Polysorbate 80 is used as a surfactant in soaps and cosmetics. It is a non-toxic, nonionic surfactant/emulsifier and a water-soluble yellowish liquid used as a dispersing agent which allows oil and water to mix without the use of alcohol. It is a fragrance solubilizer and stabilizer; it lubricates and has a soothing effect on the skin. This skin- safe ingredient is used extensively in oil-in-water emulsions (lotions, conditioners, cream rinses, shampoos, liquid soaps, body polishes or scrubs, etc.) and also for body mists and linen sprays.
Start with a ratio of 1:1. For example, for every ounce of essential or fragrance oil mix with one ounce of Polysorbate 80. It is extremely important to mix well, then add enough distilled water to allow you to make your blend or product. If the results are still too cloudy, you may need to increase the Polysorbate 80 to 3 parts to 1 or 4 parts to 1. Sometimes, the denser the oil the more Polysorbate 80 you will need.
Difference between Polysorbate 80 and Polysorbate 20: Polysorbates are ethoxylates of fatty acids esterified with anhydrosorbitol. Polysorbate 20 is a polyoxyethylene derivative of sorbitan monolaurate whereas polysorbate 80 is a polyoxyethylene derivative of sorbitan and oleic acid. So use polysorbate 20 to emulsify small amounts of lighter oils and polysorbate 80 to emulsify slighter larger amounts of heavier oils.