What is INCI and why is it on our cosmetic labels?

What is INCI?
INCI or the international nomenclature of cosmetic ingredients is a chemical namaing systems for those ingredients found in cosmetic products.

Where can it be found?
The EU Cosmetic Directive controls how cosmetic products are labelled and tells manufacturers exactly what is required on the labels of their products. This includes a list of ingredients with their INCI names. On each cosmetic product, either on the product itself or on its outer packaging you will find a list of The ingredients INCI names. In most cases they will be in descending order of their quantity. So the ingredient at the beginning in most cases Aqua (Purified Water) will have the highest concentration in that product.

Often a manufacturer will put both the INCI name as well as their common household name on the label however this may not always be possible as space is limited on the label and there are still a many other required pieces of information.

Why do we need INCI?
All cosmetic products sold in the UK and EU must adhere to the EU Cosmetic Directive and the ingredient information must be identical for the same product across the EU. The reason INCI names are used is because it stops any ambiguities as to exactly which ingredient is in any language. This international standard is recognised across the EU.

In quite a few instances, I have seen comments on forums from people saying that they don't recognise the name of xyz ingredient, is it harmful? No Cocos Nucifera and Butyrosperum Parkii are not harmful in fact they are the names of natural ingredients, but you may know them by their other names  Coconut Oil and Shea Butter.

Some common cosmetic ingredients and their INCI names

Purified water - Aqua
Cocos Nucifera - Coconut Oil
Tocopherol - Vitamin E
Butyrosperum Parkii - Shea Butter
Simmondsia Chinesis - Jojoba Oil
Olea Europaea - Olive Oil

I do hope this post is helpful 

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity


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