what are diffrences between polysorbate20 , 60, 80 in uses?


  • 80 and 20 are solubilizers, 60 is a thicknener.
  • the 3 are surfactants. The structure and the HLB is different. 
    Polysorbate 60 and 80 are very similar and have almost the same HLB, only difference is the saturation of the aliphatic tail. If you are using a saturated oil better to use the polysorbate 60 and for unsaturated oil better the polysorbate 80.  
    Polysorbate 20 is more hydrophilic 

  • Thank you very much jeremien
  • @jeremien, I don’t understand your point. Polysorbate 60 is a thickener. You can’t use 60 and 80 interchangeably unless you are using them as high HLB emulsifiers to mix with a low HLB emulsifiers like glyceryl oleate
  • I cannot understand why you classify tween 60 as Thickener and not Tween 80. The only difference between both surfactants is the alkyl tail, that have the same length (C18) but it is a stearyl in the case of Tween 60 and Oleyl in the case of Tween 80I understand that tween 60 is semisolid at room temperature and tween 80 is liquid, but when you solubilize them, both are soluble in water. 

  • Looking to phase diagram of both surfactants, due to its slightly differetn structure, Tween 60 tend to form liquid crystalline phases in a larger region than tween 80, maybe that is the reason why you classify it as a thickner?

  • ngarayeva001ngarayeva001 Member
    edited November 2018


    Google polysorbate 60 and you will get many sources that classify it as a thickener.

    That aside, I run dozens of experiments with it and can confirm, it thickens emulsions. If you do not believe me, make a basic o/w lotion, then make another batch but with 2% of polysorbate 60 and compare.
  • ngarayeva001 i trust you J, i have never formulate a product with only this surfactant. I believe that thickening effect is due to liquid crystalline phase and stronger interactions with other co surfactant such as cetostearyl alcohol.

  • @jeremien, I don't think an emulsion with polysorbate 60 only will be very stable. I usually combine it with either low HLB emulsifiers+fatty acids or polymers. Goes well with Sepinov EMT. If I am not mistaken, I saw Poly 60 and Sepinov mix in a couple of La Prairie's products.

    I read recently that glyceryl oleate, which is w/o emulsifier acts as a thinkener in o/w emulsions. Ordered it recently to see how it's going to work.
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