Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate = which Polysorbate?

  • PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate = which Polysorbate?

    Posted by Lab on August 11, 2023 at 6:35 am

    Hello there!

    I have a Johnsons Baby line product in my hands, which is very popular and classic here in Brazil. It turns out that our labeling legislation has recently changed and now companies need to start informing not only the INCI Name of each ingredient (as was the case before), but also its name in our language (a somewhat controversial issue)

    That “translating” ingredient name aside, we were taking a look at the label on this product and noticed that the ingredient “PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate” appears as “Polysorbate 20“. I was very confused by this, because we have been having difficulty finding PEG-80SL for purchase, but we have a stock of polysorbate 20 (which we could theoretically be using, if at all)


    I did some research to confirm this was correct and found on the Croda website (and prospector) that PEG-80SL actually corresponds to Polysorbate 28. Two websites during my research said it was Polysorbate 20, but all the others did. the 28…

    So… let’s get to the questions themselves.

    1. Does PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate match Polysorbate 20 or Polysorbate 28? A mislabeling by J&J is a bit unexpected for me

    2. What are the differences between Polysorbate 20 and Polysorbate 28? Considering everything from different properties like different HBL, cleaning power, interaction with other components, etc…

    That’s it for now, thanks again to the thinking minds of this forum (:

    - Johnson’s Baby Shampoo: https://www.johnsonsbaby.com.br/produtos/shampoo/johnsons-baby-shampoo-de-glicerina

    - Croda (Tween 28): https://www.crodapersonalcare.com/pt-br/product-finder/product/4267-tween_1_28

    - Prospector (Tween 28): https://www.ulprospector.com/pt/la/PersonalCare/Detail/1832/6611801/Tween-28

    • This discussion was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by  Lab.
    Lab replied 8 months ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • ketchito

    August 14, 2023 at 12:21 pm


    You can see PEG-80 sorbitan laurate (Tween 28) as a more ethoxylated version of Tween 20. They have both the same structure but with different degree of ethoxylation. It’s like comparing Sodium laureth (8) sulfate to Sodium laureth (2) sulfate (the former is a very mild version of the surfactant while the latter is the one that everyone use).

    But because PEG-80 sorbitan laurate has a high degree of ethoxylation, that makes it milder and in practice, a different molecule to Tween 20.

    • Lab

      August 23, 2023 at 6:33 am

      Thank you Ketchito, this was very helpful! (:

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