What is INCI Listing?

INCI is short for the "International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients", containing the latin names

Looking for the INCI list of names for essential oils and other ingredients? click here . . .

What is inci listing ? It is "The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients", a system of names for waxes, oils, pigments, chemicals, and other ingredients of soaps, cosmetics, and the like, based on scientific names and other Latin and English words.

In America, under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, certain accurate information is a requirement to appear on labels of cosmetic products. In Canada, the regulatory guideline is the Food and Drugs Act and Cosmetic Regulations.

The cosmetic regulation laws are enforceable for important consumer safety. For example, the ingredients are listed on the ingredient declaration for the purchaser to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction to an ingredient the user has had an allergy to before. These cosmetic ingredient names are mandated on the ingredient statement of every consumer personal care product. This universal system allows the consumer to identify the ingredient content.
The official dictionary for cosmetic ingredients is the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, which has been  established in the early 1970’s by the Personal Care Products Council (former CTFA, Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association). Many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and the members of the European Union, require manufacturers of cosmetic ingredients to submit all new ingredients for registration in this nomenclature system.

If you intend to sell your cosmetic products, for legal labeling requirements, you need to use the official INCI name of the ingredients on the label. Currently, the inventory of registered ingredients comprises more than 12,000 names and the list is continuously growing. The complete list can be obtained in CD-ROM or book format on the website of the Personal Care Products Council.

"Cosmetic" includes any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in cleansing, improving or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth, and includes deodorants and perfumes.

Some examples of INCI names and how the identification system has updated ingredients into their more specific names: (first is 'common name', second is the 9th Ingredient Dictionary version).

The one rule about the INCI labeling that I don't appreciate is the one about fragrances. INCI states that a company can simply add 'parfum' or 'fragrance', yet if you were to get the real latin/chemical name listed, it could a 100 character long chemical composition. A name to which you would put the product back on the counter.

Some botanical names have changed and some do look like chemically derived words. It is a very important system to have due to the alarming rate of people having serious allergic reactions to ingredients. Often, it is very difficult to zero in on the reactive substance.

Although, I check packaging when in stores, and see that a lot of national companies still do not have their ingredients listed. Because what they say in the advertisements is not what is always in the package.

For example, take a look at this page where their advertising is examined for the underlying truth!

Leave the "what is INCI listing" page and read about Theirs & Ours, an entertaining yet scary page of ingredient lists!

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