Polysorbate 80 In Bath Bombs – What You Need To Know

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In this blog post, we’ll discuss Polysorbate 80 which is a very important ingredient used when making your own bath bombs at home.

We’ll talk about why we use polysorbate 80 in bath bombs, what it is and how it helps your bath bombs form and dissolve in water, and we will also show you where to buy it online. Are you ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

Adding the polysorbate 80 in bath bombs mixture
Adding Polysorbate 80 to my bath bomb mixture

Quick Answers About Polysorbate 80

What Is Polysorbate 80 Used For In Bath Bombs

In the bath bomb industry, polysorbate 80 is a common ingredient that helps to stabilize mixtures and create foam. It also has moisturizing properties.

The term “polysorbate” comes from the word “surfactant,” which means an agent that reduces surface tension between two liquids in order to make them mix better. The “80” in the name refers to the number of carbon atoms in the molecule.

Polysorbate 80 is a clear, odorless liquid that is soluble in both water and oil. It has a variety of applications in the cosmetic and personal care industries.

In bath bombs, it helps to keep the ingredients mixed together and prevents them from separating. This results in a more even distribution of color and fragrance, and more stable foam.

What Are Some Of The Other Applications For Polysorbate 80

Polysorbate 80 is also used in a variety of other applications, including:

Food processing: Polysorbate 80 is often used as an emulsifier in food products. It helps to keep the ingredients mixed together and prevents them from separating. This results in a more even distribution of color and flavor, and a more stable product.

Pharmaceuticals: Polysorbate 80 is sometimes used in pharmaceutical products to help dissolve drugs and improve their absorption.

Personal care products: Polysorbate 80 is a common ingredient in many personal care products, such as shampoos, conditioners, and skin creams. It helps to keep the ingredients mixed together and prevents them from separating. This results in a more even distribution of color and fragrance, and a more stable product.

Household products: Polysorbate 80 is also used in some household products, such as laundry detergents and dishwashing liquids. It helps to keep the ingredients mixed together and prevents them from separating. Again, this results in a more stable product.

How Safe Is Polysorbate 80 For Use In Cosmetics

This can be controversial, as people often worry about it being contaminated with 1,4 – dioxane and ethylene oxide. Although these are well-known toxins/contaminants, the polysorbate 80 that we buy and use in cosmetics is a certified safe ingredient if used at the right quantity. 

Polysorbate 80 is very is unlikely to cause any irritation. It is commonly used in cosmetics and personal care products, and has a long history of safety. There are no known adverse effects associated with its use.

Polysorbate 80 v Polysorbate 20

There’s so much science already posted around this question there would be no point in me repeating it. And I would rather not be guilty of boring you with it!

I think it’s best to just cut to the chase and say that Polysorbate 80 is better when trying to emulsify thicker ingredients such as butters and oils. You can use Polysorbate 20 as a weaker alternative to emulsify essential oils or fragrance oils when making more water-based products like DIY toners and mist sprays.

How Much Polysorbate 80 To Use In Bath Bombs

When making bath bombs, it is important to use the correct amount of polysorbate 80. Using too much can cause the bath bomb to disintegrate while using too little will not create much lather or prevent the ingredients from separating.

A good rule of thumb is to use 1-2% of polysorbate 80 in relation to the weight of the dry ingredients in the bath bomb. So, for example, if the recipe for your bath bomb calls for 500g of dry ingredients, you would use between 50-10g of polysorbate 80.

Where To Buy Polysorbate 80

Polysorbate 80 can be bought from online retailers or from chemical suppliers. It is important to make sure you purchase polysorbate 80 that is intended for use in bath bombs, as other types of polysorbate 80 may not be safe to use. Here’s where I bought my last bottle on Amazon.

Bath Bomb Recipes With Polysorbate 80

I’ve been making and perfecting bath bombs for years, and thousands of visitors have used my basic bath bomb recipe for maximum benefits & fizz without having to use a drop of polysorbate 80.

Having said that, I do use it in many recipes. For example, it is featured in my oat so simple bath bombs and my mini milk bath bombs. I find the benefits of using polysorbate 80 far outway any concerns I have about it not being a totally natural product.

My new bath bombs course goes into detail about how I use polysorbate 80 or emulsifying wax to make my bath bombs foam better and disperse the colorants better in water.

It’s a self-paced online course for making all sorts of different bath bombs and is currently still in its Half Price Launch offer of $15.

Most readers recoup that small investment through the money they save on unwasted ingredients, let alone the value placed on their time saved navigating the learning curve! The course literally pays for itself.

You can get access to the entire course right away and learn how to make no-fail bath bombs at home. All lessons, videos, & downloads are instantly available online, and you can work through them at your own pace.

diy bath bombs

Bath Bomb Recipes Without Polysorbate 80

If you want to make your bath bombs totally natural you can omit the polysorbate 80. Take a look at my basic bath bomb recipe to learn how.

However, if you have a lot of oils and butter in your recipe, they will not emulsify into the bathwater, they will just kind of float around on the top of the water. Unless you use an emulsifying wax, like in my shea butter bath bomb recipe.

Plus, the bath will need a wipe down to get rid of any slippiness or scum once you have let the water out.  Personally, this does not bother me as I am used to adding oils to my bathwater. Having said that I would not leave out the polysorbate 80 if I was giving this as a gift.  

You may also find that you need to give the mixture a couple more sprays of witch hazel so that the bath bomb holds together well. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. Hopefully, I’ve given you an overview of what polysorbate 80 is, how it works, and where you can buy it on Amazon.

Have you tried using polysorbate 80 in your own bath products? Let us know how it went in the comments below.

Author: Angela Wills

Title: Founder and Author - Savvy Homemade

Expertise: Beauty Recipes, Skincare Formulation, Soapmaking, DIY Crafts, Parenting


Angela Wills is an author, founder, and the driving force behind Savvy Homemade. With over fifteen years of experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to every post she writes. She is fearlessly dedicated to creating tried and tested beauty recipes, skincare formulations, soap recipes, and many other DIY crafts that will work for everyone. Angela has a Diploma in Skincare Formulation, is a proud member of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild, and infuses each DIY product with her passion and expertise.

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