POLYSORBATE 80 IS REGARDED AS A SAFE CHEMICAL IN SKINCARE AND IS USED AS AN EMULSIFIER TO COMBINE OIL AND WATER.
In order to get the same wonderful colours you use in your other bath and body products, add polysorbate 80 at about 2 % (of your total batch) in your liquid stage. This should eliminate any ring around the tub or floating mica that can occur if you don’t use it.
Also note that colour rings can be left in tubs if they are not absolutely clean before using dyes, lakes or mica, no matter how much poly 80 you may use. Polysorbate 80 is mainly derived from polyethoxylated sorbitan and oleic acid.
It is a surfactant, emulsifier, and solubilizer often used in foods and cosmetics (skin care products, skin cleansing products, makeup bases and foundations, shampoos and bath bombs). Note that its main function is to help other ingredients dissolve in a solvent in which they normally would not be able to dissolve, for example, oil in water.
Polysorbate 80 is “produced by reacting the polyol, sorbitol, with ethylene oxide”. Some people choose to avoid it because of contamination concerns with ethylene oxide and 1, 4 dioxane. These are known potential contaminants and are carefully monitored and tested for. Purified versions of the ingredients are safe.
Why is Polysorbate 80 Used in Bath Bombs?
Poly80 is a very common ingredient in bath bombs. And it’s no surprise because it’s not expensive, it is easy to use and improves the quality of the bath bomb in so many ways. Note that one of the main reasons why bath bomb makers use polysorbate 80 is its ability to disperse colour well. By colour, it means both liquid dyes and mica powder.
Normally, you can get really pretty vibrant bath bombs using mica colour but this colour will not disperse well in the water. By disperse, it simply means it will not color the water well, it might clump together and it might stick to the bathtub and your skin. Not pretty and really messy.
Also note that the same goes for liquid colorants. It’s all wonderful and pretty until you drain that bathtub and see colour residue all over it. No one wants to spend time scrubbing the bathtub after what was supposed to be a relaxing bath bomb experience.
Poly80 can solve this problem. It will disperse your mica powder (or other colorants) into the water creating a more vibrant colour and it will prevent colour from sticking to your bathtub and skin. Below is a breakdown of the benefits of Poly80 in Bath bombs;
- Helps glitter to disperse in the water better and prevents it from sticking to a bathtub and your skin.
- Helps oils to dissolve into water. No more un-aesthetic oil floating on top of your water. Did you ever try making a nourishing bath bomb with natural’s oils just to find later that all this oil does not dissolve into water and just floats on top instead? Add some Polysorbate 80 and the problem is gone.
- Helps essential oils to mix with water and other oils better. Same as with carrier oils it helps essential oils to mix with water and this way the smell gets distributed better as well.
- Bath bombs with Polysorbate 80 create foam. Depending on how much Poly 80 you put it may interfere with fizzing a little bit. Which means you will get more foam and less fizzing.
- Great wetting agent for bath bombs. Since it is a liquid it works well as a wetting agent. Adding more of Poly80 and less of water or witch hazel will decrease a risk of your bath bomb mix activating too early.
How Much Polysorbate 80 to use in Bath Bombs
Anyone who tried making bath bombs understands how unreliable and unstable the bath bomb mix can be. Adding a little bit too much or not enough of one or other ingredient could without doubt affect the entire mix. Same goes when introducing a new ingredient to a bath bomb mix. So, below are few things you need to know when adding Polysorbate 80 to your mix:
1. The first thing to note is that Polysorbate 80 is a wetting ingredient. It simply means that if you add Poly80, you need to add less of your other wetting ingredients (water, witch hazel, alcohol). If you add Polysorbate 80 to your standard recipe without making adjustments you will get a mix that is way too wet.
2. You also have to know the exact amount of Polysorbate 80 to use in bath bombs. Many suppliers will tell you that you should add 1 – 3% of Poly 80 to your bath fizzies but have it in mind that 2% makes them expand or they stay soft forever.
The best rule that works is to use 1 part Polysorbate 80 to 2 parts of carrier oil or butter. Howbeit, if you use 1 tablespoon of oil – add half tablespoon of Poly 80. Do not include fragrance oil or any dyes and micas in this calculation.
1:2 Poly to carrier oil ratio will work well to emulsify oil into water and will be enough to do the same for any additional fragrances, micas or glitter. Adding too much of Polysorbate may come with its own sets of problems so just keep it around 1:2 ratio.
3. Polysorbate 80 should not be added straight to your bath bomb mix. It should first be mixed with your other wet ingredients: colours, oils, butter, fragrance oils, essential oils, etc.