Plantapon® TF

What is it? Plantapon® TF is a pre-blended sulfate-free surfactant product made by BASF Care Creations as part of their “Plantapon®” range of surfactant products. The “TF” suffix stands for “tear-free” as this surfactant blend is marketed for use in tear-free and other sensitive skin formulations.

In addition to Decyl Glucoside and Coco Glucoside (two natural non-ionic surfactants), Plantapon® TF also contains Polyglyceryl-10 Caprylate/Caprate and Glyceryl Oleate. Polyglyceryl-10 Caprylate/Caprate is another gentle, natural, non-ionic surfactant that improves foaming; Glyceryl Oleate is a conditioning/re-fatting ingredient, helping make the overall product milder.

Plantapon® TF has been approved by the Natural Products Association.

INCI Decyl Glucoside (and) Polyglyceryl-10 Caprylate/Caprate (and) Coco-Glucoside (and) Glyceryl Oleate
Appearance Yellow liquid
Usage rate The manufacturer of Plantapon® TF suggests usage around 20%. It contains 60% active surfactant matter.
Scent Characteristic; detergent-y
Active surfactant matter 60%
pH 4.5–5.5
Charge Non-ionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Plantapon® TF works as a lovely primary surfactant blend in our products. It is gentle, natural, and produces a beautiful, rich lather with really nice rinse-off.
Do you need it? No, but it is a nice “shortcut” surfactant product.
Refined or unrefined? Plantapon® TF only exists as a refined product, but it is considered to be natural.
Strengths Plantapon® TF is an easy-to-use blend that functions nicely as a primary surfactant, and could also be used as the only surfactant product in a formulation. If you don’t want to invest in a lot of surfactants it’s a good option for easily creating a variety of gentle foaming/cleansing products.
Weaknesses I’ve only found one place to purchase it.
Alternatives & Substitutions You’ll want at least one non-ionic surfactant (Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, Decyl Glucoside, etc.) and a water-soluble re-fatting ingredient (Olivem 300, water-soluble shea butter, Glyceryl Oleate, etc.). I’d probably start with 90–95% surfactant, and 5–10% re-fatting/conditioning ingredient.

You will likely want to test and adjust the pH downwards as well; most glucosides are quite basic, and the pH of Plantapon® TF is mildly acidic.

You could also try substituting Plantapon® TF for non-ionic surfactants in other formulations. With 60% ASM, it is very similar in concentration to Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, Decyl Glucoside, and Lauryl Glucoside, so you could likely swap it out 1:1 and still get very similar results in cleansers, shampoos, etc.

How to Work with It Include it with the surfactant and/or water phase of your formulation. Plantapon® TF can be hot or cold processed.

I like to add an amphoteric surfactant to formulations including Plantapon® TF as it does not contain one, but this is not required.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Plantapon® TF should last two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks There are quite a few products in the Plantapon® range, so make sure you’re purchasing the correct one!

BASF lists Plantapon® TF as having “good” salt thickening. It is preserved with Sodium Benzoate.

Recommended starter amount 250mL (8 fl oz)
Where to Buy it  As of June 2020 I’ve only found it for sale at Voyageur Soap & Candle out of Canada.

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super-useful surfactants table!

Some Formulations that Use Plantapon® TF


Posted on

June 4, 2020