products such as detergents and surface cleaners. It helps to disperse oily substances, enhancing the cleaning properties of the products.

Uses in Food Industry

Food Emulsifier

Although not the main focus here, it's worth noting that Polysorbate 20 is also used as an emulsifier in food products. It helps to mix ingredients that would not typically blend well together, such as oil and water, ensuring a consistent texture in products like salad dressings and ice creams.

Pharmaceutical Applications

Drug Formulations

Polysorbate 20 is used in pharmaceuticals to enhance the solubility and stability of active ingredients in drug formulations. It is especially valuable in injectable medications where a stable and homogeneous mixture is essential.

Polysorbate 20 Benefits

1. Emulsification Properties

Polysorbate 20's ability to blend oils and water into a stable emulsion is one of its key benefits. This property makes it an essential ingredient in a wide range of products where a smooth and uniform texture is desired.

2. Enhances Solubility

By acting as a solubilizer, Polysorbate 20 helps to dissolve various ingredients, including essential oils and fragrances, into a consistent mixture. This ensures that all components are evenly distributed throughout the product.

3. Improves Texture and Feel

In personal care products, Polysorbate 20 contributes to a smoother application and enhances the overall texture. It imparts a pleasant feel to products like lotions, creams, and serums, making them more appealing to the consumer.

4. Stabilizes Formulations

Polysorbate 20 acts as a stabilizer, maintaining the integrity of various formulations. By preventing separation and settling, it ensures that the product remains effective and retains its desired characteristics over time.

5. Versatility in Applications

Its wide range of applications in cosmetics, personal care, household cleaning, and pharmaceuticals reflects the versatility of Polysorbate 20. It can be utilized in numerous formulations to achieve different functions, making it a valuable component in diverse industries.

6. Safe and Non-Toxic

Polysorbate 20 is generally considered to be safe and non-toxic, making it suitable for use in products that are in direct contact with the skin and hair. Its gentle nature allows for its inclusion in sensitive skin formulations as well.


Polysorbate 20 in Skincare

Polysorbate 20 is a versatile ingredient commonly used in skincare products for various purposes:

1. Solubilizing Agent

Polysorbate 20 acts as a solubilizing agent, helping to dissolve oil-soluble ingredients in water-based formulations. It aids in creating uniform mixtures.

2. Mild Surfactant

It serves as a mild surfactant, assisting in cleansing by emulsifying oils and dirt, without causing excessive dryness or irritation.

3. Stabilizing Formulations

Polysorbate 20 contributes to the stability of skincare products, preventing the separation of ingredients and ensuring consistent performance.

4. Texture and Feel

It enhances the texture and feel of skincare products, making them smoother and more pleasant to apply on the skin.

5. Compatibility

Polysorbate 20 is compatible with a wide range of skincare ingredients, allowing it to be used in various products including lotions, creams, and serums.

6. Non-Irritating

Polysorbate 20 is generally considered safe for topical use and has a low potential for causing skin irritation, making it suitable for sensitive skin.

Benefits of Polysorbate 20 in Skincare

Polysorbate 20's solubilizing, stabilizing, and surfactant properties contribute to the overall effectiveness and user experience of skincare products.

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How Fast Can I get it?

We Guarantee Your order ships out the same or next business day! This means in the South East you will have your order in 1 to 3 business days, in the North East normally 3 to 4 days and in the West normally 4 to 5 days. For full details on shipping and processing times please see our expected delivery times.

These times are based on business days, not including weekends or holidays.

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FedEx Transit Times

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USPS Delivery Map

USPS Transit Times

Typical Delivery Times to Major US Cities

Major Cities Total Business Days +1 / -1
Alabama (AL) - Montgomery, Birmingham 1
Alaska (AK) - Juneau, Anchorage 7
Arizona (AZ) - Phoenix, Tucson 4
Arkansas (AR) - Little Rock, Fayetteville 2
California (CA) - Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose 4
Colorado (CO) - Denver, Colorado Springs 3
Connecticut (CT) - Hartford, New Haven 2
Delaware (DE) - Dover, Wilmington, Newark 2
Florida (FL) - Tallahassee, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Destin 2
Georgia (GA) - Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Athens 1
Hawaii (HI) - Honolulu, Kailua 7
Idaho (ID) - Boise, Coeur d'Alene 4
Illinois (IL) - Springfield, Chicago, Peoria, Rockford 2
Indiana (IN) - Indianapolis, Fort Wayne 2
Iowa (IA) - Des Moines, Cedar Rapids 2
Kansas (KS) - Topeka, Wichita, Kansas City 2
Kentucky (KY) - Frankfort, Louisville, Lexington 2
Louisiana (LA) - Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette 2
Maine (ME) - Augusta, Portland, Bangor 3
Maryland (MD) - Annapolis, Baltimore 2
Massachusetts (MA) - Boston, Cambridge, Worcester 2
Michigan (MI) - Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids 2
Minnesota (MN) - St. Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth 3
Mississippi (MS) - Jackson, Biloxi, Hattiesburg 1
Missouri (MO) - Jefferson City, St Louis, Kansas City 2
Montana (MT) - Helena, Billings 4
Nebraska (NE) - Lincoln, Omaha 2
Nevada (NV) - Carson City, Las Vegas, Reno 4
New Hampshire (NH) - Concord, Manchester, Portsmouth 2
New Jersey (NJ) - Trenton, Newark, Jersey City 2
New Mexico (NM) - Santa Fe, Alburquerque 3
New York (NY) - Albany, New York, Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, Niagara Falls, Ithaca 3
North Carolina (NC) - Raleigh, Charlotte 2
North Dakota (ND) - Bismarck, Fargo 3
Ohio (OH) - Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati 2
Oklahoma (OK) - Oklahoma City, Fairview, 2
Oregon (OR) - Salem, Portland, Eugene 5
Pennsylvania (PA) - Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh 2
Rhode Island (RI) - Providence, Newport 2
South Carolina (SC) - Columbia, Charleston 1
South Dakota (SD) - Pierre, Sioux Falls, Rapid City 3
Tennessee (TN) - Nashville, Memphis 2
Texas (TX) - Austin, Houston, Dallas 3
Utah (UT) - Salt Lake City, St. George 3
Vermont (VT) - Montpelier, Burlington 3
Virginia (VA) - Richmond, Virginia Beach 2
Washington (WA) - Olympia, Seattle, Vancouver, Spokane 5
West Virginia (WV) - Charleston, Morgantown 2
Wisconsin (WI) - Madison, Milwaukee 2
Wyoming (WY) - Cheyenne, Jackson 4

Disclaimer: All product descriptions and specifications provided in this description are intended as a guide only and are subject to change without notice. While we strive for accuracy, discrepancies or errors may be present. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Safety Data Sheet (Polysorbate-20.pdf, 138 Kb) [Download]