Polysorbate 20
Polysorbate 20

Polysorbate 20

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CAS: 9005-64-5

INCI: Polysorbate 20

Chemical Structure:

  • Polysorbate 20 is a non-ionic surfactant derived from sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, and oleic acid, a fatty acid. It belongs to the polysorbate family, which consists of esters of sorbitol and fatty acids.

Physical Form:

  • Polysorbate 20 is typically found as a clear to pale yellow liquid.

Function and Uses:

  1. Emulsifier: Polysorbate 20 is widely used as an emulsifier in various cosmetic and personal care products. It helps blend oil and water-based ingredients, creating stable and well-dispersed formulations.

  2. Surfactant: As a surfactant, polysorbate 20 reduces the surface tension between different substances, allowing them to mix more easily. This property is especially valuable in skincare and cosmetic formulations.

  3. Solubilizer: It is often used to solubilize or dissolve essential oils, fragrance oils, and other hydrophobic ingredients in water-based formulations.

  4. Stabilizer: Polysorbate 20 contributes to the stability of formulations, preventing the separation of ingredients over time.

  5. Mild Detergent: Due to its mild detergent properties, it is included in various personal care products such as shampoos, body washes, and cleansers.

Common Applications:

  • Polysorbate 20 is commonly used in a wide range of cosmetic and personal care products, including lotions, creams, serums, shampoos, and bath products.


  1. Improved Formulation Stability: Polysorbate 20 enhances the stability of cosmetic products by preventing the separation of oil and water phases.

  2. Enhanced Solubility: It improves the solubility of essential oils and other hydrophobic ingredients in water-based formulations.

  3. Emulsion Formation: The emulsifying properties of polysorbate 20 allow for the creation of stable emulsions, ensuring a uniform distribution of ingredients.

  4. Mild and Non-Irritating: Polysorbate 20 is generally considered mild and non-irritating, making it suitable for a variety of personal care applications.


  • Polysorbate 20 is generally regarded as safe for use in cosmetic and personal care products. However, individuals with known sensitivities should always check product labels and perform patch tests if necessary.

Regulatory Status:

  • Polysorbate 20 is widely accepted and considered safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products when formulated according to regulatory guidelines.

Usage Instructions:

  • Manufacturers incorporate polysorbate 20 into formulations at recommended concentrations to achieve the desired emulsifying and solubilizing effects.
  • It is essential to follow product-specific guidelines and recommendations for optimal performance.

Certificate of Analysis - Material Safety Data Sheet

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