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What is the Difference Between Polysorbate 20 vs Polysorbate 80?

perbezaan polysorbate 20 vs polysorbate 80

In Soap Lab Malaysia. Currently (till May 2017) we have 3 types of emulsifiers; Ewax, Polysorbate 20 (tween 20) and Polysorbate 80 (tween 80).

There is a lot of confusion on how to use the polysorbate therefore ill try to explain the differences here in lay man term.

What is it for?

When you make a skincare product; sometimes you have to use water or water soluble ingredients and mix it with oil phase; oily/ buttery ingredient.

But as you know, water and oil cant mix; therefore you will have to add an intermediator that connects this two. This ingredient is called as emulsifier.

When to use what?

Polysorbate 20 is a solubilizer that you use to solubilize essential oil or fragrance oil.
This product is soluble in:
1. water
2. Glycerin

Its partially soluble in:
1. Oils
2. Butters

So what does this means?

It basically means that since polysorbate is only soluble in water phase and partially in oil phase; you use it when you are adding in very little oils in your product. Like less than 5%. So this also means that usually if you have a product that is more water phase; like serum, face mist etc; but you have to add fragrance oil/ essential oil (which usually u use lesser than 5%); you use polysorbate 20

Polysorbate 80
Like polysorbate 20, this is also a solubalizer. However we usually use this ingredient in product that has more oil phase than water phase.

This product is soluble in:
1. Carrier oils
2. Water

Its not soluble in:
1. Glycerin.

So what does this means?

So what it means is you use this product mostly in oily or more oil phase products.
Something where a combination of oils/butters/essential/fragrance oil is more than the water phase. This would be a product like cleansing oils etc.

Since Polysorbate 80 is better coz its solubilizes essential oil and carrier oil; can i use this for both purpose? Ie as essential oil emulsifier and carrier oil emulsifier?

Yes of course you can. However Polysorbate 80 is much darker than Polysorbate 20. In water ingredients; it can make the product aesthetic look slightly 'uglier' than Polysorbate 20. But if you could ignore the aesthetic/look of the product; than Polysorbate 80 would be a better choice to keep.

How much do i use them?

Basically use the same amount of oil in your product. It should be a 1: 1 ratio.


1. if in serum you are adding 5% of essential oil; you add 5% of polysorbate 20 and mix vigrously the eo and polysorbate 20 first before adding into the serum
2. If you are doing a oil cleansing serum with 90% oil phase; add the same amount of polysorbate 80.

If you are not sure how to convert percentage to weight; click here

If you would like to read more on how to make products/ free recipes; please click here

To purchase this ingredients: please  Contact us Here(working hours; 10am-4pm)

Thank you for reading;

1 comment

  1. Can I add the Poly 80 to the water phase or oil phase? Im making lotion


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