What Is the Difference between Tween-20 and Tween-80?

Tween is a group of non-volatile surfactant derivatives derived from glycerol esters. Tween-20 and Tween-80 vary in chemical and physical properties very much but are usually solubilized or suspended in water. Tween-20 is mainly used as an effective binding agent in the production of foam and other polymers by means of its high solubility and low boiling point. Tween also has other important uses like as a thermosetting agent in the process of manufacturing thermosetting plastics and as an adhesive for repairing paper materials. It also helps in the manufacture of plastic parts and even metal parts.


Tween is basically a series of various non-volatile surfactant derivatives derived principally from the fatty acids of hexadecine carbonate and sorbitol esters. They are easily soluble or dispersible only in water but vary widely in oil and organic solubility. Tween-20 is employed as a binding agent in the production of foam and other polymers by means of its high solubility and low boiling point. It also helps to prevent the decomposition of solid particles during distillation and the separation of lighter oils from heavier oils during distillation. Tween also helps in the absorption of fragrance oils.

Tween is generally utilized in conjunction with the oil-based dyes to generate transparent, color-fast, long-lasting, transparent, and safe emulsions for cosmetic products, pharmaceuticals, food, and chemical preparation, and household cleaning supplies. It is also an indispensable component in the production of lip balms, makeup, shampoos, and conditioners. A variety of non-volatile oil-based ingredients have been successfully combined with Tween-20 to create a wide range of cosmetic and personal care products. Some of these ingredients include aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter, glycerin, Vitamin E, aloe vera gel, fragrances, and other chemical additives. Polysorbate is also effective as an emulsifier (conditions and bind agents) in the manufacture of cosmetics and personal care products because it effectively absorbs oil and water-based ingredients and lipid material present in soap and shampoo.

Tween is basically an oil dispersing agent and it is formulated to meet varied industrial, cosmetic, medical, and household requirements. The Tween-20 is available in two forms-oil absorbing and oil emulsifying. Both of them are equally good and suitable for cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications. Tween-20 is made of high-strength silicone that makes it ideal for use as oil absorbers and oil emulsifiers, particularly in pharmaceutical industries.

Tween is a very versatile substance that can be used both in the pharmaceutical and in the household markets. The most important usage of Tween is its application as an oil absorber and emulsifier. It is also used in the manufacturing of water-based and oil-based goods like shampoos, facial masks, hair gels, ointments, soaps, and cleansers. These goods are usually produced using emulsifying waxes.

Some typical cosmetic products that make use of Tween-80 and Tween-20 are facial washes and cleansers, anti-aging creams, lipsticks, skin lotions, facial scrubs, body washes, shower gels, and soaps. The absorption rate and viscosity of these personal care products depend on the type of polymer used. For instance, Tween-80 is more effective than Tween water-based. In addition, the solubilizer and emulsifier of this Tween are also essential. Without a good solubilizer and emulsifier, the emulsification and absorption process will not work.

Tween 80 vs 20

ItemTween 80Tween 20
CAS No.9005-65-69005-64-5
AppearanceAmber to light yellow oily liquidAmber oily liquid
SolubilitySoluble in water, methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, cottonseed oil, etc.Soluble in water, soluble in ethanol, vegetable oil, ethyl acetate, methanol, and insoluble in mineral oil.
Acid value2mgKOH/g Max.2mgKOH/g Max.
Saponification value45-55mgKOH/g40-55mgKOH/g
Hydroxyl value65-80mgKOH/g90-110mgKOH/g
Water3.0% Max.3.0% Max.
Tween 80 vs 20