Friends & Family | 20% Storewide Savings use code FF20 »
Friends & Family | 20% Storewide Savings use code FF20 — Shop Now »


Polysorbate represents a group of emulsifiers used in pharmaceuticals, food preparation, and beauty and personal care products. An emulsifier is a substance that allows two or more liquids that are typically immiscible (unblendable) to combine. Polysorbates are oily liquids that consist of sorbitan and fatty acids. They are formed by producing reactions of polyol and sorbitol with ethylene oxide.

Several common types of polysorbate exist: Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 21, Polysorbate 40, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 61, and Polysorbate 80, among others. The number following “Polysorbate” represents the type of fatty acid associated with the polyoxyethylene sorbitan part of the molecule. Specifically, 20 represents monolaurate, or lauric acid; 40 represents monopalmitate, or palmitic acid; 60 represents monostearate, or stearic acid; and 80 represents monooleate, or oleic acid. Brand names for these polysorbates include Tween, Alkest, and Canarcel.

more information

Unlike other beauty and personal care ingredients that serve many functions across industries, polysorbate has one primary function: to act as a surfactant to create emulsions, allowing ingredients to better combine, thus making the product more effective. Simply put, polysorbate helps to disperse oil in water. Polysorbate’s primary function makes it useful in beauty and personal care products, including cosmetics, as well as food products and pharmaceuticals.

In foods, polysorbate is most commonly used in ice cream, making it smoother and easier to handle. It also prevents it from melting more quickly. Some versions of polysorbate are used as a wetting agent in products such as flavored mouth drops, helping the flavor spread. Still others are used as an emulsifier in powdered drink products, such as hot cocoa mix. In medicine, polysorbate is a common ingredient in the influenza vaccine in Europe and Canada. It also helps emulsify medicines such as amiodarone.

Simply put, polysorbate helps to disperse oil in water.

Several types of polysorbate are widely used in the beauty and personal care industries, thanks to the ingredients surfactant and emulsion benefits. Thanks to these properties, polysorbates are found in a range of products, including skin care products; cleansing products; cosmetics, particularly bases and foundations; shampoos; and fragrances. These products need a well-blended consistency in order for them to be both appealing and effective. When added to such products, polysorbates improve the product’s consistency and allow it to blend into the skin or hair more smoothly.

Polysorbate 20, for example, is a common ingredient in facial cleansers, anti-aging products, and hair styling gels. Polysorbate 40 serves as an emulsifier in cosmetic creams, stabilizing essential oils in water. Polysorbate 80 is common in baby lotions, cold creams, suntan lotion, and bath oils. Polysorbate 85 is a common ingredient in tanning lotion.

The safety of polysorbates has been well studied, and polysorbates have gained approval for use from several organizations. The Food and Drug Administration approved Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 65, and Polysorbate 80 to be used in food products for two purposes.

Several types of polysorbate are widely used in the beauty and personal care industries.

First, it these types of polysorbates work as adjuvants of flavoring agents, helping to add a taste or flavor to food. The FDA has also approved these polysorbates as multipurpose additives in foods. In addition, the FDA allows Polysorbates 20, 40, 60, 65, 80, and 85 to be used as indirect food additives, meaning they become a part of the food in trace amounts; specifically, they are used as emulsifiers and surface active agents. Finally, Polysorbate 80 is used in over-the-counter ophthalmic drug products, serving as a demulcent that creates a soothing film and relieves irritation of mucous membranes.

The safety of polysorbates in beauty and personal care products has also been investigated. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel has determined that the following polysorbates are safe to use in such products: Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 21, Polysorbate 40, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 61, Polysorbate 65, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 81, and Polysorbate 85.

Minimal side effects are associated with polysorbates. They are used in small quantities in food products, medicines, and beauty and personal care ingredients in conjunction with many other ingredients. Research by the FDA and CIR Expert Panel has deemed polysorbates as nontoxic and safe to use. Minor side effects, such as skin irritation, can occur on sensitive skin. Discontinuation of polysorbate-based products can relieve such side effects. For the majority of users, however, no significant side effects will occur, thus explaining the FDA and CIR Expert Panel approval of this ingredient.


refine by

Special Features

Customer Favorites (477)

Ships Free (282)

Natural (194)

New Arrivals (48)

Quick Fixes (41)

Award Winning (28)

Multi-Taskers (11)

Sale (11)

Travel Favorites (11)

Limited Edition (9)


3LAB (6)


Alchimie Forever (6)

Alterna (7)

AminoGenesis (5)

Anastasia (2)

Anthony Logistics for Men (3)

Aramis Classic (1)

Archipelago Botanicals (2)


Art Of Shaving (2)

Astara (1)

Avene (18)

B. Kamins (15)

bareMinerals (6)

Barielle (6)

Belli Skin Care (1)

Billy Jealousy (14)

Bioelements (11)

Bliss (7)

blowPro (2)

Boots No7 (32)

Borghese (4)

Brave Soldier (1)

Cane and Austin (5)

Caudalie Paris (6)

Celazome (12)

CellCeuticals (2)

Cellex-C (10)

CelluliteRx (1)

Circ-Cell Skincare (1)

Clarisonic (2)

Clark's Botanicals (1)

Colorescience (1)

Cor Silver (1)

CosMedix (2)

DCL Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories (9)

DDF (8)

Decleor (9)

Dermaheal Cosmeceuticals (4)

DermaQuest (5)

Dermelect Cosmeceuticals (10)

dr. brandt (6)

Dr. Dennis Gross (13)

Dr. Michelle Copeland (9)

DS Laboratories (4)

DuWop (4)

Elemental Herbology (1)

Elemis (7)

Elizabeth Arden (4)

EmerginC (11)

Epionce (5)

Erno Laszlo (9)

Eve Lom (1)

Exuviance by NeoStrata (20)

Fake Bake (3)

FarmHouse Fresh (23)

Ferndale Laboratories (2)

First Aid Beauty (10)

Frederic Fekkai (7)

Fusion Beauty (2)

Glytone (22)

Goldfaden MD (3)

Grooming Lounge (2)

H2O Plus (16)

HairMax (1)

Hampton Sun (3)

HydroPeptide (1)

Hydroxatone (9)

iS Clinical (2)

Jack Black (6)

Jan Marini (9)

Janson Beckett (5)

Joey New York (3)

Juara Skincare (5)

Juice Beauty (5)

June Jacobs Spa (4)

Jurlique (3)

Karuna (6)

Kate Somerville (13)

Keranique (1)

Kerstin Florian (13)

Kinara (5)

Kinerase (1)

Klorane (4)

Kneipp (19)

Koh Gen Do (1)


L'Occitane (12)

La Roche Posay (16)

Lab Series (3)

LashFood (6)

LightStim (2)

M2 Skin Technologies (4)


MD Formulations (1)

Menscience Androceuticals (6)

Miracle Skin Transformer (2)

Molton Brown (15)

Murad (15)

Mustela (3)

mybody (9)

Neocutis (7)

NeoStrata (9)

Neova (7)

NIA24 (1)

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills (3)

NuFace (5)

NUXE (12)

Obagi (9)

Olay (5)

Ole Henriksen (17)

Oscar Blandi (7)

Osmotics Cosmeceuticals (12)

Paula's Choice (26)


Perricone MD (12)

Peter Thomas Roth (16)

Pevonia Botanica (25)

pH Advantage (1)

Philip B (3)

philosophy (17)

Phyto (4)

Phytomer (12)


Pur Minerals (6)

Quintessence Skin Science (2)

Remede (1)

REN Clean Skincare (7)

Rene Furterer (1)

Retriderm (3)


RoC (4)

Rodial (12)

Rogaine (1)

Scalisi Skincare (2)


Serious Skincare (5)

Sjal (1)

Skin Authority (13)

SkinCeuticals (3)

SkinMedica (13)

skyn ICELAND (2)

Somme Institute (3)

Sothys (5)

South Beach Skin Solutions (1)

SpaRitual (3)

Stila Cosmetics (21)

StriVectin (2)

Summers Labs (1)

Sundari (7)


Tammy Fender (1)

TanTowel (6)

Tensage (1)

Thalgo (13)

Thibiant Beverly Hills (3)

Too Faced (10)

Topix (26)

Total Block (1)

Tricomin (1)

True Isaac Mizrahi (7)

Vichy (6)

Votivo (7)

WEI (6)

Whish (3)

WrinkleMD (1)

Yonka (4)

Yu-Be (3)

Z. Bigatti (2)

Zents (1)

ZIRH (4)


$5 To $24.99 (246)

$25 To $29.99 (124)

$30 To $39.99 (223)

$40 To $59.99 (239)

$60 To $399.99 (285)


Paraben-Free (767)

Natural (200)

Sulfate-Free (87)


Aging Skin (320)

Uneven Skin Tone and Texture (104)

Dehydration (82)

Fine Lines and Wrinkles (75)

Acne (67)

Firming (36)

Oil Control (36)

Dark Circles (34)

Hyperpigmentation (34)

Puffiness (31)

Product Type

Cream (288)

Gel (137)

Serum (137)

Lotion (104)

Pad / Wipe (45)

Spray (Non-aerosol) (33)

Scrub (21)

Balm (17)

Clay (11)

Foam (10)

Skin Type

All Skin Types (521)

Combination Skin (91)

Dry Skin (77)

Oily Skin (66)

Sensitive Skin (42)

Sun Care

SPF 30 Plus (38)

SPF 15-29 (18)

Hair Type

All Hair Types (23)

Limp/Fine/Thin (8)

Dry (6)

Chemically Treated (3)

Damaged (2)

Normal (2)

Oily (2)

Curly (1)


Under $35 (10)

For Her (6)

Natural (5)

Bath and Body (4)

For Home (3)

Tools (2)

Great Values (1)

Hair Care

Volumizing (9)

Shine Enhancing (8)

Moisturizing (6)

Leave-In (5)

Smoothing (4)

Curl Defining (2)

Detangler (2)

Clarifying (1)

Thermal Protection (1)

Who Is It For

Baby/Child (3)

Polysorbate Products

Sort results by:
A unique treatment that has proven to have long-term anti-aging benefits.
1oz | OF050
In Stock
Limited-edition set includes the LUXE Cashmere Cleanse Brush Head and Radiance Brush Head.
$199.00 $256.00 value
In Stock
This product provides a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function.
4oz | PN003
In Stock
Limited-edition microcurrent device to lift and tone your face. Gift set includes free Lifter Serum and Black Cosmetic Bag.
$325.00 $390.00 value
1.00 ct | NF033
In Stock
A deep cleaning cleanser, toner and makeup remover in one.
$36.00 $44.00 value
16oz | PY002
In Stock
A deep cleaning cleanser, toner and makeup remover in one.
8oz | PY001
In Stock
This eye balm reduces the appearance of lines, wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles.
.5oz | NO012
In Stock
A unique treatment that has proven to have long-term anti-aging benefits.
1oz | OF051
In Stock
Get brighter, more even skin in as little as four weeks.
REG $125.00  NOW $118.75
2oz | SM093
In Stock
A fast acting serum, super-charged with an unprecedented amount of PSP® and collagen fueling building blocks for visible results in as little as 7 to 14 days.
1oz | NO014
In Stock
Smoothes, firms and evens the tone of tolerant skin.
1oz | TP027
In Stock
A refreshing blend of natural ingredients.
6.7 oz | OB004
In Stock

Sale — While They Last »
Smart Shopping — Beauty Center
Coconut Water – Key Ingredient
FREE Sun Damage Prevention Broad Spectrum SPF 30 100% Mineral Sunscreen ($20 Value). Details »
FREE Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream ($9 Value). Details »
Skin Care Regimen »
2 steps to a new you — My Beauty Advisor




HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99.9% of hacker crime.
BBBOnLine Reliability Seal
TRUSTe online privacy certification
Stella Service