Polysorbate 20 is a synthetic material that helps enhance and disperse other ingredients well, especially the fragrancing ones.
Where do we get it?
The process of obtaining polysorbate 20 is long and full of steps! It starts with sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, continues with ethylene oxide, a gas, and ends with the so-called 'lauric' fatty acid, a fat. Lush UK purchases this ingredient from a company in Italy. They use maize-derived sorbitol of European origin and palm-derived lauric acid from Southeast Asia.
With seven manufacturing sites across the globe, this information may vary depending on where your Lush products were made.
What are the benefits of polysorbate 20 in a formula?
- As a surfactant and emulsifier, it helps all ingredients bind together, mix well and rinse out easily.
- It is especially good at distributing and enhancing fragrancing compounds such as essential oils.
Is polysorbate 20 safe?
You will read here and there that polysorbate 20 is suspected of containing traces of an undesirable compound called 1,4-dioxane. It's true, but it's also very regulated in cosmetics. Our supplier must test and ensure that this ether is present at less than 10 ppm (parts per million) in its finished products. It is such a tiny amount that it’s difficult to imagine. In comparison, 10% could also be called ‘10 parts per hundred’.