Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Advanced Questions Polysorbate 80 or Kolliphor RH 40 as a surfactant?

  • Polysorbate 80 or Kolliphor RH 40 as a surfactant?

    Posted by BathroomChemist on October 14, 2023 at 10:46 am

    I formulated a product with both non-ionic surfactants and sent it out for microbial screening. It was hard to preserve because I’m using > 10% non-ionic surfactant, and lots of traditional preservatives don’t work. The results came back, and both samples got a “total kill” rating after 7 days. Now I have the freedom to choose whether to use Polysorbate 80 or Kolliphor RH 40 as my surfactant.

    I tried a large array of surfactants and these two are the only candidates. Polysorbate 80 is a polyoxyethylene sorbitan fatty acid ester. Kolliphor RH 40 (from BASF) is a polyoxyethylene hydrogenated castor oil derivative. Kolliphor RH 40 has been used at up to 22% in leave-on products and mouse models show no irritation potential at 20%. Polysorbate 80 has been used at up to 11.9% in leave-on products and 100% Polysorbate 80 in humans was non-irritating.

    Given that both are well-studied and non-irritating, non-sensitizing…etc, what are some other advantages or disadvantages of using one over another? This could be stability, consumer perception, or a number of other factors I’m not aware of. Fyi, I’m aware of potential contamination by 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, especially at > 10% concentration and I’m making sure to source products that meet NY regulations.

    fekher replied 4 months, 1 week ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
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