Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Esters: Using polysorbates in your products

I've used polysorbates in my creations for quite some time. I use polysorbate 20 to solubilize fragrance oils in body washes, cooling sprays, and cleaning sprays, whereas I use polysorbate 80 to solubilize carrier oils into those same products. Here are a few examples of how to use each solubilizer.

If you want to make a hand cleanser that contains a lot of essential oils or very light oils - for instance, this d-Limonene foaming hand cleanser - your choice should be polysorbate 20. If you want to incorporate something like d-Limonene into cleaning products, again polysorbate 20 is your choice! Or if you have a toner or water based spray you like but want some essential oils or extra fragrance in there, you can add equal parts polysorbate 20 to the mix and solubilize those oils!

The nice thing about using the polysorbates in cleaning products is the very mild non-ionic cleansing they offer as well as the suppression of foam. You don't want a ton of foam on your kitchen counter as you're trying to get last night's spaghetti sauce off the tiles! So we can use these ingredients for the possibly unwanted effects in certain products.

This spray is one of the easiest products you can make, and it's always a big hit in my craft group!

97.5% to 98% distilled water
1% polysorbate 20
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative

Mix polysorbate 20 and fragrance oil together in a small container. Pour the water into a mister bottle, then pour the polysorbate 20 and fragrance oil into it. Shake well. Rejoice and enjoy.

If you want to make a dispersible bath oil, polysorbate 80 is your first choice, because it's all about solubilizing the carrier oils.

78% oils of choice
20% polysorbate 80 (emulsifier)
2% fragrance or essential oil

Mix your oils together, add the polysorbate 80. Add 2% fragrance or essential oil. If you are using oils with a 6 month or less shelf life, please add 0.5% to 1% Vitamin E to the bath oil.

And if you want to make a bath melt, you'd turn to polysorbate 80 to help solubilize the carrier oils in the tub!

16% citric acid
32% cocoa or shea or mango butter
45% baking soda
5% liquid emulsifier (like polysorbate 80) or e-wax or Polawax
1 to 2% fragrance oil

Melt the cocoa or shea butter in a heat proof container in a double boiler until liquid. Remove from the double boiler, then add the baking soda and citric acid and stir well. Add oil soluble colouring (powdered chocolate colouring or micas), fragrance oil, and the polysorbate 80. Pour into molds and let set. If you can set them in the fridge, all the better: They'll be harder sooner, and, if you're using all cocoa butter, they will get a lovely shine that makes them look even more chocolate-y.

If you want to add oils to your body wash, here's a link for that! You'd use the same directions to add it to a shampoo.

Join me tomorrow for the esterific wrap-up!


Naomi said...

I'm so fragrance-challenged. I'd love to make a fragrance spray. I find certain fragrances lend themselves better to certain products. Which fragrances do you use for this particular project?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Naomi. I mainly make Lemon Curd, Lemon Curd & Cream Cheese (which we call Froot Loops, used at 50-50), or Cream Cheese fragrances and have had no problems. When I bring the fragrances to the kids I tend to bring pink sugar, cream cheese frosting, vanilla, Georgia peach, strawberry daquiri, green bamboo, and blue raspberry and they work well.

Honestly, I've never thought about the fragrance choices - I just choose what I like. I'm wondering what you mean by lending themselves to this product? Are you referring to the cloudiness, for instance, or just the fragrance part staying nice?

Naomi said...

Hi Susan! I guess I mean that certain fragrances match certain products better, like mint-ies for foot products, sugar-ies and citrus-ies for scrubs, etc. I tried making a reed diffuser blend and my husband hated it (I think I mixed up gingerbread-type fragrance with something). I know what I like when I smell it, but when faced with multitudes of fragrance choices (and let's not get into fragrance blends - mind boogling options) I just blank out. I like when you (and others) suggest what fragrances/essential oils that you end up using. I do try to take cues from the pros and see what fragrances are "in." Anyway, wasn't sure which frags would work as a body spray. The fruit loops sounds fun!

Sandhia Amrania said...

If I have Jasmine Fragrance oil to use with Reeds, would be able to let me know how much Polysorb 20 or 80 should I use?

Lisa said...

Hi Susan,

I've tried the bath oil recipe, but I noticed that the polysorbate 80 starts to separate from the oil after letting it sit for a while. Everytime I want to use it, I have to shake it up. Is there anything I can add to prevent it from separating?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lisa. I'm answering your comment in Friday, December 5th's Weekday Wonderings. The short answer is to remember to shake it up regularly!

Leanne Lovie said...

I'm interested in an emulsifier for fragrancing vinegar for laundry. I know that there are "canning vinegars" or flavored vinegars on the market that use polysorbate 80 to mix flavor oils and vinegar in the same way. However, reading this post I would think that polysorbate 20 would be better. Is 80 better with higher acidity? I'm having trouble finding good info on the whys.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Leanne! As a general rule, polysorbate 20 is for fragrance or essential oils and polysorbate 80 is for carrier oils. I guess the question is do you need to worry about the acidity of the vinegar all that much? Vinegars range from 2.4 to around 5.5 for others. I wouldn't be that concerned!

Ursula said...

Hi, susan I have a quick questiopn about polysorbate 80, what should it smell like? I have just received some and tried to make a bath oil with it, in the container it smeels like neatsfoot oil (that you use on leather and horse tack) and even at 4% fragrance oil I can still smell it in the bath oil, Is this a normal smell for it or is there something wrong with my polysorbate?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Ursula. I've answered your question in today's Weekend Wonderings. The short answer is that polysorbate 80 should smell neutral or slightly sweet.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
I'm Orsi and first of all thank you for all the info you provided, I think I'm addicted to your blog. :) Today was the first time I used poly-20 in a hairspray and when I added the poly-20 + eo blend, it went milky from christal clear. :( I used camomille hydrosol, panthenol, keratin and Cosgard as my preservative). The eo was litsea cubeba. Do you have any idea why did it happen?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Orsi. Your mixture went clear? This is a good thing and shows that the polysorbate is emulsifying your oils.

Anonymous said...

Hi there just wonder, is there any need for preservatives to create the water-based fragrance spray? and without preservatives, then how long should the product last?

Thank you..

Sara Kusumawardhani said...

Hi Susan,

I'd like to make my own water soluble cleansing oil. I mean, Shu make a good one that I like, but the price is horrendeous. I'd like to know which one is preferable for rinse off cleansing oil, 20 or 80.

Thank you.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sara! Try making a version with 20 and a version with 80 and see which one you like more. As I have no idea what recipe you might be following, I'm afraid I can't offer more help than that. Let us know what you do!

Lynette said...

Hi Susan,

I'm not sure if I'm having a problem, or not. I'm trying to make a linen/body spray, using Lavender Hydrosol, Lavender Essential Oil and Poly sorbate-20. I used 9.8 ounces of Hydrosol and .1 ounce of Essential Oil and Polysorbate 20. My mixture is cloudy. Should it be clear, or will it remain cloudy?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lynette. I've done a ton of experiments on various solubilizers and fragrances, so I encourage you to look those up to learn more. As a question - what are you using as a preservative? That might be having an impact.

Lynette said...

I'm using Optiphen ND. Is there a safe usage percentage for Polysorbate 20? I have been looking all over the internet, and have seen recommendations of 1%-10%.

Valerie said...

I have been trying to use LabColors (water-based liquid) to color my lotions instead of micas to avoid graininess. Would one of the Polysorbates prevent the color from sitting on top of the lotion? Or is a LabColor just not the right type of colorant to use?

Thanks, --Valerie

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Valerie. LabColours are the best choice for a lotion. I have a feeling you're making an anhydrous product - one without water - and that's the problem, because these colours are water soluble and mix in easily. What's in your recipe?

Olena Gill said...

Hi Susan,
I too am having a problem with cloudiness when I use the Polysorbate20 (which was purchased at Voyageur!). For a 1L jar of linen spray, I use 1 oz of EO with a 1:1 ratio of that to polysorbate. I have not even put a preservative in yet, so the only ingredients are the distilled water, polysorbate and EO. Frankly, I would love to add witch hazel to the mix even, but currently it is so milky and has stayed that way for a day, so I'm reluctant to add anything else at the point until this mix clears (if at all). Can you shed some light on this cloudiness problem?
Thanks, Olena

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Olena. Yes, it will milky, because you've just made an emulsion. The milkiness shows it works!

Pier said...

Instead of using Poly 20 or Poly 80 why not using PEG 40 as this one is miscible in water and oils, than we won't need to buy anything else ? I used all of them because I have them in stock but I prefer PEG 40 which it seems the best. I don't know if I am right !

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Pier. I love PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil and have written about it quite a bit on the blog. I prefer it to the other solubilizers, but why not test them all the way you've done?