Polysorbate 80 is a nonionic surfactant and emulsifier often used in foods and cosmetics. This synthetic compound is a viscous, water-soluble yellow liquid.
This is a common fragrance and essential oil solublizer as well as an emulsifying agent. It is soluble in water and alcohol and insoluble in oils. It is typically a co-emulsifier that is used both as a viscosity modifier and a dispersing agent for fragrances and essential oils for room sprays and linen sprays. In lotions, it works best for oil in water emulsions and is helpful for foaming or whipping body creams. When combined with liquid oils, Polysorbate 80 creates a blooming bath oil. It can also be used in a self-emulsifying sugar or salt scrub. Finally, in bath bombs, you can add up to 6% as a wetting agent (rather than a traditional witch hazel or liquid oil) to help prolong fizzing in the tub. Usage rate is from 1-5% as a co-emulsifier in lotions and up to 50% for a dispersing bath oil or fragrance/essential oil carrier.
Source: WIkipedia, Bramble Berry