Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Question: How to use polysorbates in our products?
We can use polysorbate 20 or polysorbate 80 to help solubilize oil soluble ingredients in water based products. Each has their own reason for being - polysorbate 20 is good for essential or fragrance oils and polysorbate 80 is good for carrier oils.
Here's how I use them. I mix equal parts of the polysorbate with the oil in question and mix it well. Then I add it to my product. So let's say I'm making a d-Limonene based cleanser for my hands and I want to incorporate the oil soluble d-Limonene into my product. I mix equal parts d-Limonene and polysorbate 20 in a plastic shot glass or small container - mix it very well - then pour that into my product and mix well. That's pretty much it. The hard part is figuring out how much you need to keep the oils solubilized in the product.
As a general rule, you'll want to use 1 part polysorbate 20 with 1 part of the fragrance oil, but this can lead to cloudy mixtures. If you want it to be clear, you'll have to play with the amount of the polysorbate 20 you use. Since I'm really not that picky about a product being clear, I just use the 1:1 ratio.
The same process is used for polysorbate 80. Again, you might get a cloudy product with a 1:1 ratio, so you'll have to play with the amounts if you want something clear. I'm that worried about it as long as it remains solubilized.
As a note, you can use polysorbate 80 in place of polysorbate 20 but the opposite doesn't work!
Click here for more ideas on using polysorbates in your products.