|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|
|Usage rate||The manufacturer of Plantapon® TF suggests usage around 20%. It contains 60% active surfactant matter.|
|Active surfactant matter||60%|
|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!