Sorbeth-20 Beeswax

What Is It?

Sorbeth-6 Beeswax, Sorbeth-8 Beeswax and Sorbeth-20 Beeswax are tan waxy solids. These ingredients may also be called PEG-6 Sorbitan Beeswax, PEG-8 Sorbitan Beeswax and PEG-20 Sorbitan Beeswax. In cosmetics and personal care products, the Sorbeth Beeswax ingredients are used in the formulation of skin care products, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick and other makeup products.

Why Is It Used?

The Sorbeth Beeswax ingredients help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified. They also help other ingredients to dissolve in a solvent in which they would not normally dissolve.

Scientific Facts

Sorbeth Beeswax ingredients are manufactured by reacting beeswax derivatives with a specific number of units of ethylene oxide. The number in the ingredient name corresponds to the average number of ethylene oxide units.

Safety Information

The safety of Sorbeth-6 Beeswax, Sorbeth-8 Beeswax and Sorbeth-20 Beeswax has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Sorbeth-6 Beeswax, Sorbeth-8 Beeswax and Sorbeth-20 Beeswax were safe for use as cosmetic ingredients.

CIR Safety Review: Few data on the Sorbeth Beeswax ingredients were available. This safety assessment relied upon the available data from previous safety assessments of Beeswax, Synthetic Beeswax, Sorbitan Esters, PEGs, and PEG Sorbitan fatty acid esters, also known as Polysorbates. The ester linkage of PEG Sorbitan fatty acid esters was hydrolyzed after oral administration, and the PEG Sorbitan moiety was poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Sorbitan Stearate was hydrolyzed to stearic acid and anhydrides of sorbitol. 

PEGs were readily absorbed through burned skin and were associated with kidney effects in burn patients. PEGs were not sensitizing to normal skin. PEGs did not cause reproductive toxicity, nor were they mutagenic or carcinogenic. Sorbitol was not a reproductive or developmental toxin in multigeneration studies. Neither Beeswax nor Synthetic Beeswax produced significant acute animal toxicity, ocular irritation, skin irritation, or skin sensitization. 

Polysorbates produced no acute or long-term effects, were generally not irritating or sensitizing, and were noncarcinogenic. Sorbitan fatty acid esters were relatively nontoxic via ingestion, generally were not skin irritants or sensitizers, and were not mutagenic or carcinogenic. Sorbeth-6 Beeswax delivered via a stomach tube was nontoxic in acute studies. 

Undiluted Sorbeth-6 Beeswax was nonirritating to the eyes and was nonirritating to intact and abraded skin. Sorbeth-20 Beeswax was only minimally irritating to eyes at concentrations as high as 30%, and a formulation containing 2% Sorbeth-20 Beeswax was not a significant skin irritant. In clinical tests, Sorbeth-6 Beeswax and Sorbeth-20 Beeswax at concentrations up to 3% were only minimally irritating and were not sensitizers. Small amounts of 1,4-dioxane, a by-product of ethoxylation, may be found in the Sorbeth Beeswax ingredients. The potential presence of this material is well known and can be controlled through purification steps to remove it from the ingredients before blending into cosmetic formulations. 

Link to more information about what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is doing to assure that cosmetics do not contain unsafe levels of 1,4-dioxane.…

When conforming to European Union animal by-products legislation, Sorbeth-6 Beeswax, Sorbeth-8 Beeswax and Sorbeth-20 Beeswax may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

More Scientific Information

Sorbeth-6 Beeswax, Sorbeth-8 Beeswax and Sorbeth-20 Beeswax are ethoxylated sorbitan derivatives of beeswax. In cosmetics and personal care products, these ingredients function as surfactants – emulsifying agents and surfactants – solubilizing agents.